Empanadas Everywhere and a Corn Dog for Dinner, Surely You Jest.

Challenge

Yes! You know it. I am competitive and a teeeny, weeeny bit obsessive. Yes, I admit it. I admit it all the time. So when I was lounging around this afternoon, thinking about getting ready to go out for dinner with a friend (Wendy), I headed over for my daily visits to one of my favorite blogs — From Argentina With Love — and at the end of today’s post was a reminder for Empanada of the Month entries. I remembered reading about this challenge last month, and when I saw the reminder I thought … wow! I have a couple of packages of wonton wrappers in the fridge that I need to do something with and how opportune the announcement was. So I thought I’d run into the kitchen and whip up another batch of Frannie’s Dulce Dumplings. I was racing the clock because I still needed to shower and get dressed and get out of the house in 90 minutes, but always up for a food challenge, I got myself into the kitchen and started to work some sinfully sweet magic.

What I didn’t do however, was read the previous Empanada of the Month posts clearly enough and when I got home tonight and sat down to write this post after taking a look around Justin.tv to see what might be of interest there tonight, I took another look and realized that I I don’t think I read the instructions clearly. I think Rebecca is looking for people to replicate the empanada recipe she showcased last month. But honestly, I’m not 100% clear. In any event, I made a batch of my sweet “empanadas” and shot photos (of course) and will send the info off. I took notes while I was making this batch so that I could have a real recipe to pass along as well as you’ll see below.

Now, these are not traditional empanadas. I don’t make them with empanada dough, although there’s no reason not to, I just find the pre-made, pre-cut Asian wrappers more handy. And they are not meat filled with eggs and olives and other goodies. These are truly a desert to tickle any sweet tooth. I made them smaller this time too and as you continue reading, you’ll understand why.

Enjoy!

The ingredients are simple and available at most grocery stores.

  • 1 cup pecans, ground finely
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or not)
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 1 jar (2 cups) dulce de leche
  • Oil for frying

Spoon dulce de leche into a bowl. I like to use my own, but I didn’t have time to make any, so I used my emergency jar. Add coconut and ground pecans. Any kind of nuts will do really. I just happened to have a package of pecans in the pantry.

Mix the nuts, coconut and dulce de leche together until well combined.

The wonton wrappers shown in the photo above were not the wrapppers I ended up using. While they were just a week old, when I opened them it was clear they were not fit for human consumption with mold having it’s way on the inside. I don’t know what the deal is with this new market, but clearly the food has no preservatives! I guess that’s a good thing, right?

I was lucky to have another package that I picked up from our local Harris Teeter and while they were quite fresh — after at least 3 weeks in the fridge, they were the square kind. I’ve made hundreds, if not thousands of wontons with the square wrappers, but I really wanted them round to look like empanadas so I used a small round glass and a paring knife and cut them out into rounds as you can see form the uneven edges.

Fill each one using a small spoon or a small gauge ice cream scoop that you dip in oil to make releasing the ooey, gooey goodness onto the wrappers. Oh, and by the way, I have made dulce de leche using Rebecca’s posted recipe and it turned out great! You should give it a try. I do not recommend using the condensed milk recipe that you can find all over the internet. I’m a cautious type. Well, not totally. I will move 1/2 way across the planet to an unfamiliar culture without hardly looking back, but let’s put it this way … I don’t run with scissors in my hand and have never shot a BB gun. Putting a closed container, a tin can into a pot of boiling water to boil for hours just doesn’t seem wise to me and the results are not nearly as good as the creamy, sticky goodness of the home made variety or even of that from a jar like the one I purchased at the store which, by the way, is imported from Argentina!

Using wet fingertips, “draw” a circle of water (glue) around the edges of the dumpling, fold in half and seal. Now, I could have used a fork or fancy finger-work to make the dumplings look like sealed empanadas, but I was running short on time, so I just folded and sealed. Not a matter of national security or much pride, I promise!

Heat the oil until an empanada dropped in sizzles or until a thermometer reads 350º to 365º and fry until golden brown and crispy.

It’s important to be sure to seal each empanada fully because if the caramel leaks, it’s very difficult to get it all out of the hot fat and the longer it lingers in the pan, the more it cooks and eventually it burns. This will make the rest of your empanadas taste like … well, like burned empanadas!

I deciced to go over the top and put these Guittard chips that had a bit of bloom on them (not a big deal, just not great for decorating or baking, in the packets. they were a little difficult to deal with size-wise, but I managed to seal a few well enough.

In the end, the results were DEElicious!

Remember the ice cream I made last night? What a great accompaniment!

Yummmmy!

There may not have been a broadcast on Justopia.com tonight, but I was there with you in spirit this afternoon! Tomorrow night we’ll whip up something DEElicious at 9pm Eastern so don’t forget to join us!

Irish Corn Dogs?

Oh! And how could I forget?! I may not have been with you in the .TV world tonight, but I was thinking about you. Wendy and I went to a really nice restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia tonight. It’s a beautiful, old area, established in 1695, just 6 miles from Washington, DC and is located on the Western bank of the Potomac River. The architecture of the buildings and is wonderful and the town sits on the water so that if it’s a clear day, you get great views of the Capitol building and monuments in the Nation’s capitol.

So anyway, we were having a great dinner in an Irish restaurant located in a very old building with furnishings and finishings that date back 300 years. The menu was just as I like it, not overwhelming with page after page of choices. We both ended up ordering the same entreé — Petite caramelized steak with blue cheese mashed potatoes and spinach with caramelized onions and a salad as a starter. I opted for the organic green salad with pickled carrots and a balsamic vinaigrette and Wendy ordered the Caesar. As we were waiting for our salads to arrive, a family of 7 with 2 young girls in tow came in and was seated next to us. It was a small room with a small, beautiful bar and until the family entered the scene, it was fairly quiet. There was a door to a rooftop patio close to our table, but it wasn’t a problem. The girls were pretty well behaved until the end of the meal — when any child in their right mind after sitting in a restaurant for a while is going to protest in one way or another, so we were thrilled, but what we didn’t count on was the entertainment.

This family did not realize they entertained us and both of us had to keep our smiles and laughter in check as their meals came out. Here we were in a not so inexpensive restaurant with DEElicious treats on offer like rack of lamb, Escolar with toasted Israeli Couscous, the meal we ordered and more and what came to the table were 4 cheese burgers, 1 order of fried chicken strips and next to me, on a small plate with no side dish, delivered to dad was a corn dog. Yesseriee, I typed CORN DOG! So, we had cheeseburgers with fries, chicken strips and a corn dog! We’ve talked corn dogs on the Justopia.com broadcast before and I’ve said that I’ve never had one of these batter-dipped dogs, but to see one, overcooked as it looked, delivered to the man sitting within inches of me was a surprise. I thought surely he ordered it for his girls, right? Well Wendy looked at me and it was all I could do not to break out in laughter. I don’t know why it tickled me so much, but I think it was probably the look of amazement on her face as I took another look to be sure I was really seeing a corn dog. This was not a corn dog kinda restaurant. Really! It was not.

I Googled it to try to find a link for you, but I’m coming up empty. If you want to take a try I think it was called Connelley’s and I think we were on King Street.

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