Thursday, June 28, 2007

Before and After, so far

Today I have officially lost over twenty pounds. Here are some before and after photos of my progress so far. Above is June of 2006 in Barcelona. Below is today in my backyard, wearing the same outfit.

Above is earlier that same day in Barcelona, and below is today in my backyard. That pink shirt used to fit close to my body, now it is so baggy that you can't see my shape at all. All of my clothes are too big and baggy. I used to be considered obese, according to my former BMI (body mass index). Now my BMI has me downgraded to overweight. I'm very happy with my progress, and I'm more than halfway towards my goal of a healthy weight. I already have more energy than I've had in years, and I'm eating more nutritiously than ever in my life.

I would have laughed heartily if anyone would have suggested a year ago that I would be writing a blog about cooking. A year ago, I didn't even have a kitchen to cook in. Literally. My kitchen was four walls stripped down to the studs. Pedro and I undertook a massive remodel to expand it, because it was so inadequate that cooking was too big of a challenge to enjoy. We were completely without a kitchen for at least six months. We were able to use our new kitchen by the end of October 2006, and it was mostly finished by the end of December.

And, really that is what started this big change in my life. For the first time in my life, I enjoy cooking. I love being in my kitchen. The next thing that really changed my life was the cooking class I took at Conscious Gourmet. Since then, I have been so much more balanced in my nutrition. That is when the weight started really dropping noticably. I'm not even on a diet. As you can see, I'm still eating lasagna and the occassional cupcake. But, wow, I am steadily losing weight! Pedro is too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Three-Cheese Zucchini Lasagna

The July/August issue of Vegetarian Times is now out, and here's a great recipe for Three-Cheese Zucchini Lasagna. If you can bear having the oven on for 50 minutes in the summer heat, you will be rewarded with a delicious lasagna that doesn't feel heavy. It is lighter feeling than other lasagnas because it doesn't contain any tomato sauce. I think when the weather gets cooler, I may try this recipe again, doing everything as is, but adding a layer of marinara to each layer, as I think it would be wonderful. Even though this recipe only calls for zucchini, leeks and spinach, I also added two shredded carrots and four diced Roma tomatoes for extra color. And, I used cilantro instead of mint, only because that is what was readily available. Either option would be delicious. Here is the recipe, as I have modified it:

Three-Cheese Zucchini Lasagna, adapted from Vegetarian Times
serves 8

9 to 12 whole grain lasagna noodles (I used brown rice)
4 tsp. olive oil
2 or 3 medium leeks, chopped and rinsed well (four or five cups)
6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced or chopped (about 6 cups)
2 shredded carrots, optional
4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, diced, optional
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro
1 16oz container cottage cheese
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 bag of washed fresh spinach or 1 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup mozzarella, about 4 oz.

1. Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside. Heat oil in skillet and saute the leeks over medium high heat for about 6 minutes. Add zucchini and saute about 8 minutes longer. Optionally add the extra vegetables, plus 2 of the minced garlic cloves and saute about 2 more minutes, until all of the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Remove from skillet and set aside.
2. If using frozen spinach, skip this step. In the same hot, now empty, skillet, saute the fresh spinach until wilted. Drain the liquid from the spinach and once cool to touch, squeeze out the extra water. Then roughly chop and set aside.
3. Blend the cottage cheese and four cloves of garlic in a food processor for three minutes or until smooth. Add egg and pulse until combined. Crumble in feta and pulse until incorporated. Pour the mixture into a bowl, then stir in the spinach and the mint or cilantro.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a roasting pan. Place three noodles in the bottom of pan, and top with 1/3 or 1/4 of zucchini mixture (depending on if you want to use 9 or 12 noodles total). Spread 1/3 or 1/4 of cheese mixture on top of that. Repeat until all noodles and ingredients are used. Top with shredded mozzarella.
5. Coat the shiny side of a sheet of aluminum foil with oil and place over the lasagna, oil side facing the lasagna. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more or until crusty and bubbly. Let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving. You can freeze it after it has completely cooled, if desired.
6. To reheat, let lasagna sit at room temperature for one hour. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. (My note: I'm not sure if these reheating instructions are assuming reheating a frozen lasagna or reheating a lasagna that has been in the refrigerator. In either case, I didn't reheat my lasagna that way. What I did was just place my refrigerated (not frozen) lasagna on my counter while I preheated the oven. Once the oven was hot, I coverd the pan with new foil and placed it in the oven and let it heat until hot.)

