Monday, December 12, 2011


What are empanadas?

My answer: "Fried pockets of love."

Would you believe that I avoided making these for the first ten years of marriage?  My only excuse is that Chris's mom is an excellent cook. She was a personal chef for wealthy estate owners when Chris was small.  Everything she makes is from scratch, without a recipe, and dang good.  It can be intimidating.

I was not an excellent cook in 1998 when we said our vows.  I mean, I knew enough that we wouldn't starve.  But, grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta can only be interesting for so long.  Someone even gave us a crockpot as a wedding gift, but it turned out to be a lemon.  I could never understand why our meals were tepid after eight hours on high.  

Finally, after years of trying recipes, reading cooking magazines, scouring cookbooks, asking friends and coworkers what they ate for dinner and how they made it, and watching cooking shows.. I got the hang of it.  There are still some foods and dishes that I find daunting, but I have definitely grown in confidence over time.  I'm not sure why it took me ten years to try my hand at the fried meat pockets my husband likes so much, even when his mom assured me they were easy.  Then, I found the pre-made dough at a Latin American mercado in Seattle, and the rest is (delicious) history.

Turns out, my mother-in-law was right.  

Yesterday, our young adults group met at our house for the last time, and I made sure I fed them something they loved.  I prepared 72 empanadas for our 15 hungry friends.  Half of them were a combination of chicken, green chilies, salsa, black beans, lime & cheese, and the other half were refried beans, black beans & cheese. I served them with sour cream, two kinds of salsa and Tapatio hot sauce on the side.  I've cooked for this crew twice a month for a year, and each meal is something different.  I made the empanadas once before and their reaction was so memorable that I knew this would be the perfect finale.

Then again, I've never met anyone who hasn't fallen for love..
deep fried.

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