Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Globe Trotting

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Although I’ve had great opportunities in life thus far to see many states in the US, I have yet to make it out of the US. I would have to say Italy is on the top of my list as must-sees, just because I come from an Italian family. But there is so much more I would like to see too, so I hope to maybe knock some countries off my list during my 20’s.

Studying abroad through my current university is still up for debate for Spring 2011, but in the meantime my job for the Concordia Language Villages has brought me to all corners of the world even though I am really just cooking in the kitchen! Food is such a universal subject that can bond us with anyone, whether they speak our language or not. It’s a survival staple, and every country has added their own touch to the culinary world. Just when you think you know a lot about the realms of cooking, step into a kitchen with someone who has been doing it for 30+ years, and then you’ll learn that you won’t ever stop learning new recipes, new foods, new tips, and new tastes.

Just in the past week, check out the places I’ve “traveled”…

The Caribbean


black bean soup

Greece and France




italian night

Pizza night





So despite my busy schedule at work, I still try to find time to cook in my kitchen believe it or not. Everyone claimed once I got this job, I’d get sick of cooking and baking--never! So I decided to take a trip to Spain..I’ve always been obsessed with empanadas.


a turnover or mold of pastry filled with chopped or ground meat, vegetables, fruit, etc., and usually baked or fried.

There’s so many empanada recipes online, it can get overwhelming, but I knew my sweet tooth would never be silent if I passed up this recipe!


Chocolate-Banana Empanadas


  • 4 large ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ready to use refrigerated pie crusts
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken in chunks
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • Directions:

    • Mash the bananas, sugar, and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl until creamy, but not completely smooth – you should still have pieces of banana chunks.


    • Using a 4-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 10 circles of dough; repeat with the other 1/2.


    • Spoon 2 generous tablespoons of filling into the center of each pastry circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges with the egg wash and then fold the dough over in 1/2 to enclose the filling and form a semi-circle. Tightly seal the edges by crimping with the tines of a fork. Chill at least 30 minutes before baking.



    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the empanadas on a buttered baking sheet and brush the tops with additional egg wash. Using a fork, prick a few holes in the top of the empanadas for steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
    • Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve hot.


    What is your country cuisine of choice?

    Mine is definitely Italy, not surprising since I am a full-blooded Italian :-)


    Mary said...

    You have a wonderful attitude :-). I love your dessert empanadas. They are unusual but delicious looking. It really is hard to beat the banana and chocolate you've used to fill them. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    Kelly said...

    One, I have to say we love the same flavor combinations. I just made homemade pop tarts with chocolate banana filling last night.

    And two, I don't know that I could pick a country. I probably make Italian food most often because I adore pasta but I'm always up for experimenting.

    And do study abroad. I didn't because I wanted to graduate early and regret it.

    Rebecca said...

    If I had to choose I'd say Mexican, however, I love all food entirely too much to pick just one type of food!

    Jessica said...

    I choose Italian too. I can't think of a week that we don't have some kind of Italian food!


    Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen said...

    I would have to agree about Italy. We spent some time in Denmark visiting our kids and that would NOT be a favorite pick. We tried the pickled herring...once. Mexico would be a second choice, but it is difficult to eat healthy there.
    Good post!

    Erica said...

    I bet your customers LOVE you. You make all of the meals look like so much fun! I love Mexican but I think I may like Mediterranean a bit better :)

    Krista said...

    Great little recipe! You've been cooking up a storm at work, too. Oh, my! I really like Thai food currently.....

    Jenny said...

    Whenever I hear "empanada" I just think of this Hannah Montana episode where Rico was selling them in his cafe.

    Yes, I'm 20 years old and watch Disney Channel religiously.

    Those look great! I adore your version. Let's face it, sweet beats out savory any day.

    Kelsey said...

    i almost feel like my answer to the question HAS to be ITALY after this post!!!

    omg!! most of these dishes ive never actually seen before but italians know how to whip things together in perfect combination and blend of spices and savory <3


    Sook said...

    I'll be trying your empanadas! They look delicious!

    zurin said...

    that looks like a great combo for an empanada. I might just try it. Its unusual and it does sound delicious. I hope you get to go to Italy one day. Nothign like travelling to experience life to the fullest. :)

    Nicole, RD said...

    When you make it to Italy, it will be worth the wait! It's everything you're thinking and more...or at least it was for me! And the food...omg.

    I think Mexican is my favorite cuisine, but that's probably because finding authentic Italian is REALLY hard!

    P.S. I LOVED your comment about your mom checking my blog for Lily pictures!!! LOL!

    Lindsay @ http://pancakesnpajamas.blogspot.com/ said...

    Italian is my favorite too. My family is loaded with Italian even though you can't tell from looking at me, so I can't help but love it!

    Kim said...

    I love reading your posts about what you are making at work! Sounds like a hard job, but very rewarding. I'm loving those chocolate and banana empanadas. I think Mexican is my cuisine of choice, but I also have to say Italian.

    katecooks said...

    wow, you have been busy!! all that food looks amazing, i'm glad it is going so well :)

    i love italian too! i think it would probably have to be my favorite...pizzas and pastas and bread!!!!