Tag Archives: Sweetness

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!

Orange Cranberry Relish

No Time? No cooking skills?  Try this simple Orange Cranberry relish! It’s a classic no cook recipe!

Ingredients: for 3 cups of relish

1 14 oz bag of fresh cranberries
2 oranges, washed , cut to pieces with skin on and seeds removed
1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)

In a food processor place the orange and pulse till slightly chopped ,add the cranberries and continue to pulse, add the sugar and pulse till well mixed. Test for desired sweetness, serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Tomatoes Stuffed With California Style Chicken Salad


This is a wonderful dish to serve as an appetizer, or as a light lunch and it “brown bags”  very well!

Make up to two days ahead for a party and chill in plastic covered trays. We tried many chicken salad recipes but they were all bland once placed in the tomatoes.  

Finally, we tried it ” california style” with fresh red grapes and it was PERFECT! . Grapes not in season? Try using California raisins instead , you will still get the hint of sweetness to the salad that makes it satisfying and unique.

The recipe is great for using “less than perfect”  tomatoes; once the salad is in they will look scrumptious !



8 medium size tomatoes

For The Salad:
2 cups cooked chicken breast, finely chopped
1 cup California seedless grapes, quartered
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 cup canola oil mayonnaise
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix the chicken with the rest of the ingredients, remember to taste for salt & pepper before adding the mayo. Let it rest in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes so the flavors blend.
Meanwhile, cut the tops off the tomatoes and remove the core. Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain any remaining liquid ( about 15 minutes).
Fill the tomatoes with the mix and return to the fridge for 10 minutes or until chilled . Serve over a bed of mixed greens or white rice salad Click here to see recipe for Tuscan Rice Salad .

Pan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

The world is a great place , there is always fresh produce available year round!  So if it hot or if it’s snowing, cherry and grape tomatoes are available and at their peak.  Have you ever enjoyed them quick roasted?

The deep sweetness makes them great side dish for meats, a quick pasta or rice topper, and they certainly go divinely on top of toasted Italian or French bread.


Ingredients: (for 4 servings)

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
3 Tbls Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow or green pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
fresh or dried oregano, to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a 4 heavy salute pan, add the garlic and the chopped peppers, let cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and let cook over high heat for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish or as a toping for focaccia or any other bread.