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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Santiago’s Bodega

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Courtney took me for lunch at a wonderful place I’d been dying to try, Santiago’s Bodega. This quaint little eatery specializes in Tapas. An amazing variety of small bites that you would normally get at an upscale restaurant. Inside, the atmosphere has what I consider to be an eclectic decor. Outside, the view reminds me of a Parisian bistro. We went a little crazy with the Tapas. Let me show you. Visit them at www.santiagosbodega.com

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Calzone Or Empanada?

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This recipe has the best of both worlds in my opinion. I love Calzone but, they can have too much dough. In this recipe, I’ve combined the filling of a Calzone and the outside pastry of an Empanada. My Homemade Pie Crust recipe link is available at the bottom of the post.  This recipe will need four pie crusts. What I like to do is, when I make pie dough is, I always make more than what I’m going to need for that day, then freeze it. This really helps when I’m wanting to make a recipe like this one. I just take the dough out of the freezer the night before and put it into the frig until I’m ready to roll it out.

There are some really great ready-made pie crusts available in the grocery store. If you don’t have the time to make your own pie dough, pick up two boxes, because you’ll need four pie crusts for the amount of filling that this recipe makes. The other great thing about this recipe #calzone, #empanadas is that you can everything in advance, then just bake them off when you’re ready. This is how my filling for this recipe starts.

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To start off, I’m using both unsalted butter and olive oil to cook the mushrooms and shallots. The reason for this is the butter gives great flavor while the olive oil has a higher burning point. A lot of time, with Italian cooking, they will use both, especially as you get further north.

Another way to bring an added depth of flavor to this dish is to start out with around 1/4 cup of diced Pancetta. Render all the fat out, remove the Pancetta with a slotted spoon. Place the salty crispy bits of goodness onto a plate lined with a paper towel until you’re ready to add them back into the filling. An important tip to remember here is, if you are going to replace the butter and olive oil with Pancetta in this dish, you may want to decrease the amount of Kosher salt you use, if any at all. Pancetta can add enough salty flavor without having to add any additional salt.

Today I’m using a cast iron skillet, which gets nice and hot and heats evenly.  I’m not using Pancetta this time, I’m using, unsalted butter and olive oil. I also have all of my ingredients prepped. This helps to move the cooking process along, in a timely manner.

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Homemade Pie Crust

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time for filling 30 minutes
Baking time for filled pastries: 12-15 minutes
Yields: 6- 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 package of sweet or spicy Italian sausage ( 5 sausage links casing removed)
2 sliced shallots
2 pints of cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped thyme leaves (1 tablespoon of dried)
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
5 mini sweet bell peppers sliced and seeded
1 Fresno chili diced and seeded
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
1 package of fresh spinach leaves
1 cup of Ricotta cheese
1 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
2 large beaten eggs along with 2 tablespoons of water for egg wash
4- 10-inch diameter, pie dough circles
egg wash, 4 large eggs plus 4 tablespoons water beaten together

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Start off by using both unsalted butter and olive oil to large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions become translucent and mushrooms begin to brown.

Add the sliced mini sweet bell peppers along with the diced and seeded Fresno chili. Add those into the skillet and let those sauté, just for 2-3 minutes, stirring them with the mushrooms and shallots. Moving forward, add in the sweet Italian sausage with some dried oregano, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon and giving it time to really brown. You want to stir the sausage around every few minutes to make sure it’s all browning evenly, 12-15 minutes.

Once the sausage is nice and brown, you want to add a liquid to the skillet and scrape all of those good bits of flavor off the bottom of the pan. This is to deglaze. Keeping the pan, on medium-high heat, Add unsalted chicken broth into the pan and scrape all of those bits up with the back of the wooden spoon. Let the broth reduce and get absorbed by all the other ingredients, 3-5 minutes.

Add the fresh spinach leaves. This takes only a minute or two to wilt down and then once that happens, remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all the ingredients from the pan to a large mixing bowl, leaving any or all grease behind, in the skillet.

Let all the ingredients cool before adding in the cheese.

Add shredded Mozzarella, grated Parmesan, and Ricotta cheese in with the cooled filling. Using a spatula, mix until all the ingredients are combined. Next, the pie dough. If you have your own pie dough, you want to roll all four of them out into about 10 inches in diameter, 1/8 inch thick.

