Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Empanada Making at Cuba Libre!

When Meghan asked if I wanted to join her for an empanada making class at Cuba Libre Restaurant & Run Bar, I immediately said yes!

We walked in to the restaurant and were ushered upstairs.  The restaurant is gorgeous!

Photo courtesy of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

After checking in, we said hello to some friends and then headed right over to make our empanadas!  We could choose from beef, chicken or cheese.  I chose chicken and cheese together!  

Executive Chef Jose Gonzalez walked us through the steps of filling the discs, pinching it closed, using a fork to make marks (which not only makes it look pretty but helps seal it!), and finally giving the empanada an egg wash. 

 They were put on pans and popped in the oven!

While we waited for the empanadas to cook, we headed over to the Mojito station!  

We were taught how to take 6 leaves of mint, break them in half, add a jigger (or two, cough cough) of their rum, some lime juice, and cane sugar.  

Then we added some ice and shook it up!

We topped it with a little soda water and lime!

It was quite tasty!

We headed over to get some snacks.

The Guacamole Cubano was soooo good!  I could really taste the pineapple in there which made it so flavorful.

There was also Mariquitas Cubanas--other dips: Black Bean Hummus, Haitian Eggplant Salad, and Cuba Libre Salsa.  All of these were served with MASSIVE Plantain and Malanga Chips.

Our empanadas came out and it was sooo good!

It was served with this dipping sauce that contained a really spicy pepper but was mixed with sour cream (and maybe something else?) so even this wimp could handle it.

Two other empanadas were brought around.

The Lobster Empanada

This was soo tasty!  And the Mango Mojo sauce would be delicious served on anything!

And then a dessert empanada

Guava and Cream Cheese stuffed!  It hit the spot!

We were also treated to a Rum Flight

It was made up of 12, 15, and 21 year rum.  

I'm not one for rum by itself so I passed on this one.  I did take a sip of the one Meghan thought I could handle best, the 15 year one, but it was still too much for me.

It was such a fun night!  Thank you Cuba Libre for this great event!

Fun fact: Throughout the month of April, Cuba Libre will celebrate National Empanada Day!  They will have the delicious Lobster Empanada for only $9!  On Wednesday, April 8th, they will have their Mama Amelia's Empanadas for $1 during happy hour from 5-7pm.  And on Thursday, April 23rd, they will host an Empanada making class!  Buy you tickets HERE!

Oh, and I have an empanada recipe to share with you!  Enjoy!

Empanada de la Casa

Hand chopped chicken, corn, sweet peppers and Jack cheese

Created by Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar’s Concept Chef Guillermo Pernot

10 empanada discs
3 eggs
1 tablespoon water

12 oz boneless skinless chicken thigh
1 tablespoon blended oil
½ cup onions, small dice
1 ear corn, kernels stripped
0.15 oz Kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded

Partially freeze the chicken.  Dice partially frozen chicken very finely, or grind to medium if possible.  You can also purchase ground chicken.  Strip corn kernels from ear of corn.  In a sauté pan, heat oil and sauté onions until softened, but do not pick up any color.  Add the ground chicken, oregano and crushed red pepper.  Cook chicken about half way and then add corn and salt.  Finish cooking, adjust seasoning and cool the mixture.  Once cool, add cheese before assembling empanadas. 

Make an egg wash from the eggs and water; whisk well to combine.  Fill each empanada disc with 1.75 oz of filling.  Brush the edges of the disc with egg wash and close.  Press and crimp edge to seal.  Prepare a cookie sheet or baking dish by lining with parchment paper and spraying with nonstick spray.  Place empanadas on the sheet and bake at 400°F for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, remove from the oven and brush tops with a tin layer of egg wash.  Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 3-5 minutes.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Recap- March 23-29, 2015

This past week I enjoyed Spring Break although it was way too short and enjoyed a girls' weekend trip to Savannah for a race!

Monday-- rest.  We lost softball (and I was good again and didn't play.)



I found out that both Faith and I got into the Marine Corps Marathon!  I'm so excited!!

I met up with a friend for lunch at Crafted. We split the Artisanal Cheese Dip for an appetizer that was soooo good!   I had the Block & Blue Burger.  It was tasty too but a pretty normal burger.  I'd definitely go back for more of that cheese dip though!

Later that night, Meghan, Karen, and I attended the Orlando Meet and Sweet.  There were sooo many delicious treats to try!

Thursday--rest.  Kory and I went to see Insurgent at AMC's Fork & Screen.  I enjoyed the movie.

Friday--rest.  I got up early so we could head out to Savannah for our girls weekend in Savannah to run the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon!  We made a quick stop at Starbucks and then were off.

We hit up the expo first.

We walked around some, ate lots of yummy food, and checked into our hotel.

