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Posts from the ‘Spain’ Category

Berenjenas con Miel

Normally, I  jump around the globe but virtual travel can be exhausting and with our seasons aligning I wanted to linger in Spain awhile longer. I rescued the eggplants I’d bought from last week’s pisto manchego partly to try this Andalusian recipe for eggplant fritters drizzled with honey from Claudia Roden’s The Food of Spain and partly because my sister said they looked like little witches lined up in a row. Either way, they were ripe to stand on their own. Read more

Pisto Manchego

If I’ve been hard-selling farmer’s markets in the last couple of months it’s because I can’t remember a summer where I’ve taken this much advantage of them. It’s partly my dog’s fault. Orfeo Perro gets very fast walks during the week so Sunday mornings we go the long way around Carroll Park to the small market that sets up there. This should be a happy time for both of us but rarely is. The smell of sizzling turkey sausage goes to his head and I have to watch him so he doesn’t gobble up the samples (toothpicks included) that fall to the sidewalk or, even worse, get gobbled up by the much bigger dogs for whom he is a delicious turkey sausage. To make matters worse, he thinks nothing of snatching at animal crackers, cheerios and anything else that sticks out of a passing stroller. I work my way through the market in a series of tugs and apologies but that’s my dog – marking his territory and taking candy from babies. Read more

Mousse de Turrón

I’m not devoutly superstitious so I have no problem picking and choosing which New Year’s traditions to follow.  While 12 grapes at midnight are non-negotiable anywhere Spanish is spoken, for the rest of Latin America it’s pretty much an open field.  I’ve written wishes for the coming months (Venezuela) then throw them in the fire so no one could steal them.  Unfortunately, I forgot what I’d written before the paper had turned to ash, leaving me with unstarted resolutions.  If I lived in Honduras, I’d make an “Año Viejo” doll stuffed with fireworks to set off at midnight if I didn’t find effigies and fireworks equally frightening.  I’ve never thrown a bucket of water out of my window to rid myself of evil spirits (Puerto Rico), but a water pipe bursting a few years ago started off one of my favorite New Year’s nights and great year.  A Peruvian friend suggested I wander around the block with a suitcase if I wanted to travel in 2011, but I’ve had enough of packing bags and getting nowhere in the last few days.  Fortunately, everyone seems to be in agreement on an underwear color scheme for the occassion (red=love, green=money, yellow=luck, white=health).  I don’t know if it works, but at the very least it forces you to get your priorities straight before midnight. Read more

Turrón de Chocolate y Almendras

There are few things I look forward to at Christmas that I couldn’t have any time of the year.  Unlike childhood where they withhold the holiday to the very end, of the very last month, until you just can’t take it anymore, as an adult you can fly to snow, buy your own presents, mix your own nog.  Turrón, however is one thing that, while I could technically indulge in year around, I only ever have at Christmas.  A specialty item in May, it’s stacked sky high in every possible flavor by November and the challenge is to remember everyone’s favorite before they sell out and you’re left to choose from three kinds of coconut and a mashed up box of sugar-free Alicante. Read more

Tortilla de Papas y Chorizo

I love the holidays but so much joy can be exhausting.  The things I normally love doing – seeing friends, decking the halls, shopping, traveling – become stressful when done for 31+ consecutive days.  I miss my kitchen and get in a panic about getting home too early to sleep and too late to cook.  Faced with the prospect of nighttime pop tarts (organic maybe but still) and cold bowls of cereal, I opted for tortilla de papas instead. Read more

Torrijas al Vino

Its taken me a few days to emerge from my runner’s fog, but I finally found my way to the kitchen and decided to start with torrijas al vino.  Served for breakfast, dessert or as a snack, the bread is soaked in milk or wine, dipped in eggs, then fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or soaked in spiced syrup.  I’ve wanted to make torrijas since I was in Spain where they’re popular during Easter and at Christmas almost everywhere else.  Commonly known as torrejas throughout Latin America, I was only familiar with the Cuban version which is typically much sweeter, incorporating only a small amount of vino seco.  Though similar to the French pain perdu, the Spanish version may have preceded it, with the first mentions of it dating back to the 15th century. Read more

Empanada Gallega

I could never take food for granted.  There’s always something to learn, and I’m constantly surprised.  I knew that empanadas were a specialty of Galicia, but I didn’t realize they’d partly originated there.  I also didn’t know the “empanadas” I’d grown up with were actually empanidillas, smaller versions of the larger pies that Galician bakers first sold to pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela (a detail that make my history-major-geek heart beat faster).   Fortunately, they never stopped moving, spreading across Latin America, baked or fried, in a million different variations. Read more

Grilled Tuna Steak with Roasted Tomatoes

I wish I had the ability to just stroll over to the farmer’s market, grab a couple of beets, some Swiss chard, and an apricot and turn it into a feast by finding inspiration in the season laid out under tents and weighing down tables.  But that would mean giving up the planning, the list, and the check off which I also love, especially the list. Read more

Albóndigas de Pesach

I’ve always been superstitious about throwing away keys.  It could be a tiny gold key to a tweenage diary, an extra hotel key I forgot to return, or a loose spare to a forgotten door in a past dorm, house or apartment.  I’ll be ready to toss it then have a last minute misgiving that makes me put it back in the drawer, giving in to the anxiety that I’ll be faced with a lock I can’t open.  That’s probably why I was so fascinated when I heard about Jewish families in Spain who kept the keys to their homes after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492.  A poignant detail in a larger history that’s always stood out in my mind. Convinced it was a misguided policy of Queen Isabella’s that would soon be corrected, they kept their keys with them.  Another story I heard soon after that’s very popular, is about a man who stopped by a local bar in Toledo to ask directions to the house where his family had lived five hundred years before.  Sent to a nearby address and carrying the key they had saved, he came back a few minutes later, shaken, only able to get out the words, it worked. Read more

Olive Oil Pancakes

I was flipping through José Andrés’ Made in Spain when I came across a recipe for olive oil pancakes.  I’ve been on a pancake tear lately and was intrigued by his emphasis on Spanish products to make all-American pancakes – olive oil, chocolate, and honey.  I’d always preferred Spanish olive oil, but I had never thought about Spanish chocolate.  That morning, I found a 2 kilo bar of dark artisanal chocolate from Aragon at the Co-Op.  I don’t know how I could have missed it , it was enormous.  I heaved it into my bag and headed home.
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