Divide the filling into four equal parts. Lay the filling on the bottom third of the circle of pie dough almost all the way across. Take egg wash and brush the egg wash all around the perimeter of the circle. Fold the dough over the filling meeting up with the other side of the dough.  Press the filling gently down so it spreads out evenly inside of the pie dough. I like to crimp the edges with a fork to ensure no filling will escape. Take a paring knife and trim any excess dough from around the edges that. All that does is to make the crimped edges even and rounded. This gives a professional look to the pies. Take more of the egg wash, brush it all over the top and sides of the pie dough. Using a paring knife, vent the pies by making 4 small slits, in the top of each one.  Use a large spatula to transfer the filled Calzone/Empanada from the board onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place all 4 of the baking sheets into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to rest before baking off. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Let these savory pastries cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into them. Serve with your favorite Marinara sauce for dipping.

 

Homemade Pie Crust

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Chicken And Poblano Pepper Empanadas

Chicken And Poblano Pepper Empanadas

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Who doesn’t love a hand-held meat pie? They can be made in advance, you can freeze them then bake them off when you’re ready. My Chicken And Poblano Empanadas are so delicious, tender and flaky pie crust filled with bold flavorful ingredients, YUM!

In this post, I’m taking some help from my local grocery store. I’m using a rotisserie chicken and store-bought pie dough. Rotisserie chicken is one of the best items available at the grocery store. The possibilities are endless.

Now when it comes to pie crust, making your own is always the way to go but if you’re short on time there are great store-bought pie doughs available in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. I’ve posted a link at the bottom for my Homemade Pie Crust which can be made in advance and a link for my Pico de Gallo.

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Prep Time: 45 minutes (includes cooking vegetables and making the empanadas)
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 47minutes
Yields: 16 Empanadas
Equipment: food processor, 3 rimmed baking sheet pans, pastry brush

Ingredients:
1 whole rotisserie chicken, deboned
2 boxes of store-bought pie dough, cut into 6-inch round circles
4 tomatillos
2 Poblano peppers after cooked tops removed and seeded
1 large white Spanish onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Fresno chilies, after cooked tops removed and seeded
1-quart unsalted chicken broth
water
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 lime, juiced
1 small ladle of reserved cooking liquid
3 beaten eggs plus 3 tablespoons water, *egg wash

Directions:
In a large stockpot, place tomatillos, seeded Poblanos, a peeled large white Spanish onion, whole peeled garlic cloves,  and seeded Fresno chilies. Cover the vegetables using 1-quart of unsalted chicken broth and the rest water.  Turn the heat to medium-high, bring the vegetables up to a boil, (lower the heat) reduce to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are simmering on the stove remove debone the rotisserie chicken. Next, using your hands, shred all the chicken then transfer into a large mixing bowl.

The tomatillos will have turned olive in color and the peppers, fork tender. With a slotted spoon, fish out the peppers and chilies removing their tops and seeds before placing them into the food processor. Take the slotted spoon to move the rest the veggies from the pot adding them to a food processor. Add 1 Kosher salt, cilantro, lime juice, and a small ladle of the cooking liquid (add more if needed). Process until smooth. Pour the Poblano pepper mixture into the bowl with the shredded chicken.

Note: The leftover cooking liquid (vegetable stock) allow to cool completely then place into labeled sealed containers. Store in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F.
Here I’m using a lid that measures 6-inches in diameter. Cut out 6-inch circles out of the pie dough. Each circle of dough yields 4 circles. Next, take the scraps of dough that are left and roll that out to 1/4-inch in thickness. The leftover dough will yield another 4 circles. When it comes to Empanadas, you want to make as many as you can because they will get eaten.

Place a good tablespoon in the center each circle, brush around the outsides of the circle with the *egg wash. fold the pastry over to form half-moons. Press the edges firmly (overfilling will cause dought to tear and not seal.) Crimp the edges with a fork. Lay the empanada onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process until all the filling or the dough circles are used up. Brush the outsides of the Empanadas with more *egg wash. This will allow the pies to become nice and golden brown during baking.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. I like to serve them with a side of Pico de Gallo. The Pico works well to cut through the richness of the Empanada.

Tip: Unbaked empanadas may be frozen. Freeze on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until hard. Store in freezer containers. Bake frozen; add an additional 5 minutes for baking time.

*egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water or milk.

Pico De Gallo Two Ways

Homemade Pie Crust

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