Nutrition info per serving (assuming low-fat cheeses, which I admit I didn't use): 305 calories ; 21G protein; 8.5G total fat (3.5G Sat fat); 36G carb; 43mg chol; 676mg sod; 7G fiber; 8G sugars

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lunch Containers

At Pearl River Emporium in New York I purchased a great stainless steel thermos for food and colorful plastic lunch box. It's a really fun store with a great variety of items.

Below is a fruit storage box I saw there, but didn't purchase. If you click on the photo, you can read the words better. It is quite charming. It says "Sweet Family. A pleasant chit-chat having tasty fruits chears up our daily life. Please help yourself to some fruit full of natural taste."

Although, I suppose if you really think about it, who is the message aimed at? Is it merely supposed to entice people to want to buy it with the hopes of enhancing social interactions? Or is it supposed to be guidance to guests that if they eat fruit with you, they are obligated to pleasant small talk? In any event, it is fun to imagine people sitting around a table, taking turns opening the box, taking a fruit and having conversation.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tempeh Facon and Pan-Fried Tempeh

At several restaurants in New York we found on the menu one version or another of facon, vegetarian bacon, made from tempeh. As a general rule, I am quite repulsed by vegetarian food that tries to taste like meat. If I were to ever desire to eat something that tastes like meat, I'd rather actually eat meat. Anyway, pictured above, from Sacred Chow, is Roasted Indonesian Tempeh. It had a crispiness and smokiness that was reminiscent of bacon, without actually feeling or tasting like bacon. So, I liked it in concept, but it was served at room temperature, and so that diminished it. Below, Pedro and I recreated the features in our pan-fried tempeh. We cut the tempeh thin and marinated it in sesame oil and tamari (wheat-free, traditionally brewed soy sauce). Then we pan-fried them on our cast iron skillet in just a bit of oil until they were crispy.

On the other hand, we also had the Orange Barbecued Seitan at Sacred Chow (pictured below), and we thought it was disgusting. It had been a while since we had eaten seitan, and it was much meatier in texture than we find appealing. Maybe we would have liked it better if we had it in a Hero Sandwich, as was an option. Also, I should mention that we had the Sliced Ginger Soba Noodles with spicy peanut sauce and those were served refrigerator-cold, which we didn't expect. But it was Pedro's favorite thing there. My favorite was the Four Seasons Salad, containing seasonal greens, shredded beets, carrots and apples, and crunchy yuba strips, with a Dijon vinaigrette.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Roasting Plant Coffee Shop

We had never heard of the Roasting Plant in the Lower East Side, but if we had, would have definitely made a visit on purpose. So we were very happy to find it by accident. I had never seen a shop like this before. You pick the coffee beans you want, or a mix of beans, and then stand back and watch the spectacle. The beans shoot up through see-through tubes, and then travel over to one of the two coffee grinders/espresso machines. Then they are ground and your espresso shot is pulled. But, that's not all you can observe, if you happen to be in the store at the right time. You can also watch the beans get roasted. Below you can see in the picture five tubes of green (lighter colored, unroasted) coffee beans. When it is time to roast them, you can watch the beans shoot into the coffee roaster (to the far right). While we were there sipping our coffee, they roasted their house blend, so we saw beans shoot over from several different tubes into the roaster. Anyway, it was an interesting way to get your morning fix. And our espresso shot was perfectly pulled.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I just love pancakes. Above are oatmeal blueberry pancakes that I made at home with mixed berries and an almond maple syrup topping. Below are pumpkin pancakes we ate at Friend of a Farmer in New York, near Union Square. What a way to start a day!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Corn and Shitake Fritters

