February 28, 2012

Yummy Empanadas!!!

My sister in law asked me to help make some sort of finger food for her tapas party. I love making mini empanadas for parties. It requires time but they are fairly easy to make and they are always a hit! Plus you can make them days before hand, bag and freeze them and take them out and reheat for your big day. Hope you enjoy!

For the dough:
  • 6 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons shortening/butter
In a bowl, beat the water, eggs, egg whites and vinegar together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the 6 cups of flour and salt. Cut the shortening into the flour mix with a pastry blender or two butter knives. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour the liquid ingredients from the first bowl into the center. Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until it becomes stiff. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it just until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and not sticky.

For the filling: Empanadas can be filled with all sorts of options. You can have chicken, potatoes, beans and cheese, beef. In this case I used minced meat. You can follow this one or fill them with your choice of filling.

600 grams of minced meat
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1 big lime or 2 small ones
1 cup of freshly chopped coriander or 1/2 cup of dried coriander
half of one 'La Costeña Mexican Green Salsa' bottle
salt and pepper to taste
Maizena for thickening of the salsa

In oil, cook finely chopped onion and the 2 garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press. Add the meat and cook until done. Add salt, pepper, coriander, lime juice and green salsa. Slowly add maizena until the salsa is thick and not liquidy. Set aside.


Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C.

Roll out your dough. It should be fairly flat. Make sure the surface you work on is floured to prevent the dough from sticking. Cut out circles using a large circular cookie cutter, cup or bowl. I used a tupperware bowl that was approx. 3in. in diameter. Try to keep it at that size.

With a brush, coat the outsides of the circles with 1 beaten egg

 Add a spoonful of the meat with pieces of cheese. 

Fold over in half, and fork the sides together. 

Coat the tops of the empanadas with egg.

 Stick in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are a nice gold-brown color.

Once done, let them cool on a rack. You can serve by themselves, with a sour cream dip, or freeze in a bag for later.


February 23, 2012

Making tamales in Norway

YES ladies and gentlemen it is possible to make tamales in Norway!
A few days ago my Mexican friends and I got together to make some tamales and oh boy were they good! The only downfall is that they weren't 100% Mexican tamales. We did what we could with what we had and what we could find.
My friend Andrea, brought back some dried corn husk from Mexico, so that at least was authentic. Here in Norway you can buy banana tree leaves from the international shops and its works just the same.
For the "dough" we used the corn meal imported from Venezuela, you can find it in most international food shops.If you find white corn meal, then go for it, you cant be too picky being so far away, however I would add a bit of chili powder to add some color to it. (Make sure you don't buy cornmeal with polenta)
This is the one we used. PAN corn meal.

     We made two types of tamales, vegetarian and chicken. However you can make them out of beef, pork, chiles and cheese, be creative!


*1kg PAN cornmeal
*2quarts of water (19dl)
*4 Knorr chicken stock cubes
*227 grams lard (you can go to the butchers and ask for rendered pork lard which works the best, or you  can use shortening (Flott)
*1 tbsp bake pulver
*1/2 tbsp salt
*1 finely shredded chicken
*1 bottle of La Costeña Salsa Verde



First you need to put the corn husks or the banana leaves to soak in warm water for up to an hour so that they become flexible to fold without breaking.  

Pour corn meal, salt and bake pulver into a large bowl. Mix and set aside.
On medium-high heat pour water into a pot and add the chicken stock cubes. Wait until they dissolve.
In a saucepan add the lard/shortening and melt on low heat.
Once the lard/shortening is melted, pour it into the corn meal and mix with a large wooden spoon until it is all soaked up by the corn meal. Then slowly add the water with the chicken stock. Alternate between pouring and mixing. You may not need to use all the water. Add enough so that the dough is a bit sticky to the touch. It shouldn't be watery and you should be able to mold it. Discard any left over water. This is the hard part. now you have to mix the dough for maybe 10 minutes. Use the spoon until it is cool enough to mix with your hands. The point is to try and get as much air in it as possible. The more you knead the better. Once your hands are dead tired, we can proceed to the next step. 

Remove the corn husks or banana leaves from the water. It is time to fill them up. You will add about a spoonful of chicken and a spoonful of the green salsa.
Since it could get a bit complicated and confusing to explain this. Here is a video on how to fill up the tamales. 



 This next video shows how to fill them up and fold them if using the banana leaves. A good size would be 12in x 12in. They have many filling in this next video. But we will be simple and just use chicken.




  The best way to cook them is to take a HUGE pot, and place a vegetable steamer at the bottom. Pour some water into the pot, make sure you add just enough water to the bottom of the pan so the water doesn't touch the tamales. Check it often so the water doesn't run dry, this is important. You can then place the tamales inside. Place a damp cotton towel over the top of the tamales and cover with the lid. This helps create more steam. Get the water to boil and then turn the heat to low. Simmer/steam for 1 1/2 hours. Every 20 minutes take some tongs and take the tamales that are in the middle and place them on the outside. The tamales that are hidden in the middle get less steam. After 1 1/2 hours check the tamales by removing one and letting it cool for 5 minutes. Open the hot tamale and check that the dough is firm and not mushy. If need be, cook a little longer and check every 15 minutes until done. When tamales are done take them out of the pot to cool on the counter. I recommend using tongs for this, they will be very hot. Now you can enjoy and stuff your face with your own homemade tamales!


 For the dessert tamales we only used pineapple. But you can add coconut flakes to it, or just use raisins. Its up to you, back home we would only use pineapple and coconut flakes

*1kg PAN cornmeal
*2quarts of water (19dl)
*227 grams lard/shortening
*1 tbsp bake pulver
*1/2 tbsp salt
*1 tbsp cinnamon
*2 cups of fine granulate sugar
*1 can of sweetened condensed milk
*Either 1 pineapple cut into small tiny pieces. Pineapple and 1cup of coconut flakes. Or just raisins

Follow the same instructions as with the chicken tamales minus the chicken stock cubes, chicken and green salsa. Just add the pineapple, coconut flakes or raisins.

