Saturday, December 22, 2012


This fall I visited the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. They had a fun exhibit of American Indian musicians from 1900 to current.  It was fascinating to see how many artists are of American Indian decent.  It also encouraged me to add some music to my iPod that I normally wouldn't have on my playlist.  The BEST part of the visit was the American Indian Museum was the cookbook I found. :)  Yes, I added another cook book to my growing collection.  It is called Foods of the Americas, Native Recipes and Traditions by Fernando and Marlene Divina. I am blown away by how many of the recipes I want to make in this book!  The influences from this book are far reaching from South America to Canada.  The first recipe I tried out of this book is for Empadas.  They are best described as meat pies.  They remind me of Samosa's from Asian restaurants.  The flavor was UNIQUE!  I was half expecting a Mexican flare...which it had, but there was a major twist.  You CERTAINLY need to check this recipe out!

Empada's modified recipe:
Pre-made Pie Filling

1/4 cup tomato salsa
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 small white onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground beef
3/4 cup diced russet potato
1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
1 small chile, seeded and minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock

Flour for dusting
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Pinch of sea or kosher salt

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the oil, onion, and garlic and cook without browning for about 5 minutes.  Add the salsa, beef, potato, allspice, chile, bay leaf, salt, pepper and chicken stock.  Cook, stirring often for 15 to 20 minutes, until the meat is browned and cooked through and the liquid has nearly evaporated.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly oil and flour a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

To assemble the empadas, lightly flour a work surface.  Cut the dough in half horizontally and cover one half with a clean kitchen towel to keep moist.  Roll the other half of the dough out to about 1/8 inch think.  Cut into 12 squares or rounds about 3 1/2 inches wide.  Place a generous tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of each piece of dough.  Roll Out and cut the other portion of the dough in the same manner.  Whisk the egg with the water and salt to make an egg wash.  Brush the edges of the bottom dough pieces with the egg wash.  top each with another dough piece and drip the edges with the tines of a fork or your fingertips.  Place the empadas on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

My daughter is pretty crazy about pancakes and it is our weekend ritual to have them once a week so we are constantly trying out new recipes to keep them exciting.  This recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes was a pretty decent find, but the next time I make them I'm going to do some serious tweeking.  I was vaguely aware when I was making them that there were no spices added to the mix.  There were so many positive reviews online that I assumed the pancakes stood firm all on their own...but they didn't.  Don't get me wrong, these pancakes were good, but could use some vanilla and/or almond extract, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I would also cut back on the milk as the batter was a touch runny causing the pancakes to be flat.

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes:
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups milk
3 eggs beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat lightly oiled griddle over medium heat.  In a large bowl mix whole wheat and white flours with brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl, mix milk and oats.  Whisk in eggs and oil.  Pour into dry mix all at once.  Continue mixing until smooth.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Pour batter about 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared griddle.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until bubbly.  flip and continue cooking until lightly browned on both sides.

Pumpkin Pie with a Major Twist!

Did you know they sell pumpkin pudding now?!  Alex knows I LOVE pumpkin so he got me two boxes around Thanksgiving.  

We were invited to the neighbors house for dinner and were asked to bring dessert.  I was feeling super lazy and didn't want to run to the store so I was trying to come up with a fun idea from what I had in my house.  I found the pumpkin pudding and was racking my brain for things I could make with it. At Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law made a pumpkin chiffon pie that was light and delicious!!!  He told me they added whipping cream to a pumpkin pie like recipe to make it super light and fluffy.  So I decided I could add whipping cream to pre-made pumpkin pie pudding get get something similar...I hoped!!!  It was a bit of a gamble since I was taking to our neighbors party...they could have been pretty disgusted and egged our house as a result.  Fortunately for us and our house, it was a HIT!!!!  

Lazy Girl's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie:
2 small packages pumpkin pudding - make according to instructions on box
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Gingerbread Cookie Mix 
1 stick butter, melted

Make the pumpkin pudding following the directions on the box.  Put in refrigerator for at least one hour to thicken.  Whip up heavy whipping cream until there are super stiff peaks, add powdered sugar.  Once the pudding has set completely, fold in the whipping cream until combined.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make the crust, combine gingerbread cookie mix and melted butter.  Push into the bottom of a pie pan to form the pie crust.  Cook in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Let cool, then add the pudding mixture to the pie crust and refrigerate for at least one hour.  

This pie is SLOPPY!  But it doesn't matter because it tastes so damn good!!!