Portobellos rellenos con ricota y parmesano

Other, Vegetarian

(Ricotta- and Parmesan-Stuffed Portobellos) Portobellos rellenos con ricota y parmesano, diagonal II

Adapted and Translated from recetas.lanacion.com.ar

By now, you should all be very familiar with my mushroom obsession. I hadn’t eaten stuffed portobellos in a while when I returned to Houston for the summer and I was craving them! My mom was going away to Argentina so I started planning the weekly menu to feed my dad. I receive the weekly newsletter of Recetas La Nación (Argentine newspaper) but I hadn’t made one of their recipes in a while so I started looking through. I came across this recipe (Champignones rellenos con jamón, ricota y parmesano) and knew it was my priority especially since my mom had left an unfinished tub of ricotta that needed to be used. The outcome was delicious and the combination of ricotta and Parmesan had just the right punch of flavour.

Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2-4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC (370ºF) and grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.
  2. Clean each mushroom with a paper towel and remove the stalks. Finely chop the stalks. Use a spoon to remove the gills and put them into a mixing bowl and combine with the chopped stalks.
  3. Add the Parmesan, ricotta and parsley to the gill and stalk mixture.
  4. Fill each portobello with the mixture and sprinkle each one with breadcrumbs. Bake into the preheated oven for around 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

 

Comments: As I said before, this was a delicious concoction while also being super simple and very quick to make; I had dinner ready in about 20 minutes. The original recipe actually used smaller mushrooms and they served the mushrooms as an appetizer, which could also be a great option for a dinner party. I served them hot out of the oven but they recommended serving them warm or cold, which is a better option if you’re serving them as an appetizer (I had cold leftovers for lunch the following day and it was actually really good like that too!). The original recipe also included 200g of diced ham in the filling. I thought my dad would like the touch of meat but I am vegetarian, so I made 2 mushrooms without ham and 2 with ham (100g). I served them with some warm sandwich thins to eat as full sandwiches or open-faced sandwiches. Some brown rice could also go nicely with the bite of the cheese filling.

Portobellos rellenos con ricota y parmesano, plato II

Rosemary Mushroom Polenta with Spinach and Marinara Sauce

Other, Vegetarian

Rosemary Mushroom Polenta with Spinach and Marinara Sauce

 

Adapted from meatfreemondays.com and budgebytes.com

To start off, let me just say that you can eat really good food in my college town, Davis, CA. This goes for Café Bernardo as well. My parents and I were surprised when we arrived at this restaurant and found out it was actually part of the Best Western Palm Court Hotel. We were not at all disappointed, however, and we make a point of going there every time they come visit. That said, though many things on the menu sound amazing, I always order the Grilled Polenta that comes with tomato sauce, spinach, portobello and cheese. I was then inspired to make something similar. I found two recipes, which I combined. A very satisfying meal!

Yields 4-6 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces portobello and shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 cup tomato purée or marinara sauce

 Directions:

1.     Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.

2.     Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. When the water boils, add the polenta in a steady stream while stirring. Keep stirring until it reaches a soft, creamy consistency and turn off heat. Beat in the butter. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste.

3.     Pour the polenta into the prepared baking dish and set in the fridge for about an hour or until firm.

4.     Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

5.     Remove the polenta from the fridge and top it with the Parmesan.

6.     Place the polenta in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

7.     When the polenta has warmed through, remove it from the oven and cut into squares.

8.     While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and a nice brown color. After 2 minutes, toss in the chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste.

9.     Remove the mushrooms from the skillet, leaving any liquids behind in the pan and add the frozen spinach. Sauté the spinach until heated through and season with salt and pepper to taste.

10. To serve, arrange a couple of baked polenta squares on each plate and top with about ¼ of the tomato purée or marinara. Then add a layer of spinach and finally a layer of the rosemary infused mushrooms. Decorate with sprigs of fresh rosemary if desired. Serve warm.

 

 

Comments: This recipe is not at all difficult. After the polenta has been left in the fridge, it is also quite quick to make. By combining two recipes, I tried to pull in my favorite aspects of each recipe to make one great dish. I loved the idea of the rosemary infused mushrooms from the Meat Free Mondays recipe but I wanted the spinach and tomato purée/sauce as well. Instead of just using portobello mushrooms, I also added some shiitake mushrooms. Hope you like it!

Wild Mushroom Lasagne

Lasagna, Vegetarian

Wild Mushroom Lasagne II

Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

And so my lasagne obsession continues! This is another great one with a beautiful blend of a strong wild mushroom taste with ricotta, marinara and Parmesan. The recipe itself is not too complex. You can prepare it up to a day ahead and refrigerate or freeze it. You can even bake it several hours ahead and reheat it in a medium oven.

