Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's not really a business presentation with fresh fried empanadas!

This week is a crazy week in business school.  Last year the administration decided to switch from a semester system over to a 7-week module system.  Lucky for me, this is week 8, finals week. In my entrepreneurship class, rather than having a final exam, we have an 8 minute presentations, or pitches, for a new business idea.  My team has elected to pitch "What's in your pocket?", a cross cultural empanada cafe, market and catering service. Because of the increased popularity of Argentine food and wine, we saw the opportunity to connect the people of DC with Buenos Aires through empanadas. Additionally, we recognized that every culture has their own form of stuffed dough, or pockets.  Thus, empanadas would allow us to bring the world together one pocket at a time....catchy, I know...

Our presentation is tomorrow afternoon, and as we were preparing our power-point deck today, I thought to myself, what better way to bring our business idea to life, than to actually make some "pockets" and hand them out to our audience?!  So, silly me committed to making empanadas for 50 people, all the while I am in the midst of writing 4 papers, preparing for the presentation and studying for a final exam in business law (and no, the law genes did not get passed down from my father to me).

This afternoon after writing and editing 2 of my four papers,  in the 2 hours I had free before my International Marketing class, I decided to make my empanada filling. I wanted to keep things simple and easy.  So, I decided to go with the traditional spinach empanada, or empanada de verduras, as they are known in Argentina.  I dashed over to Whole Foods to buy my frozen chopped spinach and yellow onion, since I did not have them on hand.  When I walked into the store I noticed their large display of mushrooms.  I thought to myself, "now mushrooms would be a great addition to this traditional pocket, and would show how are business idea is to put our own twist on the traditional."  I picked up an 8 oz.  package of sliced baby bella mushrooms, grabbed my onion, tasted the cheese they had on display and finally grabbed my bag of frozen spinach. 

After paying, I hopped on my bike and rushed home to get things going.  First thing I did was make my bechamel sauce.  As I described in an earlier post, this sauce is quite simple and delicious.  All you do is melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan.  Once it is melted stir in 2 tablespoons of flour.  Last, add in about a cup of whole milk or cream, and whisk until smooth. I quickly made my sauce, and then moved on to the veggies.  I chopped up half of a yellow onion and started sauteing it in a generous amount of olive oil.  Next I added in 2 chopped cloves of garlic.  As those were cooking up I gave about half of the package of mushrooms a rough chop, and then added them in. 

While the onions, mushrooms and garlic were sauteing, I drained the chopped spinach. Basically I just ran hot water over the spinach, in a colander, and once the spinach was thawed, I drained as much water out of it as I could.  After the spinach was drained to my liking, I added it into the pan with the other vegetables. I stirred in the spinach and let it heat up.  Next, I folded in my bechamel sauce that I had set aside earlier.  When everything was blended together, I sprinkled in my spices.  The spices are key to this dish.  After salting the mixture, I then added in a hefty amount of white pepper and a generous amount of ground nutmeg.  These two spices really highlight the flavors of the spinach, and the mushrooms for that matter.  The nutmeg adds a delightful nuttiness to the dish. Once I was more than satisfied with the taste I took it off the heat and transferred it to a Tupperware.  It is much easier to stuff the empanadas when this filling is chilled.

I have not assembled the actual empanadas yet, as the presentation is tomorrow and I want them to be as fresh as possible.  Tomorrow I will be assembling 50+ half size empanadas.  I have decided to fry these puppies up, because I still have a few packages of the dough made for frying, and the fried beef empanadas were such a hit.  Additionally, the fried empanadas cook up much quicker, which leaves me with more time to study! 

Hopefully these little pockets will get me an A in entrepreneurship.....

1 comment:

  1. Liz I love the idea. Did the food get you the A you deserve? In the title did you really mean "without" not "with"