To Go!Posted: April 25, 2011
DISCLAIMER: What follows is a rant, that, while very much applicable to Corner Brookers, may be construed as a digression from the task at hand –namely, food. Please scroll down for less volatile, and more savory, content.
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I feel especially cornered in Corner Brook when I try to book flights with Air Canada outta here. Sadly, West Jet, with all their seat-sales, teal uniforms and in-flight goofiness, only flies in and out of the Deer Lake Airport from mid-May to October, leaving most Corner Brookers with the only other option of Air Canada (and Provincial Airlines if you’re flying locally and their seats haven’t already sold out).
Naturally, Air Canada charges premium rates for their flights because of this market share, and lately they seem to charge for a whole lotta other stuff too (a 2nd checked bag, meals, seat-selection, even Aeroplan points for some reservations).
With all the aggravation it takes to get off this island, I like to travel as unencumbered as possible. And I also like the option of eating something on a 6:15 a.m. flight without having to pay $15 for a questionable, 3-day old sandwich.
That is why I created the perfect travel companion: Empanadas. They are compact, easy to carry, and they keep well (my fellow polite passengers out there will heave a sigh of relief when I tell you that these empanadas are also inoffensive, so you don’t have to worry about smelling like the guy with the pastrami sandwich in row 20).
1 1/2 cup of water
2 Tablespoons of Unsalted butter
A pinch of Smoked Paprika
Pour the liquid into a bowl and let it cool, then add 3 1/2 cups of All-Purpose or Whole Wheat flour. Using a wooden spoon, work the mixture into a ball, then turn it onto a floured surface and knead it for about 2 minutes. Return the ball to the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour or over night.
Then it comes time to use your imagination. My favorite way to fill empanadas is, while not exactly traditional, delectably vegetarian. I sauté shallots in a little olive oil, add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms brown and soften. After removing the mushrooms from the heat, I stir in some goat cheese, and sprinkle the mixture with thyme and salt & pepper.
Drop one tablespoon of filling onto each circle, wet the perimeter of the pastry with a few dabs of water, and fold the circle over to make a half-moon shape, pinching the edges as you go. Brush with a bit of egg for a glossy finish.
The sky is truly the limit when it comes to filling the empanadas. Just remember to steer clear of potential flight faux-pas: avoid smelly deli meats and cheeses, and forgo liquid fillings (like pizza sauce or chili) that have the potential for a mess no one wants to experience at high altitudes.