Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seitan Empanadas, Sauteed Kale, Pan Fried Yucca, Simple Salad

Today was my day for Spring Cleaning!  Time to go throughout the house and organize and clean everything, getting rid of things we haven't been using and use up the things that are getting a bit old.  I went through both the refrigerator and freezer.  The fridge was fine - just a little unorganized and messy, but nothing in particular that had  been in there for a while.  The freezer was an entirely different story.  I feel like I use it a lot when I have great intentions of saving something to use it later, but then it gets pushed to the back and forgotten about.  So, I went through it and discovered several things:
1.  I still have tons of homemade freezer jam - at least 5 pint containers (yikes, what am I going to do with all of those!?)
2.  I still have two small bags of homemade Monster cookies my Mum made for the Hubby and I the last time I visited her (which was definitely last year some time!).  Mum made them using white sugar, which the Hubby and I never eat, so we found them way too sweet (sorry Mum!) and couldn't eat them, but didn't want to throw them away because of all the love and effort she put into them.  But, after finding them a year later, I thought it was time to let them go.
3.  There was a bag of ground almonds I had left over from a Friday Night Dinner at the Natural Gourmet Institute a long time ago that I didn't want to get rid of, and after using it on everything I could possibly think of, I tasted it and it was quite freezer burned!  Sad!
4.  Lastly!  There was a package of Goya Discos para Empanadas (Goya pastry circles, specifically used for Empanadas and other appetizers) that was hanging out in there for about three months.  That could be used up though, so I took it out of the freezer, let it thaw on the counter until completely thawed, and made the filling for empanadas, using up come ground seitan I had left over from when I made tacos.  These took a while to make, but were so worth it, and now that I know how easy those discos are to work with, I'll definitely buy them again, but this time, use them much sooner!

Seitan Empanadas:

Seitan Empanadas, Garlic Sauteed Kale, Pan-Fried
Yuccs, Salad with Carrots, Scallions & Croutons

 Yields 10 Empanads, plus 1 cup additional filling

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup small diced onion
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, small diced, about 1/2 cup
1/2 green bell pepper, small diced, about 1/2 cup
1 small jalapeno, minced, about 2 tablespoons
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups small diced seitan
4 tablespoons chopped pimento stuffed olives (about 12-14 olives)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon boullion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3-4 tablespoons vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon vegan parm

10 pre-made empanada shells
1/2 " no-taste oil, such as canola or vegetable

1.  Place a large wok over medium-high heat and add the oil. Allow the oil to become hot and add the onions, scallion, green and orange bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic cloves.  Saute for several minutes until softened.  Add the seitan and cook for several additional minutes.
2.  To the veggie-seitan mixture, add the olives and all the spices, stirring to coat.  Add the oyster mushroom sauce and the vegan parm and stir well to coat.  Continue cooking the mixture the flavors have melded and some of the liquid has cooked off.
3.  Turn the heat on under the pot with the oil to medium high.  Allow it to become hot. 
4.  In the meantime, place one of the pre-made empanada shells on your cutting board. Lightly roll them out with a rolling pin, just to enlarge them slightly.  Place a couple tablespoons of the filling in the center and bring the top portion of the dough to the bottom, pressing the edges together until the empanada is securely sealed.  Repeat with remaining filling and shells. 
5.  Once the oil is hot, carefully place 2 empanadas at a time into the oil, cooking for about 30-60 seconds per side.  All you want is for the outside to become nice and golden.  If the outside is browning too quickly, turn down the heat. 
6.  Remove the empanadas from the oil with either a slotted spoon or a pair of tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the oil and serve.  You don't need a dipping sauce because the center is so flavorful.



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