Heaven smells like beef stew

Ok, so the title is misleading.  I didn’t actually make beef stew, but my mom did.  And it was delicious.  Carne con papa is what she’d call it, beef and potatoes.  She made it in the slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and various spices.  I would love to get a book of slow cooker recipes.  That’d be a great dorm room resource.  Technically we’re not allowed to have them but what they don’t know can’t hurt them.  Besides, I’d put it in the kitchen with a threatening sign so no one touches it.  Another idea might be figuring out how to cook cuban foods easily in a dorm kitchen or even microwave.  I know that they now have mixes for stuff like congri and moros y cristianos.  That’s an option.  Thing is you can’t make a sofrito without a stove.  But sofritos are quick.  Maybe if I made the sofrito and used the microwave for the rice and beans…

Anyway…today I made soft pretzels (not Cuban :p) and pastelitos de guayaba, or guava pastries.  The soft pretzels are from a Sandra Lee recipe and are very easy.  You used frozen white bread dough, thawed, and break it into pieces.  Then I roll them into long pieces and twist in a pretzel shape and put them on wax paper.  Then you preheat the oven to 400 degrees and boil some water.  When the water is boiling, boil the pretzels 2 or 3 at a time for about 2-3 minutes and then you set them on paper towels to drain.  Then you brush them lightly with a beaten egg.  Afterwards you sprinkle them with your desired topping, coarse salt or in my case garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese, and stick them in the oven til the golden.

The guave pastries are fairly simple as well and delicious if you have the right ingredients.  I use Pepperidge farm pastry dough and Goya guava paste, the kind that comes in the flat circular pans, not the rectangular logs.  First you have to thaw the dough at room temp for about 40 minutes and then unfold them onto a lightly floured counter top.  Cut them into 12 even pieces on each sheet using a pizza cutter, in all there will be 24 pieces.  Half of that will be the tops.  Cut the guava into pieces and place in the middle of each square.  I like putting a big chunk.  Very lightly brush a little water on the edges then put the tops on each and press down the edges.  Next you can place 3 diagonal shallow score marks on each for aesthetic purposes.   Then beat an egg, combine with a little water and mix.  Very lightly brush each pastry with egg mixture.  Then you’ll put into an oven preheated to 400 and cook until golden, about 20-25 minutes.

They turned out well but every time I put pastries on the bottom rack the bottoms cook much faster and burn slightly.  I had to use the bottom rack because I made a double batch.  I made these to bring Daniel when we visit tomorrow.  Well, I’m going to eat my pastries…

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