Showing posts from October, 2009

Vegetable Empanadas

The word empanada comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word empanar, meaning to wrap in bread. Traditionally these pastries are stuffed with tomatoes, garlic, and meat or fish. I substituted the meat for tofu and vegetables for this recipe. You can also try it with vegetable protein (tvp) for a more authentic texture.
Serves 6
What you need:
for the filling 1/2 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 bell pepper, diced 1/2 zucchini, diced 10-12 mushrooms, sliced 1 package tofu, crumbled 1 tsp parsley 1 tsp salt 1.2 tsp pepper 2 cups crushed tomatoes 2 tsp sugar 1.5 tbsp olive oil
for the dough 3 cups flour 1/2 tsp salt 1.5 sticks margarine 1 egg replacer 4-5 tbsp water
for frying 2-3 cups olive oil
In a medium-size pan, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until clear and golden. Add the diced bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and tofu and sauté for another 10-15 minutes. Add the spices and crushed tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the sugar and simmer for 5 more minute…

A Simple Tomato Sauce

After numerous attempts at making the perfect tomato sauce, and with the help of a friend, I finally have a recipe that never fails. Enjoy.
What you need:
1/2 yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, diced 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil 28 oz can crushed tomatoes 1/2 large zucchini, diced (optional) 1 shredded carrot (optional) 2 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt oregano parsley
In a medium size pan on medium heat, sauté onions and garlic for 15-20 minutes or until onions are clear and golden. If using zucchini and carrot, add to pan and sauté until soft (around 7 minutes). Add a pinch of oregano and parsley to the vegetables and stir. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and 1 tsp of salt. Let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. During the last 5 minutes, add the sugar. The longer you cook tomato sauce, the thicker it will become. If its not as thick as you like after 30 minutes, give it another 10 minutes for the perfect tomato sauce.

Pets de Monja

This typical Catalan cookie was invented by an Italian pastry chef in Barcelona who gave it the name "petto di monca"(nun's breasts), in reference to the cookie's shape. The name has since changed to pets de monja, in Catalan meaning nun's farts. Despite its name, these nut cookies are a common snack enjoyed throughout Catalonia.
Makes 8-10 small cookies
What you need:
1/2 cup margarine 3 tbsp sugar 1 cup flour 1/2 cup finely ground nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds)
Preheat your oven to 175 °C (350°F) In a bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup margarine and 3 tbsp sugar until creamy. Slowly add the flour and nut mixture until a dough forms. Form the dough into small balls with a point at the top (your choice, the tradition is in it's shape) and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar after baking for extra sweetness.

Espinacs a La Catalana

This bittersweet spinach dish comes from Catalonia, the northeastern region of Spain.
Serves 1-2
What you need:
300g Spinach (1 package) 1 head of garlic, diced 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup pine nuts 1 tbsp olive oil
In a large pot, fill with water and bring to boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, sauté garlic, 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of pine nuts in 1tbsp of olive oil until the raisins have puffed up a bit and the pine nuts are browned.
When the water starts to boil, add the fresh spinach to the water until slightly wilted. Drain the spinach in a colander and run cold water over it. Press the spinach to drain all the water out and add to the pan with raisins,garlic, and pine nuts. Sauté until the spinach is hot and serve.

Patlicanli Pilav

Patlicanli Pilav is a common dish in Turkey and is cooked similar to the Spanish food paella.
Serves 3
What you need:
1 large eggplant 2 medium tomatoes 1/2 yellow onion 2 tbsp olive oil 1 cup dry basmati rice 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth 1 tsp parsley 1/2 tsp fresh mint salt pepper
Cut the eggplant into bite size cubes and sprinkle them with salt to remove the bitter taste. Let the eggplant sit in a colander for 15 minutes to drain out.
While waiting for the eggplant, dice the onion and tomatoes.
In a large skillet on medium heat, sauté the eggplant in 1 tbsp of olive oil for around 10-15 minutes (or until brown and soft). Remove from skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, sauté the onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil until golden. Add the diced tomatoes and sauté for another five minutes. Add the eggplant back into the pan. Sprinkle in the 1 tsp of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon mint, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
After stirring in the spices, add the 1 cup of uncooked basmati rice to the mixture. Stir th…

Pa amb Tomàquet

Pa amb tomàquet is one of the most simple foods in Catalan cuisine (and in my opinion, one of the best!)
What you need:
Bakery Bread, sliced Ripe Tomatoes Olive Oil Garlic (optional) Salt
There are a few variations when making pa tomàquet. Some people make this dish by toasting the bread. The other option is whether or not to use garlic. Usually it comes down to how much effort one wants to put into making this easy appetizer. I recommend both!
To make this traditional Catalan dish, toast the bread to your liking. Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub it's midsection onto the bread. Then, cut the tomato in half and rub it onto the bread until it is coated red. Last, drip some olive oil and sprinkle a bit of salt onto the bread and serve!
While many people add sausage or meats to their pa tomàquet, roasted red pepper and roasted eggplant/aubergine (called escalivada) are also a common addition to this oh so simple tapa.