P.S. I greatly apologize for my inconsistency. I had a few rough and busy months but now I am less stressed and hope to start blogging again regularly. Thank you for your patience!

Yields 6 servings

Wild Mushroom Lasagne

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound wild mushrooms, torn or cut into smaller slices if large (I used oyster and shiitake mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2¼ cups marinara sauce (recipe below)
  • 7 to 8 ounces whole wheat lasagne noodles, prepared according to package
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms. Let sear without moving for about 30 seconds, then toss and stir in the pan until they begin to sweat, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium and add the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Lightly grease a 13×9 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Blend the ricotta with the egg, water, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread a small spoonful of marinara in a thin layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a layer of lasagne noodles. Top the noodles with a thin layer of the ricotta mixture. Spoon on a few dollops then spread it wan a rubber spatula. Top the ricotta with half the mushrooms. Top with a layer of marinara sauce and a layer of Parmesan. Repeat the layers. End with a finally layer of lasagne noodles topped with marinara and Parmesan.
  5. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminium. Bake in the preheat oven for 40 minutes or until the noodles are tender and the mixture is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Wild Mushroom Lasagne

Simple Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, chopped, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pulse the chopped tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the sugar and salt. Stir and turn up the heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until thick and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wild Mushroom Lasagne, pedazo

Comments: So, funny story: This is actually supposed to be “Lasagne with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms.” The first step was to cook 1 pound of spinach in a pot until wilted and then chop it. I cooked the spinach and then did the rest of the recipe. I finished assembling my beautiful lasagne, raised my eyes and saw the spinach to my left all nicely chopped up. I couldn’t disassemble the lasagne and went ahead and cooked it without the spinach. It turned out to be a huge success. I served the spinach on the side, but the lasagne really did not need it. If you wish to add the spinach, stir it into the ricotta-egg mixture right before assembling the lasagne. My little adventure aside, when choosing the mushrooms I decided for oyster and shiitake mushrooms. Some other examples of wild mushrooms are porcini, cremini, maitake and morels.

Wild Mushroom Lasagne, pedazo II

Renovados canelones de espinaca y queso

Other, Vegetarian

(Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni)

spinach-and-cheese-cannelloni-ii

Translated and Adapted from recetas.lanacion.com.ar

When I was little, my mom used to make cannelloni pretty often. She made spinach and meat ones; funnily enough, I believe I preferred the latter. As is typical in Argentina, she would make crêpes, or panqueques, for the dough instead of actual pasta, and she always made sure to make some extra for dessert (crêpes with dulce de leche are quite extraordinary!). It had been a while since we had eaten cannelloni, but I received my weekly menu from La Nación one Monday morning, which contained this recipe. I immediately set off to make it.

Yields 4-6 servings

spinach-and-cheese-cannelloni-iii

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams fresh spinach
  • 150 grams mozzarella, diced
  • 150 grams ricotta
  • 12 crêpes
  • 100 milliliters prepared béchamel sauce (see Comments)
  • 50 grams grated Parmesan
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Nutmeg, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 177C (350F) and lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large pot, cook the spinach over medium heat until wilted and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, squeeze out the liquid and chop.
  3. Mix the spinach with the ricotta and diced mozzarella. Season to taste.
  4. Add the Parmesan to the prepared béchamel sauce and set aside.
  5. Divide the filling evenly among the crêpes and roll them up. Place them in the prepared baking dish. Evenly spread the béchamel sauce over the cannelloni.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.

spinach-and-cheese-cannelloni-plato

Comments: This yet another quite simplistic recipe that doesn’t take up that much time. The blend of cheeses was quite excellent. You can, of course, make your own crêpes, but I had some stored in the freezer, which I used instead. I have instructions for making crêpes in the recipe for Mushroom & Spinach Crêpes. For the béchamel sauce, you can go all out and do the traditional one with a roux. The one I made was a very easy and quick one my mom has always made. For every 250 milliliters of milk (I used almond in this case), add 1 tablespoon of flour; simmer the mixture while stirring constantly until you get a creamy consistency. You can add more or less flour depending on whether you want a thicker or more liquid sauce. The original recipe also includes 100 grams of bacon, which you must dice and sauté to a golden color; as I am vegetarian and never liked bacon, I omitted it.

spinach-and-cheese-cannelloni-plato-ii

Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata

Egg Cookery, Vegetarian

goat-cheese-and-sun-dried-tomato-frittata-ii

Adapted from Cooking Light November 2010

This frittata is really more like a soufflé than a frittata. As you probably already know, I love frittatas and always like to try different varieties. What really shocked me about this one was that it only has egg whites. Since you beat the egg whites, the consistency of the “frittata” is really more like a soufflé. It was a very light, fluffy meal with a nice blend of flavors.

