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Hi all! Thank you to those who joined us for our last Culture Kitchen! This past Monday we had the pleasure of featuring a guest chef from Romania. Alina walked us through how to make White Bean Dip, also known as Fasole Batuta in Romanian. The dip is very simple and uses low-cost ingredients, but the outcome is both creamy and delicious. The caramelized onion topping adds a touch of sweetness that perfectly compliments the flavor of the beans.

You can find the complete recipe below.

As Alina explained during the demonstration, many of the traditional dishes from Romania feature seasonal, low-cost ingredients. While under communist rule by Russia, the country experienced many food shortages, specifically with regards to bread/starch. Beans were more accessible, which is why this dish became a staple for many families. It is also nutritious, and can be made with basic kitchen tools such as a fork or a whisk.

Once again, thank you to Alina for sharing this dish and its history with us. We truly learned an incredible amount about Romanian culture while working together to make this delicious dip. If you want to learn another dish from around the world, make sure to keep an eye out for our next Culture Kitchen event coming up in May!


  • 3 ¼ cups white beans (cannellini or white northern), uncooked or cooked

  • 1-2 bay leaves (if cooking the beans)

  • ½ onion (if cooking the beans)

  • 1 onion, sliced into thin rings

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or more as desired

  • 2-3 garlic cloves to taste, grated

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (brown or white)

  • Fine salt

  • Sea salt

  • Water

  • Sweet or smoked paprika to taste (optional)


If your beans are from the can/already cooked, skip to step 5. You can save some of the canned water to adjust the dip's consistency if desired.

  1. Rinse beans a few times; soak them for at least 8 hours or overnight.

  2. Cook beans

  3. Pressure cooker method. Rinse beans, place them in the pressure cooker along with ½ onion and bay leaves, put in a generous amount of water to cover the beans, follow the instructions in the owner manual for your particular model of pressure cooker for cooking beans.

  4. Stove method. Rinse beans, place in a large pot or Dutch oven, cover with plenty of water, add the ½ onion and the bay leaves, bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 1 hour or until beans are soft. Cooking time will depend on the size and age of beans.

  5. Drain beans but keep approximately ½ cup of the cooking water which you can use to bring them to the desired consistency. You may end up not using it if you like the consistency the beans pureed with oil.

  6. Discard the onion and bay leaves.

  7. Let the beans cool slightly, place them in a food processor (or a bowl if using a blender/hand mixer/whisk/fork) with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

  8. Add the grated garlic and process/blend until smooth. Add more cooking oil, a tablespoon or so at a time until you get to the consistency of soft mashed potatoes or hummus. You can also add some of the reserved bean water if desired.

  9. Add salt to taste.

For the caramelized onions:

  1. Heat about 1/3 cup of oil in a large non stick pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 8-10 minutes, stirring from time to time.

  2. When the onions are golden, add the tomato paste, sugar, paprika and stir until well combined and slightly caramelized. Taste and add more paprika or salt if you’d like.

  3. Transfer the beans to a bowl or a serving platter and top with the onions.


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Hi everyone! Thank you to those who were able to join us last Friday while we learned how to make Empanadas from our guest chef Pamela! Pamela is from Argentina and grew up in the region of Salta. Her recipe is unique to this region and is often made for large gatherings with family and friends— if you have anyone that wants to learn how to make empanadas, now's the time to round them up! While this recipe does take some work, it is well worth it. Not only did we get to learn how to make the repulgues (twists) that characterize the dish, but you also create delicious, hand-held crescents that can be filled with the ingredients of your choice.

The full recipe can be found below.

As mentioned above, the filling can be completely customized to your preference. The recipe below features beef, but the ones we made during the event were vegetarian and they were phenomenal! Some popular ingredients are chicken, cheese, corn, olives, squash, and carrots.

If you do decide to make them (or made them with us during the March event), please let us know by sharing your thoughts or any photos you have! Thank you again to those that joined, and a special thank you to Pamela for the time she took to teach us the recipe. Keep an eye out for our next event in April, where we will be featuring a guest chef from Romania!

Empanadas Salteñas


  • 2 lbs of meat (in one piece preferred), or ground meat

  • 0.6 lbs of onions

  • 0.6 lbs of bell pepper (preferably red or green)

  • 1 lb of potatoes

  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled

  • Green onion (a little)

  • Flour (1 lb)

  • Salt

  • Cumin

  • White Pepper

  • Paprika

  • Butter or margarine (0.5 lbs)

  • Oil to fry (canola)


  1. Cut the meat into small pieces and cook it in a pan with a small amount of water for approximately 20-30 minutes. Cooking time will depend on how small the meat was cut. Do not let the broth dry completely.

