I’m still here…and I brought snacks!!

Being a Gemini makes me flighty…I can own and admit that.  Sticking to something is a problem, when the mind wants to do so many things!!!  I love this blog, and being able to share my recipes and thoughts.  However, I love my job and I love school, and I love my husband and my kids and my sister, brother, father…you get the picture?  So what happens is although I have the best intentions to post a weekly recipe or something…I often fall short.  I am human, I am flawed…I am starting to sound like I am full of shit! Seriously though, I have just been super busy, and unfortunately, the blog has suffered.  But guess what??  I am back!

So where do I begin?

Summer time in Chicago means one thing to me…Farmer’s Market! Well actually it means more than that, but I mark my calendar each year with the start of the Farmer’s Market Season! Also, working downtown gives me two opportunities to visit the Market during the week!

Yesterday’s Haul – Blackberries, Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes!


While I had every intention of making a delicious vegetable gratin with the zucchini and yellow squash, I ended up making vegetable empanadas last night.  This was primarily due to the giant portobello mushrooms I had in the fridge.  This is a very easy recipe, and the crust is so flakey and buttery and delicious…you will want to make them all of the time.  I use a combination of King Arthur White Wheat Flour and Cake Flour and I think it makes a difference in the consistency of the crust.  I also use frozen butter, and I grate it to incorporate it in the dough.



Finally, I use my trusty food processor to mix everything.  Out of all of the kitchen gadgets my hubby has gotten me (yes, I request blenders and high-end cookware as gifts) my KitchenAid Food Processor is my absolute favorite! (Next to my VitaMix and my Stand Mixer…see previous note about Gemini tendencies).

For the filling I used zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic, white beans, portobello mushrooms and a five cheese blend of Italian cheeses.  This got the Mr. B seal of approval…so it must be good!  Of course you can fill these with anything, such as traditional beef, potatoes and golden raisins, chocolate and nuts for a sweet version, or other veggies.  I like the White Beans because I get the potato consistency, with the benefits of added protein.  Anyway, enough rambling…here’s my recipe for Portobello, White Bean and Zucchini Empanadas!  Hope you enjoy as much as I do!

What you need:

For the pastry…

  • 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour (I used 1 cup white wheat and 1.25 cups Cake Flour)
  • 1 stick of cold butter (I grated it, but you can dice it in cubes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/3 cup of ice water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of distilled vinegar

What you need to do:

Sift flour and Salt together.  If using your food processor, dump into the bowl of the machine, otherwise, sift into a large mixing bowl.

Add butter and either using your fingertips, a pastry blender or two forks, mix flour and butter until it resembles course corn meal.


In a bowl, beat egg with water and vinegar.  Add to flour mixture.  If using the processor, pulse until just mixed, do not overwork the dough.  If using your hands or same thing applies, blend until just mixed.


 Dump out onto a piece of parchment paper, and press dough into a ball.


Refrigerate dough for a minimum of an hour.  Overnight is better!

For the Filling:

  • 1-15oz can of white beans (I used Great Northern, but Canollini or another white bean would do)
  • 1 8oz pkg of Birds Eye  Frozen Recipe Ready Sofrito
  • 1 Giant Portobello Mushroom Cap (or two medium ones?)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon dry italian seasoning (the herbs, not salad dressing mix)
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seed (I grind my own, but you can probably buy it already ground)
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I use the garlic infused oil)
  • 1 envelope Goya Sazon seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded Italian 4 cheese blend (parmasan, provolone, romano, asiago)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs water

What you need to do:

In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil.  Add sofrito mixture, and cook until vegetables begin to thaw.  Add diced zucchini, salt and pepper, and water.  Mix well and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms, herbs and Sazon, cover and let cook for another 5 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Transfer filling mix to a large bowl, add cheese and mix well.

To make the empanadas:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove dough from refrigerator.  On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 12 equal pieces for smaller pastries, 8 for larger pastries.  In a bowl, beat egg and water.  Take one piece of dough and roll out as close to a circle as possible.  I use my cereal bowl to trim into a “perfect” circle.



Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in center of dough.  Brush edges of dough with egg wash, fold over and seal with a fork.  Do this for remaining dough.


Place empanadas on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Brush tops with egg wash.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note:  If you don’t feel like turning on your oven…you can also fry them.  This is a no judgment zone…it was 85 degrees the day I made these…they went in the fryer!!


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