Yields 4 servings

goat-cheese-and-sun-dried-tomato-frittata-close-up

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil

goat-cheese-and-sun-dried-tomato-frittata-plato

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (204C).
  2. Place salt and egg whites in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tarter and pepper and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the tomatoes and onions.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spread the egg mixture evenly in the pan. Top with the crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with the tomato oil.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 16 minutes or until puffed and golden. Loosen with a spatula and slide onto a platter. Serve immediately.

 

Comments: This is really a beautiful, impressive meal. Fresh out of the oven, the frittata radiates beauty in its golden, puffed elegance. The original recipe actually uses ricotta salata cut into wedges; however, I was unable to find it. The magazine suggested using feta instead, but I went for the goat cheese. Goat cheese goes very well with sun-dried tomatoes and has a nice kick to it. A tip for storing oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes: once you are done using them, add more olive oil to the jar so that it covers the remaining tomatoes completely. The tomatoes should keep well. This frittata is great for a brunch or dinner and leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch (maybe with an English muffin?).

goat-cheese-and-sun-dried-tomato-frittata-plato-ii

Veg Greek Meatballs in a Fragrant Tomato Sauce with Goat Cheese

Other, Vegetarian

veg-greek-meatballs

Adapted from vegetariantimes.com

I’ve done vegetarian meatballs before with lentils and several vegetables. I’ve bought Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs. I wanted something different. While browsing through Vegetarian Times, I came across this recipe. Seitan meatballs. Of course. I’d thought about it before. It’s a great vegetarian substitute for ground meat. I also loved the addition of tomato sauce (how my mom makes regular meatballs) and goat cheese.

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 8-ounce packages plain seitan, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-ounce package ricotta
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25 ounces tomato purée
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Pulse the seitan in the food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients except the oil, tomato puré and feta. Mash the mixture with hands or a potato masher until the mixture comes together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Coat the baking dish with oil. Scoop the seitan mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Place the meatballs in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
  3. Pour the tomato purée over the meatballs and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Bake for 30 more minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.

Comments: I really loved the blend of flavors in this recipe. If you aren’t a huge fan of plain seitan, you should still try this recipe; you don’t really taste it. The addition of cheese also is the perfect finish. Since it was just me eating, I made a third of the recipe. Here, I wrote down the full one because it’s simpler. I didn’t like grinding the seitan in the food processor; if I had planned it beforehand, I would have bought the ground seitan instead. The recipe on the sight actually uses 1 25-ounce jar of tomato sauce; I like to use the purée instead, but you may do as you wish. The original recipe also uses feta cheese, not regular goat cheese, but I only had goat cheese. Feta would also do nicely; as always, make sure to buy actual goat’s milk feta, not cow’s milk feta. Though the baking time is pretty long, the actual hands-on time isn’t; you can also prepare the mixture ahead of time and chill it for more than the stated 30 minutes. These meatballs work nicely with some whole wheat couscous or in a hot dog bun as a sub.

veg-greek-meatballs-ii

Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Whole Wheat Pasta with Pumpkin Seed and Spinach Pesto

Pasta, Vegan

roasted-pumpkin-and-sage-whole-wheat-pasta-with-pumpkin-seed-and-spinach-pesto

Adapted from Going Veggie by Trudy Slabosz

Though it sounds like a super dense meal, surprisingly it is not. May I add that it is another great autumn recipe. I’ve always had the traditional pesto so it was interesting to try out this new combination. I loved the combination of pumpkin (kabocha squash in my case) with the pasta and pesto. Though it takes about 45-60 minutes to make, it is not a difficult recipe. Don’t be intimidated!

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoons maple syrup
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 cups spinach
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups diced kabocha squash
  • Bunch of fresh sage
  • 9 ounces (250 grams) whole wheat pasta

Directions:

  1. To make the pesto, add the pumpkin seeds to a heavy pan and dry roast over medium-low heat until they begin to crackle and pop. Remove them from the heat and drizzle the maple syrup on top along with the pepper. The maple syrup should almost candy when it hits the hot seeds. All to cool.
  2. Transfer the pumpkin seed mixture to a food processor. Add the spinach to the food processor. With the motor running, gradually add ¼ cup of olive oil until you have a loose pesto. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
  4. Throw the diced kabocha into a baking tray and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with pepper. Toss well and place in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  6. When the kabocha pieces just begin to turn golden on the edges, add the sage leaves and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the squash is soft and golden and the sage leaves are crisp.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the same heavy pan you dry roasted the pumpkin seeds in and toss over medium heat with the prepared pesto until well coated. Add the roasted kabocha and sage leaves. Toss gently to combine.

