Tag Archives: spanish

shrimp scrambled eggs

4 Feb

paleo shrimp scrambled eggsI’m a total homebody who hates traffic…it’s really hard to get me to go snowboarding on the weekends. Even though I’m doing something fun, if I spend a day up there, I feel like my weekend is thus reduced to only one day. It’s like I need two days of mulling around the house and doing my mundane activities to feel relaxed. Pretty dumb, I know. In any case, I was swayed into going to Beaver Creek yesterday knowing full well that because of all the snow the mountains got over the past few days, the traffic and crowds were going to be awful. We left at 6:15 and 15 minutes into our drive the cars started getting backed up. I almost made Joe turn around to bring me back home. But I made it, the day was gorgeous and sunny and warm, and there was tons of really deep, untouched snow. Great, I was glad I bucked up and went. Then I realized my phone was missing and wasn’t in the car when we got back to it and Found My iPhone revealed an unfortunate result…

iphone at Beaver Creek deveining shrimp My friend Chris was still up at the resort, about to leave, when I discovered this and he quickly strapped back in, caught the chair with less than one minute left to last call, got 1/3 of the way up the mountain and came to a halt. No more running lifts. He asked around and very nice, no-nonsense ski patrolman Adam offered to snowmobile Chris up to the bottom of the lift where my phone was. But after searching around, they didn’t find anything. I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME.
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honey almond cake

27 Jan

paleo spanish honey almond cakeWhoa look, something sweet on here! I told you I failed my Whole30. I’m going out with bang. A somewhat Paleo-friendly bang, with a whole food, deliciously ethnic cake to celebrate my impending trip to Spain. That’s right, I’m turning 30 and I’ve decided I can’t stand not having seen the world anymore. I even signed up for a Spanish class, which I would have done regardless of my decision to go to Spain. I always regret not having continued my years of middle and high school Spanish. I was so happy to drop the class when I did, but only because I was so overworked. But I’m determined to get back into speaking Spanish and how convenient it will be in Spain when I can ask “¿Dónde puedo conseguir una Torta de Santiago?” and not have to consult Google Translate.
room temperature eggs local honeyThis morning when I opened up the front curtains, I saw that the neighbor’s and our lawns were flooded. At first I thought that perhaps he was just smarter than I and thought to water his lawn in the midst of this winter drought, while our lawn withers away. But I went out to investigate and after tromping barefoot through our pond-yard, saw that all the water was coming from an irrigation pipe under his yard. Sweet! Have fun sucker! How wonderful it was to find our sump pump in the basement spewing water, our downstairs bathroom flooded, and the little closet in the basement where we keep all our outdoorsy gear equally flooded. Awesome. The backyard looked pretty great with sleeping bags and backpacks hanging on branches out to dry.
raw almonds raw almond mealI first made this cake back in Boston for a ridiculous tapas party where I cooked for hours. There was so much food you would think I would’ve learned my lesson never to make approximately ten times what any one person could ever eat. Nope, I’ve replicated that kind of spread many times since – Thanksgivings, Christmases, Super Bowl parties… on and on, and the more I’m thinking about it right now, the more I want to have a tapas party. It’s been so long! Chorizo! Mackerel! Shrimp! Potatoes! This cake! Because it’s lovely and impressive and it’s grain-free and that’s so hip.
beaten egg whites paleo honey almond cakeI hate blanching almonds. I’m just not fussy enough about that kind of thing. And when I really should be using Marcona almonds anyway for this cake, I feel okay about leaving the skins on. Besides, the almonds are ground fine enough that you don’t run the risk of getting sheaths of skin suctioned on your teeth. If you’d rather buy pre-blanched almonds in almond flour form, that’s cool. Are all almonds you buy pasteurized? That’s so irritating.

honey almond cake
adapted from lots of recipes for torta de Santiago

6 eggs at room temperature, separated
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
9 oz almonds, finely ground

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until combined. Mix in the ground almonds.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture.

3. Line a springform cake pan, or just a regular cake pan, with parchment paper. Grease the sides. Pour in the batter and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

Now, you can top this cake how you’d like – you can get fancy and make an egg white frosting or dust with powdered sugar (if you make your own of course – or not, if you love that GMO cornstarch) or you can go nice and simple and drizzle extra honey on top. That’s my favorite.
paleo spanish almond cake slice

tortilla española

23 Feb

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to perfect the seasoning on my old Wagner cast iron pan. I can’t tell you how long I’ve spent scraping off ancient food residue, applying too-thick layers of one kind of fat, smoking up the apartment for hours on end, realizing that the too-thick layers make for a horrible, bumpy, sticky attempt at seasoning, trying unsuccessfully to fill in the valleys left by lumpy seasoning, getting frustrated and using oven cleaner to attempt to start from scratch, applying impossibly thin layers of different kinds of fats, smoking the apartment for more hours and hours, burning off successful, gorgeous seasoning when I left the pan unattended on a burner for too long, and finally, where I am now – with a pretty decent non-stick coating that definitely suffers from too-small electric stovetop burners, but that generally loves me back as much as I love it.
Which isn’t to say that it’s used like some people use a commercial non-stick pan, meaning, I happily load up the pan with its fair share of fat. And in this case, olive oil. Lots and lots of olive oil. I mentioned a ways back that I was going to post this recipe. Took me a while, I guess. I remember the first time I saw how to make a Spanish tortilla. Shocked. Completely shocked at the amount of olive oil used. There’s a reason it is so, so, so good. Really, can you not not get it at a tapas restaurant? No matter how many other things are more complicated, fancy, or wonderful sounding, I can’t pass up the tortilla Española. I like to think about European food before their encounter with the Americas. Did the Spanish make tortillas before they got the potato? What did they like to put in them? Don’t even get me started with Italian food without tomatoes. One of these days I’ll get some book on the introduction of New World foods to the Old World, rather than just reading blurbs on Wikipedia. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with what I don’t know.
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baked spanish chicken wings with almond sauce

