Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recipe: BBQ Black Bean Empanadas + Cumin Chicken Skewers

I had a great time on the Cooking Stage at the Minneapolis Women's Expo last night! Here are the recipes we made. Enjoy.....

BBQ Black Beans
makes approx. 36 empanadas, with leftover filling

1# prepared dried black beans or 2 cans drained
1 medium onion
olive oil
2T cumin
1/2C prepared BBQ sauce (more if desired)
sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
s+p to taste

-coat bottom of heavy, deep skillet with oil
-caramelize onions in oil until soft, and browned
-add cumin and saute for 1 minute
-add black beans and stir to incorporate
-add BBQ sauce, reduce to simmer and allow to heat thru
-remove from heat, add cheese if using and stir until melted
-adjust seasoning as needed


This is really just a pie crust. You could also use puff pastry, rolled thin or frozen empanada dough found in a latino mercado (although, these will likely contain lard).

4-5 Tbsp. ice water, plus more as needed
¾ tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
9 Tbsp. (4 ½ oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
Pulse to blend.
Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal; there should be no pieces of butter bigger than a large pea.
With the motor running on dough setting, slowly add the water-vinegar mixture, processing just until the dough forms a ball

Turn the dough out onto a wooden board or clean countertop, and gather it, massaging and pressing, until it just holds together. Shape it into a ball, and press it into a disk about 1 ½ inches thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and then press it a bit more. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw it in refrigerator overnight before using.) Before rolling it out, allow the dough to soften slightly at room temperature.

To make Empanadas:

Roll out dough
With a 2" round cookie cutter, cut circles into dough and re-roll as necessary
Place a small amount of cooled BBQ Black Bean filling into center of circle
Dip finger into water and run along one side of the dough circle
Pick up and fold over the filling, crimping the edges to seal
Use a fork to seal and decorate the edge
Brush with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1T water)
Bake at 400˚ for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Serve with Apple Jalapeno Chutney


Apple Jalapeno Chutney
Makes approx. 2 Cups

2T Cumin
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jalepeno, minced
7 apples, diced
2T water, more if needed
1/4C real maple syrup
1/4C apple cider vinegar
olive oil

Heat a stockpot over medium heat
place cumin in to toast until fragrant
add a little oil, garlic + jalapeno
cook until beginning to soften
add apples and 2T water
cook until apples are beginning to release some of their juices
add maple syrup + cider vinegar
reduce to med-low and cook until apples are soft and liquid is reduced and thickened
mash with potato masher if desired

Cumin Chicken Skewers
makes about 8 skewers

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (preferably organic), sliced into tenders (yields about 8 pieces, depending on size of chicken breasts)
1 bunch scallions, washed and trimmed, green parts only
2T cumin
salt + pepper
2T olive oil
8 skewers, soaked in cold water for at least an hour

Place chicken in a large bowl or plastic baggie
Season with salt, pepper, cumin and olive oil...making sure all of the chicken is coated
Allow to sit for 15 minutes
Gently thread 1 chicken tender and green scallion onto each skewer
Heat your grill or grill pan on high
Place skewers on grill or grill pan and cook on each side about 3 minutes, or until cooked through
Spicy Cilantro Peanut Sauce
makes approx. 1/2 C

2T peanut butter
1T tamari
2t rice vinegar
1T ketchup
2T water
juice of 1/2 lime (or more to taste)
drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional)
Sriracha or other chili-garlic sauce to taste (optional)
1T fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)

In a medium bowl, add first 6 ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add optional ingredients, if desired and whisk until combined. Use immediately or refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Event: MN Bloggers Volunteer

UPDATE: Wow. An incredibly powerful and motivating evening with some truly wonderful folks. 40 Minnesota Bloggers got together for a meet + greet on Tuesday night, so that we could meet face-to-face outside of cyber-space. We shared insights, laughs, beverages and a bit of nosh, then walked out to volunteer with our arms FULL. What? Red Gold Tomatoes and Annie's Organics had heard about our event, and generously sent us away with goodies (tomatoes and cheddar bunnies included). That was unexpected on an altruistic evening, but thank you!

We were one of a couple of groups volunteering that evening at Feed My Starving Children. I have to say, I was very impressed with their operation. They have it down to a science, making the most of your man hours. We spent an hour scooping nutritious components (dehydrated vegetables, soy nuggets, vitamins + minerals, and rice) into bags, labeling, and sealing. Ready to be shipped. They told us our food would most probably be shipped to Haiti.

In 1 hour we packaged about 13,824 meals. That's enough to feed 38 children for one year.

It's amazing how little effort it takes to make such a big difference. If you are interested in donating or volunteering please visit their website at Feed My Starving Children. They also have mobile units that can come to your work, church or community.

Thanks to for organizing, and to my fellow bloggers for making a difference!


I am so happy to be a part of the local blogger community right now.

Tonight, 40 of us will gather for a quick meet & greet, then off to Feed My Starving Children to volunteer packaging meals. We had planned to do this before the crisis in Haiti, and now the urgency is even greater. FMSC sent four pallets of food to Haiti this past Friday, and you can help them do more by donating here.

Do what you can: volunteer, donate, spread the word.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Recipe: Banana Maple Muffins with Chocolate

I just realized that my last three posts have included maple syrup. Hmmm. Or rather, mmmmm. I just love the stuff. The REAL stuff. If you haven't had 100% maple syrup in awhile [or ever], you need to try it. The flavor is more complex and less sickly sweet. Perfect for your pancakes, baked goods, sauces + marinades.

