It was unmistakable. There was a chill in the air this morning. Not a breeze, not a nip, but a chill. This summer went by fast for me and being in the final stretch of recipe testing and writing has only accelerated it. This week I was looking for a substitute for the Cuban aji guaguao and was told that tabasco peppers should work. I stopped by a few of my favorite markets but they didn’t carry them. Earlier this year, I was supposed to visit the McIlhenny Company‘s tabasco pepper fields in Louisiana but the trip was postponed until October. At the time it felt like a long ways off but now it couldn’t come soon enough. With New York produce failing me, I couldn’t wait to be where tabasco peppers were literally growing on trees (or bushes – not sure because I haven’t been there yet). Read more
Posts from the ‘Spain’ Category
Beginning next week, I’ll be taking a pretty extensive cookbook research break that will keep me away from this site well into June, so I didn’t want to miss the chance to post one more time. In what might be the most boring premise for a reality television show ever – leading up to any trip, I stop buying food and try to only use what I have on hand. That left me with a few links of chorizo bought for garbanzos, an extra 2 pounds of malanga that never became fritters, and a half bunch of parsley because – well there’s just always parsley.
Whenever I turn out a successful flan, I always feel like I’ve gotten lucky. Made with with relatively few ingredients, they should be simple but that’s not always the case. I recently tried to make a Mexican flan imposible (part custard, part chocolate) that turned out to be – well – impossible. This week, I was determined make this almond-orange flan for the Cooking Channel’s Devour the Blog dairy-free for Passover. Making flan without my go-to cans (part condensed milk, part evaporated milk) was unnerving, but I had a feeling it would work out in the end. I was due. Read more
I was very late to try it, but this week I finally made Jim Lahey’s now famous no-knead bread recipe. I’m not sure how it came to mind, but around 6 o-clock one evening, I decided that I absolutely could not go another minute without digging it out from a stack must trys I’d had going for a couple of years. After looking at the online video Mark Bittman created with Lahey, I bundled up and headed out for the ingredients. By 7, I was mixing up the dough and setting it in the oven for the initial long slow rise. The next day, after a few turns and second rise, it was in the oven pre-heated to scorching hot. I was cautiously optimistic. Read more
Lately, in my heat-addled mind, the most satisfying meals can be summed up in two words – cold and simple. Though gazpacho meets both criteria, I’d yet to make it this summer. Looking for a new variation, I tried this popular recipe for gazpacho al estilo de Patricia by Spanish chef José Andrés. Having experimented with pale ajo blanco, deep pink gazpacho with strawberry and fennel, and classic red with tropezones, it was time to go green. Read more
I’ve had it flagged for a long time but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally made a batch of Galician filloas. Served year around in northern Spain, they are most popular during early winter’s carnival season. Similar to crêpes, they’re made from with the usual suspects – flour, eggs, milk – but can also be blended with stock and cooked off with bacon fat or lard instead of butter. The thin batter is poured onto a hot skillet (or a stone), flipped and filled or sprinkled with sugar and served as dessert. Hovering somewhere between sweet and savory, they can be hard to classify. Read more
I haven’t brought myself to take down the tree just yet. It was love at first sight when I spotted it early December – shivering and cold on the corner of my block. A little plumper then the elegant, well-shaped trees on either side, I realized something about myself that morning, namely that I like a fat tree. Since I was staying home this year, I gave myself the luxury of a full-sized tree knowing I wouldn’t have to go away for the holidays and come back to find it dry and sinking on the stand. For once, I was able to use all of my ornaments big and small and it couldn’t get enough. No matter how many decorations I put on the tree, the branches just seemed to swallow them whole until we had to literally trim them down. If they made spanx for trees, I would have used them. On Christmas Eve, my favorite gift was a vintage Angel topper my sister hunted down for me so the tree was finally complete. In some countries, the night of January 5 that precedes it, also known as twelfth night or the 12th day of Christmas, is considered the end of the season when decorations should be taken down (don’t worry about looking it up – it’s 12 drummers drumming). I wanted to keep it up at least until Three Kings Day or Epiphany. Sadly, the time has come. Read more