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Black Squid Ink Rice

Holaaaa!

This dish is traditionally made with rice, cuttlefish (sepia) and the ink of the cuttlefish. I used squid instead of the cuttlefish.

In Spain when you go to the fish store and you ask for cuttlefish, the fishmonger will ask you if you want the ink. If you are planning on making black rice or black noodles, you will keep it, otherwise you don’t want it.

In the U.S I can’t find cuttlefish, and a lot of you will not even know what it is. But believe me, it is very common in other countries, including Spain. If I am lucky enough to find it, It’s frozen, so there is no ink. I bought cuttlefish ink in a jar (online). It’s perfect and it works really good.

A lot of you might be grilling this weekend, but… if you want a good alternative to the traditional, here is an easy dish to make. Something different, simple, fun and tasty!

Serves 2-4 people.  You can make steps 1-5  ahead of time.

Ingredients:

– 2 medium onions

– 1/4 red bell pepper, grated

– 2 big tomatoes or 5-6 small whole tomatoes from a can

– 1 Tablespoon of  cuttlefish or squid ink

– 1 Ib of squid (tubes and tentacles)

– 2 cups bomba, calasparra or arborio rice (if you can’t find either, use a high quality white rice). I use 1/2 cup per person.

– 1 quart of fish or seafood broth/stock. Homemade or the best quality you can find at the supermarket

– salt, pepper, and olive oil

– paella pan!

1)  In a paella pan (larger skillet if you don’t have a paella pan), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the grated onion. Let it cook for about 3 minutes. Add the grated pepper. Let it cook until the onion is brown.

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Brown onion

2) While you are waiting for the onion to get brown, slice the squid tubes (cuttlefish if you can find it!) into thin strips. Set it aside.

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3) When the onion is ready,  add the tomatoes, and mash them using a potato masher. You can also grate fresh tomatoes. Season and stir for about 3 minutes.

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Add the tomatoes

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Mash them

4) Add the squid, season and stir. The  squid should take about 10 to 15 minutes to cook.  Turn the heat off.

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– If when cooking the squid, and you get liquid separating from the squid, remove it and add it to your fish/seafood stock. This will add a lot of good flavor.

5) With the heat off, add the rice. Stir and get everything incorporated together.  Now, we want all the flavors to combine. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

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– You can also make it in the morning and cover it with aluminum foil for the day. The longer you let it sit, the better.

6) Heat the fish broth with a tablespoon of cuttlefish ink. Stir constantly until the ink is mixed well with the liquid.

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7) Put the paella pan back on the stove and heat on medium.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock and set aside. (This will only be used if you need it for the rice.) Pour the remainder into the paella pan. Consistency of the rice is important. You don’t want to use too much stock, as you will overcook the rice. Too little stock and you will have crunchy rice.

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8) Shake the pan every 5-7 minutes. Don’t stir. The black rice will be ready when the rice is cooked and there is no juice left in the pan. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes.

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The rice is ready!

Yay! It’s ready to serve.

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Bon profit!!

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Canelones de espinacas y champiñones

Canelones with spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts with white sauce. A delicious , and a good way to make it if you have someone that doesn’t like to eat vegetables. Bon Profit!

Hola!

I love canelones and they are a good holiday dish. In the USA, you would call them cannelloni, after the Italian version. My Grandma is the best at making them. She usually makes canelones with meat for our big and important family meal in January. To celebrate the Three Kings (the three wise men). She usually makes about 90 canelones!! She has a lot of patience and she is good at it. (She’s also had a lot more practice than me!) I will make these canelones with her when I go to Spain this Christmas. Like my Grandma always says, “It’s very healthy to be able to be with family, drinking and eating.” And that’s true.

Today, I made canelones with spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts. Delicious ,and a good way to make it if you have someone that doesn’t like to eat vegetables.

For the dough, I used that classic canelones dough that we use in Spain…

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Greenish smoothie

Hola hola!

Today something super healthy, and not necessarily Spanish.

Every morning when I wake up, I make coffee. I need it so bad! It’s a daily process  that I do, but one that I like. Coffee and news, and let the day begin! My breakfast or snack is usually a smoothie. I love them, and in a few sips you can consume many of the vitamins and minerals you need for the whole day. They say we need at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables every day!  I usually eat more than that, but it’s a great way to start the day fresh and with energy.

I make a different smoothie every day. I try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season for different reasons.  The first is that fresh fruits and vegetables taste better.  So, the fresher the tastier. Second is that very fresh fruits and vegetables retain their vitamins and nutrients better. Third, I like to support the local farmers when I can.  It´s nice to know exactly where your produce comes from. And last, seasonal produce is usually less expensive because it is more abundant and more readily available.  So eat fresh and local whenever you can!

