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Someone’s in the Kitchen

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

My love for Empanadas has been well documented. Though I ate many in South America, I never did learned a recipe, but I do consider myself an expert on what style is the best. I had an opportunity to make some the other day and photographed the event, thus the following is a rough version of my recipe.


There are a couple different parts – The Filling, The Condiments, and The Dough – so I will do each separately and quickly. I must admit though, that I don’t remember exact measurements or even ingredients, so this may annoy some people. Also, I made way too much filling so please take it down a notch if you try this at home.

Filling #1: Beef, Potato, Onion, Egg, and Hogoa sauce

3 lb – Beef Bottom Round Roast (or any type you like)*

6 – regular size Potatoes

1 – White Onion

4 – Eggs

1 – Oven

– Water, Beef Bouillon, Butter, Hot Sauce, Salt-N-Pepper

*One alternative (easier) method, would be to use Ground Beef instead and do it all in a frying pan. You could also just cook the roast however you want. The whole goal is to get everything cooked, diced, and mixed together. But here is my method.

Step 1: Heat Oven to 375, throw some butter into warm roasting pan, place Meat in pan, brown meat on sides while chopping veggies, Dice Potato and Onion (very small) and put into pan, add water and a couple Bouillon cubes, sprinkle some seasonings and hot sauce on top, After 30 minutes – reduce heat to 300 and let Bake for another hour.

Step 2: When Potatoes are cooked, remove them and onions to large bowl and check meat doneness. Put meat back in if necessary, otherwise you can let your meat cool before finely dicing – then to the bowl with it. Save the remaining broth.

Step 3: Hard-boil the Eggs, let cool, remove shell, do the “sign of the cross” to show remorse for killing an unborn chicken, dice’m, then into bowl.

-Now you make the “Hogoa” sauce to mix with filling.

2 – large Tomatoes

1/2 – Red Onion

1 or 2 – cloves of Garlic

1 – Jalapeño

– Cilantro, Olive Oil, Cumin, Cilantro, some Beef broth from your roast

Step 1: Heat oil in saucepan, finely chop everything, add all to pot, stir and let cook for a few minutes.

*You don’t want the filling to be too dry, so add as much broth as necessary to increase the volume of your Hogoa.

Step 2. Add sauce to filling bowl and mix together.

Filling #1 is now done and can be set aside or in fridge until packing time.

just a little too much liquid

just a little too much liquid

Filling #2: Chicken, Rice, and Tomatillo sauce

6 – boneless Chicken breasts

2 – cups of uncooked Rice

1 – Grill

– Hot sauce, Chicken Bouillon, and Butter

Step 1: Marinate chicken in some hot sauce for a few minutes before throwing on grill.

Step 2: Cook until desired doneness. Chop into small pieces and place into large bowl.

Step 3: Use bouillon to make 4 cups of Chicken broth, add butter, Cook the rice in the broth until all liquid is absorbed.

Step 4: Combine all in large bowl and mix.

— Now the Tomatillo sauce (I made way too little of the sauce but here is what I did)

2 – Tomatillos

2 – Jalapeños

1 – clove of Garlic

1 cup – Chicken broth

1 – Food Processor

– Cumin, and ??

Step 1: Place Tomatillos, Jalapeños, and Garlic into a thing that processes food. Grind them down to a liquid.

Step 2: Pour processed food into a saucepan and add Broth – Cumin – and any other spices you like. Heat through.

Step 3: Pour sauce over Chicken & Rice. Stir. Set aside.

Filling #2 = complete.

pre-tomatillo sauce

pre-tomatillo sauce

Condiment #1: Pico de Gallo

Everybody has a version of this and I encourage you to search the web and find one that’s right for you. But here is quickly what I did, though it might not be accurate. The dishes all tend to run together in my memory.

3 – Tomatoes

1/2 – Red Onion

1 – Jalapeño

1 – clove Garlic

2 – Limes

– Hot sauce

Step: I pureed everything (the zest of 1 lime and the juice of both) in the Processor so that it could be easily spooned into an Empanada. Turned out ok, probably too much lime and could have used some more heat. Set aside.

Condiment #2: Spicy Mayo

I love Mayonnaise and the wide variety of mayo based toppings is one reason I loved eating Empanadas in South America. Theirs mostly had a greenish tint so this recipe will not recapture that glory.

1 – Squeeze bottle of real Mayonnaise

– Hot Sauce, Garlic, Chili powder, Lemon juice

Step: Add all to food processor and mix well. Using a funnel – put mixture back into squeeze bottle.

The Dough: Corn Meal Style

I don’t have much experience with dough, so this was adjusted on the fly.

2.5 Cups – Corn Meal

2.5 Cups – regular Flour

1 – large stand mixer, rolling pin, spatula, large wooden board

3 cups – Chicken broth (or 3 bouillon cubes + water)

1 Tbls – Brown sugar

Step 1: Combine 2 cups of Corn meal + 2 cups of Flour, into your mixer bowl. Heat broth to a boil- add brown sugar.

Step 2: Slowly add broth to dry stuff, while the mixing mechanism is turning. It takes about a minute for the machine to work it’s magic. (Combine the remaining Corn meal and flour for future dusting of the dough.)