At the airport on my way home from New York, I picked up a copy of the July 2007 Food & Wine magazine. Our flight was delayed, so by the time we were up in the air, I was getting so hungry reading the magazine. There were more vegetarian dishes than I expected. One that caught my eye immediately was Corn and Shitake Fritters on page 168. I couldn't resist trying the recipe. They are amazing! We ate them with baked portobello mushroom caps stuffed with Thai coral rice spiced with turmeric, cumin and cayenne and cooked with onion, garlic, and zucchini, then topped with slices of tomato and shredded mozzarella. In addition we had sauteed chard with garlic, and in bowls we had soupy black beans.

Corn and Shitake Fritters, adapted from Food & Wine

3 ears of corn, shucked
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon vegetable oil
3 large shitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut in 1/2 in dice (6 oz total) or equivalent weight portobello or other flavorful mushroom
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used a mixture of barley and oat)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. Squeeze the pulp from the cobs into a blender by pressing and scraping them with a spoon or the dull edge of knife. Add half of the corn kernels, the egg and milk to the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Heat a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. On high heat, add the mushrooms and onion. Stir occasionally, until lightly browned, about five minutes. Add the remaining corn kernels and saute an additional minute. Spread the cooked mixture on a plate to cool. Place in freezer or fridge to speed the cooling if necessary.
3. In the meantime, in a bowl, whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir it into the blended corn puree. Then fold in the cooled mushroom mixture.
4. Wipe the skillet, heat it again, and add the rest of the oil. (Or if your skillet isn't big enough to cook eight fritters at once, heat half of the oil to do half at a time). When the oil is nice and hot, use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour mounds of batter for eight fritters total onto the skillet. Spread the mounds of batter to about 1/2 inch thickness. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crispy. About 4 minutes. Drain on plates lined with paper towels and serve warm.
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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bread and Bagels

I figure that if you are going to eat refined flours, you may as well eat the best artisan breads you can find. And in New York, it is hard to decide where to get your bagels or bread because there are just so many outstanding bakeries. Above is olive bread at Grandaisy Bakery on Sullivan. Below, from Ess-a-Bagel, is an Oat Bran Bagel with Tofu Cream Cheese and a Cappuccino. Yes, you read that right, there are vegan cream cheese options. There are eight tofu flavors, including herb, olive, raisin-walnut, etc. But most importantly, they are delicious!

Earthmatters Organic Market

On the Lower East Side on Ludlow there is an organic market with a great vegetarian deli counter. For $9.95 you can fill up the plate with as much food as it will hold. This plate was more than enough to feed both myself and Pedro. On the plate is potato salad, veggie stuffed grape leaves, garbanzo bean salad, cauliflower curry, garden salad with tempeh, etc. There was room to put even more food on the plate, but we didn't need it, as we got plenty full. Everything was yummy. And there were three areas with plenty of tables for seating: next to the front window, on a loft overlooking the market (which also had computers with Internet access) and there was a sort of garden room that was at the highest level.


At the Union Square Farmer's Market on Monday, I found many herbs for sale, including epazote. I use epazote often when cooking beans to help aid in digestion or for adding flavor to various Mexican-inspired dishes. The plants pictured are very young and small. They can grow to several feet high.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sea Vegetable Class at the Natural Gourmet Institute

On Monday evening, Pedro and I attended a class called "A Deep Sea Adventure" at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health. We hadn't planned to attend, but we stopped by the Institute earlier that day to purchase a Japanese vegetable knife and books, and discovered there was still room in that evening's class. So, we signed up. The class was taught by Jill Gusman, author of the book Vegetables of the Sea: Everyday Cooking with Sea Greens.