So, depending on the season I will make one or another smoothie.  But since you can´t always find fresh, you can always buy frozen. Frozen is a great alternative because it retains the flavors, is easy to store, and makes it so easy for smoothies because all of the preparation work is done!

For this delicious smoothie I used;

– 2 leaves of swiss chard

– 1 cup kale

 1/2 cup pineapple

– 1/3 cup blueberries

– 5 strawberries

– 1 cup almond milk

Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix away!

Before

Before

After!

After!

You can change any of these fruits or vegetables. Enjoy it!

Bon profit!!

I am happy to share this recipe with Fiesta Friday!

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Mushroom croquettes

Its International Croquette Day!

Hola holaaa!

Croquetas (croquettes), I love them, any kind. It is very common in Spain to order croquetas in a tapas bar. Spain has a lot of different kinds of croquetas; with chicken, or ham, cheese, meat, seafood, mushrooms, etc, etc. I’ll definitely make all of them for you:)     Or I’ll try to 😉

I love mushrooms, and there are so many different varieties. Mushrooms are great for sauces, sides, pastas… I like to get my mushrooms at the farmers market. So fresh and so good.

For this recipe, it doesn’t really matter which kind of mushroom you use. I would recommend just using your favorite kind of mushroom. I like shiitake mushrooms so, those are the ones I used for this recipe.

The recipe is almost the same as the one for Chicken croquetas

Ingredients for 20 croquetas:

– About 5 ounces of mushroom (about a pint)

– 1 small onion

– 1/2 cup milk…

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Coulant de chocolate

Hola hola!!

The countdown to Christmas is here. I recently returned to Spain to celebrate the holidays with my family. It’s great to be back, but I would skip the 8 hour plane ride if I could… It’s not that bad though. I do enjoy flying and it goes by fast enough that I barely sleep. I really look forward to seeing all of my family. Let’s see if I can cook with my grandma and post some recipes.

I apologize If I don’t post for a while, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have. I will do my best. If you are on Facebook or Instagram, I will definitely post some local and traditional Spanish food there.

For today, I made something very “chocolatey”. It is called Coulant de Chocolate. I used to make it a lot back in college with one of my friends. The beauty…

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peppers del Padrón

Peppers del Padrón

Holaaa and Happy New Year!!!!

I hope you all had a great holiday and a great beginning to 2017!

I went to Spain for Christmas and while there, I had a popular tapa called  Peppers al Padrón, “Pimientos del Padrón” in Spanish. The peppers are from El Padrón, a town in the northwest region of Galicia.

When I came back to the States I went to the supermarket and I saw something similar, so I immediately thought that I would have to post them on the blog. It’s a very easy tapa to make and really tasty.

These peppers are small, about 3 inches long and green in color. They have a mild flavor, not too hot, not too sweet. You will find them in the markets mostly between May and October.

I think it will be difficult to locate these peppers in the USA, but probably not impossible.  The peppers I purchased are a similar size, and have a similar flavor, though probably a little sweeter. That’s not a bad thing. The important aspects are the size and overall flavor. Since they are served as a tapa, they should be bite-sized. The way to eat them is just picking them up by the stem and eating them whole. (Everything but the stem!) And the flavor. In general, most of the small peppers I find in the US are chili peppers. These tend to be too hot and spicy for this dish.

Raw

Raw

Cooked

Cooked

The best way to cook them is to sauté them in a pan with olive oil and salt.

You might think that they look burned, but they are not, just the way you want them to look.

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The substitute peppers! Very colorful.

It is a very popular tapa in Spain, so… let’s do it!

Ingredients;

–  1/2 Ib Sweet peppers (or as many as you want!)

– olive oil

– Sea salt (I used Maldon)

Heat a large skillet/pan over medium high heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil and when it’s hot, add the peppers. If the pan is not big enough for all of the peppers, you can cook them in batches. Stir the peppers until they are coated in olive oil. Cook until the skins are blistered, slightly charred, and the texture starts to soften. Add the sea salt and ready to serve! Another classic tapa, easy to prepare, and a great way to incorporate some delicious veggies into your meal.

Pimientos del Padrón

Bon profit!

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Arroz de Bacalao (cod)

Hola!

I’ve been wanting to cook this recipe for a long time… because it is something that is super easy, super fast and super delicious.

