Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oscar Party Empanaditas

Its Monday , so it must be time for this weeks recipe.

I want to keep the weekly recipe  topical and relevant in the middle of our day to day chaos.
My Egyptian friends suggested something Middle Eastern like felafel  or chummos , and my cheesehead friends from Wisconsin wanted a pareve cheesecake to tempt the  Democrats back to the statehouse .

But I want to concentrate on the upcoming Academy Awards and prepare  some snacks for your Oscars party.

I like snacks to be flavorful, easy to serve and eat, and just a little bit out of the ordinary.With that in mind, For Your Consideration, Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas. Served with Salsa Crudo.

Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas

The first step is to make the dough :
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup ice water
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Cut the shortening into the flour as though you were making a pie crust by working it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Sprinkle dough with just enough ice water so that it will just hold together. Knead together briefly and allow to rest, covered about 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting you can move along into the filling.
¼ cup oil
1 small onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups shredded chicken

Saute onions and garlic until soft then add spices and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add black beans and chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes and then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add cilantro and stir well.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out dough to a ⅛ inch thickness about 12 by 16 inches.Cut into 12 4x4 inch square.
Moisten edges of dough with beaten egg. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on one half of dough and fold remaining half over filling. Use fork to seal edges and brush tops with beaten egg. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Salsa Cruda.

Salsa Cruda                                                                                    

  • 1-1/2 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large jalapeno chile, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Mix all ingredients and serve with Empanadas.

Enjoy these treats and  remember, you’re all winners at Smokey Joe’s.  Moshe

Monday, February 14, 2011

Recipe Mondays - Moshe's Hidden Vegetable Meatloaf


Welcome to Recipe Mondays, a sort of, "Well, what are we going to eat this week" approach to helping you plan your family's menus. I asked Moshe to whip something up for this week and I hope you will enjoy it. Please check back each Monday for a new recipe.

Smokey Joe’s is a magnet for meat eaters , as you can ask our Brooklyn contingent, regularly packing up their buddies to challenge the  George Washington Bridge and finally escaping onto Route 4 and arriving at SJ’s breathless and ready to tear into prearranged slow smoked racks of ribs.
But there is more to life than brisket and sausage, and yes there is even more than ribs.

Yesterday we were joined for lunch by a vegetarian celebrating her birthday who wanted her family to share a meal at her favorite restaurant in Teaneck.She had a Barbeque Tofu Salad, her mother had sizzling Seitan Fajitas, and her father had a shredded Brisket Sandwich with Sweet Potato wedges.
Now, not everyone is willing to pass up a favorite meaty masterpiece for vegetables right in the middle of the plate, but it did remind me that my family loves my “Hidden Vegetable Meatloaf”.
My family has varied tastes when it comes to dinnertime, one likes pastas and eggs and cheeses, and my son at TABC is a meat and potatoes guy and, its ok if there aren’t any potatoes.

This tasty Meatloaf is full of vegetables, but more importantly is full of flavor.

If you want to make it you start like this:

Coarsely chop one large onion, 2 carrots,2 ribs of celery, one large green or red pepper(hey , you can add both if you want) and a really large handful of fresh spinach (baby spinach works great). Next, either saute or microwave in a bag until soft. Allow to cool slightly and chop finely (isn’t this easier after its cooked and soft?).
Take 3 lbs of ground beef, add 3 eggs, 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or matzah meal, and all those vegetables and 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite seasoning blend (I used Smokey Joe’s Secret Rub #88).
If you have an open jar of salsa, you can put in ½ a cup and if not add some ketchup.
Mix this together well and divide into 4 portions. Form each portion into a football shaped loaf and put on a sprayed baking sheet (this gives lots of surfaces to get brown and crusty).
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, remove from oven, and at this point I usually transfer the meatloaves to a clean pan and leave any rendered fat and grease behind so it doesn’t wind up on your dinner plate.
Generously brush the meatloaves with your favorite BBQ sauce (Guess which one I use?) Return to oven, lower temperature to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes and your meat and veggies are done. You can serve this with mashed potatoes, but my son says that potatoes are optional.

Serves 6-8 0r 4 TABC students