The things I made while I was MIA

I promised myself that I’ll do my best to make up for not spending time on my blog- not that it was deliberate.  I still have unfinished posts which I’ll try to finalize but let me just share the stuff I made while I was MIA.  Somehow I felt a sense of déjà vu saying that.  I know I’ve written something like that before.  Maybe I should do it on a regular basis- you know, do a collage of sorts of whatever I cooked or baked but failed to post for whatever reason.

Starting with Custard Pie which is my favorite and which evokes a lot of childhood memories; those days when anything custard tastes delicious to me.  Now my palate has changed and I can bake my pie too! 
Seafood & Sausage Paella for the umpteenth time.  I dreamed of cooking it one day for my family.  Now I feel like I can make it even in my sleep just because I've made it so many times and being the most requested rice dish of my beloved GP's.  
Chicken Empanadas - baked, not fried; flaky crust; tasty filling. My rendition is an all-time family and beloved GP's favorite.  I have to triple the recipe just to satisfy everyone.

For the dough

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
6 eggs

Sift together the dry ingredients, set aside
In a large bow, whisk together oil and eggs
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture
Stir together using a wooden spoon till it turns into a dough
The dough should be soft although a little bit sticky
Transfer the dough into a floured work surface
Knead the dough until it becomes soft and pliable
Easy on adding flour lest it becomes tough resulting in a hard crust
Poke the dough with your fingers, it should be done when your fingers come out clean and the dough springs back
Cut the dough into little balls and flatten with a rolling pin before filling

For the filling:

one large chicken breast, boiled in seasoned water, shred into pieces
½ cup raisins
1 cup green peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 cup potatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp canola oil

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat
Saute the onion until translucent
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant
Add the potatoes and soy sauce and cook until tender, adding some of the chicken broth from boiling
Stir in chicken, raisins and green peas
Season with fresh cracked black pepper
Turn down the heat and just let it dry completely
Transfer to a plate and allow to cool 

To make the empanada:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Flatten the dough with a rolling pin
Spoon chicken filling off center of the dough
Fold the other half of the dough over 
Using a dough cutter or a knife, cut the sides and shape it into a half circle
Using the fork tines, press the edges gently to seal
Repeat the same to and arrange each empanada in a baking sheet lined with un-greased parchment paper, 
Brush the tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with 2 tbsp water)
Bake for 25-28 minutes or until light golden brown. I check the bottom if it's brown which also means it's done.
Pad See Ew - another Thai noodle dish which is so simple but flavorful.  It requires fresh flat noodles but I didn't have time to go to the Thai market so I settled for pad Thai noodles which is almost a regular in our pantry.  Yes, even if they say don't settle for second best- this is just as good.  Flavors, texture, can't complain- my family didn't :-)  
Obviously, cooking or baking cannot be totally avoided even on a very humid day and in the midst of a busy schedule.  Home cooked meals are still the best!


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