Well, here I am in the wilds of Coral Springs, Florida. It's really not wild at all. Just lots of straight roads, flat roads and housing developments as far as the eye can see. Yes Toto, we're not in Brooklyn anymore.
Not too much has been happening. I managed to arrive the day before all air travel descended into chaos, so that was a definite plus. Granted I had a horrific experience with Delta just getting on to my plane - it was apparently time for a shift change when checking in so the women behind the desk ignored the growing line full of desperate people twenty minutes away from missing their flight. Good times, good times. But then as a reward for my anguish and having to pull my determined New Yorker personality out of the back-pocket where I tend to keep it behind good manners ("Ma'am, my plane leaves in twenty minutes. I need to be checked in now. And I'll stand right here until that happens. Thank you. And no sir, I'm very sorry that you arrived at the airport just as your minor daughter's flight arrived instead of arriving early. But you may not cut in front of me to get your permission slip because I've just waited on line for an hour, and I'm not missing my flight when the check-in lady just assured you your daughter would be taken care of.") But at least I was rewarded by discovering that the actual plane was a Song plane, so I got to watch TV on my way to Florida. And, they actually passed out free snacks! I didn't think anyone did that anymore. Watching TV, eating a snack-sized bag of Sunchips - life was good once I got on the plane.
And now I'm here. I've watched the birds visit my parents' bird-feeder, I've watched the ducklings clamber through the fence and come up and demand bird seed while Mama duck watches anxiously. My mom and I went shopping at our favorite outlet mall yesterday, where I managed to find some clothes that will help me start the school year in New York. It always amazes me that I do well shopping for reasonably priced fall clothes for NY in FLA, but hey - whatever works.
As part of my love of cooking, I always try to introduce my mom to recipes I've tried and liked. Tonight, I tried to introduce my mom to an "oldie", but one I remembered being a "goodie". I haven't made Corn and Poblano Empanadas in a while, and remembered the recipe as being impressive and fairly easy. Last night we had black beans and rice to eat up and I thought they'd add something special to an otherwise "leftover" to meal nicely. And they would have, except that the masa flour I used was unexpectedly greedy and moisture grabbing. So the dough was way too dry, and unable to be used for making empanadas. So, my mom saved the day by turning it into a Corn and Poblano Tamale Pie. She put the filling in a pie plate, managed (after adding a ton of water) to roll out the dough into a circle big enough to cover the pie plate. We brushed it with the egg and water that the recipe called for, and then baked for about 30-35 minutes. And it was quite tasty! The cheesy-corny filling is addictive, and despite the changed appearance of the dish, it was a success that we couldn't stop stealing pieces of filling from long after we weren't really hungry anymore.
Corn and Poblano Empanadas
Cooking Light's Notes -Masa harina--used to make corn tortillas and tamales--yields a more richly flavored and textured dough than that made with flour alone.
My notes - although the recipe calls for mozzarella cheese, I made it with half 2% cheddar and half mozzarella and found that combination especially flavorful and tasty.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup masa harina
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 poblano peppers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 500°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, masa harina, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and chili powder in a food processor; pulse 3 times. Add water and butter; pulse until mixture forms a loose ball. Remove from processor; knead until ball completely forms. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each dough portion into a ball; flatten each ball into a 3-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (Stack dough portions between pieces of wax paper.)
Place poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 500° for 20 minutes or until brown and blistered, turning once. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel poblanos; cut in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes, and finely chop. Place in a medium bowl.
Reduce oven temperature to 425°.
Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and corn; sauté 3 minutes. Add to poblanos; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cheese.
Roll each dough portion into a (5-inch) circle. Working with 1 circle at a time (cover remaining circles with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon 3 level tablespoons corn filling into center of each circle. Moisten edges of dough with water; fold dough over filling. Press edges together with a fork or fingers to seal. Place empanadas on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water. Lightly coat tops of empanadas with egg mixture. Pierce top of dough with a fork. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 empanada)
CALORIES 156(27% from fat); FAT 4.7g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 5.2g; CHOLESTEROL 11mg; CALCIUM 58mg; SODIUM 277mg; FIBER 2.6g; IRON 1.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.8g
Cooking Light, AUGUST 2003