Saturday--Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon.  13.30 miles in 2:17:46.  Mile 1: 8:25, Mile 2: 8:41, Mile 3: 9:31, Mile 4: 10:12, Mile 5: 10:04, Mile 6: 10:20, Mile 7: 10:29, Mile 8: 10:25, Mile 9: 10:49, Mile 10: 11:15, Mile 11: 11:13, Mile 12: 11:21, Mile 13: 11:39, Mile 13-13.3: 11:01, Average Pace: 10:21. Got a stitch in my side around 0.7 miles in so had to start intervals around 2.3 miles. Ankle started hurting around mile 3 and legs tightened up painfully around mile 7. I guess that's what happens when you run a a half when you haven't run in a month except for 4 races.

We ate lunch, rested and did some more shopping.  We ate more cupcakes and had a fancy, celebratory dinner!

Sunday--rest.  We got up and had breakfast before driving back home.

My friend gave me this perfect runner's Easter treat!

Total miles this week: 13.30
Total miles in 2015: 265.24
Total miles: 1871.68

2,015 in 2015 miles: 693.94

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Recap- March 16-22, 2015

I took off running all of last week to see if it would help my ankle but it still seems to be bothering me.  The half next Saturday should be interesting.

Monday-- rest. We lost our softball game (although I was good and didn't play so I could rest my ankle.)  I entered the Bank of America Chicago Marathon lottery!

Tuesday--rest.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I actually made an Irish meal-- Baked Corn Beef with Sweet Mustard Crust and Colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage, bacon & onion).

Wednesday--rest.  Meghan invited me to a blogger event at Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar. We would be making our own empanadas and enjoying other tasting items like mojitos.  It was lots of fun!

Thursday--rest.  I attended a Yelp Elite Event at Artegon Marketplace and Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill.  We had a fun scavenger hunt in the Marketplace and I'd been wanting to try out the new restaurant!

Friday--rest.  Faith and I laid out by the pool for a little bit.  Later that night I finally got to watch The Last 5 Years and then I went to Howl at the Moon with Natalie and Rafael for Natalie's birthday.

Saturday--rest.  I entered the Marine Corps Marathon lottery.  Fingers crossed that both Faith & I get into both marathons!

Sunday--rest.  Worked in Tour Guide at the Great Movie Ride all day.  I was looking for the Cinderella Carriage popcorn bucket, but they were still sold out.  I was also looking for the Carriage candy apple but they hadn't gotten in a part they needed.  I did find the Cinderella Carriage Rice Krispie Treat though!

Total miles this week: 0
Total miles in 2015: 251.94
Total miles: 1858.38

2,015 in 2015 miles: 662.14

Friday, March 20, 2015

Yelp Elite Event- Yelp Goes Local at Artegon

Last night I got to check out the new Artegon Marketplace and the new Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill thanks to another wonderful Yelp Elite Event!

The Artegon Marketplace is on I-Drive where Festival Bay used to be.

We were welcomed with some yummy food and drinks to start off with.

Then Andi told us what our plan for the night was-- a scavenger hunt!  We were to visit some of the stores and we would get a sticker or stamp!

First up was Marketplace Framing.  Everything looks better in a sparkly frame!

Next we wandered over to Pepper Palace.

Karen decided to try the hottest sauce in the store.  I'm not near brave enough!

Up next was the Beef Jerky Outlet where we sampled some really yummy beef jerky.

We actually went back later to buy some beef jerky.  I find myself craving it during marathon training.

We walked over to Tea Craze next.  There we sampled some tea--the Weight Loss Tea and a Yelper's Delight Tea (it was red of course!)

We strolled over to the Florida Soap Company.  They had several samples we could take with us.  I chose this Jungle Love Sea Salt Bar since I was told it was good for feet (and my poor runner's feet need all the help they can get.)

We sauntered over to Looker Fine Art.  Here we saw some great art pieces and met a new friend-- Pupcake Sketchadoodle. He was absolutely adorable!!

We hit up a couple of more places but the last one we went to was Zoo Tamers.  They had these giant driveable stuffed animal things.  You could rent them out to drive around the marketplace.  It was creepy yet cool at the same time.

All the Yelpers met back up for some prizes.

Then Karen and I went on the Sky Trail.  It was fun!!

I could only go on the stable things since the rope walkways were too wobbly for my ankle but I'd love to go back and try it out sometime.

Then it was time for the afterparty at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill.

They had some yummy food (which unfortunately we took too long at the trail so some of it was out).  And this amazing drink called the Orlando Float (Smirnoff Vodka, Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka & Ginger Ale topped with Whipped Cream and a Cherry!)

It was another fun Yelp event!  Thanks to Andi, Artegon Marketplace and Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill for setting it up!