As a side note: the culinary classes I took at Conscious Gourmet in April were the core basic program (Basics I through IV) of the Natural Gourmet Institute. So, I was very happy to be able to attend another class.

At the class Gusman demonstrated preparing five dishes containing various sea vegetables. She explained their health benefits and shared much information throughout the evening. Then we ate the dishes as a fully balanced dinner. Pictured on the plate above, from top clockwise: Braised Mushroom Medley with Toasted Nori, Citrus Marinated Blackeyed Peas and Wakame Salad, Pan Fried Tempeh with Hiziki and Shallots, and Bulgar Pilaf with Toasted Dulse and Pine Nuts.

For dessert we had Vanilla Tapioca Pudding with Raspberry Puree. The sea vegetable in the dish was agar agar. In the photo below, the tapioca pearls are visible.

We thoroughly enjoyed the class and the very tasty meal.
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cupcakes at Babycakes

Here is a vegan lemon cupcake from New York's Babycakes Bakery. Mmmm. So delicious! No refined sugar, no wheat, no gluten, no casin, no dairy, no eggs, but oh so moist and tasty!
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Cafe Viva Pizza

On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, there is an out-of-the-ordinary pizza parlor called Cafe Viva Pizza. It serves kosher, mostly organic, natural vegetarian food with many vegan choices. The pizza crusts are made with whole grain flours, with a choice of spelt flour, corn or whole wheat. You can also get gluten-free pastas. We sampled three pieces of pizza. Clockwise from top: Zen, Carozza, and Santa Rosa. The Zen is vegan with green tea enhanced spelt crust topped with green tea miso tofu, green tea basil pesto, shitakes and maitake mushrooms, red onions, sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic. The Carozza also has spelt crust and is topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach, and Kalamata olives. The Santa Rosa is vegan and has whole wheat crust and is topped with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, roasted garlic, olives, tofu marinated in miso and soy cheese. We are disappointed that we didn't try one with a corn crust. But, we were way too full. In any event, we were certainly happy with what we ate.
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Cafe Mingala

Yesterday we had a spectacular lunch at Cafe Mingala, which features Burmese cuisine. For now, here are photos. I'll give a description later. For now, we're off to do more exploring...

On 06/21 added: OK, now for the descriptions. They were both lunch specials, at $5.50 each. The first dish is Monsoon Vegetable with Mixed Lentils. It reminded us of Puchero, as the vegetables were so varied and the flavor of the broth was nicely developed. It was so satisfying. Below is Chili Soybean and Vegetables. The meat-like chunks are made from soy. It was recommended by the waiter, and it was great. Both dishes are served with Yellow Rice.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Uncle Marky's Organic Harvest Cafe

Lest you think all we are eating in New York is chocolate, here is what we ate for dinner at Uncle Marky's Organic Harvest Cafe. We had the Triple Protein Bonanza, above. It had tofu, tempeh, and quinoa with greens and coconut curry sauce served with steamed veggies. Below are the Seitan Enchilladas which had mixed veggies along with the seitan, served with black beans and basmati rice. It was a tiny place but warm with a very friendly staff and clientele.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Chocolate Indulgence in New York

Pedro and I are in New York City celebrating 14 years of marriage. So of course, we are indulging. I dare anyone to pass by the Cacao Bar/Tea Room of MarieBelle Fine Chocolates and not stop. Pedro and I shared a petit cup of Aztec Hot Chocolate and a pot of Dark Obsession Chocolate Rose Tea. Mmm. Great pick-me-up.
We also could not resist sampling a Dark Chocolate Pear Tart at Once Upon A Tart. Wow, delicious!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Potato and Bean Open-Faced Sandwich

This tasty, rustic sandwich would be good for breakfast, lunch, or anytime. It is great with a nice salad.

