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FLAVORS OF SPAIN

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THE INDOMITABLE AND TRENDY KALE

KALE AND SAUSAGE CROSTINI

Oh kale, I love thee, let me count the ways. Kale, the veggie titan that’s killing it in every Farmer’s Market and produce department. Thousands of pounds are consumed and purchased worldwide, as it’s the trendiest and most hyped leafy green on the veggie Vogue parade in recent years. Once unappealing and certainly given the bypass, it’s now the number one contender and much revered by all. Packing a big wallop nutritionally, it’s a giant among veggies, as it’s brimming…

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THE SEXY CHIC THIGH

coconut curry thighs

A lot has been said when it comes to chicken. Endless discussions about its lackluster qualities. Who ever said chicken was boring, must still be pondering how can it get to the other side? Considering the million preparations and techniques, with deep-rooted dishes going through a much-needed revival and new imaginative takes thrown in for good measure, chicken is the 13thwonder of the gastronomic world when given some TLC, because it’s a blank canvas. Sure, you can slap it on…

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POLLASTRE CON GAMBAS – SPANISH CHICKEN WITH SHRIMP

SPANISH CHICKEN WITH SHRIMP

This stew is a flavor bomb that defines the quintessential cuisine of northern Spain, Catalonia. The marriage of poultry and seafood often is a paired combination, which is undeniably as heavenly as it is unique, so much so that this will become a dish you will come to crave and prepare often. The picada is what creates the creamy factor in this dish with the bread and almonds.   6 chicken thighs – bone in and skin left on –…

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SPANISH BEEF STEW WITH RIOJA – ESTOFADO DE TERNERA A LA RIOJANA

SPANISH BEEF STEW

This time-honored Spanish stew comes from the Spanish region of Rioja.  As with any stew, you can make modifications and Spanish cured chorizo is a popular addition that can be sautéed after browning the chuck and some mushrooms can be added at the end.  The addition of red Rioja is what makes it traditional, not to mention the smokiness of the Spanish paprika.  A match made in heaven. 1 LB of chuck – fat trimmed and cut into medium sized…

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ARTICHOKES – INTIMIDATING YET SPLENDID

STUFFED OVEN ROASTED ARTICHOKES

“Artichoke: the vegetable of which one has more at the finish than at the start of dinner”. Lord Chesterfield” One of the many reasons why 2018 is commemorative, it celebrates the 70thanniversary of when Marilyn Monroe was crowned Artichoke Queen in Castroville, California in 1948.  Since she was and still is such a sex symbol, one could go as far as saying once you’ve eaten a well-prepared artichoke, you’ll realize that it’s as good or even better than sex.  That…

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MIDWEEK BLUES – SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP

SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP

MIDWEEK BLUES – SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP WITH SUMMER SALAD This is a dish that embodies the glorious flavors of Spanish and a tapa found in every bar.  As a rule, the key is to use fresh shrimp, not frozen to obtain the maximum flavor of the prawns.  A dried chili pepper is added for spice, in Spain they are called Guindilla, but a dried Guajillo or red jalapeño are optimal too.  The shrimp are rendered succulent and tender bathed in…

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LAMB MEATBALLS WITH WHITE WINE SAUCE

lamb meatballs

Lamb meatballs are mostly indigenous to Mediterranean countries, India and the Middle East.  Many shy away from the gamey and pungent lamb flavor and it’s unquestionably an acquired taste.  However, if you wanted to dive into any lamb dish, these don’t particularly have that defined lamby taste.  Lamb is pretty lean, so to ensure that these stay juicy they need a bit of fat hence cooking the onion prior to adding the raw mixture.  The sauce is stellar and I’m…

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SPANISH CHORIZO CROQUETTES

croquetas españolas

CROQUETAS DE CHORIZO Croquetas in Spain are a diurnal tapas dish that is enjoyed by one and all.  They come in all flavorings – canned tuna, boiled egg and ham, chicken, foie gras, smoked salmon, fish, pork, jamón serrano, shrimp, cheese; the possibilities are endless.  They’re typically served at room temp with or without a sauce and they represent the perfect example of traditional, old-school Spanish fare, served in every household and restaurant.  The liquid for the conventional béchamel can…

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SPANISH MEATBALLS IN SAFFRON SAUCE

ALBONDIGAS EN SALSA DE AZAFRÁN Every country boasts of an individualistic rendition for these crowd pleasing round morsels and in Spain meatballs are criminally outstanding, almost falling under a denomination of their own accord.  If you’re a meatball lover and your only experience has only been the Italian type over spaghetti, then you’ve not seen the forest for the trees.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Italian fare.  It’s prodigious with every regional specialty making it unforgettable and their meatballs…

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SPANISH CHORIZO AND BEEF BALLS

CHORIZO MEATBALLS WITH PISTACHIOS

Spanish chorizo sausage packs such a unique flavor – smoky, garlicy, smoked,tangy; it has no comparison.  This is the chorizo from Bilbao, in the northern part of Spain. The Mexican chorizo can’t compare, as the product is soft and raw.  Spanish chorizo is readily available in any market nowadays.  Don’t substitute one for the other; they are both completely different and the results cannot be replicated. PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F 1 LB of ground sirloin – preferably fresh ground by…

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SPANISH STUFFED PEPPERS WITH COD

Spanish stuffed peppers

Fish stuffed peppers are the rage in Spain and there are quite a few renditions.  Here the use of small Piquillo peppers is best, cut in half, stuffed and served as part of the Tapas repast.  However, there is nothing amiss if you select to stuff the normal sized peppers and serve as a main course, as Piquillo peppers are hard to come by.  This recipe is rich and delectable, one I’m sure you probably haven’t sampled before, unless you…

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SPANISH GAZPACHO – RED AND WHITE

Spanish Gazpacho

For most folks, soups are the soul food consumed piping hot to ward off the chill throughout the bone-numbing temperatures during the interminable winter months.  However, cold soups are the perfect complement for dog days of summer as they are the ultimate solstice cooler when there’s a cornucopia of fresh veggies and we crave something refreshing. Requiring no introduction, this classic from the Iberian Peninsula, specifically Andalusia, Gazpacho demands no stove preparation and it has many variations, typically red or…

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SPANISH PISTO MANCHEGO

Although Pisto is associated with the Spanish region of La Mancha, the land of Don Quixote and sun-bleached windmills, it’s a revered staple all over Spain.  It consists of a rustic medley of peppers, tomato and zucchini, characteristically served with a fried egg on top and it’s also utilized as the filling for Enpanadillas (Spanish Empanadas).  You can make a couple of holes in the center of the pisto, about 5 minutes before it is done and crack a couple…

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SPANISH MEATBALLS IN ALMOND SAUCE

SPANISH MEATBALLS

ALBONDIGAS EN SALSA DE ALMENDRAS Another dish that derives from the ancestral Spanish culinary archives, passed down in generations from grandmother, to mother, to daughter and showcases the lovely simplicity of rustic farmhouse Spanish cuisine.   This humble, but succulent meatball recipe is from the southern part of Spain, Andalucia to be precise.  Typically, I don’t add raw ingredients into ground meats – such as meatloaf of meatballs, however in this case the garlic has been passed through a garlic…

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