You might think I'm Fancy when I tell you I made empanadas tonight but it was really a desperate how to rustle up some excitement out of a refrigerator with one shelf of condiments, some leftover taco meat and a few dozen eggs kind of maneuver.
For dough I used this recipe from Layla Pujol. I made it in the food processor; it was easy. At first I thought, why break the dough into two balls? But of course it's crucial, because if you had to face rolling all of it out at once — into tiny round circle after tiny round circle — you'd just grab your shoes, get on the highway and leave life in this town behind you, stopping at Taco Bell later when you got peckish.
For the filling I used:
- leftover taco meat (ground beef with cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, cayenne)
- some roasted red peppers (frozen, in a bag, thank you Danny Wegman)
- the remains of a bag of spinach (frozen, in a bag, thank you Danny Wegman)
- grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- a generous splop of Valentina sauce
For a few tense minutes at the end of all that rolling I thought I had the precise amount of filling I needed for each dough ball. I could already hear my friend Phil offering this as proof there is a God but I ended up with three extra. Whew, that was close.
They came out super tasty. The dough wasn't rubbery! And I stuffed the extra three with some banana chunks sprinkled with Vietnamese cinnamon. Yum.
From The Sideboard is where I ramble about cooking and eating. We really have a sideboard at our house — but we call it The Cyborg, so if I called this From The Cyborg you might be confused or perhaps even feel cheated. Nobody wants that. I cook extemporaneously and make a lot of spicy pastes, and rarely cook the same thing twice.