Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Secret Ingredient

That Grandma Fausta.

So I finally blocked off a chunk of time last weekend to make my Grandma Fausta's empanadas. I donned a matronly apron, rolled up my sleeves, surrounded myself with all the ingredients in her recipe and followed her measurements to a T. One problem: She lied. Yes, like so many other so-called recipe "sharers" she altered her recipe to ensure that hers would remain the best for all time.

"Surely," I thought, "my own grandmother wouldn't lie to me. Of course she'd want to pass on her recipe so that I can continue to pass on my childhood empanada memories to my own children." But when it came time to flatten the dough and cut out circles, I was faced with a sticky, gooey mess. So I added another cup of flour. Then another. Finally, when I had mastered the dough I took on the filling.

But she had left out the onion and garlic that I remembered tasting, not to mention the dash of soy sauce. Only then was I able to replicate her original recipe. So for those of you who tried the original recipe I posted, please add another 2 cups of flour to the dough mixture, as well as 1/2 onion (chopped), 2 cloves of garlic (minced), and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the filling. Oh, and if you're not too fond of raisins, you can substitute it for corn, which will still add the sweetness to the mix.

And beware: If you ask someone for that famous recipe of theirs, it's quite likely they'll leave a little something out. Even if they're your grandmother.


Blogger Mittens said...

My grandmother never shared her pierogi recipe for real either - "do it til it feels right" is hardly going to to taste like hers...but the real hand-me-down isn't the food flavor so much, but the tradition of recipe-less recipes, and learning how to cook from the hip!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Lawrence said...

Filipinos never share real recipes. Apart from bragging rights, and not really knowing the exact amounts most of the time, Filipino food varies from household to household.

The most comprehensive book I have about Adobo contains something like 80 different and distinct-tasting recipes from all corners of the Islands. And that's just Adobo.

10:04 AM  
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11:10 PM  

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