Friday, July 23, 2010


Empanadas Cooking Class

Mario's Marina and summer camp for cruisers UPDATE:

Last Sunday, at the 1:00pm "Mexican Train" domino game activity - I won! Not that that's such a big deal, but it was fair compensation for not being able to attend the 2:00pm "Champagne Sisterhood" event at the swimming pool. Sometimes there are such tough decisions to be made by us cruisers here at summer camp. Heck, I even had my bottle of sparkling wine cooling in the refrigerator, but by the time we were finished with dominoes, the gals of the sisterhood had already made great headway in consuming their own bottles of the bubbly.

Now, there were some wild shenanigans that evening when those totally blotted females inticed their significant others to drink large amounts of adult beverages at the bar during 4:oo - 6pm Happy Hour and beyond. Later, when Jonesy and I were safely on our boat we could hear quite a lot of whooping-it-up at the Cayuca Club bar. Then, a group of about 10 campers tippytoed down the dock and "mooned" the folks on another boat who were having a quiet dinner party for 4. Nope, I didn't get a photo.

For last Monday evening's 6:00pm "Cruisers Potluck" I took a giant bowl of my family's favorite Sweet 'n Sour Meatballs with Pineapple and Bell Peppers and hot rice. It was a big hit! Thankfully, a canoe came by that morning with fresh pineapples. The week before I made a Banana Cream Pie type dessert with a granola crust similar to rice krispie treats - another success (cruisers are easy to impress when it comes to food).

And yesterday afternoon was the Empanadas Cooking Class in Spanish!

At 2:00pm we gathered in the kitchen of the Cayuca Club restaurant and were quickly handed knives to dig in and help. Carmen and Miriam communicated our instructions in Spanish and it took our collective cruising-fried brains to translate. Actually, I DID learn a lot of Spanish.

First: Dice up about 1 pound of potatoes, 1 pound of boneless chicken breast filets, 1 green pepper (bell/sweet), 1 cup of carrot, 1 cup of onions, and mince 2 large cloves of garlic.

So..I diced potatoes. What? ALL those potatoes? Geez, it was so hot in the open air kitchen! That kitchen towel over my shoulder is for wiping off the sweat.

Next: Heat up about 1 liter of water and cook the carrots and potatoes for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile: In 2 tablespoons of oil, saute the chicken until no longer pink, then add the onions, peppers and garlic. Stirring, add about a teaspoon of salt, a dash of black pepper, and approx. a tablespoon of chicken soup base powder. Cook and saute a few more minutes. Drain the carrots and potatoes and add to chicken mixture.

Corn dough: Put about 1 1/2 pounds of Harina de Maize nixtamelesado (MaSeCa brand is best) which is the flour to make tortillas. Add about 1/2 cup of water and mix with your hands. Add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste or a small amount of Anchiote paste to color dough, and 1 tablespoon of chicken soup base powder. Add water in small (tablespoon or so at a time) amounts and continue to mix until the dough is the right consistancy - this takes experience.

Empanadas: With wet hands, take a golfball sized lump of dough and roll into a ball in your hands. Pat and turn the ball until it is a flat disk about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter smoothing the edges well. At this point you can either pat into shape in your hands (experienced only), lay on a cloth on the table and pat, or put it between two pieces of plastic and smash with a dinner plate until the dough is about 5 1/2" in diameter.

Place a couple of spoonfuls of filling onto the round. Using the corner of the cloth, fold the round in half.

Press & pull gently to form dough around filling and to seal edges.

And voila! An Empanada!

Fry: In a generous amount of heated oil, fry the empanadas until golden and crisp. Enjoy!

So - where's the chilies and spice you might ask? Not in Guatemala. Although we are quite close to Mexico, the typical foods here are not spicy. They do sell hot sauces and some fresh hot peppers, but any food that you are served comes without spice, but there is always a bottle of some sort of picante sauce.

We went to town today and were lucky to get the ONLY head of broccoli available from the many produce vendors. So, we're set to make our broccoli, raisin, and walnut salad for tomorrow's pig roast. Yummy!

Thank you... I've always wondered how to make these.
Terry, I would absolutely love the recipe for your broccoli, raisin, and walnut salad -- it sounds delicious!
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