I have to get ready. Halloween on through New Year’s is a fun, wonderful, magical time of year—and I love every part of it. The season means food and friends, music and wonderment, parties and gifts, laughter and love. It is also the season of appetizers.
I love to bake and I will take just about any excuse to make a batch of Babycakes Cupcake Maker cupcakes, cookies, pies or whatever. But this time of year, it seems I become appetizer challenged. Do you ever have that problem? Why is it hard to think of a new appetizer or snack to serve?
This year, I planned to create several new appetizers. Recipes ready, it would be a cinch to quickly make a batch of something new. Suddenly, I am already behind.
Roxanne and I had great Saturday at Pryde’s, signing copies of our new cookbook. Pryde’s is a wonderful kitchen shop in the Old Westport area of Kansas City. It was fun to meet so many people and sign copies of our book. (Visit our Facebook page to see a photo.) It was also great fun to watch the shoppers. The store was so busy and people were shopping for the holidays. We actually saw gift-wrapped holiday packages leaving the shop. Wow, I thought, those folks know how to get a jump on the holidays—and then suddenly I realized—the holidays are – eek—here.
Back to the appetizers. This year, I knew it would be a cinch since I was counting on appetizers from the Babycakes Cupcake Maker. I love to use it for appetizers and quiche. So, if you have every thought of yourself as appetizer challenged, never fear—this wonderful empanada could become one of your favorite recipes, too. Empanadas are just bite-size turnovers and they can be filled with so many different meat and veggie combinations. This time, I chose goat cheese and mushrooms. I also made a new crust recipe—a little more classic for empanadas as it is not quite as flaky as a pie crust. Yet, in a pinch, I know they would be just as good if I made a classic pie crust or even used a refrigerated crust. Warm melted cheese, mushrooms, and a hint of seasonings. Perfect for any holiday party I know. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy the days ahead.
Mushroom Goat Cheese Empanada
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/3 cup sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Empanada crust recipe, see below
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently 2 to 3 minutes. Add red pepper and jalapeno and cook, stirring frequently 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and cumin. Reduce heat to low. Stir in goat cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Cook, stirring frequently, just until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
Roll out empanada crust on a lightly floured board until very thin. Cut 8 circles with the large circle pie cutter. Position one round in each well of the Babycakes cupcake maker. Push down gently with the pie forming tool. Cut out 8 circles with small circle pie cutter and set these aside.
Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling into each crust. Top each with a small circle of crust. Close and bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until browned. Remove to a wire rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.
Makes 8 servings.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water, divided
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir together 4 tablespoons water, egg, egg yolk, and vinegar. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir lightly just until moistened. If needed, add remaining water, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until mixture is moistened and comes together to form a dough.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Roll out on lightly floured board. Cut into circles, fill and bake as directed above.
Makes 8 (2-crust) Babycakes Cupcake Maker empanadas