 

Comments: Alternatively, you can use regular pasta instead of whole wheat or any other kind you wish (the original recipe calls for spelt pasta). Originally, as the name suggests, the recipe is made with pumpkin but I had a kabocha squash sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be roasted so I decided to use that instead. If you wish, you can double the amount of pumpkin seeds and maple syrup and use half for the pesto and toss the rest in the final step with the pasta and pesto. I did not try it but this pasta would also probably be delicious sprinkled with some feta or goat cheese.

 

Homemade Quick Black Bean Burgers

Sin categoría, Vegetarian, Veggie Burgers

homemade-quick-black-bean-burgers-plato

Adapted from Cooking Light November 2009

As the name suggests, this is a quick veggie burger recipe. Nonetheless, I find that most veggie burgers don’t really take that long to make. These were, however, my first black bean burgers. They’re quite different from any I’ve had before due to the lime, I believe. Enjoy them in a bun with avocado and a sharp cheese!

Yields 4-6 burgers

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces (about 1 slice) whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano or ½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

homemade-quick-black-bean-burgers

Directions:

  1. Grease and preheat an electric griddle to around 350F (177C) or medium-high heat.
  2. Place the bread in a food processor and process about 4 times or until crumbs measure 1 cup. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Combine the oil and the beans in the processor. Pulse 8 times or until beans make a thick paste. Scrape bean mixture into bowl with the breadcrumbs. Stir in the rind and remaining ingredients.
  4. With moistened hands, divide the bean mixture into 4-6 equal portions (about 1/3 cup mixture per portion) and shape each into a patty.
  5. Add the patties to the griddle. Reduce the heat to medium and cook 4 minutes or until bottom edges are browned. Carefully turn the patties over. Cook for 3 more minutes or until bottom edges are done.

 

Comments: I don’t think you need more than 30 minutes to make these burgers. I didn’t have any hamburger buns but I love Rudi’s Spelt English Muffins and I added some avocado and goat cheese as well. I froze what I didn’t eat. You can later simply heat them in the microwave to thaw them.

homemade-quick-black-bean-burgers-plato-close-up

Argentine Empanadas

Beef, Vegan, Vegetarian

empanadas-ii

Adapted and translated from cocinerosargentinos.com

Empanadas are at the core of Argentine cuisine. Of course, other South American countries also claim empandas as their own but each country has a different style. Logically, since I’m from Argentina, I make Argentine-style empanadas. So anyway, as I was saying, empandas are a staple in my country. You can’t be an Argentine and not have tapas de empandas (the dough rounds for empandas) in your freezer or refrigerator. Last year, my first year in college with my own kitchen, I brought from home a package of store-bought tapas (yes, you can get Argentine tapas in the U.S. and elsewhere). However, this year I decided to be adventurous and make my own. I started researching and found a few recipes I liked but then I remembered that I had whole-wheat flour. I tend to prefer whole grains but I had never thought of making whole-wheat tapas. I did some more research and liked this recipe that I found on a website I use frequently. I then needed to find the right utensils. I looked around Davis, my college town, in every store I could think of and could not find a rolling pin or a cookie cutter large enough (a typical size for empandas would be 10-12 centimeters or around 4 inches). What did I do? I rolled out the dough with my metal Aggie water bottle and cut the rounds by hand. Hopefully you will have the right utensils. At this point the knights from Monty Python will be saying, “Get on with it!” so without further ado, here is the recipe for the tapas, followed by some suggestions for fillings.

Yields around 12 tapas

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams whole-wheat flour (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil
  • 150 milliliters of water (about 2/3 cups) and more if necessary
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (204C). Grease a baking pan and set aside.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add some more water if necessary so that the dough is not dry and will hold together. Knead the dough with your hands to combine well.
  3. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel so it will not dry and let rest for about half an hour.
  4. On a clean counter, roll out the dough very thin, about 1 millimeter of width. With a 10-12-centimeter cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Pile the rounds on a clean plate, placing a piece of plastic wrap between each one so they will not become dry or stick to one another.
  5. One by one fill each round with the desired filling. To close, moisten the edge of each round and fold the dough over to wrap the filling. Press down on the edges. To finish, you can crimp the edges (like the edge of a pie crust), crimp the edges with the twines of a fork or simply fold up the edges as seen in the pictures. As you finish shaping each empanada, set them on the prepared baking pan.
  6. Place the empanadas in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the dough is golden and no longer soft.

