Mushroom Empanadas

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In late 2005, I spent a month visiting my sister in Argentina. She and her best friends were studying abroad in Buenos Aries for the year and I had recently returned to America heart broken after ending a relationship with a Spaniard. I was depressed and unemployed and my parents didn’t really know what to do with me, so they sent me to South America for some sisterly love, sun, steak, and Malbec. It was just what the doctor ordered!

My dad, best friend, and I in my sister's apartment in Argentina, circa December 2005.

My dad, best friend, and I in my sister’s apartment in Argentina, circa December 2005.

One can’t visit Argentina without falling in love with the flaky and delicious empanada. The hand-held pastries are everywhere and made in so many different variations that they can suit virtually any tastebud. They can be baked and filled with ham and cheese or deep fried and stuffed with cinnamon, apples, and sugar. Continue reading

Crab Toast

IMG_7274Lately I’ve been nostalgic for my life in Spain — for the people, the places, and the slowness of life. It’s been four years since I last visited and it feels like an eternity. It’s horribly sad, but I can’t even remember the name of my favorite cafe. The place where I went every morning for two years for a cortado and toast (whole wheat with tomatoes, oil, and salt if I was being healthy and white with whipped butter if I was not). It was like the Starbucks of Cordoba and for some reason going there always felt like going home.

When I miss something, I like to make food that takes me back to that time. One of the things that I made a lot in Cordoba was crab toast. It’s sort of a funny thing to make considering that Cordoba is the only place I’ve ever lived that’s completely and totally landlocked with the nearest ocean hours away. The nearby seas aren’t even really home to the type of crab I grew up with, but what Spain is good at, and internationally known for, is canned seafood.  Continue reading

Lemon Drops

IMG_0040 My grandfather’s Meyer lemon tree is filled with luscious juicy, bright yellow oval jewels, so I picked a bunch and brought them home with me. Although I made a lemon tart and served it to my friends as dessert at my last dinner party, the best use of hand-picked, fresh-squeezed lemon juice is to make a cocktail. There’s literally hundreds of libation recipes that use lemon juice, from Sidecars to Bee’s Knees, but lately, I’ve been nostalgic for the life of my early twenties. Continue reading