  2. Cut the onions and bell pepper into small pieces. Fry them in a large skillet with some oil.

  3. Cut the potatoes into very small cubes and boil them until they are almost done. You do not want them to be so soft that they can be smushed easily between two fingers. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

  4. Mix the cooked meat with the fried onions and bell pepper. Then, add the cooked potatoes and season with cumin, paprika, salt, and white pepper to your liking.

  5. Add the diced boiled eggs and the chopped green onion into the mixture. Turn off heat and set mixture aside while preparing the dough.

To Prepare the Dough

  1. Prepare a small bowl with about a cup of hot water mixed with some salt.

  2. Add the flour to a large bowl. Mix in the butter, adding a tablespoon of the salted water at a time until the dough reaches the desired consistency. The dough should not be sticky; it should be smooth, firm, and cohesive. If you add too much water, you can add more flour to balance it out.

  3. Knead everything together for a couple of minutes to a smooth dough.

  4. Divide the dough into two logs and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for about 5 minutes.

  5. Cut each log into small discs. Using a rolling pin, roll out each disc until they become flat, thin circles. The rolled discs should be pretty thin and slightly larger than the size of one's palm.


  1. Fill each disc of dough with a spoon or two of the prepared filling. Fold the dough in half to form a half-moon shape and press the edges in firmly between your thumb and index finger. There should be an edge of dough extending from where the filling stops to the actual end of the dough.

  2. Once sealed, start at one of the corners of the empanada and fold the edge up and out, using your fingers to twist and curl until you reach the other side of the empanada. These twists are called "repulgues". Example:

  3. Continue making repulgues until you are out of dough/filling. The repulgues can be frozen and fried/baked later on as well.

  4. To Fry: Add about a half inch of oil to a pan or skillet on medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, you can add a small piece of dough to the oil to see if it starts frying; if it does, your oil is ready.

  5. Fry each empanada for about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown, flipping with a fork or tongs.

  6. Remove cooked empanadas from oil and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

  7. To Bake: Preheat oven to 350° (400° for Flagstaff altitude). Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. No flipping is required.

  8. Enjoy!!!!

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Thank you to everyone who came out this January for our Culture Kitchen Russia event! It was a pleasure to have Ellie cook with us earlier this week, showing us how to make Solyanka, a Russian soup that features some uncommonly used soup ingredients, such as pickles. If you're looking for a hearty soup with unique flavor, this one's for you! You can find the complete recipe below.

While the original recipe for the dish features many different meats, Solyanka can be made vegetarian friendly by substituting different kinds of vegetables to add substance to the soup. Some suggestions are mushrooms, carrots, and red bell peppers.

Once again, thank you Ellie for teaching us not only how to make Solyanka, but also about Russian culture. As always, make sure to keep an eye out for our next Culture Kitchen event to learn about a new culture and recipe!

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 1 lb boneless and skinless chicken breast or low-fat beef (best meat for Solyanka is beef ribs)

  • 4 oz beef snack bites or any small smoked sausages

  • 4 pcs wieners/sausages

  • 3 pickles, diced

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1/2 can black pitted olives

  • 5 spoonfuls of tomato paste

  • ½ of a lemon

  • Dill

  • Salt

  • Water


  1. Start by adding the chicken breast or beef to a sauce pan, along with 4 cups of water.

  2. Now add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan. When it is hot, add the sausages and beef snack bites. Fry them in olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then reduce the heat, and add the fried smoked meats to the saucepan with the broth and chicken breast.

  3. Using the same frying pan, add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Now sauté the diced onions, diced pickles, and olives in olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring until the onions and pickles are soft.

  4. Next, add the 5 spoonfuls of tomato paste and half a cup of water from the saucepan to the frying pan with the onions and pickles. Stir and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer the onions and pickles for 10 minutes, then pour the mixture into the saucepan with the Solyanka.

  5. To the saucepan, add salt and cook for another 10 minutes.

  6. At this stage, you can take out the boiled chicken breast or beef out of the broth and cut it into pieces before returning it to the saucepan.

  7. Serve the Solyanka with lemon slices and dill.

  8. Enjoy!

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