Latin Cooking Workshop

Nancy Weber and I have been talking about ways of bringing people together at Kitchen Sanctuary. We want to create skill sharing opportunities as well prepare homemade delicious and healthy foods for the cast and crew at the Sanctuary for Independent Media.  We gave a try this past Friday in preparation for Sofia Rei‘s concert. Sofia is from Argentina, so that got us thinking latin food and I settled in the idea of making and serving an Argentinian Locro and empanadas. With the menu set, we sent the word out and people came! Thank you everyone for being there and for making it a great workshop. Sofia Rei, band and crew were very complimentary and appreciative of the meal. Branda Miller, the Media Alliance’s arts and education coordinator said the Youth Media Sanctuary kids had the empanadas on Saturday “as a most marvelous treat, hot and tasty, under the Hoosick st. bridge during their video shoot!”

We started the day with Pao de Queijo. We used 6 sticks of butter, made about 100 empanadas and 4 gallons of soup! Please see all the recipes bellow.

Thank you Angela Barbosa for recording this moment during our workshop at the Sanctuary for Independent Media.

Ellie’s Roasted Vegetable Empanadas

•    1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
•    1 cup white whole wheat flour
•    1/2 cup butter cut into cubes
•    1 large egg
•    1/3 cup water
•    1 tablespoon white vinegar
•    1 egg whisked with one tbsp water (to brush pastry)
for the roasted vegetables
•    1 large beet peeled and cubed
•    1 large potato peeled and cubed
•    4 carrots peeled and cubed
•    2 cups butternut squash
•    1/2 cup onions diced
•    3 cloves garlic minced
•    1/4 cup olive oil
•    1/4 cup lemon juice
•    1 teaspoon thyme
•    salt and pepper to taste
other fillings for empanadas: roasted chicken or cheese
mashed potatoes with fried onions, cooked corn, jalopeno peppers and cheese

1.    Mix the flours and salt
2.    Rub the butter into flour using hands until the butter pieces are the size of peas
3.    Whisk the liquids together (egg, water and vinegar) and add to flour mixture
4.    Stir the mixture together until it forms a ball
5.    Wrap with plastic and let it chill for one hour (while you roast the vegetables)
6.    For the vegetables: mix all ingredients in a large bowl
7.    Bake the vegetables in a roasting pan at 425 for 35 to 45 minutes
8.    Let them cool
9.    Roll out the dough thinly into a large sheet and cut 5 inch circles
10.    Add a tablespoon of roasted vegetables to the center of each circle
11.    Fold the top edge to the bottom edge to form half moon packages
12.    Crimp the edges
13.    Brush each empanada with egg wash
14.    Bake empanadas at 400

thanks Steve Pierce for capturing meal time at kitchen Sanctuary

El Locro

I modified to make a vegetarian version, adapted from
serves 12-15

Serve argentinian locro with quiquirimichi red hot sauce made from red peppers and paprika, I adapted and created a sauce with what I had at hand.

El Locro (probably from the Quechua word “ruqru” or “luqru”), is kind of an Argentina version of corn chowder

2 pounds dried white corn kernels (hominy), use yellow hominy, soaked overnight and cooked, about 10 cups cooked
1 pound of fresh (or frozen) corn, 2 cups
2 pounds white beans, about 10 cups cooked
2 large carrots, cubed
1 small squash, peeled and cubed
4 cloves garlic
3 medium potatoes
3 medium sweet potatoes or yams
½ small cabbage
Add water to keep the stew covered

2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
salt to taste

The night before, put corn (if you are using dried corn) and beans in water to soak in a huge pot. The following day, rinse and cook on pressure cooker or crockpot on low for 6 hours or on a pot on stove top until tender.
Omit the steps above if using canned beans.
sauté garlic, onions on olive oil for one minute. Add the rest of the ingredients, sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Add water to cover and let simmer stirring occasionally until vegetables are done.

During this time, you can make the sauce for the locro. Serve in a bowl, for each person to add to their locro.

Sauce in the food processor or blender
½ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
1 cup roasted hot chili peppers ( I had a mix of different kinds). Remove seeds and ribs, place chills in a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Broil 6 inches away from the heat source, until blackened 5 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully not too burn, but you do want some of that black around the edges. Let is cool. Can be frozen for later use
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
Blend everything

Green onions, chopped to serve

Sofia Rei performing at the Sanctuary in Troy, NY.

Ellie Markovitch’s “Pão de Queijo” – Cheese Bread

Thanks to my mom Celeste for creating this recipe that adds a little bit of Brazil on our daily lives–miss you!

  • 1 cup of sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp of tapioca starch (Yuca flour)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make small balls by rolling about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough in the palm of your hand.  Use the extra yuca flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes (Remember no peeking!) Remove from oven and serve immediately piping hot.


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