2 or 3 small potatoes, sliced
2 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
olive oil
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 sprig of fresh sage
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked cannellini beans or other beans
slices of bread, toasted
minced parsley

In a hot skillet, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil and add a pat of butter. Add the potatoes, 2 cloves of the garlic, rosemary and sage. Salt and pepper to taste. When the potatoes and garlic are browned and cooked, remove. Add more olive oil to skillet if necessary, then add the beans and 1 or 2 more cloves of garlic and saute until heated and flavored. Add the potatoes back and stir everything together. Serve on toasted bread, drizzle with more olive oil if desired, and garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

HealthyWay Cafe review

Pedro and I tried a new restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida over the weekend. It is called the HealthyWay Cafe, and it hails itself as the first organic, all-natural fast food franchise. It opened in December 2006. I didn't have my camera with me, so unfortunately I do not have photos to share at this time. However, I thought it deserves some mention.

I am pleasantly surprised that the first organic, environmentally conscious (although still waste producing) fast-food franchise would be located in Jacksonville, Florida. But being that it is in Jacksonville, it isn't surprising that the restaurant falls short on offering a variety of options for vegetarians and vegans. The only vegan protein source the restaurant offers is black beans. Protein powder, which could be added to smoothies, is the only other potentially vegan protein source. But it doesn't say whether it is vegan or not; so who knows, maybe it's made of powdered poultry. HealthyWay Cafe could at the very least offer tofu. Even Moe's has tofu. But, even better than tofu would be tempeh.

Pedro and I shared the Healthy Way Vegetarian Sandwich and the Vegetarian Meal Pack, both priced at $8.95. Tempeh would have made the Healthy Way Vegetarian Sandwich much more satisfying. It really should have more protein in it, being the same price as the sandwiches that contain an extra protein besides cheese. I would also like to suggest that they offer a gluten-free bread or tortilla option. As for the Vegetarian Meal Pack, it was nice. It said that it comes with balsamic vinaigrette, but I tasted a hint of ginger. In any event, the flavor was much more mild than I would serve at home, but it did have flavor, and I would eat it again. I think that it would have been better with some of the chopped walnuts on top. Walnuts are a great vegetarian source of Omega-3's. It would have also been nice if there were the option of having the Southwestern Meal Pack with tempeh instead of chicken.

The other suggestion I have is to either call all of the vegetarian or vegan options Healthy Way, or call none of them Healthy Way. It is very confusing that the Healthy Way Sandwich is vegetarian, but both the Healthy Way Wrap and the Healthy Way Meal Pack contain fish.

Another thing I would be very interested to see would be nutrition information. And, for example, how does the Vegetarain Meal Pack compare to a Big Mac?

Overall, I was very happy to stumble upon an organic restaurant in Jacksonville.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vegetarian Puchero

Puchero is a dish of Spanish origin that is served with many variations all over Latin America. It is a dish that can easily be made vegetarian. If one were to gauge Mexican cuisine by what is served in restaurants in the United States, one could surmise that Mexicans don't eat vegetables except in salsas. But, here is an example of a dish that is packed heartily with vegetables. It is usually served on Sundays. So keeping with that tradition, I made it yesterday. The way I prepared it is very similar to how it is prepared in the Yucatan. It was my first time making it, so the recipe isn't perfected yet. But here is what is in it:

Vegetarian Puchero in the Style of Yucatan

1 head of roasted garlic
spices: oregano, cloves, cumin, saffron, peppercorns, allspice berries, and salt
vegetables/fruits: plantains, squash (acorn or butternut or any), chayotes, potatoes, camotes or sweet potatoes, carrots, or also commonly used are cabbage and turnips
garbanzo beans (I was out, so I used fava - this made the broth darker than usual)
herbs: cilantro and yerbabuena (wild mint)
grains: rice and fideos (angel hair pasta nests)

