shallots

Appetizer, Entrée, Fall

SQUASH + GOAT CHEESE EMPANADAS

sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen

My overarching theme for this year is about being brave. I realized at the end of last year, that fear motivates a lot of things I do or decisions I make. The fear of failing, of people not liking me, a fear of being misunderstood or undervalued, fear of pain or conflict or not having enough money. It's wasted time really, and I recognize that. There is a Donald Miller quote, "fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life," and I sure don't want that. The most rewarding moments I can remember have been those when I pushed myself a little. I don't have much to say on the topic besides that it's on my mind. To take risks, to make decisions prior to over thinking them, to stop worrying so much. No tiny violins at all, I just hope that in my writing, my food and my time here, I can trust myself a bit more. 

I haven't had the greatest luck with pastry dough but Hugh has an affinity for empanadas so they've been on my "to make" list for quite some time. Americans call them hand-pies, Italians call them calzones, the Argentinians call them empanadas and they're each some version of a stuffed dough. I love the spiced squash and goat pairing here, but you could play around and fill them with whatever you like. The small ones would make cute appetizers or the larger ones would be easy to pack for a picnic or a road trip. I will make these again, hopefully with a bit more patience on the dough side of things.

Hope you enjoy them. Happy weekend.

sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen

SQUASH + GOAT CHEESE EMPANADAS // Makes about 20 minis or 10 larger

Recipe adapated from Give Me Flour

I suppose you could use any winter squash you'd like here. I tried to give options for spice and herbs, so you can alter the filling to your preference. I used chipotle powder for a bit of heat, but smoked paprika will work well too.

// dough //

  • to spare repeating, see here
  • (the only change I made was sub in 3/4 cup whole wheat flour for some of the unbleached flour)

// filling //

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika or chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green herbs (some combination of sage, parsley, cilantro, thyme)
  • 5 oz. goat cheese (her choice) or jack cheese (his choice)
  • egg wash (1 egg and a splash of water, well whisked)
  • sesame seeds
sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 425'.

Follow the dough recipe according the link provided. Wrap it up and keep chilled in the fridge. This cane be done a day in advance.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Drizzle it with the olive oil and rub it into the flesh and a bit on the skin. Sprinkle it with salt and cinnamon and roast for about 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is very soft. Remove and let it cool completely.

While the squash is cooking, saute the garlic and shallot in a bit of olive oil until just browned. About 8-10 minutes.

Once the squash is cool to the touch, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add another pinch of salt, the paprika or chipotle powder, nutmeg, the sauteed garlic and shallots and the green herbs. Use the back of a fork and mash everything together well. Taste the mix and add as you wish, maybe a bit more salt, heat, etc.

Turn the oven down the 350'. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet. Roll out the dough to about 1/8'' thickness on a floured work surface and press out the circles for your empanadas. You can use 4'' cutters for small ones, or 6-8'' for a larger size. Leaving plenty of space around the edge, put a dollop of the squash in the center, followed by a dollop of cheese, and fold the circle over. Press the edge with your finger to seal and then press along the edge with the tins of a fork. This got a bit messy for me, stay calm. Lay the empanadas on the baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and some thyme leaves and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until just golden. Enjoy warm.

sprouted kitchen
sprouted kitchen
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Entrée, Snack, Summer

SUMMER TOMATO LENTILS

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I work in the hospitality industry. There are no holidays, and ‘weekends’ typically come in the form of a Tuesday and Thursday. This does make for productive days off, but there is something about the traditional weekend day that makes me feel like I don’t need to set an alarm. I love taquito-ing myself in my soft white comforter, listening to people futz around in the back alley and having tea in a mug that doesn’t have to fit in my car cup holder. I love you, Saturday.

Laguna Beach has their farmers market on Saturday, so that was my first stop this past (real) weekend. You know, once I got out of my fluffy taquito. I can travel to others during the week if need be, but I find it much more charming to walk to my market, canvas bag in hand- it fits the Saturday picture I paint in my head. I joined the people hovering around the testers enjoying the sweet smell of stone fruits on little toothpicks. Hugh lingered in the background twittering about how 'the hippies were looking at him funny.’ Typical.

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There is so much produce in season right now; I grabbed a few favorites to fill my mini fridge, along with some incredibly fragrant baby tomatoes that I thought would be great in a big bowl of lentils. As they delicately roast in the oven, the sweet flavor becomes more pronounced.

SUMMER TOMATO LENTILS // Serves 2 as entrée, 4 as a side

1 Cup Lentils

1 Lemon, zest and juice

1/3 Cup Goat Cheese

2 Large Shallots, peeled and sliced thin

3 Cups Baby Tomatoes

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Chives, Finely Chopped

1/3 Cup Basil, Chopped

1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard

1 tsp. Garlic Salt

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Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Oven to 325'

Note: I cook my lentils in unsalted water, as salt is said to toughen the beans- they will taste most fresh if the seasoning is added at the end.

1. Cut tomatoes in half. On the baking pan, toss with 1/2 tbsp. of the olive oil and garlic salt. Turn the tomatoes so they are cut side up, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

2. Rinse and drain the lentils, pick out any scrappy pieces. In a medium pot bring 1½ cups water to a boil, add the lentils, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Test the beans for doneness; the liquid should be absorbed, add more if they are not soft to your taste. Put them in a large bowl and crumble in the goat cheese so it melts in the warmth. Add the lemon zest and juice, and gently fold to coat.

3. While lentils are cooling, make the crispy shallots. In a small saucepan, heat up 1/2 tbsp. olive oil on medium. Add the sliced shallots and cook about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown on both sides.

4. Gently fold the dijon mustard, remaining olive oil and fresh black pepper into the goat cheesey lentils. Add the basil and chives, roasted tomatoes and crispy shallots. Add salt to your preference.

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~ Serve in a pita or butter lettuce wraps!

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