One day I'll buy a bike, she thinks when the sun leaves its red hand across her shoulders, those freckles popping now, deep brown.
Or maybe a new car (but she thinks poorly on those who drive).
Today she walks to pick up her mail (an anachronism to everyone besides her granny). Along the street she stops to reach and grab a copper penny, to touch the back of an orange caterpillar, to stretch because her arms are sore from supporting her weight in bed. Yes, she has a lover (this should come as no surprise).
Last month a friend sent her a package in one of those bubble-lined envelopes, and even though she could feel the photo frame through the layers of paper and plastic, she could not pry open the tight as glue seal. Walking with her gift rubbing against her bare thigh, she pulled forward a catalog of snapshots in her mind. The two of them, always ready.
But in she walks with confidence to her corner. P.O. Box 49007 nestled near the meeting of two walls. The key turns easily, unlike her last box which required a bit of finagling, and there the mail sits, each marked with her name, Nora Cunningham, in script, in type, in her mother's fluid hand.
But for now...let us progress to the world of culinary delight. Let's travel together across the ocean (for some of us) and into the Iberian peninsula. Now I can't begin to pretend that I'm an expert in Spanish cuisine. In fact, when Ryan and I went to Madrid for our honeymoon, we found the most pleasure eating pizza. But I do know that Spanish empanadas are a tasty treat...perhaps even more than tasty...they would certainly qualify as delicious.
But unfortunately all of that flavor comes along with quite a bit of unhealthy fat. Most empanadas are deep-fried (and while delicious, we eat enough sweets and treats around here to make me a bit cautious about bringing out a deep-fryer).
So I was delighted to find a recipe that called for the empanadas to be baked instead of fried. And since Ryan and I are vegetarians, we wanted to make a filling that steered clear of the traditional Spanish meat mix. The recipe below still requires a whole heap of butter, but at least we aren't adding oil to the mix and we're combating some of the fat with heart-healthy black beans and onions.
What is even better is that this recipe left with me with a handful of extra dough that I later turned into a delightful honey-apple tart (which you will be seeing later on in the week).
The salsa recipe is courtesy of an amazingly talented woman, Angie, from Eclectic Recipes. Her blog posts are always works of art (thoughtful, beautiful and always delicious). Thank you Angie for giving us such a wonderful topping to our meal!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 TBSP butter (cut into 8-12 pieces)
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup milk (you may need to add more or less to obtain the right consistency)
1. In the bowl of your food processor, process together the salt and flour until fully combined. Add in the pieces of butter and process until small crumbs form. Add in the egg yolk and milk in small amounts until a soft dough begins to form.
2. Shape dough into a round disc, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 cup black beans
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
A handful of sharp cheddar cheese
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and onion, as well as spices, and saute until translucent and soft. Stir in black beans and set aside.
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Wet counter top and place a layer of plastic wrap across the surface (the water helps the plastic wrap to stick). Roll out your dough to 1/8 inch thickness and use a 6 or 5 inch round cookie cutter to cut out discs.
2. Fill each disc with 2-3 TBSP of filling, top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and fold over, sealing the edges with the end of a fork. Brush lightly with egg wash and bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden. Spoon a generous serving of salsa over the top of each warm empanada.