This past weekend I riffed on Molly Wizenberg's Banana Bread with Chocolate + Crystallized Ginger from her fantastic book, A Homemade Life. The bread is sensational, but hubby isn't crazy about ginger. And since I was ostensibly baking for him + the kid [ahem], I came up with these...

Banana Maple Muffins with Chocolate
makes about 3 dozen mini muffins

6T unsalted butter, melted
2C unbleached, all purpose flour
3/4C real maple syrup
3/4t baking soda
1/2t salt
1/2C semi-sweet chocolate chips [or chop any chocolate you have around the house]
2 eggs
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/4C whole fat greek yogurt, plain [stir well]
1t vanilla extract

-Pre-heat oven to 350˚
-In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda + salt until well blended
-Stir in chocolate
-In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then combine melted butter [slightly cooled], maple syrup, yogurt and vanilla until well mixed
-Fold in mashed bananas
-Add banana mixture to flour, and stir until just combined
-Grease mini muffin tins
-Add batter to muffin tins, filling only half-way
-Bake until muffins spring back slightly to touch, about 15-20 minutes

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Equipment: Squeeze Bottle

My house is a little maple syrup most homes with kids. Those little ones are the perfect excuse for pancakes + waffles every weekend! I also use it to sweeten baked goods and sauces. [psst! it works lovely with tomato sauce!]

The problem with maple syrup [and I mean the real stuff, folks; don't mess around with the imitation sugary junk], is the mess. We could not seem to find a syrup container that 1) worked 2) prevented drips 3) was easy to use and 4) could be used by a toddler without fear for the rest of the table or persons assembled there.

Solution? Squeeze bottle. A giant one. You know, because we go through so much syrup, and I hate refilling it every weekend.

I've used squeeze bottles for loads of things in catering, so why not syrup? It's light weight, so the kid can't kill himself or break it. It doesn't have a lever that gets gummed up. It fits nicely in the door of my fridge. It does not leak or drip [or at least not a lot]. And it's so big, we can happily go for about a month before re-filling. Aaaah. Love the squeeze bottle.

Got any clever solutions in your kitchen? Let me hear 'em!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Recipe: Apricot Ginger Oatmeal

This cold is kicking my butt. Or just my head. I'm fuzzy, so it's hard to tell. But, I must be feeling a little better because I drug myself into the kitchen to make breakfast. I wanted something hearty + warm, but that would give me the flavors of sunshine. Does that make sense?

Here's what I came up with, and it's darn tasty. Even with a cold.
Apricot Ginger Oatmeal
serves 1

1 C water
1/3 C steel cut oats
5 dried apricots, quartered
1T candied ginger, diced
2T half + half
2T real maple syrup (more or less to taste)

-bring water to boil in small pot with lid
-add steel cut oats, stir, reduce heat and cover
-stir frequently for about 5 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed
-add half + half, 1T of maple syrup and stir until incorporated and let cook about 30 seconds
-remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 minute
-place in bowl, top with apricots, ginger and a drizzle of maple syrup.
-eat warm!

Hint: I doubled this recipe and saved the rest in the fridge for tomorrow...or later. ;-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Recipe: Spring Rolls...with an accent

A Minnesota accent to be precise.

FOX 9 had me in their kitchen on Saturday morning to make something healthy for the New Year. My first thought...Spring Rolls! Believe it or not, they are super easy to make, are low carb, gluten-free and can go from vegan to meat-eater in nothing flat.

So what gave our Spring Rolls a Minnesota accent? Local pork, roasted butternut squash and sauteed Brussels Sprouts. Seriously. It. Is. Really. Good.

Here's some instructions on how to make your own Spring Rolls [use whatever ingredients you like], followed by recipes for two whip-it-together sauces. Family dinner just got a lot more healthy + fun, and a lot less complicated.

Spring Roll How To:
1 Package spring roll wrappers (found in Asian section of most grocery stores)
Vegetables, Herbs, Tofu + Meats of choice to fill
[carrots, arugula, cucumber, cilantro, mint, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, kale, etc]
Large pie plate or sheet pan with hot tap water
Damp tea towel

Place spring roll wrapper in hot water until pliable
Gently place on damp towel (to prevent sticking)
Blot wrapper with dry paper towel until wrapper is slightly sticky
Place fillings of choice on bottom 1/3 of wrapper
Fold bottom over fillings
Fold sides over fillings to form a 'burrito shape'
Neatly roll up rest of wrapper

Serve immediatley with your favorite dipping sauces

Asian Fridge Sauce
makes approx. 1/2C

2T orange marmalade
1 1/2T tamari (or more to taste)
1T water
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2t real maple syrup (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Use immediately or refrigerate covered
for up to 3 days.

Sunny Sauce
makes approx. 1/2 C

2T Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) or peanut butter
1T tamari
2t rice vinegar
1T ketchup
2T water
juice of 1/2 lime (or more to taste)
drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional)
Sriracha or other chili-garlic sauce to taste (optional)
1T fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
In a medium bowl, add first 6 ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add optional
ingredients, if desired and whisk until combined. Use immediately or refrigerate covered
for up to 3 days.

Video to come....

Friday, January 1, 2010

Event: FOX 9 Cooking Segment

Happy New Year! Gee, the first day of 2010, and I'm already upholding my promise of more posts! :-P

If you are awake and happen to be near a television tomorrow morning, tune in to FOX9 for my LIVE cooking segment! I'll be on at 8:45AM demonstrating a healthy, family-friendly and gluten-free meal for the New Year! Super-easy and chock full of veggies Spring Rolls, complete with 2 whip-it together sauces.

Tune in 'cause these ain't yo momma's spring rolls. Wait, did your momma ever make spring rolls? No matter. Tune in. They're tasty.

FOX 9 Twin Cities

January 2nd