Pork Empanada and Zucchini Basil Soup

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These two recipes really don’t “go” together, but they were both delicious.

Zucchini Basil Soup from Gourmet magazine (July 2008)

This soup was phenomenal and would make an excellent first course or accompaniment for almost anything. Obviously, it would be great with Italian food. It was also VERY easy (I LOVE my immersion blender) and is quite healthy. I substituted chicken broth for the water, just to take advantage of the opportunity to add a bit more flavor. The hardest part of the soup was figuring out how to make the peel juiliennes. I tried two different methods: a mandoline and a julienne peeler. Neither of them worked well at ALL (I think I need to work on my technique), so I ended up just peeling off wide strips of peel with a paring knife and then slicing them into julienne.

Party-Style Pork Empanada from Southern Living magazine (September 2008)

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The empanada was also quite yummy and pretty easy. It reminded me a little bit of our taco ring, but the flavors were more subtle. I actually like this one better and may use the bread dough (instead of “crescent” rolls) the next time that I make “our” taco ring. Girl said that she really liked this (Boy ate dinner at a friend’s house tonight, so didn’t get a chance to weigh in). I did switch the recipe up a tiny bit. Hubby has a pathological fear of raisins. Seriously, it’s just not explainable, but it is not a subtle or remotely ambilavent feeling that he has about them. He says that they taste like dirt. So, to placate Hubby, I substituted black beans for the raisins. The recipe made a TON of filling and I was not able to fit it all into the bread (if you are able to stretch that bread dough out to a 12 by 14 rectangle, you must be a magician!), so I have another entire batch of filling in my freezer now, for future use. I think that it might be good over rice instead. The “picadillo” seasoning is not dissimilar to taco seasoning, but also had some dehydrated raisins (that I had to pick out) and sliced olives in it. Next time, I may try to make my own spice blend instead.

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