After you have made your tamales, give yourself a pat on the back. The tamales recipe is perfect served with refried beans and rice. Don't forget to add a little guacamole and salsa.
If there is any confusion in this recipe please email me or leave a comment.
Again this recipe is not for authentic Mexican tamales.

February 19, 2012

Mexican Pizza

I find pizza to be a common weekend dinner in Norway, whether it is frozen, bought, or homemade. But I get bored easily with the same thing every weekend, so I decided to jazz it up, and still keep with the tradition.
When I first met my husband he thought that Mexican food was meat cooked with taco spice and canned beans and cheese in a torilla. Poor thing! I later introduced him to the world of real spices and flavor. Let's just say he'll never go back to taco spice! He is a great student in the kitchen and is quickly learning how to really flavor food! Although this pizza isn't authentic Mexican food, I tried to make it as Mexican as possible by using similar ingredients.
So this is my new favorite recipe for my Mexican pizza for all the ladies in my FB group that asked for recipes. This  is one of many to come!
There are two versions; one with beef, and one with minced meat.

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.  
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round circle or a large rectangle.
Transfer on to a baking pan with baking paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside. It might rise a little bit during the cooking time.


  • 1 can of La Costeña refried pinto beans or 1 can of any type of bean/bønner**
  • 1 red chile pepper finely chopped (optional)
  • 100ml milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice 


Pour the beans into a saucepan on low-medium heat. Add the red chile pepper and lime juice. Add salt, pepper and garlice pepper to your own taste. Add milk to liquify more, for an easier spread on the dough
(If you are not using the pre-refried beans mash and fry them with 100grams of butter. Add chile, lime juice salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Add milk to liquify

  • 600grams beef OR 500 grams of minced meat
  • 1 can of La Costeña chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves sueezed through a garlic press or finely chopped 
  • Freshly chopped cilantro/coriander
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dry red chili flakes
(For the beef version, we go to the deli and ask for 600grams of thin 1/2 inch slices of any good beef they have. Kind of like a carne asada filet. The quality of the meat depends on how much you want to spend, so it's up to you.What I like to do before cooking is let it marinade 1-2 hours before hand. I improvise a lot in the kitchen depending on what I have. Last time I made a simple lime-onion-pepper-tequila marinade. Chop 1onion into thin slices, pour 2 shots of tequila, squeeze about 3-4 big limes into whatever youll have your marinade in and about a tablespoon of pepper. Mix it all up and add the beef. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours. 45 minutes in I like to move the meat around to make sure everything gets marinated.)

Cook onion and garlic in oil or butter in large saucepan until tender and the onion is a clear white. Add the meat and cooke until brown. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and red chili flakes to taste. Add 2-3 chipotle peppers and some of the adobo sauce. Don't cut the chipotle peppers unless you want it spicy. I just let them cook a bit to get the juices inside to seep out. I later take them out. Biting into one of these will have you with your mouth open under the sink if you're not used to spice but the adobo sauce adds a nice kick to the meat! Take it off  the heat, and add the chopped cilantro/coriander. Mix together.

NOW!!! Spread the beans over on the dough, add the meat on top, spreading equally around, and top off with cheese.
Bake at 250 degrees C for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let it cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Additional toppings I like to add are sour cream and avocado slices or guacamole. The sour cream helps to kill some of the spice if its too spicy and the avocado just tastes great with it!

Next blog I will give a recipe for making tamales in Norway!

February 2, 2012

All aboard the mood train

Lately I have been so emotional during my periods. I never suffered from PMS.  I would get the bad cramps, and I still do, but never would I get emotional. Now, it seems that I go from serious to balling my eyes out in seconds. It could be anything, this morning it was because I spilled juice on the floor, around lunchtime because I didn't want to eat the pizza leftovers. Sad videos that would be touching make me cry as if someone died. I tend to randomly start thinking in horrible things and just start crying too.

I get pissed off easier too. I feel as if it should all be about me and if it isn't then its wrong. I normally am not like this. Only when mother nature is paying her visit. Sometimes I like a good cry over things that matter, like the fact that I am from a sunny place and I now live in a cold and rains almost every day city, the fact that I have to know Norwegian 100% for anything and everything yet when people find out that I am from the USA they start talking English. I miss my family, my home....those things are worthy things to cry about. Not because I spilled some juice on the floor. Before we jump to conclusions, no I am not pregnant! I'm on my period, scientifically in most cases that means not pregnant!
I just want a hug right now. Really badly, kind of like a fat kid wants cake, yet I'm home alone and my husband is working overtime today. I called him and although I know he does care, right now, the way I'm feeling makes me think he doesn't, I even hung up on him all stupidly saying something like "yeah ok I get it, you don't want to let your co-workers down, but it's fine to let me down". I know it sounds stupid and most of all unfair to him, but I don't care right now. Right now I'm right and everyone else is wrong. God I sound like the worlds biggest bitch, and at this moment I probably am.
And there come the tears again...oh boy. I need help.
 I mostly feel bad for the hubby who is the only one who has to deal with this. I keep him up on work nights because of this. And we joke about it with my friends but I know how much of a burden it must be.
I know that this is may be a result of my birth control, but you gotta do what you gotta do. If there was some sort of birth control for men other than condoms I would make him take it.
God I just want a hug right now, but who in their right mind would hug me back.
Maybe I'll just lie in bed and hug myself and cry about it.

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