Saturday, November 12, 2011


I think it was the fall weather that inspired me to make these little handpies for dinner. Crispy pastry wrapped around a tangy, vaguely Indian filling. It just seemed to fit. I have to admit that they came out pretty darned good, and I had a helper in the kitchen.

The pastry recipe is adapted from a cookbook called Biker Billy Cooks with Fire and was originally intended to be dough for samosas, which is essentially what these are, only I bake them rather than frying. (Just so you know, Biker Billy is a vegetarian who makes awesome, spicy things, like Gingerbread Bikers from Hell.) Turmeric and paprika create a golden, fragrant pastry while plain yogurt adds some tang. The filling is my own concoction - a mixture of ground turkey, onions, peas, sweet potato and spices. The recipe appears below.
Rita helps mix the dough.

The dough rests.

Making the filling.
Rita brushes with egg wash. She was really
excited about this job, despite the serious look.

All done baking...

Nina gives one a try.
They are good with salad and wine.

Now to make them...
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

For the dough:
2 cups all purpose flour (I substitute at least 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for the same amount of white)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp paprika
4 TBSP unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4-5 pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 TBSP cold water
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and cut in with two knives or a pastry cutter until mixture looks like small peas. Add the yogurt and stir. You can use a spoon to do this but I usually just reach in and mix it with my hands. Add the water 1 TBSP at a time until the dough is mixed and soft. It shouldn't stick to the bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes while you make the filling.

For the filling:
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup frozen peas
2 small sweet potatoes, cooked and diced (probably 1 1/2 cups total)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 - 1 cup chicken stock
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the ground turkey and season with salt and pepper. Break up any large bits of turkey so that the filling doesn't have big chunks in it. Add the peas, the sweet potatoes and the seasonings. As the mixture comes together, turn down the flame to low-medium and mash the sweet potato so that the filling begins to come together. If it seems to be getting too dry, add chicken stock until is has a good consistency that will hold together if you press it gently.

Once the filling is done and the dough has rested, it's time to roll out the dough. First, divide the dough into two pieces so that you don't try to roll too much at once. Lightly flour the rolling surface and roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8" thick. Cut 3" circles using a cookie cutter or a glass. Add enough filling to each circle to cover about half the area. Fold in half and seal - you could use a fork to crimp the edges if you want to.

Put completed pies on the prepared baking sheet. Mix an egg with 1 - 2 TBSP of water. Brush the eggwash over each handpie before baking. Bake 15 minutes.

These are a definitely labor intensive but they are really worth it. This recipe made 15 little pies and I have leftover filling to eat later...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Salsa Verde

This is the freshest salsa you can imagine. It's chock full of lime and cilantro. It's so easy to make and you'll probably keep eating it even after you run out of tortilla chips. It's great on chicken tacos with a little sour cream.

As always, measurements are not exact:
1 medium yellow onion (you could also use a Vidalia)
1 green bell pepper, seeded
10 - 12 tomatillos, outer husks removed, cut in half
1 jalapeño, seeded
1/4 - 1/2 cup cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
salt, pepper and cumin to suit your taste

Put onion, pepper, tomatillos, jalapeño and cilantro into food processor and pulse until well-combined but still chunky. Juice the limes over the mixture, add seasonings and pulse again. Now taste it to see if you need to add more of something.

We brought this to dinner with friends and they were instant converts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A little Asian-inspired side

My sister-in-law joined us for dinner last night and I had picked up a bunch of assorted sausages to grill - kielbasa, chicken and apple sausage, and store-made chicken curry sausage (yum!) from the local co-op. As I surveyed the contents of the fridge yesterday morning trying to decide what to serve with it, I was thinking about the cilantro-lime dressing I had made for a salad the night before. I had another lime and more cilantro, plus half a green cabbage and some red cabbage too... I always like slaw when it's had a chance to marinate in the dressing for several hours and I had just enough time to put something together that could sit in the fridge all day. Here's what I came up with.

Ginger Lime Miso Coleslaw

for the slaw
1/2 head green cabbage, julienned
1/4 - 1/2 cup red cabbage, julienned
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup red onion, yup, you guessed it, sliced very thin
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
(if I had a red bell pepper on hand, I would have given it a fine dice and tossed it in also - maybe 2 TBSP or so)

for the dressing
1" piece of fresh ginger
juice and zest from one lime
2-3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP miso paste (I had white miso paste on hand)
2-3 TBSP canola oil
1 garlic clove
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 TBSP Rose's lime juice (which I used because I didn't have another fresh lime)
Sriracha hot chili sauce to your taste

Toss slaw ingredients in a big bowl. Put all dressing ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. If it's too chunky, add a little more canola oil or lime juice. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

A little reminder here that these measurements are approximate since I don't actually measure stuff unless I'm baking. Don't yell at me if your slaw goes awry...

Monday, March 7, 2011

All dressed up...

Yesterday was my little one's fourth birthday. We had her party at the local ice cream and candy shop (which I keep meaning to write about because we love it so much). It was a lot of fun. The kids got to have a lesson on how ice cream is made, there was a great ice cream cake, and I got to have a scoop of Guinness ice cream - one of the feature flavors of the day. It was an easy way to do a party - entertaining for kids and grownups alike. But, of course, the birthday doesn't end there.

Today, I had to bring in snacks for my darling's preschool class, so I wasn't off the hook in the baking department. Normally I love to do these kinds of things but for some reason (perhaps it's the weather), I just haven't been in the mood to bake. I did, however, rouse myself long enough to make some cute little cupcakes. I confess that I used a boxed cake mix, but only because I am just about out of flour at home and this was at the ready.

I had some leftover cream cheese frosting on hand to frost the belly and then I cut fruit leather bow ties and gum drop beaks and feet. The eyes are cream cheese frosting with a little cocoa powder added. I'm pretty sure there's not enough frosting on these guys to entice a roomful of 3- and 4-year olds to really eat them, but maybe they are just cute enough for them to try a bite.