Step 3: At this point, I just dump the mound onto a dusted cutting board, and use my hands to work in more dry stuff – if needed. (The stuff must be dry enough to roll out and not stick.)

Step 4: Grab a small handful, form a ball, flatten with roller (constantly dusting where sticky), They don’t need to be perfect circles.

Step 5: Spoon a small amount – of the filling of your choice – into the middle of the rolled-out dough. Fold one side over the other and press edges together. Dust it a little more on each side. Then, move to a plate for the upcoming deep-fry. (These amounts make about 20 Empanadas – the size of a small taco)



The Fry:

Heat lots of oil in a pot and deep-fry ’em. It is best if they can be fully submerged. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes – or until golden brown.

Let them cool a little as inner contents may burn your mouth. Enjoy them with your condiments and eat with your hands.

Completed Emps

Completed Emps

Results: Good. They had that corn-meal flavor – which I will argue is the best way to go. Though, I will tinker with other varieties of corn flour products in future preparations. The Mayo topping was great and really complements the meal for me. Being my first time, the whole process took too long, but once you have the large batch of filling, it become fairly easy to mix up some dough, fold ’em, and fry ’em.

Sweet Emotions

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

While cooking a few brats this past weekend (in beer and brown sugar), I built up a desire to make beer flavored caramel. I attempted my first batch Wednesday night after dreams of all the fame and fortune my multinational conglomerate, Beer Caramel Inc. (patent pending), would provide.  I did a few internet searches for recipes but followed them loosely. Here are the results:

some ingredients

some ingredients

I began by boiling down a bottle of Black Butte Porter, for about 10 minutes. Then added 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. I let that boil for an unknown amount of time before adding 1/2 cup of half & half, a dash of corn syrup, and a pinch of vanilla.



Now, it is at this point that I feel I made a crucial mistake. Without a candy thermometer, I was unaware when my mixture reached it’s perfect temp. Thus, I believe my creation burned.

When the stuff’s consistency was adequate, it was poured into a wax paper lined bowl, and shoved in the fridge.



The next day it was not the prettiest of sights, but was edible.



I then attempted to roll it in plastic wrap and freeze it, but so far that was another mistake. I’m not quite ready to declare the whole thing a complete failure, I haven’t used it as an ice cream topping yet. In hindsight, I believe my goal all along should have been Beer flavored toffee, much like Werther’s Originals.

One thing I do know, the greats never quit and give up on their dreams. Did Betty Crocker give up when she burned her first bunt cake? Did Chef Boyardee give up when his first batch of soccer ball shaped pasta looked like basketballs? Not a chance. So am I going to hang up my apron, just because I ruined one little batch of caramel? …. Probably.

Pork Carnitas Tacos

Friday, October 9th, 2009

With my departure to Thailand imminent, I had a chunk of pork in my freezer that had to be cooked. Thursday was the day and I figured a food post would be a good way to start blogging, since I have seen my friends do it many times. Pork Tacos is specifically a homage to blogger Max Power (he got his name from a hair dryer), whose recipe can be seen here: Carnitas

To begin, I placed a couple pounds of pork shoulder into my crock-pot and added the following ingredients:

  • Cans of Diced Jalapenos, Diced Green Chillies, and Pineapple tidbits.
  • Diced Onion, Cumin, Coriander, Chili Powder, Salt, and Pepper.
  • A couple cups of Chicken Broth and some Orange Juice.

Adding the juice

I then set the crock-pot to about 300° and let it cook for roughly 6 1/2 hours. At that point I remove the pork from the pot and place into a glass baking dish for shredding and broiling.


Using multiple utensils, I break the meat down into varying sizes and then cover with a couple spoonfuls of remaining juice. Dish is then broiled on High in the oven for a few minutes or until you see the tops get a little brown.


While the Pork cooked, I prepared some Guacamole and Pico De Gallo as accoutrema.

  • The Guac is a creamy version with 3 mashed up avocados, lemon juice, diced onion, diced tomato, sour cream, and cilantro.
  • The Pico is diced tomato, onion, cilantro, and lemon juice.

guac and pico

My finished product may upset some purest, but I cook to my personal taste. For tortillas, I used the large flour instead of the smaller corn, which makes this dish more of a Pork Burrito. This was mostly by accident, as I do prefer the room the large tortilla provides but would have liked to have gone more traditional.

The flour tortillas are warmed in the oven for a few minutes and then topped with a robust portion of pork. The “taco” is finished with a shredded mexican cheese blend, guac, pico, sour cream, and a little more cilantro. Also, part way through eating, I crumbled some corn tortilla chips into the middle to added a tasty crunch.


There are only a few things I may tweak for next time: First, I had too much juice and nearly overflowed my pot, thus I would decrease the amount of chicken stock. I would also try to make the pork a little spicier by either adding more jalapenos, hotter chillies, or some tabasco to the juice. One other option I might try, is to create a rub and quickly brown the pork on all side before placing into the crock. Lastly, I would use corn tortillas which I feel would highlight the pork more.

All in all, they were delicious and I am glad I got through this food blog without making any threatening references to the U.N..