Garnish: minced radishes and cilantro in lime juice

All of the vegetables cook in the soup in large chunks with the skin still on them. When the vegetables are soft, they are removed from the broth and are peeled (if needed) and cut into smaller pieces. They are often served on a platter placed in the middle of the table. Then, each person is given a bowl of the broth, which contains the beans, rice and fideos. There is the option of eating the broth as a first course with the radish, cilantro and lime garnish. Then the chunks of vegetables could be eaten separately as the next course or even in tacos. Or, the vegetables can be returned to the broth to eat as a soupy stew, still topping with garnish.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Corn 'n Orange Waffles

I reviewed previously this recipe for Cornmeal Waffles from the March 2007 Vegetarian Times. Here I provide the recipe as I have modified it. First, I think the word orange needs to be included in the name of the dish, as there is a very distinct orange flavor, which is actually my favorite thing about it. They are very good as shown with fresh peaches and a sauce made from almond butter and maple syrup. But, they are also good with bananas or other fruit on top.

Corn 'n Orange Waffles

3/4 cup whole grain flour of choice
1/2 cup corn flour or Masa Harina
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 1/4 cups milk
1 or 2 Tbs. fresh lemon or bitter orange juice
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbs. vegetable oil of choice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. orange zest

1. Preheat waffle iron. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients. Stir the wet into the dry until combined. Pour batter into a greased waffle iron and cook according to specifications of the waffle iron. Serve with fresh fruit or favorite topping.
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Friday, June 8, 2007


Here is a photo to show what camotes look like. They are a type of sweet potato. They are delicious as a sweet filling for empanadas (turnovers). Also they make a wonderful addition to soups and stews.

Empanadas de Camote

At the farmer's market this week I was very happy to find camote, as it can be hard to find. Camote is a type of sweet potato often used in Mexico. It has purplish-red skin and white, stringy flesh. It has a beautifully sweet yet mild flavor, almost honey-like. To celebrate my camote purchase, I made empanadas.

Empanadas de Camote: Recipe makes 12 to 15 empanadas

For the filling (alternate recipe at the end of this post)

Camotes (2 large or 6 small)
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk (or more if needed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of cloves
2 tablespoons to a maximum of one cup sugar or sweetener

Boil unpeeled, roughly chopped (if large) camote in plenty of water. When it is very soft, drain. It should be easy to peel away the skins using forks. Remove skins. Mash the camote with the butter, cinnamon and spices. Add milk little by little until the mixture is moist and a pleasant consistency. Add sugar or sweetener as needed, the amount will depend on how naturally sweet the camote is.

For the pastry dough:

1 teaspoon sugar or equivalent sweetener
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups of flour (I used a mixture of spelt and barley flours. I have also had success using 100% whole wheat)
1 (1/4 of a pound) stick of cold butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup cold milk (recommended) or cold water

1. To make the pastry dough, sift together the dry ingredients. Beat the egg in the mixer, add the butter and flour mixture. Beat at a low speed until the mixture is starting to mix. Increase the speed and slowly pour the milk until the dough holds together. Using your hands, form the dough into 12 to 15 balls. To flatten, place a ball between two pieces of waxed paper and place in a tortilla press or flatten with a rolling pin.
2. Place a couple of heaping spoons of the camote mixture on one half of the pastry. The amount of filling shown in above photo is one spoon of filling; it needed another spoonful of that size to complete. Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges closed. Place on a lined or greased cookie sheet. Using a fork, poke holes in the top of the empanadas and crimp the edges. If you want the empanadas to have a nice shine, brush the tops with egg whites. (I skipped this step).
3. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Alternate Camote Filling Recipe: My mother-in-law (mi suegra) says that she makes the camote filling this way. Boil the camote. Drain, peel and mash them. Add them back to the pot. With low heat, mix sugar, cinnamon (equivalent to 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks) and apple pie spice with the camote, stirring constantly until the flavors develop and the camote starts to bubble. As a variation, she will also sometimes stir shredded coconut into the mixture.