empanadas-plato

Fillings

  • Beef: The classic filling would have to be beef. There are several variations, depending on what region in Argentina you come from. The way my mom makes them is by mixing ground beef with onion, red pepper, green pepper, green onion, oregano, pepper flakes, a hint of cumin, pepper, salt and a generous amount of paprika (pimentón). You must first cook the beef and then add the vegetables and seasonings. The secret to a juicy beef empanada (even if using very lean meat) is to use the same amount of beef and onion on a weight basis.
  • Ham and Cheese: Probably the second most popular filling would be ham and cheese. This is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. You mix cubes of cheese with cut up ham. Some people used diced ham though I used to hate it when they made them like that. It’s up to you.
  • Fugazzeta: One of my favorites is cheese and onion. Slice an onion thinly and sauté with spices such as pepper, oregano and paprika. Then you mix it with cubed cheese.
  • Capresse: For this filling, dice a tomato and mix it with cubed cheese.
  • À la Lucienne: This is not actually thing. I gave the filling this name because it was my own invention the first time I made empanadas while at college; the empanadas in the pictures have this filling. It contains eggplant, onion and goat cheese. All of my favorite things, right? You first slice the onion thinly and sauté it in a saucepan until it softens and begins to turn golden. You then add an eggplant, cubed, as well as oregano and ground pepper. You continue cooking until the eggplant is tender and both vegetables have a nice golden color. Let the vegetables cool down a bit and then mix with goat cheese.

 

Comments: This recipe was quite easy and straightforward. Of course, it would have been a lot easier if I had the right equipment but you do what you can. I think you should get about 12 tapas; I got tired of rolling out the dough with the water bottle so I froze about half of the dough. The amount you get will depend on how thin you roll out the dough. Tapas de empanadas are typically very thin; you want to be able to taste the filling and not get a bite of just the dough. For the fillings, I recommend using a good melting cheese. In Argentina, my personal pick would be Por Salut, which you don’t typically find outside of the country. Mozzarella is always a safe pick but I have found that I really like the Mexican cheese Oaxaca. Above I only gave a few suggestions; I could go on listing fillings indefinitely. You can definitely do some research of your own to find other fillings. Some other ones that are popular in Argentina are humita (corn), spinach and chicken. I hope your empanada adventure turns out well!

empanadas-plato-ii

Portobello Patty Melts

Other, Vegetarian

portobello-patty-metl-iii

Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com

Here I continue to try to make up for my absence with the second portobello recipe (find the other one here as well as the pumpkin one here). In The New York Times magazine an article came out a few Sundays ago about the history of the patty melt. Of course, mostly everyone associates the patty melt with a thick, juicy beef burger. Nonetheless, the magazine also offered a vegetarian version that used portobello mushrooms as the “patty.” A lovely surprise on their part and a truly delicious dinner.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese (8 slices)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 4-8 clean portobello caps

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (204C).
  2. To caramelize the onions, melt the butter in a large skillet over high heat.When it foams, add the onions. Do not stir immediately. Wait for one minute and then stir frequently over high heat for about 5 minutes until the onions start to release liquid and begin to look translucent.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the onions are fully melted and dark golden brown. Set the onions aside.
  4. In a baking dish, mix together the olive oil, soy sauce and vinegar. Add the portobello caps and cover the dish with aluminium foil. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, turning once.
  5. Grease an electric griddle and set it at medium heat. Place 4 slices of rye bread on the griddle. Top each piece with a slice of cheese, 1-2 portobello caps, some caramelized onions  and finally another slice of cheese and a slice of bread. Press down on the packages with a spatula. After a couple of minutes, carefully turn over each sandwich to brown the other side. Cook until the cheese is fully melted and the bread is golden brown and crisp on both sides.

 

Comments: A truly satisfying and filling vegetarian meal with three fabulous ingredients: portobello mushrooms, Gruyère cheese and rye bread. The original recipe only says to use seeded rye bread. I went a step further and chose the original German rye bread that has a good bold flavor that suits the portobellos and the Gruyère. If using the German rye bread, cut each slice in half. You can caramelize the onions up to a day before and reheat slowly when you’re ready to cook. This is not a complex recipe though it does intimidate a little due to the extensive cooking time. I recommend preparing and roasting the mushrooms while you caramelize the onions. Though it does take some time to prepare, there isn’t a whole lot of hands-on time. The trickiest part to this recipe is flipping the sandwiches over and keeping them in shape. As the cheese melts, the bread tends to start to slide off; have patience and keep the sandwiches in shape with your spatula if this happens. These sandwiches are surprisingly satisfying, even for meat-eaters. The soy sauce in the portobello marinade gives them a delicious umami taste. Dig in!