Monday, December 14, 2009

Long time no pocket

As I was preparing my brussel sprouts to roast for dinner last night, and then today as I was lounging on my couch re-watching Julie & Julia, I was reminded of my poor empanada blog project and how I have completely neglected it over the past month.  Much has happened over the past month that has prevented me from working on this wonderful food journey, threw a big Halloween party fundraiser, participated in the capstone case competition of the MBA program, applied and have been accepted to a Marketing class and consulting project in Dubai, prepared a Thanksgiving dinner for 18 and have taken a few finals. Despite my busy schedule, I have in fact made some empanadas over the past month, I just have not written about them!

Now, lets see if I can remember everything I have cooked over this past month.  Maybe it would be better to just tell my story visually.  I did get a great new camera for my birthday, which has allowed me to take some wonderful pictures of my little pocket creations.

Before I tell you about the fantabulous empanadas I made for Thanksgiving, take a look at what I have been up to over the past month.

Now lets get to the empanadas.  While I made a few over the past month, the best ones had to be the two types I created for Thanksgiving.  Both are actually repeat recipes, but turned out to be some of my best.  This year we had Thanksgiving at my parents house.  There were 18 of us, and 7 turkeys were made, yes 7 turkeys. I took charge in planning the whole menu.  We started off with my butternut squash, leek shitake mushroom empanadas, curried cauliflower soup and crustini with blue cheese, cranberries, walnuts and balsamic drizzled frisee.  The empanadas were super easy.  All you do is peel and dice a butternut squash into 1/4 cubes, then roast it with a little salt, pepper and olive oil. While the squash is roasting, you saute chopped leeks, sliced shitake mushrooms, fresh garlic and thyme.  Once the squash and leek mushroom yumminess is done, mix it all together and then add in some crumbled goat cheese.  These really turned out to be the perfect start to a wonderful, and indulgent meal!

Here are some photos of the other two appetizers.  I dont have any pics of the cocktails, but my Uncle Andy and Aunt Liisa made some refreshing Turkey day cocktails for us during our cocktail and appetizer hour.

For the main meal, I put together a fairly decedent menu.  My mom and I made Rye bread and bacon stuffing, fresh cranberry and fuji apple sauce, mashed potatoes with crispy shallots, and roasted carrots and parsnips with fresh dill.  My aunt Trudy made a stuffing and a corn casserole and my friend Lauren made some wonderful brussel sprouts with bacon, everyone could not get enough of the brussel sprouts!  To top off the meal, my dad made the traditional Jello mold, a staple at all Carlton family meals. 

Now I am sure you are curious about these 7 turkeys I mentioned.  Well, I had originally planned on us having an apricot and herb glazed Turkey stuffed with citrus, garlic and onions, and my dad was going to fry up a bird, like we always do.  Even though that would have been enough for 18 people, my Aunt Trudy decided she wanted to make a slow roasted Jack Daniels Turkey, and my Uncle Andy smoked a Turkey breast.  That's four birds.  Well, since we were frying up a bird, and we need so much oil (approximately 4 gallons) we told people to head on over with their own Turkey that they could fry up and take home as a party favor.  So, my dad spent the entire afternoon frying up Turkeys for everyone.  Unfortunately, as was expected, there was way too much Turkey and we didnt even get to carve the fried turkey to eat on Thanksgiving!  Next year we will make sure that if my dad is out there frying all day, that the fried Turkey will be the main event of the meal and it will not go uneaten! Here are some pics from the day and meal:

Now onto the real good stuff, dessert.  Even though we were totally stuffed, some of us saved some room for some sweet treats.  Most of the desserts were brought by other people.  I decided I wanted to make one dessert though, a bananas foster and chocolate empanada.  I have made this one once before, and I just knew it would be the perfect addition to this rich holiday meal. These are super simple as well. I heated up a few tablespoons of unsalted butter and about a cup of brown sugar.  Once that was melted and hot, I threw in 3 diced bananas to the pan.  When the bananas softened up, the show started.  I poured in a few tablespoons of rum and a few tablespoons of brandy, then BAM!  I lit the liquor on fire and the crowd went wild.  I have a great little video of the bananas on fire and my mom screaming in the background, unfortunately my computer skills arent developed enough for me to figure out how to put a video on this blog.  Maybe one day...... After the bananas were cooked to perfection, I drained most of the sauce, and set it aside for later.  I then folded in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and some chopped pecans. Once the filling was cooled, I stuffed it into puff pastry pockets.  I thought that the puff pastry would go much better with this dessert filling than the more hardier empanada dough I usually use.  I baked them with an egg wash and cinnamon sugar on top.  When they were baked and ready I drizzled the left over banana sauce on top of them.  Even though people were struggling, I made them try these wonderful dessert creations!
Some of us needed milk to wash them down.....

And as we all know, a big Turkey dinner can really tire you out....

Oh wait, we almost forgot the rolls!

All in all, it was a fabulous meal, and we had some amazing empanadas.  I will try not to go so long without posting.  I have already started thinking about my Carlton family Christmas empanadas.....I'll give you one hint.....they involve BACON!

1 comment:

  1. Omg deliciousness. i miss your food so much. Um can you open up this empanada shop in new york please? businessmen, moms and drunk kids alike would gobble those things up!!!

    You look fantastic by the way :) Congrats on all of your accomplishments this year. You are truly a multi-tasker.

    lots of hugs and kisses