My Grandmother’s Cooking: Empanadillas + Memories

February 4, 2015

After the snow storm, I didn’t have much work to do.  I had done it all while I was a snow widow for two days and one night.  I wrote, finished projects and updated my shop(s) with new designs. By mid-week, I decided if I wasn’t going to work, I would cook.
 
Since he worked such a long shift, I surprised my husband with a meal so romantic you would have thought it was Valentine’s Day or our anniversary. I made a delicious chicken parmesan with homemade tomato sauce and cheesy garlic bread.  All that was left of our meal was a portion of a chicken cutlet and half of the garlic loaf.  I practically cooked the entire contents of my fridge over a two-day period. That’s when I remembered the pork filling I made with the intention of serving it over rice.
 

mygrandmotherscooking

This particular pork filling is used in one of my family’s most favorite dishes – empanadillas. Made from a tomato sauce base, cubed pork is added along with capers and green olives. The filling is then wrapped in a pocket of dough and fried.  I NEVER FRY FOOD.  But having an open schedule, I decided to abandon my plans to use the pork filling over rice, as well as my detestation of grease.  I found an empanadilla dough recipe on Pinterest and fried up a small batch.
 
I thought about my grandmother while making them.  It was worth the lingering stench of grease to be filled with memories of her visits and the two meals that remind me of her the most:  1. Vinegar steak – a recipe so rarely enjoyed that no one in the family seems to remember it (except for my Mom).  This became a giant Facebook debate over who Grandma loved the most because apparently she only made it for me.  2. Her famous empanadillas that started such a food craze among our family.  Mom’s now Head Empanadilla Maker and we know it’s a real treat to have them because they’re a pain to make.
 
Food has always been such a big part of my family.  I’d like to think of us as original “foodies.” When we gather over meals, such as empanadillas, we create new memories and remember old ones.  And while we enjoy these meals together, Grandma lives on at our big family table through the food we eat and the memories we share.

Are there certain family dishes that trigger special memories for you?

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