Here’s a guaranteed winner: the “Asian Turkey and Cabbage Empanadas with Spicy Dipping Sauce,” from, were fun to make, bake, and eat. I halved whole-wheat tortillas, then filled and folded them into 20 triangles, which were easy to bake and enjoy.

My ground turkey browned in 5 minutes. The stir-fry aroma -- of soy sauce and oyster sauce and vermouth (which I used instead of shao hsing wine) and rice vinegar -- was fragrantly enticing. I kept my dipping sauce sweet, adding the Sriracha only to my own plate. The sweet sauce version was, of course, very appealing to my youngest diner. I can’t say enough good things about crispy food that you can pick up with your fingers and dip. Make these.

The October 2011 issue of Saveur has a story that heralds the rewards of slowly braising vegetables in olive oil, until they are very sweet and very soft. Such is the approach of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and such is my own personal memory of how my mom cooked vegetables when I was young. And so I approached the recipe for “Braised Celery and Olives,” from, with that romantic notion of transforming celery into braised luxuriousness.

I used one-and-one-half heads of celery, here. In my Dutch oven, my onions “colored” in less than 6 minutes. Instead of using crushed red pepper, I used smoked paprika. Once the olives and onions began to caramelize, they smelled like they were roasting. After all the simmering and slow braising, my celery tasted a bit too bitter, yet, I’m afraid. I longed for a sweetness that wasn’t there. I guess my kalamata olives were a bit too briny for this dish. Tell me what happens when you try this recipe.

Ground Turkey (1 lb.) = $9.42
Onions (2) = .93¢

RECIPES: fill and bake empanadas and experience the joy; slowly braise celery to see what happens
eat empanadas after an hour or more of prep and cooking; set aside 90 minutes for the slow celery
ground turkey and shredded cabbage -- a great canvas for a soy sauce/oyster sauce/wine/vinegar stir-fry -- are wonderful stuffed into an empanada and dipped into a sweet/spicy sauce; tomato paste and kalamata olives leave braised celery with a too-bitter edge

Next time, I will cook the decadent “Polish Pie Pierogi Bake,” from, using ready-made, frozen pierogies, just to make it all too easy. Come back to my site soon, to see my food.