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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pastechis in Progress

Hello, my lovelies! I have been experimenting in the kitchen to create my beloved Aruban pastechis (like an empanada, but with a Dutch Caribbean twist).  Since pastechis come with many different kinds of filling, I decided to try chicken curry. And, not wanting to make a one note meal, I completed the menu with an avocado-spring mix salad with honey lime dressing and Dutch cashew cake for dessert.  With the windows thrown open to a warm spring day, and a breezy outfit to boot, I channeled my island girl childhood and went to work!

My idea of a breezy outfit? Well, I start with a closet staple-a pair of Miss Me white skinny jeans. The white creates a more casual and colorful color palette, while the skinny cut keeps it from being too bulky.

While it was warm, but the breezy had a bit of a coolness to it, I chose a light blue tissue weight v-neck sweater.  Perfect to contrast with my ginger hair!

Notice the feminine details on the sleeve caps? Keeps it from looking like Alexander Skarsgard on True Blood...not that I would mind looking AT him, just don't want to look LIKE him.

And, since no outfit is complete without a pair of red stilettos (actually no woman's closet is complete without a pair in her arsenal!)....

I tell you, my lovelies, I get more complements on these shoes than anything else I own.  Ignore that tired, conservative adage that only cheap women wear red shoes-I know I look like a million bucks when I wear these sweet shoes!

Okay, now that we are dressed and ready to cook, let's begin!

Pastechis with Chicken Curry Filling:

For the chicken:

1 whole roasting chicken
Juice of 3 limes
1 large yellow onion, sliced
3 t. garlic powder
3 t. allspice
3 t. smoked paprika
3 t. cumin

Mix garlic powder, allspice, paprika, and cumin together in a small bowl. 

In a large Dutch oven or clay baking pot, placed rinsed whole chicken.

  Pour lime juice over chicken, making sure to get plenty inside the cavity.  Put onion slices in and around the chicken, and sprinkle spice mixture over whole chicken, making sure to get fair amount inside the cavity as well.

Bake at 350 F, for 2 hours, or until the bird is fork tender.  After chicken has cooled, de-bone, dice and set meat aside. (While the chicken is cooking you can start on the cashew cake.)

For the filling:

3 potatoes, diced to 1/2 pieces
1 onion, diced
3 T. olive oil
2-3 t. curry powder (I prefer Sharwood's Hot Curry Powder)
Diced chicken 
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add potatoes and onions and cook until potatoes are golden and onions have carmelized.  Add chicken and curry powder, stirring until warmed and mixed thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste.

For the dough:

4 cups of flour
1 T. of baking powder
1 T. sugar
2 T. vegetable shortening
2 T. margarine
1 t. salt
1 egg beaten
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients into a large bowl except water. Mix well. Add water, a little bit at a time to form dough. When the dough is pliable, knead it well.

Divide into 18-20 small, equally sized dough balls.  Roll each ball to 1/8 inch thickness and place 2 T. filling and fold over to form a half moon shape.  Seal with water and pinch closed, making sure that no filing can leak when frying.

To Fry:

In a large pot, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Cook pastechis, a few at a time, until golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a plate with paper towels.

Whew! It's a bit of work, isn't it, my lovelies?  Not to worry, pour yourself a glass of wine and take a breath.  It's almost time to eat...

Dutch Cashew Cake:

This cake is a European style cake, meaning it is not crazy sweet and the icing is a delicate egg white frosting rather than a heavy, rich butter cream.  The recipe also only makes 1 9 inch round, but it is a lovely when sliced in small pieces and served with tea. It is good the first day, and spectacularly moist on the second.

Where I live, I cannot buy ground cashews, so I have to make them.  Make sure you buy unsalted, raw cashews for this step, otherwise-well, eww.

Grind the raw, unsalted cashews in a food processor, pulsing until the nuts resemble a coarse meal, much like corn meal.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1-1/2 cups sifted flour
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups ground cashews
Frosting: (use a metal bowl)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (no artificial flavoring)
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 cup ground cashews

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Fold in the egg whites and mix gently. Add the rest of the cake ingredients and mix gently, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Grease and flour a 9" round cake pan and bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Let cool.

In metal bowl......Beat egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks, then add sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff. Add butter, salt, almond extract and beat well.

Notice that the frosting only covers the top of the cake-this is how it should be served.  The thin and delicate frosting would not sit properly on the sides, but slide down to a puddle.

The remaining ground cashews are sprinkled on top of the cake.  My mouth is watering just looking at the picture again.  Yum! Yum!

For the salad, this is one I have posted before.  Just your favorite spring greens, red onions sliced, tomatoes, and diced avocados.  Toss with 3 T. honey, the juice of one lime (whisked together, of course).

Notice the tasty cocktail in the background of the picture? This is a concoction we invented on the fly that evening.  We're calling it a Malibu Mike.

Malibu Mike:

2 oz. Malibu rum
6 oz. Mike's Hard Limeade
juice of 1/2 lime
1 maraschino cherry

In a cocktail shaker, combine rum, lime juice, and hard limeade. Shake gently.  Pour over cherry and crushed ice.  Garnish with a lime slice.

And, last but not least, the slice of cashew cake.  All and all, it was like a trip home.

Here's to spring weather and all that comes with it, my lovelies-


1 comment:

  1. red shoes with plataeu are wonderful! simona (from ...'s kitchen)