Saturday, August 12, 2017. For me and Mr. Wallace, it started out normal. Boring, even, as we had no set plans other than maybe eventually getting around to vacuuming the area rug. Of course you, reader, are well aware of how that day progressed, of the senseless tragedy that happened in Charlottesville, VA, and by mid-afternoon we were really, really depressed. We jointly made the decision to turn off the news and put in Kill Bill Volume 1. It was a welcome, much-needed distraction.
It did get me thinking though – perhaps because I desperately needed to think about something, anything that held no real-life consequences whatsoever – but it began occurring to me that every time I see that movie, I sit befuddled as to why Sophie stays and lets Beatrix torment her for information. I mean, I really truly think it is the most unrealistic part of the entire movie. Think about it. Beatrix announces her presence to O Ren Ishii by cutting off part of Sophie’s arm. She’s half-expecting O Ren herself to come down to fight her, but that doesn’t happen. Instead she spends the next hour or so, possibly longer, fighting off O Ren’s personal assistants, her sadistic teenage bodyguard, AND the Crazy Eighty-Eights. Once she’s done, she tells Sophie to say where she is while she swordfights O Ren herself. Which, again, takes awhile.
Why in the hell does Sophie sit around and wait for her to come after her? She knows whatever happens will NOT be anything good. She has plenty of time to get the hell out of there, call one of the Japanese Mafia dudes for protection, check into a hospital as a homeless Jane Doe with one of the goons donning a janitor outfit as a means to protect her, and then leave the country under an assumed name. I know Beatrix is very resourceful, but I do think Sophie would have had at least a decent shot at escape and survival. But she doesn’t even try. Why???
I really do think it’s the least believable part of the storyline. More so than Beatrix flying commercially with a giant sword hanging off her shoulder (post 9/11 at that!); more unrealistic than Beatrix waking from a four-year coma and remembering exactly what put her there in all of ten seconds, and more unrealistic than Beatrix waking from a four-year coma with atrophied leg muscles but the most enviably svelte golem arms womankind has ever known.
Anyways… while we discussed this oh-so-important topic, Mr. Wallace and I made these empanadas for a late dinner while we sipped beer and tried not to emotionally succumb to the horror and heartbreak of the day’s completely needless events. They are delicious; adapted from chef Chris Santos’ debut cookbook, it’s basically the ingredients used to make chile rellenos, but chopped up finely, stuffed into seasoned pie crust and fried my friends, not baked. Dip them into a tart crema and swoon. They work on non-depressing days too. Enjoy!
SOURCE: adapted from Share by Chris Santos
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
2 ½ tsp ground ancho chile powder
2 ½ tsp ground cumin
2 ½ tsp granulated sugar
¾ tsp kosher salt
8 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup ice water
JALAPENO LIME CREMA:
½ cup sour cream
1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled, seeded, and minced
2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
1 large poblano, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
⅔ cup shredded Fontina cheese
¼ cup shredded Manchego cheese
1 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs sour cream
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp water, for an egg wash
Canola or vegetable oil, for deep frying
First, make the EMPANADA DOUGH: put the flour, ancho chile powder, cumin, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the egg yolk and pulse to just combine. With the food processor running on low, slowly add the ice water through the feed tube and only add enough to make the dough come together. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it just a few times until it comes together into a ball. Shape into a disc, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, until well chilled.
While the dough is chilling, make the JALAPENO LIME CREMA: mix all ingredients into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Now make the EMPANADA FILLING: place the diced poblano, all three cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
To make the empanadas themselves: cut the dough in half. If you work slowly like me, refrigerate the dough half you are not using presently. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/16-inch thickness. Using a 3 ½-inch diameter cookie or biscuit cuttter, stamp out rounds of dough. Transfer the rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Gather the scraps and repeat once more to make about 24 rounds. Discard any remaining dough. Repeat the whole process with the second half of dough. If this has taken a while, refrigerate the dough for 10 to 20 minutes.
Now you are ready to fill the empanadas. Depending on how fast you work, start heating the oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or large Dutch oven or high-sided skillet at some point while you are making the empanadas. Place a dough round on your work surface and brush the edges with the egg wash. Place exactly 1 teaspoon of filling on the lower half of the round. Fold the dough in half to enclose the filling. Press the folded over edges with the tines of a fork to seal and make it pretty. Repeat until all the empanadas are made.
When the oil is ready, deep-fry the empanadas but make sure you do this in batches to avoid over-crowding the pot. Fry until they are golden brown, turning as needed, about 3 minutes. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer the empanadas to paper-towel-lined plates. Repeat until done.
Get the crema out of the fridge and transfer it to a serving bowl. To serve, place the empanadas on a platter. Dip each into the crema and chow down.