Posts Tagged dumplings

Achievement Unlocked: Vegan Empanadas

I was going to put something about soy chorizo in the title, but I figured that’d scare people off.  Soyrizo, found right next to the beef stuff in my local Safeway, is…weird.  It actually tastes much the same as the beef stuff, but it looks terrifying and doesn’t brown well.  I have yet to clean the carbonized soy protein off my skillet.  (I’ll get to it.)

In my continuing quest for total-party-friendly D&D food, I was staring blankly into my fridge when I got the idea for a vegan empanada filling.  For anyone who’s not aware, empanadas are another entry in the Pastry Pockets Of Awesome department, usually filled with a mixture of meat, onions, and often olives.  (Note to self: buy olives.)  I switched that around a little and started with kidney beans, onions, and garlic, then added the tube of red soy protein from the bottom of my fridge.  I hacked together a dough recipe from a Terry Hope Romero posted on Yahoo, baking times from Smitten Kitchen, and my own mostly-improvised filling to create the following.  I haven’t tried them yet, as I’m saving them for Sunday; I’ll let you know in the next post how that works out.  🙂


Vegan Chorizo-and-Bean Empanadas

  1. Make the dough.  In your handy-dandy food processor, place three cups of flour, a quarter-teaspoon of baking powder, and a teaspoon and a half of salt.  Through the chute, add one stick of margarine, cut into small chunks.  Blend until mixture looks sort of crumby.
  2. Add three-quarters of a cup of ice water, a little at a time, while blending.  When dough starts to really stick together, remove from food processor and knead together a little bit.  Flatten into large disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill overnight in fridge.  (If you’re in a hurry, this step can be shortened to a couple of hours.  Don’t cook in a hurry.)
  3. Filling time!  Drain and rinse a can of kidney beans and scrounge around your kitchen for other ideas.  Gather the white ends of some scallions, four cloves of garlic, a tube of soyrizo, a can of tomatoes, and half the contents of your spice cabinet.
  4. Slice the scallions, mince the garlic, and saute them in olive oil.  Pour into a bowl when finished and set aside, for your one roommate who hates onions.
  5. In the same olive oil, cook the kidney beans until they’re kind of mushy, but not falling apart yet.  You can also try cooking the soy chorizo, but honestly, mine just burned a bit and underwent no noticeable state change.  It’ll get cooked in the empanadas, anyway.
  6. Put soy protein and kidney beans in a bowl; add half a can, drained, of petite diced tomatoes.  Mush everything together with either a potato masher or, if you can’t find yours, a fork.
  7. When ready to prepare, remove dough from fridge and knead until most of the random crusty bits have gone away.  Roll out thin, but not so thin as to not hold its shape.  Cut circles with upside-down glass dipped in flour; lay circles on plate or empty part of rolling board.
  8. Spray cookie sheets with oil and preheat oven to 350.  Fill each little circle with a spoon of filling; add onions and garlic after filling the first two or three.  Seal by pressing down the edges of half of the circle onto the edges of the other half.  If having trouble sealing, use a little water.
  9. Bake each sheet of empanadas for 13 minutes.  Pastries will be edging toward golden brown, but not actually brown.  Remove from sheet, place on serving plate, and try not to eat four of them before they cool.  🙂

I’ll also throw in the bonus recipes for the two sauces I served with these delicious pocketfoods.  The green onion slaw comes from Smitten Kitchen by way of Bobby Flay; the chimichurri sauce is from Good Clean Eats.  They’re both delicious, especially the latter; I shall put it on everything and anything henceforth.  😀

Green Onion Dressing

  1. Place one cup chopped green onions, a quarter-cup of red wine vinegar, half a cup of olive oil, and hot peppers of choice in a blender.  The original recipe called for two serranos; I substituted half a habanero.
  2. Blend until smooth.  This makes a rather ugly dressing, so I added three drops of green food coloring to the mixture.  The result is an unnaturally green and very kicky dressing.  It’s awesome.

Chimichurri Sauce

  1. Remove the leaves from about half a large bunch of parsley and drop in a blender or food processor.  You’re looking for about three-quarters of a cup of parsley when it’s chopped.
  2. Slice four cloves of garlic and add to the blender.  Shake in a fair amount of crushed red pepper and a bit of salt.  Pour in three-quarters of a cup of olive or vegetable oil (if you used up all of your olive oil in the last recipe) and a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar.  Blend until saucy.
  3. Serve with empanadas and enjoy.  Then plot to serve with everything else ever.  🙂

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Achievement Unlocked: Spaetzle’d!

Spaetzle.  Pronounced shpet-zel, rhymes with pretzel.  Sounds like the perfect name for a small fluffy dog, or perhaps a mildly derogatory noun in Yiddish.  What it really is, though, is a simple delicious dinner of egg, flour, milk, and whatever you decide to pile on top of that.  Go make this.  🙂

No, I’m not going to send you off with just that, promise.  Spaetzle is ridiculously easy to mix up, but kind of a pain in the butt to actually make.  A variety of techniques exist, all of which involve a pot of boiling water, but only one of which I can actually recommend from experience.   The technique said to be favored by the Austrian housewives who originated the recipe involves pushing small amounts of batter off the edge of a cutting board with a knife.  Being less skilled with knives than most chefs, I went with the other option, involving pushing ribbons of batter through the holes in a spaetzle-making device.  Official spaetzle makers are basically large-holed colanders, but any colander should do.

So, it basically went like this.



  1. Mix two cups of flour, seven eggs, and 1/4 cup of milk in a large bowl.  Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour so the batter is easier to spread instead of just drip.  (If you’re me, leave to rest for three days because life gets in the way.  The extra…seventy-odd hours made no real difference in texture or flavor.)
  2. When ready to cook, boil large pot of water.  Make sure you have a colander that can rest over the pot of water.  Find potholders and spatula.  Prepare another colander, if possible, for receiving spaetzle; if not possible, prepare large bowl of cold water.
  3. Set your colander over your pot of water and pour in some of your spaetzle batter.  You’re going to be doing this in multiple batches anyway, so don’t over-fill it.  Use your spatula and smear the batter around so that it drops through the holes.
  4. Remove colander when mostly empty, fish out spaetzle with slotted spoon, and dump into draining colander or ice bath.  I have never in my life managed to get spaetzle remotely the same size as each other; don’t worry too much about it.
  5. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until out of batter (excepting the batter that’s gummed onto your clothes and hands).
  6. Leave dishes in sink, and wait a bit for spaetzle to cool.
  7. Melt some butter in a skillet; add handful of spaetzle to pan.  Theoretically, cook them until each piece has a couple brown edges; mine never got there.  I think they were still too wet.  Regardless, heat your spaetzle in the butter and make them delicious.
  8. Pile into a bowl, put things on top, and serve.  The “things” were mostly fresh herbs I’d snagged at the farmer’s market that morning: chives, dill, and tarragon.  I think a little splash of vinegar might also go nicely, and since this is a neutral-tasting base as is, go wild!  (Sour cream has been suggested as well, and soundly rejected, if only by me.  It’s a free spaetzle-plate, though.)

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