Food · Food Trends · Halfway Homemade · vegan

Empanadas- 3 ways!

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I love empanadas-actually, anything wrapped in a little handheld pocket is aces in my book. This recipe is great because it makes a small stockpile of empanadas that you can freeze and pull out whenever you want a nice snack or a quick meal. They are also a crowd-pleaser because you get a variety of fillings for every taste. The other nice thing about these is that you use ready made store bought dough- which is totally not necessary, if your a purist and insistent on making your own dough- but is pretty damn awesome when your trying to get together this meal for your hungry family and don’t have a ton of time. (Halfway homemade for the win!)

Here’s what you need: Ready made empanada dough, defrosted (they had this at my supermarket, if you can’t find them in your local supermarket, try going to a market in a more predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, or you can also order them online– although I can only find them to buy in quantities for a small army!), 5-6 TBSP of your preferred choice of cooking oil, (I used sunflower oil), 3 onions- peeled and diced, 7-8 cloves of garlic-minced, corn stripped from 4 ears of corn, 3 cups of butternut squash (peeled and cubed- you can also sub in sweet potatoes!), fresh cilantro, 2 cups chopped porcini mushrooms, 5-6 ounces (1 bag) of fresh spinach, 1 can black beans- drained and rinsed, 3 bell peppers- seeded and sliced into strips, salt, pepper.

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Here’s the plan: Put 2 TBSP on oil into a pan on medium heat. Saute the 3 chopped onions and all the garlic. Cook until soft and translucent. Remove 2/3 of the onions from the pan and set aside. (You will be using those for your other fillings.) Add the butternut squash to the onions and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Lastly, add the corn to the pan, stir to incorporate. Chop the cilantro (I really love cilantro, so I probably added about a 3/4 c of chopped herb- slightly packed, but you add to your tastes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and put in a separate bowl, set aside.

Take half of the leftover onion mixture and add to the pan with 1 TBSP oil. Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Add fresh spinach and stir until it cooks down. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and place in separate bowl. Set aside.

Take the rest of the onions and add to the pan with 1 TBSP oil. Add your strips of peppers and cook and stir until soft. Add the can of beans and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl, set aside.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Take your first empanada dough disc and place on the baking sheet, all the way to left hand side. Choose which filling to use first- you’ll end up using all 3 so whichever one you want to use first is up to you, scoop about 1/2 cup of filling onto the dough disc. Push onto one side and fold over the disc so it makes a half moon pocket. Using a fork, press the bottom flat part of the fork around the edges of the dough disc to crimp and seal the edge. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the sealed empanada with your choice of cooking oil. Repeat this process with the rest of your dough discs and your 3 fillings. This recipe made about 12 large empanadas for me. Depending on the size of your dough discs (my supermarket had both large and small discs)- and how much you stuff them, the number of empanadas you get may vary slightly.

Bake in oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes until tops are browned. (Watch them! Mine went from white to tan very quickly!)

Remove from oven, cool, and enjoy- with salsa, vegan sour cream, or an avocado crema!

 

 

 

 

 

Food · Halfway Homemade · vegan

Tofu Polenta Stacks with Mushroom Medley

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So, this is the type of recipe that I like to call “halfway homemade”, because it is so easy and a lot of the prep is done for you- if you choose the right ingredients! I got everything at Trader Joe’s, if you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s or would prefer to prepare everything on your own, it totally do-able, and I’ll leave notes below on making this recipe from scratch- however, most nights I’m scrambling to get dinner together so I’m so thankful for quick meals!

What you need:

1 block of tofu- drained and pressed

1 cylinder of precooked and formed polenta

1 package of chopped porcini mushrooms

1 onion

5 cloves garlic (I like to use this!)

1 package of mushroom medley

4 TBSP olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste (we used Himalayan pink salt and lemon pepper- also from Trader Joe’s!)

Here’s the plan:

Mince the onion and garlic. Add 2 TBSP olive oil to a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Add the chopped porcini mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the bag of frozen mushroom medley. Cook 6-7 minutes, flavor with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a small grill pan and add 2 TBSP of olive oil to the pan. Slice the tofu into squares or triangles about an inch-1.5 inches thick. (You should get about 10 slices out of 1 block of pressed tofu.) Slice the polenta into slices, also about an inch and a half thick. Once oil in pan is warm, add the slices of tofu and polenta to grill pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until you get those nice grill marks.

Stack your polenta and tofu in alternating slices on a plate, top with mushroom mixture. Enjoy!

NOTES ON COOKING FROM SCRATCH:

If you can’t find precooked polenta, you can make your own polenta (it’s just cornmeal and water!) After you cook it, you can mold it with your hands or place in a dish to make it conform to the shape you want. Let cool in fridge until hard and slice-able- usually an hour or two.

If you can’t find the frozen mushroom medley- try to find a few different varieties of mushrooms to use- cremini, oyster, etc- you will need about 2-2.5 cups chopped mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms in the olive oil with the onion and garlic. Flavor with mushroom onion mixture with 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley and an extra teaspoon or two of olive oil. Increase the amount of garlic in the recipe from 5 cloves to 6 or 7.