As I mentioned last week, one of my friends who frolicked around Cuba speaks fluent Spanish and her family hails from Argentina. Her stories are always colorful… especially the ones about her grandfather. Her mother is a charming woman and, one very pleasant evening, I had the pleasure of meeting her mother’s sisters – all of them...at the same time! One can only imagine the hilarity and pandemonium at a full-family function…it would be a delightful memory indeed. During their visit, we all went to a high school football game to watch our daughters march in the band...what a riot. This particular high school has over 420 members in the marching band and when they occupy the field it is quite an impressive – and intimidating – site, let me tell you.
Anyway, my friend will often surprise us with cultural favorites and Tuesday night we had Empanadas….what an absolute treat. The word, Empanada, comes from the word empanar, meaning to wrap in bread. These semi-circular surprises are usually filled with a seasoned meat and other things, such as onions, eggs and olives. The fillings vary slightly in each Latin American county and include ingredients such as cubed cheese, potatoes, carrots, beans, and fruit, like avocados.
The prepared Empanadas are typically baked, but we had a fried version on Tuesday night. I arrived a little early and eagerly watched the assembly process while drinking wine (I didn’t want to get in the way, and besides, I had to take pictures). I post a link to the recipe from the blog "From Argentina, With Love." We also had a delicious spinach, golden beet, Gorgonzola cheese and walnut salad and lemon bars for dessert. Our gracious hostess served a wonderful Malbac from Argentina, 2006 Finca Flichman Misterio, medium bodied with hints of cherry, vanilla and sage (don’t be too impressed – I read this on the label….my wine nose is not yet sophisticated enough to pick up such subtleties).
Other cultures offer their own takes on these pouched palate pleasers …. in Italy, the Calzone, the Pierogi in Poland, India serves the Samosa, Knishes in Jewish culture, and I would be totally remiss if I failed to mention the all-American, Hot Pocket….yum. Calzones would be fun to make and (naturally) write about so, restate sintonizzati!