Day 321: Car Snacks

I missed my late-night posting. But it wasn’t my fault! Miraculously I didn’t fall asleep.

It was an almost 6 hour drive home – it started to snow early in the morning and the highway (we take the Icefields Parkway shortcut to Calgary) was open but in poor condition; snowy, slushy and icy and you could rarely distinguish between the road, mountains and sky; it was actually a relief to our eyes to come upon a patch of brown gravel after all that white and shades of grey.

Anyway. We got home around 7, unloaded the car, turned up the furnace, put on a pot of oatmeal for W, attempted to unpack the way too much stuff we brought with us to Jasper, and Mike went to pick up Lou. Then we discovered we had no Internet connection, so I spent most of the next hour on the phone with Shaw trying to diagnose the problem, and another hour unplugging and restarting the computer and my laptop, which said it was connected but wouldn’t connect. At around 11 I conceded defeat – what else is there to do on a Sunday night? And planned to get up early and seek out a location with wireless interenet access. Fortunately, this morning it connected. Phew.

We packed some snacks (tiny Danish, bagels, fruit and banana bread from the buffet, some ham and cheese that was left in the fridge in our room, and mushroom empanadas from Emily and Elizabeth’s demos) for the car ride home, having already been more than sated at the Farewell Brunch, the Grandmother of all buffets. (During which they give away tons of prizes, like Kitchen Aid mixers and food processors and trips, including one back to Christmas in November next year.) So we sort of nibbled our way home and didn’t really need dinner when we got there.

So here is Emily & Elizabeth’s Mushroom Empanada recipe. It gave me an idea on the way home – because you know I think about food constantly, particularly when in the car for hours driving through a mountain pass with a sleeping W and white-knuckled M – Mincemeat Empanadas. Hey? Instead of mince tarts. Just fill them with mincemeat instead of the mushroom filling. I’ll let you know how they turn out.


Mushroom Empanadas

Recipe link

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November 17, 2008


2 Tbsp butter

1 small onion, finely chopped or 1 shallot, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ tsp each dried thyme and sage leaves or 1 ½ tsp fresh

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 ½ cups white button mushrooms, finely chopped

1/3 cup white wine


½ cup cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten


1In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; fry onion, garlic, thyme, sage, pepper and salt, stirring occasionally until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add cremini and white mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has been evaporated and mushrooms have browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine; scrape up brown bits from bottom of pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Let cool to room temperature. (Make-ahead: refrigerate in airtight container for up to 1 day.)

2Pastry: In large bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until blended. Add flour, stirring until dough begins to form; knead lightly in bowl until smooth. Divide dough in half and flatten into discs; wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. On lightly floured surface, roll out each disc into 10 inch circle. With 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles, re-rolling scraps only once to get as many as possible.

3Working with 6 circles at a time, brush edge lightly with egg. Place 1 teaspoon filling in centre of each; fold dough over filling, pinching edges or pressing edges with a fork to seal. Place on ungreased rimless baking sheets. (Make-ahead: freeze on baking sheet. Layer frozen empanadas with waxed paper in airtight container and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Bake from frozen.) Brush tops with egg. Bake in centre of 400°F oven until light golden, about 12-15 minutes. Makes about 40.

4Wild Mushroom Empanadas: You can replace ½ cup of either of the mushrooms with fresh wild mushrooms such as morels. Or, re-hydrate a 14 g package of porcini mushrooms or morels, straining and saving the liquid to use instead of the wine, or for a soup or sauce.

5 You can also replace the white button mushrooms with finely chopped fresh exotic mushrooms such as shiitake (caps only) or oyster.


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8 comments on “Day 321: Car Snacks

  1. robyn
    November 17, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Funny….I’m not a fan of desserts or cookies or anything sweet, but I LOVE the hot chocolate at the JPL!! Your pic brings back great memories!

  2. Fiona
    November 17, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I love the idea of mincemeat empanadas. I’m dying to know how they turn out!

  3. Dana
    November 17, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Blerg! It sounds like you had a frustrating return! Love the empanadas – these little morsels are definitely trending up here in Canada.

  4. Cheryl
    November 17, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I guess I have my snack planned for today. The butter is already softening… I am a hot cocoa fan myself, but I would never turn down that hot chocolate!

  5. janelle
    November 17, 2008 at 11:01 am

    LOVE the planning ahead for car snacks; much better option than stopping and being at the mercy of roadside cooking. I love empanadas! I need to make them more!!

  6. Buddiegirl
    November 17, 2008 at 11:05 am

    My mom always made something similar with mincemeat for Christmas instead of tarts. I don’t know what type of pastry she used since I don’t like mincemeat and never ate them, but those that did loved them.

    Real hot chocolate with real whipped cream, could anything be better on a cold day?

  7. Jill
    November 17, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I’m still dreaming of your wonderful orange-cranberry white chocolate cookies that you featured this year at Christmas in November. I just gotta get through to the weekend so I can make those fantastic cookies myself… Thanks again for for the great presentation. Every year, I enjoy your class the best!

  8. Mrs. M
    November 18, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Thanks for Marion’s recipe. I have never had luck with sugar cookies…not sure why but mine are horrible! This year I even bought sugar cookie dough from a friend who is fundraising. Sin! I’ll try your recipe though. I’ve got two upcoming cookie exchanges, both of which will be enjoying your recipes….toss up between the pumpkin hermits or orange-cranberry-whitechocoloate cookies.
    Glad you made it home safe & sound. The roads looked brutal on the news.

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