7 Feb

Considering that, for the past several months, I’ve been instantly dismissing recipes that call for a substantial amount of red wine, it was really odd that I was drawn to making chicken wings, of all things, marinated in red wine. Really, I don’t get it. And it’s not that I don’t like dishes with red wine, it’s just that it’s so prevalent in the winter and I’m tired of braising and stewing everything in it because every dish starts to blur into the last.
But let me tell you, it’s a good thing these little wings came into my life. It’s a good thing that I just happened to have an old bottle of wine that I couldn’t really remember when it was from (hey, it at least didn’t smell like nail polish remover, so I feel okay about it) and figured this would be a good use for it. It’s a good thing that despite loving aioli, I put my foot down about not serving these wings with it. It seems like I get sucked into making it for about every single tapas dish I make and holy crap this almond sauce was good. It’s also a good thing that chicken wings were on sale. Seriously, why are they normally so expensive?? Thighs will be like 89¢ a pound and lousy wings will be $5 a pound. Stupid. (Like I’m really qualified to discuss the validity of chicken’s pricing structure.)
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4 Aug

I’m pretty much on a diet of chopped vegetable dishes. Every meal I’ve eaten in the past two weeks has either consisted solely of a) potato salad, b) green bean salad with basil, sautéed radishes, and hunks of mozzarella, c) citrusy coleslaw, or a hearty helping of one of those next to some protein that I was mostly eating just to stave off devouring a giant bowlful of one of those salads. Now that tomatoes are starting to come in? Oh boy. Watch out. Is it possible to eat all of your daily calories from tomatoes? Can I try? No? Okay, I’ll throw in some grilled corn on the cob slathered with homemade lime mayonnaise and queso añejo. And some peaches and cherries. That’s fine. God I love summer.
Gazpacho is a little difficult for me. On the one hand, it’s probably one of the best soups you can eat. On the other hand, it seems a little shameful to purée fresh, ripe, local (expensive) heirloom tomatoes. Maybe that’s because I don’t have any of my own in a garden in my back yard. I kind of feel that they’re like precious gems and to adulterate them with anything more than some coarse sea salt and a basil leaf is to somehow cheapen them. But I freaked out a little when I realized that our 18 days of above 90 degree weather had finally broken and I hadn’t made gazpacho. Gazpacho is for 97 degree days. But hey, it just so happens that it’s pretty damn good at 83 degrees too.
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coliflor a la plancha with chorizo

26 Apr

Wondering where I’ve been the past week? Well, I was visiting my friend Samantha in Boston, and eating my body weight in food everyday. I miss that place a whole heck of a lot and it was really fun to go to my old favorite restaurants and jealously try out wonderful, new places. The weather was suitably crappy. Really windy, mostly cold and then rainy as the week progressed. The sun was out just a couple days. I would say that it made it easier to leave, but when my friend and I came back to Denver to finish the vacation, the weather was nearly identical here! Ugh.

Among the wonderful meals at The Abbey, Orinoco, Hungry Mother, Zaftigs, and too many others, the most delicious (as always) was at Toro. It’s a Spanish tapas place in the South End that goes far, far beyond the typical. Yes, you can get patatas bravas and tortilla española, and they’re wonderful there, but you can also get more unusual dishes. Some of the dishes we got were mollejas (sweetbreads with a blood orange sauce), corizon a la plancha (beef heart), and estufada de tripa (an unexpected southeast asian-inspired tripe stew). We also got an unassuming little dish of coliflor a la plancha. We always get it; it’s not super fancy or complicated, but it’s so yummy. “A la plancha” means grilled on a metal plate, basically. So you get a nice, crisp outside to whatever you’re cooking. I’ve roasted cauliflower a whole bunch, but this is slightly different. The cauliflower is cut nice and thin so it cooks through faster, allowing you to get that browning, but also to have it be really tender.

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mini spanish burgers with manchego + garlic aioli

21 Mar

My tapas parties in the past have become something of legend, amongst Joe and me. They weren’t really parties, because we never thought to invite anyone, but still. I’d spend most of the day make tapa after tapa – patatas bravas, chicken and ham croquettes, roasted eggplant dip, potato and leek tortilla, honey almond cakes…. it was an ordeal. A wonderfully delicious ordeal! I keep meaning to have another one, and to actually invite some friends over. But until that time, I’ve settled for less extravagant tapas dinners. This time, the focus was these little, easy mini burgers topped with a few slices of aged manchego cheese and some homemade garlic aioli. I also made some quick roasted asparagus and sautéed mushrooms.

Making aioli or homemade mayo can be a trialing event. I don’t make it very often, so I’m always a little out of practice when I set out to make it. This time was no exception. I actually thought it hadn’t emulsified and gave up all hope, but when I looked at it a bit later saw that it had mysteriously thickened. Hmm. Works for me! If you’ve never made aioli or mayo before, you’re in for a treat. It’s so much better than store bought mayonnaise. Hopefully you won’t have trouble getting the emulsification, but if you do, there are ways to save it. I’ve read a few different ways, but the one that’s worked for me is to whisk another room temperature egg yolk, then slowly add the broken mayo to it. I’ve also found that a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachments is better than a blender or food processor. (I initially forgot that and used a blender, which was why I think it didn’t properly emulsify at first.) You can also hand whisk!

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