Micah: Unmitigated

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Posts Tagged ‘street food’

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.

Empanadas

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)

pre-fry

pre-fry

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.

Don´t Drink The Water

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Checking in from Riohacha, a nice quiet city with a huge windy beach: I figured since I haven’t been doing all that much the past couple days, I would use this time to post about what I have been putting into my mouth. I touched on it a little last post and feel the need to elaborate. I apologize for the lack of pics, this computer doesn’t seem to like my camera. Let’s get started.

With my early physical exercise and now draining heat, liquids have been consumed in mass quantities. Agua, or water to you guys, is not as cheap as I would desire, thus I have been toying with the multiple ways it can be purchased. I began by buying the normal 600ml plastic bottles, that range from 75 cents to $1.25.  After seeing how fast I went through them I tried some other forms: 5 L jug which works for extended stays, 1.5 L bottle which is a little big for my day bag, and now the various sizes of water in a bag (similar to ice packs). The bag version is very cheap but must be transferred to a bottle to be portable. So, as you see, I have put a lot of thought into my agua consumption that I believe will help me throughout my entire trip.

Other liquids consumed are: The occasional cerveza (beer, cheapest styles are Aguila and Poker), Gatorade (a little expensive, but if you believe the ads, a necessary luxury), Jugos (fruit juices, such as lemonade or the rare smoothie con leche), and various flavors of soda (Orange is my favorite, I am similar to the Waponi in that way).

Now to the solid stuff: Trying to keep my costs down, I have sought out street food more often than a sitdown restaurante. The result has been a somewhat negative view of the food here in Colombia. While I still feel like the food in general here is below par, I have softened my stance a little over the past couple days. On Saturday in Santa Marta, I hit up a small place that was recommended by Lonely Planet. Serving only Ceviche, they do it extremely well. I orderd the 10 oz Combinado, which contained shrimp and other unknown fish, served in a white dixie cup with saltine crackers. I knew by the hord of locals sitting out front, silently spooning out the contents of their cups, that it would be good and it truly was. I walked mine down a block to the beach and sat there feeling ashamed for blasting this country’s cuisine without giving it a fair shot. In hindsight, the $5 cost of my dinner was worth it and now I will allow myself to indulge every now and then.

I have since sampled another ceviche stand and today sat down for an almuerzo ejecutivo (loosely, a set meal), which included some fish soup and a plate with chicken, rice, beans, and salad.  With the quality and availability of empanadas declining here on the coast, I see my palate expanding with hopefully positive results.

The fast/cheap foods that I have been putting down have mainly been of the fried variety. Empanadas, with my favorite being the pollo con arroz (chicken with rice), is still the favorite of the fast stuff.  Another one I enjoy is like a beef stew wrapped in a fried bread ball. Very hearty, with mashed potatoes and corn. An Arepa is the last of the fried stuff that I will acknowledge, it’s a flat corn tortilla like bread often filled with a fried egg, a good breakfast. I have sworn off the chorizo for a while, which normally was served with potatoes, due to some unenjoyable texture and suspect content.

Pizza has been tried twice, with last nights being quite good. A Hawaiian style that actually had a decent crust. They sell hamburgers a few places but I have yet to attempt since they are overpriced. Though I did try one hotdog wrapped in bread like a corndog, with positive results.  Overall, I guess I would say that I am mostly just disappointed with the quality of the cheap street food and that if you fork over a little more, you can get some decent grub.

Tomorrow, I hope to be in Cabo De La Vela and off the grid. You shant hear from me again until I am back in civilization. The small village runs on generators and has no WiFi hotspots.  The government convinced the Wayou people to set up tourist accommodations and to not kill gringos. Should be a good time.  Te veo en el otro lado