All of this veggie goodness wrapped in one bundle--amazing!
See how nice and golden these are. I put them in the oven to keep warm while I made the others.
My latest knitting journey. Knitting in the round on two circular needles!
I spent yesterday afternoon at my LYS (local yarn store) knitting with the "social knitters." I don't make it a practice to do this every week. In fact, I think it's been several months since my last visit. I am not all that social by nature. I know, might think a person with a blog--all "out there" would be the opposite. I suspect I am not alone in this category. I have my few close friends. That is all one needs. A few close friends--and time alone (like running and most of my knitting, in a way--has to be done alone). Anyhow, these ladies are knitting Einsteins. Every single question you have about the world of knitting can be answered in this group. I am the youngest of the group--and that is not saying much. This is the place I turned to when I first wanted to pick up knitting again. This is the place I turn to when I need to inject the old knitting with something new and sassy--like knitting some fingerless mittens on two circular needles! (Versus using threee or four of these teeny-tiny needles that made the toothpick rejection test line--I am not kidding!). Yes, it can be done--but I learn best with being shown in person--visually, not on a video, thank you very much. I brought along some of my delicious mostacciaolli cookies for them to sweeten the deal for a little help here. (It is frowned upon to just "show up" on social knitting day and expect full attention given to you for some ginormous "learnings." )
I have to be honest, when I take to the knitting like I am now, everything else, well--it can take a back seat. I just want to knit, knit, knit. Oh, and I started getting Christmas cards this week. I am not much of a holiday gal. That whole Black Friday to me is a sign that this world is long for getting back to the things in life that really do matter--not standing in line at four in the morning for a Kitchen Aid Blender. I don't send cards, well, haven't for the past several years. We will get many cards--however, slowly my "cards received" are dwindling. I know some love to have the list out and go through the address book and make this a real event (or a real task)--that's great for them. It's not my cup of tea. Baking cookies, that's more me. Plus, I think my holiday spirit is dampened because of all of the crappy news I've had lately. I have family that is, to put it bluntly, is single in nature and a train wreck. This non-existent person will probably read this. If so, that is all that needs to be said. I'm lucky to make it to the 25th without some sort of meltdown. I am fine through November, but right about now, it's not pretty (thus an afternoon knitting is very theraputic). I have a few engagements to attend to before Christmas--plus my anniversary and a significant birthday coming up. I think that the powers that be put all this in front of me to fire up my spirit just a tiny bit. (Once American Idol comes back on, I'll be fine!) We've slowly seen decorations dwindle in this house as well. Last year I bought this little Smokey Mountain pre-lit tree on sale. I love it. My theme for it is western--cowboy, cowgirl--just western. It's up--and I like the lights on it and how it makes everything inside so cozy.
Maybe it's the fact it was ten degrees last night. (All of those pretty veggie shots are gone for a while, the cold just knocked everything dead.) Maybe it is the lack of daylight--December being our darkest month and all. I don't know. But my cooking inspiration ebbs and flows. I am tired by four in the afternoon. Once this week I started dinner at five thirty--I never wait that long. I just sat and stared at the stove. I got nothing.
Therefore, I am pulling out a recipe for you that came together this past weekend. It is a great one to try. Empanadas sound like a big deal, but they are so easy! Empanadas are a favorite food in Chile. Coincidentally, I have a favorite author who grew up in Chile, Isabel Allende. I recently finished one of her books: Paula. What a wonderful, inpsiring and heartbreaking memior about the life she and her family had in Chile (surviving the military coup in 1973), to tackling some of her own personal demons, to having her daughter--and then watching her daughter suffer from a grave illness and fall into a coma. Suddenly the story is more intense and filled with her stories as this is what the book is about--Isabel sharing her life story orally with her daughter as she lays in a coma. This book truly moved me.
Given all of this, Sunday was my most productive cooking day of the week so far. I spent nearly four hours in the kitchen cooking. I made albondigas soup (recipe to come later) and then these empanadas to accompany it--plus a really easy dipping sauce. I like everything dipped. These were so easy to put together. But be warned, you will need to make your own dough for this--I think it makes all the difference. I got my inspiration for this from one of my favorite cookbooks: Sundays at Moosewood. I gave the filling an upgrade and added a few more spices and I added golden raisins to them. In the dough department, I added a bit of spelt flour. It is a very basic recipe.
Vegan Empanadas de Papas
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion diced
1 russet potato diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 small jar of pimentos
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds crushed in a mortar
Spike seasoning or S & P to taste
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add onions, peppers, potatoes and seasonings. Cook for about five minutes more. Cover and let cook about ten minutes to get those potatoes to soften up--about 12 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients once the potatoes have been tested and prove to be fork tender--but not mushy. Remove from heat. Now make the dough.
1/4 cup canola or sunflower oil (for cooking the empanadas in)
1 cup warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons of vegan mayo
1 tabelspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon horseradish
Mix all together in a bowl and set aside for dipping!
Preheat oven to 300. Mix all of this with your hands--no blenders needed! Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add liquid. Begin to mix together. Mix it until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers and that all of the mixture has been well combined. Don't over knead this.Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a log about 7 or 8 inches long. Now, cut this log into 7 or 8 equal pieces. Take each piece and flatten it with your hand. Then, take a floured rolling pin and roll each piece flat--to create about a seven inch circle. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Wet the edges of one side. Fold over and with the tines of a fork, pinch the ends closed. Now, heat the oil in a large pan with high sides--makes for less mess. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, carefully place about 3 empanadas in to cook. Don't crowd the pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side--until they get nice and golden. Remove them from the pan and place on paper towels. Since you have several more to make, place these drained ones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven to keep warm.