I like to go to the market and see what’s new and fresh in the seafood department, actually I like to look for new ingredients in all of the departments. I usually go to the market for 2 things and I am back home with 2 full grocery bags. I am terrible. Every time it is the same. Hopefully, I am not the only one. 🙂

This dish has, rice, vegetables and cod, also known as bacalao in Spanish, bacallà in catalan. It’s a pretty common dish in Catalonia (northeast of Spain) . There are different ways to make it. I thought this would be the easiest.

Ingredients for 4:

– 1 1/2 – 2 cups rice (regular)

– Cod

– 1 medium onion

– 1 zucchini

– 1 red pepper

– 2-3 tomatoes

– 1 yellow or green pepper

– 2 cloves garlic

– 1 – 1/2 cups vegetable broth

Suggestions; you can also add artichoke hearts, carrots, peas….

Chop all the veggies. Cook the onion in a medium pan until is brown. In a separate pan, cook the other vegetables until they get a nice color. Once the onion is cooked, place it into the pan with the other vegetables and stir for a minute. Be sure it’s mixed completely.

As a suggestion, I would say that you can simply slice the tomatoes into small slices and place them with the other veggies. You can do what I did. Boil the tomatoes for a minute. Place them into cold water, peel, and chop them, then place into the pan with the other veggies (they’ll be more juicy).
After that, you have 2 ways to prepare it:

1) If you already have cooked rice: Slice the cod into small pieces and place it into the pan with the other veggies. Pour in the vegetable broth. Let it cook for a few minutes on medium low heat until the cod is cooked. Add the cooked rice. Shake the pan to be sure all the ingredients are mixed well and they get the flavor.

It should be a little juicy, if it looks dry, add more vegetable broth.

2) the other way: Slice the cod into small pieces and cook it with the vegetables for a few minutes. Add it to the vegetable broth and the uncooked rice. Cook on a medium heat until the rice is cooked. Shake the pan every few minutes.

Before

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After

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Bon profit!

Enjoy it!

Bon profit!

Croquetas de Chickpeas

Hola!!

I love croquettes. As you can see on my blog, I already have several different varieties of croquetas (croquettes). In Spain, they are very popular. They make a great dinner component for kids and also a great tapa or appetizer. The most popular variety are chicken croquetas. Like a lot of Spaniards, I love finger food, and these croquetas are so yummy that I couldn’t stop eating them.

The variety of croquetas that I made today are Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) Croquettes, translated to Croquetas de Garbanzos. If you are a fan of hummus, I bet (and hope!) you will love these croquetas. The recipe is really easy to execute.

Ingredients for 30 croquetas:

  • 1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  •  3/4 cup milk (2% or whole milk)
  • nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • flour
  • bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup canola oil for frying the croquetas

– Blend the chickpeas in a food processor and set aside.

-Cook the onion on medium heat with some olive oil until it turns golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

-Once the onion starts to brown, start preparing the white sauce.

-Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium pan and place on low heat.  The bottom of the pan should be entirely coated with butter. Once it’s melted, add 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour.  Stir constantly until the flour is brown. Add 1/2 cup of milk and stir until everything has been incorporated (it should like like a béchamel/white sauce). If it looks too thick, add a little bit of milk. Too thin, keep stirring or add a little flour.

-Place the chickpeas and the onion into the sauce and stir. Add a small pinch of nutmeg (it has a lot of flavor!). Keep stirring, you want all the ingredients to be fully mixed. By now, the dough shouldn’t be liquid, if you see that it is too wet, add an extra tablespoon of flour. On the other hand, If the dough is too dry, add a little milk. You don’t want it too wet because it will be impossible to form the croquetas.

-The mixture should rest a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.

– After the dough has rested, prepare the egg mixture. For this, I beat one egg.

– Next, prepare your bread crumbs.  Pour the bread crumbs onto a large plate. Store bought bread crumbs are fine for this.

– Shape the mixture into small croquetas with a small spoon.

-Dip the croquetas into the beaten egg and then roll each croqueta in the bread crumbs.

– Fry the croquetas. It takes about 2-3 minutes per side.

-Remove the croquetas and let them rest on a paper towel to cool and remove excess oil.

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Delicious! Serve warm and… BON PROFIT!

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Monkfish al Horno con Cognac

Hola!!

It’s official, its fall folks. The weather has changed so much around my home, instant fall. I hope to get some more beach days in this year, I really enjoy laying down at the beach with a good book. We’ll see about that!

Since the weather has changed so much, I really feel that I want to cook a fall dish. Something warm and filling on a cool, rainy day. When I say warm dishes, I’m talking soups, stews, fish, etc. One of the fish that I really like is monkfish, or rape (pronounced rah-pay) in Spanish. When I first moved to the States, it was difficult to find. But I persisted and have been able to find it.

