Guava empanada

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There are many times when I spend a good amount of thought and time looking up recipes and cooking elaborate meals. But there are other times, when cooking is all about putting together a couple of things and coming up with an enjoyable treat. This one belongs to the latter category. The recipe was inspired from the book The Cuban Table by Ana Pelaez and Ellen Silverman. I had the guava paste and the frozen empanada discs. I skipped the cream cheese and overcame my fear of deep frying to make this treat.

I wasn’t sure whether its actually a recipe, given how simple it is. I am glad I took pictures despite my hesitation because sometimesI feel that life is complex as it is. We really need to remind ourselves of the simple enjoyments in life in as many ways as possible. So enjoy a good evening with a sweet jam in a salty pastry served with a hot cup of tea!

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Ingredients:

  • ready made Empanada discos
  • ready made guava paste
  • oil to deep fry

Method:

  • Defrost the empanada discs by taking them out about 20 minutes from the freezer. Once they are defrosted, stretch it a little by rolling them out using a rolling pin.
  • Cut a piece of guava paste to fit comfortably inside the disc. Fold the empanada in half and seal the edges with a fork. Repeat with the rest of the discs.
  • Deep fry in hot oil without crowding the pan or bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.

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This recipe goes to Cooking from Cookbook Challenge Group.
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Chocolate peanut butter energy bites

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Oh please don’t be surprised! I did mention in yesterday’s post that I made the energy bites a couple of times. This was a variation of the recipe I tried. But don’t worry, this is the only variation for now. 

For this recipe, I kept the quantity of the base items – oats, peanut butter and honey -the same as yesterday. The rest is just whatever I had in my pantry that day!

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I had some dates that needed to be used up, so those were chopped and soaked in hot water for sometime. After draining and squeezing out the water, it came to about 1/4 cup. To avoid the water content, I would just chop them up or pulse them in a blender and add the next time. These didn’t last for a long time, so I needn’t have worried about the moisture from the dates. 

To make it a chocolate version, I added a little unsweetened cocoa to the mix. The raw taste of cocoa felt a little strange initially. I did get used to it, but maybe I will add Nutella or hot chocolate for the chocolate flavor the next time. 

Read on for the recipe. 
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter*
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dates, soaked in hot water (about 8 dates)
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, optional 

*You can start with 1/2 cup and then add a couple more tablespoons extra if needed.

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Mix with a silicon spatula until everything is combined well.
  2. Using your hands take a small portion of the mix and roll into a ball. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate for a few minutes. Once you are done with all the dough, roll them over a thin layer of desiccated coconut to coat it. Refrigerate the balls to set firm. 
  3. I got about 20 balls with this set of ingredients.

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Oats Peanut butter energy balls

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Recipes don’t have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as mixing ingredients in a bowl and shaping them. That’s what this recipe is about. And it gets better, not only is this a less than five minute recipe, you can adjust the ingredients based on what you have in your pantry. I have already made this couple of times and I am falling in love more with each time.

The recipe is a pretty basic one with oats and peanut butter. Everything else is an addition. The original recipe mentioned about 1 cup oats and 2/3 cup peanut butter along with 1/2 cup flax seed powder. I didn’t have flax seeds, so I replaced that with 1/4 cup each of wheat bran and chia seeds. Desiccated coconut, wheat germ, nuts, chopped dates, protein powder would all be good substitutes here. Or you can just have peanut butter and oats with maybe some raisins. You have to cut down the peanut butter a little or add a little more oats to stop the dough being sticky or too dry. I don’t remember the original source from where I tried this recipe,  but this one from allrecipes is very close.

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Once you add everything to the bowl, its a good idea to mix with a spoon or a silicon spatula. Because of the peanut butter, the mixture might be somewhat sticky. If you are not able to roll into balls, refrigerate it for a few minutes for the mix to rest. That should help with rolling. I didn’t have to do that, though. Else add a little more oatmeal or wheat bran to even out the stickiness from peanut butter. Or you can start with 1/2 cup peanut butter and then add a couple more tablespoons if needed.

I left the energy bites in the fridge itself to set. But most of it got devoured before it made it to the safety corner in the refrigerator.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter*
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

*You can start with 1/2 cup and then add a couple more tablespoons extra if needed.

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl. Mix with a silicon spatula until everything is combined well.
  2. Using your hands take a small portion of the mix and roll into a ball. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate for a few minutes. Once you are done with all the dough, refrigerate for the balls to set firm. Eat as you wish!
  3. This recipe made about 20 one inch energy balls for me. That number would depend on the size of the bites.

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French Fries

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My intros are usually as far as they can be from food. I talk about my son, my everyday life and anything and everything that goes in my mind at that point of time. But for this marathon, I have been sticking mostly to the food.

So we are going to talk French fries today.When we think about food in US, the first thing that comes to mind is McDonald’s burger and fries. You can love it, you can hate it, but you can’t deny it – McDonald’s is kind of the American food icon for the rest of the world.

Fast food is very popular in US, but there are a lot of other options also. A lot of people, including my family, are not McD fans. But I love their french fries. There were so many other options for this alphabet, most of which started with ‘fried’. So I thought I can as well do french fries :D.

French fries are usually double fried, but I came across this ‘freeze ahead’ version which worked really well for me. I froze them ahead only for 3-4 hours, but I am guessing it’s going to work for potatoes in the freezer for longer times also. The main advantage was that I could freeze them in packets according to the portion size needed. That was a bonus for me.

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Read on for the recipe.

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Pictorial:

Peel and cut potatoes into finger-long French fries style pieces. Keep them immersed in water until the water is not cloudy anymore. You may have to change the water once or twice. Basically, you are looking for the starch in the potatoes to go away. Two medium potatoes make three small servings.

Bring water with salt to a boil, add the potatoes and cook until they are half done, about 4-5 minutes.

Pat dry the potatoes and freeze portions in Ziploc for at least 3 hours. When you want to make the french fries, take off the freezer and pat dry to take the moisture/ice off.

Heat oil and deep fry in batches. Drain in paper towels, toss with salt and pepper. Serve with ketchup.

Recipe source: Sanjeev Kapoor

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium big potatoes for 3 small servings
  • Water and salt
  • Oil to deep fry
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Peel and cut potatoes into finger-long French fries style pieces. Keep them immersed in water until the water is not cloudy anymore. You may have to change the water once or twice. Basically, you are looking for the starch in the potatoes to go away. Two potatoes for three small servings.
  2. Bring water with salt to a boil, add the potatoes and cook until they are half done, about 4-5 minutes. Drain them in kitchen towels. Pat dry the potatoes and freeze portions in Ziploc for at least 3 hours.
  3. When you want to make the french fries, take off the freezer and pat dry to take the moisture off.
  4. Heat oil and deep fry in batches. Drain in paper towels, toss with salt and pepper. Serve with ketchup.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63


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