My mother was born in Brazil, my father in Ecuador. Since my father had family in the United States when they were married, my mother by default, learned how to speak Spanish and cook for her Ecuadorian husband. My mother learned to become an amazing cook, serving up the family a variety of tasty items from her country, my fathers and and a blend of American foods with a Latin American flare. 

I think one of my favorite things that my family would prepare were foods, that as a kid I thought came in pockets. Tortilla de Verde, Empanadas, Llapingachos (stuffed potato patties) and more. It was like they were filled with a surprise and were special because since they took a little elbow grease, we didn’t get them frequently. 

As I got older and had my own kids I started making these sweet and savory treats for my kids and watched them gobble them up with the same joy I used to as a child. Now my kids are even older and they want to start to learn how to make these treats themselves. 

This week pulling together our meal plan I came across a pile of recipes I had been working on almost two years ago. Naturally I thought, “oooo, let’s try this again!” I guess this is the by product of starting a new business, pages upon pages of not completely finished recipes just waiting for completion. So Monday night turned into Empanada night. I grabbed some pork for The Lockhart Family Farm (of of our local producers), by the time I got home in the 97 degree weather, it was ready to cook up.

Since I am completely nightshade-free, many Latin American dishes are a bit more challenging for me. After a few years doing modified AIP, I have learned to make things work, flavor-wise for me and still incorporate those delicious flavors I grew up with, minus the inflammatory agents. Sofrito is a cornerstone to many Latin American dishes and consists of a sauteed combination of garlic, peppers and tomato. Obviously these ingredients don’t work for me, but I have come up with a combination that my mom says isn’t quite the real deal, but is pretty damn good. While this version of the dough is paleo but not AIP, the sofrito can be used with the following recipes as well. 

The scrawled remains of a recipe I had in my notebook for the dough was terrible and I suddenly remembered by I image (2)had abandoned it! But a with few changes here and there and we had a lovely, workable dough.

In my mind I had been thinking AIP, but then it occurred to me that my nutty, eggy dough was anything but. So I created a vegan dough, which I loved too!  Lastly I realized, “well… this still isn’t AIP.” So I worked on a cassava based dough as well, which I ALSO loved!  Instead of *trying* to make ONE post for all of those, I decided to split them into dedicated posts instead. So the vegan (eggless) version will be next week with the AIP version as well! 

My son LOVED being able to press together these little pockets, he has such nimble fingers! While they may not have been as “perfect” as I would have liked them to look, they looked lovely and were formed by my son’s hands. To me, that is about as perfect as it gets.