I can say that Rape is different than other fish. It is pretty firm and meaty, similar to a steak or chicken consistency. The way they prepare it, it doesn’t have many bones either. If you see the whole fish, it is pretty ugly (I am sorry Mr. Monkfish…) But it tastes better than it looks! And that’s what it matters in the kitchen.

Today I made Rape al Horno con Cognac, which translates to Oven-Baked Monkfish with cognac. It is baked in a pan with onions and potatoes, which is very typical of Spanish cuisine. The recipe is simple to execute. If you don’t have cognac or don’t like the taste, don’t worry. You can easily substitute white wine.

Ingredients: 3 -4 servings :

  • 2 lbs monkfish fillets
  • 4 medium potatoes (about 1 medium potato per person)
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup canola oil (for cooking the potatoes)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of cognac
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • paprika

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a large pan, preheat the canola oil on medium heat. Peel and cut the potatoes into thin slices (if you have a mandolin, this is a good time to use it). Fry the potatoes until just soft. You don’t want french fries.  Remove the potatoes, and place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess oil. Season with salt and pepper. You may need to cook the potatoes in several batches if your pan is not big enough.

Next, slice the onion very thin (mandolin is a good option here as well).

In a large baking dish, drizzle some olive oil or cooking spray and line the bottom of the dish with the potatoes and onions. Just pour them in and distribute them evenly. Next, place the fish on top and season with salt, pepper, paprika and drizzle the cognac on top.

(*OPTIONAL:  If you don’t want to fry the potatoes, boil them with the skin on for about 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pot and then peel them. I find that peeling them after they are cooked is easier.)

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Bake for about 15 minutes. While the fish is cooking, prepare the garlic and the almonds using a mortar and pestle. Add a little olive oil to mash it.

After 15 minutes, add the almond mixture on top of the monkfish and bake for 5-7 more minutes.

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Ready to serve! I always cook some veggies, this time it was zucchini.

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Bon profit and Happy Fall!

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Bacalao al Gratin Español

Hola!!

Can you believe that in 2 days it will be fall?!? Oh my! Time flies. It has been an amazing summer, and I feel like I don’t want it to end.

Today I made a cod dish. I think my mind is already thinking fall, because this is a nice cool-weather dish.  Cod is the workhorse of the fish species in Spain, at least for cooking. It is very versatile, historically abundant, and a tasty fish! My grandma has so many cod recipes that I swear that I could make cod every day for a month and change the recipe every day. (I don’t know if it’s a good idea though…!)

The name of the recipe is Bacalao al Gratin Español which translates to Spanish Broiled Cod. Gratin is a culinary technique which I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with. Basically, whichever ingredient you use is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. A gratin is baked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust with a nice crunchy texture. In this case, I used bread crumbs.

This recipe is very easy t0 execute. You can also make it ahead of time! That’s convenient 🙂 Alright, let get into it…

Ingredients for 4 servings: 

  • 4 cod fillets -fresh or thawed if frozen- (2 lbs or about a 1/2 lb per person)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • About 1 lb fresh and ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Sauce

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Core out the stems and slice a shallow “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Drop the whole tomatoes in the boiling water for about 40 to 60 seconds or until they start peeling or shrinking. Strain the tomatoes with cold water and peel them.

Add the tomatoes and the chopped garlic to a sauce pan with butter on medium heat and mash them with a (potato) masher. Stir and add the paprika.

If the sauce looks smooth, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. If the sauce is still chunky, continue to mash it or you can blend it with a blender.

*If you want, you can make the sauce ahead of time. Just keep the sauce in the fridge and when you’re ready, reheat it on the stove for a few minutes on medium heat.

Cod

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Dredge the cod in the flour mixture.

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Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the skin is nicely browned. Remove from pan and transfer to a baking dish.

Add the sauce on top of the cod and add the bread crumbs, spreading them all over the cod.

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Broil for a few minutes until the surface of the cod gets browned and a nice crust starts to form. You can brown the crust to your liking but keep an eye on the broiler. It can go from a beautiful golden brown to black and burnt in no time! Now it’s ready to be served!

*You can also prepare the fish ahead of time if you want. Remove the cod from the heat and either keep it in the baking dish that you will broil it or on a plate, let it cool down, cover it and store it in the fridge.

I served this cod with homemade gnocchi with a brown-butter sage sauce. (Gnocchi recipe will be in an upcoming blog!) You can serve it with your favorite side dish.

Bon Profit and enjoy the last days of Summer!

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