Tag Archives: Food Allergens

Pocket Meat Pies AKA Empanadas

These wonderful pocket pastries have multiple incarnations among several cultures. Our Savory version are a recipe that is typical from Spain and the former colonies  South America. Seasoned browned meat meets the sweetness of cumin raisins and the right touch of chopped olives.  Look for pre- made pastry dough in the ethic section of the frozen food aisle or  make 2 large ones with prepared pie crusts . Can’t find empanada rounds? Get frozen pizza dough and cut 12 equal squares.  Stretch a tad to get a 5 inch square and follow recipe to make lovely triangle- shaped empanadas .ENJOY!

Ingredients ( for 1 dozen or two large pie crust size)

1 1/2 pound ground lean meat
1 large onion chopped
3 Tbls canola oil
1/4 cup of raisins soaked in 1/4 cup water
10 green olives, chopped
1 1/2 TBSP cumin
2 Hard Boiled eggs, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten for wash  
1 package empanada rounds or 2 pie crusts (*)


In a large skillet on medium high heat brown meat with cumin. Remove meat from pan, keep the drippings and add the oil and chopped onion. Cook till onions are translucent but not brown. Turn heat to low and add chopped olives, the raisins. stir in well. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool, then gently add the chopped eggs.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take dough out of package  and fill each round with 2  Tbsp of mixture. Moisten edges using your fingertip dipped in water.  Fold each round in half and seal either by braiding the edges, by squeezing or pinching in a zig-zag fashion with your fingertips, or by pressing down with the prongs of a fork. Place pies on a baking sheet and brush on egg-wash. 
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or till  edges are golden. Remove from oven , let sit for 5 minutes s and serve . Enjoy as part of a tapas display with  a lovely Spaniard Tempranillo or an interesting Argentinean Malbec .

(*) please pay attention to ingredients for food allergies.
Can’t find empanada rounds? Get frozen pizza dough and cut 12 equal squares.  Stretch a tad to get a 5 inch square and follow recipe to make lovely triangle- shaped empanadas . ENJOY! 







Gingerbread Cookies


What would the holidays be without and excellent homemade gingerbread cookie? Our recipe mixes brown sugar and molasses for just the right blend of sweetness and spice. So ditch the store-bought cardboard like ones for the real deal. They are a cinch to make and will perfume your home with the scent of the season.


Ingredients: (for 3 to 4 dozen cookies)

1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of light molasses
1 cup canola shortening, melted
1 beaten egg
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup hot water
5 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry spices in a small bowl with the sugar. In a large bowl, mix the molasses with the the shortening, the beaten egg and the hot water. Add the sugar mixture, stir till well combined. Add 4 cups of flour and just enough more to make a soft dough. Cover the bowl and chill for an hour. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 of an inch and cut with the shapes of your choice. Bake in the oven for for 10 to 12 minutes. Pay attention to your oven so you make sure to NOT OVERCOOK!

Let cool and decorate with sugar icing, Enjoy!

Arroz Amarillo (Yellow Rice)


In the mood for some flare?  Try a traditional Spanish dish or our quick version which requires little time a effort.  All we need is some rice and lovely condiments.

But if you have some some cooked chicken or shrimp, a little skill it could transform into a quick mock paella! The lovely, fiery colors that result from Spanish paprika are uplifting, perfect for a gloomy day or cold day.

Serve with a lovely Sauvignon Blanc  and ole!

Pass the tapas please… 

Ingredients: (for 6 1/2 cup servings)

1 cup long grain rice
3 Tbls oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

Heat the oil in a 4 Qt saucepan, add the onion and let cook till transparent. Add 1/2 cup of water and the Spanish paprika, stir till dissolved. Add the rice ad just enough water to cover plus 1/2 inch. Let cook on medium-high heat till it boils, let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Cover the pan and reduce heat, to low, let it simmer till all the liquid is absorbed. Test to see if done. If the rice is still hard, add 1/2 cup water and let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve as a side dish or topped with sautéed shrimp , chicken and/or veggies for a main course

Saffron Rice Tomatoes


This is a fresh twist on a traditional tapas . We used saffron rice instead of a mayonnaise based meat salad and sweet tomatoes to satisfy the appetite of vegetarians and meat eaters alike!

 We’ve served them both hot ( broiled in the oven for 5 minutes) and cold with excellent reviews each time. They are also an elegant side dish to a grilled fillet!


12 mini tomatoes such as yellow, orange an red Holland , tops cut, seeded
1 cup Basmati rice
1 pinch saffron
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 spring flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan, place the rice with just enough water to cover plus a quarter inch. Add the saffron and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover, DO NOT STIR. Let cook, and check often to see if the water has consumed, if necessary add more. Once the rice is done add the olive oil and the chopped garlic, stir and bring the heat up to medium. Let cook for five minutes.
Mix in the chopped parsley. Sal; and pepper to taste. Spoon the mix into the tomatoes and serve on top of the remaining rice.

Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes

Sometimes you can’t pass a good deal on Roma tomatoes! And thanks to modern markets, they are available year round. 
That’s what inspired this delicious appetizer that can be served hot or cold.
Try these for Christmas parties, wine tastings, barbecues or a nice brunch. The leftovers ( if any) go very well cold on top of greens or hot with pasta.



8 Roma tomatoes, cut on a diagonal, cored & drained, (put upside down on paper towel for 10 minutes)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped scallions sautéed in olive oil
4 Tbls grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
pinch of grated nutmeg to (leave out in case of nut allergies)
 salt & pepper to taste

Mix the ricotta with the other ingredients in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the mix in the tomatoes. Garnish with green onion, grated cheese or olives.
If served hot, broil in a 450 Degree oven for 5 minutes