Hola from Barcelona! I am nervous, very nervous. My wedding is right around he corner. (I’ll post some pictures on Instagram). Yay! I can´t wait, but at the same time I have tons of butterflies in my stomach everyday. I guess it’s natural.
Everyone tells me not to worry, that everything will be fine. Yes, yes…. but when it’s your own wedding, you worry about everything, or at least I do. I had to plan everything from overseas. Thank goodness I have a super mom that helped me a lot with everything. For those that are married, did you have the same feeling on the days before your wedding? I guess so.
Anyway, lets focus on the food. Those summer tomatoes are starting to roll in, more every day. For today, I made a simple and quick Puff Pastry Pizza with Garden Tomatoes. The puff pastry can be either homemade or from the store. I needed something quick today , so store-bought it was! This is a quick recipe that can help you if you have guests at the last minute or you just want to make a simple and quick dinner, appetizer or snack.
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard (gives it a nice tang)
- 3 oz grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 big tomato
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons oregano (fresh is the best!)
Preheat the oven to 390 F.
Roll out the puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet. Using a fork, pinch the dough (see picture) and pre-bake it for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spread the Dijon mustard (you just want a thin coat) top it with the cheese and finally the fresh tomato slices. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm and Bon Profit!
I love this recipe. Its’ my grandma’s, of course. I haven’t met a person that doesn’t like it. Its simple to make but it does take a while to peel the leaves off, since you are just using the heart of the artichoke. But trust me, it’s worth it. Artichoke heart with Cod Brandade and White Sauce.
I made this yesterday while my grandma was on the phone with me all the way from Spain. We were talking on Skype and talking about food when we decided that I should cook something with her. It was like we were there together. My grandma is a super sweet person. She is coming to the states this summer, I can’t wait, yay! I suppose I will have to cook something with her. Maybe paella!
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 2 lbs artichokes (3 small artichokes per person)
For the Cod Brandade:
- 1/2 lb cod fillet
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 whipping cream (you can use half and half or whole milk)
- salt and pepper
For the White Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons flour
Let’s clean the artichokes:
Cut off and discard the stem end of the artichoke. Peel the leaves off until you see the heart of the artichoke. Dig in and scrape off the fuzzy choke and cut it in half. (It’s inedible and hairy, not very pleasant to eat.)
Boil the hearts of the artichokes for a few minutes, until tender. Set it aside.
For the Cod Brandade:
Slice the cod into pieces and add it to a boiling pot for about 4 minutes. Remove and add the cod to a food processor. Add a little bit of milk and a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.
For the White Sauce:
Add 1 tablespoon 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 3/4 cup of milk and stir until everything has been incorporated. If it looks too thick, stir in a little bit of milk.
Preheat the oven to 390F.
Pour the white sauce into a baking dish. Add the cod brandade on top of the artichoke hearts. Place these on top of the white sauce.
Cook for 10 minutes in the oven.
I love Spring. Everything is (or should be) fresh and new. And with it, it brings all of the fruits and veggies that I love. It´s time to eat fresh and local again. Yay! Now that we are getting into strawberry season, I thought I would start mixing in some delicious and beautifully ripe strawberries.
What better way to start the day then with a delicious smoothie. It will take you less than 10 minutes to make. Fresh fruit, veggies… Let the day begin! I love it😉
– 4 big strawberries
– 1/2 apple
– 1 orange
– 1/2 c watermelon
– 1/2 c water (or fruit juice)
Place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth!
As some of you may already know, squid is something that is very popular in Spain. I love squid, and it can be a very versatile ingredient. I have already posted some recipes but I still have some more in the works.
Yesterday at the market, I saw some delicious and perfectly ripe tomatoes. My first thought was Tomato Jam! Once I got home, I realized that I had fresh squid. I made one of my grandma´s squid recipes. Really simple, but really tasty.
– 1.5 lbs squid (cleaned and sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces)
– 1 lb ripe tomatoes
– 1 yellow onion, chopped
– 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
– Olive oil
– Salt and pepper
Cook the onion on medium heat until it browns. Meanwhile, blanch the tomatoes. (Boil them in water for 30 seconds.) Remove the tomatoes and immerse them in cold water. The skins should then come off easily by hand. You can then blend them in a blender or food processor.
Once the onion is brownef, add the tomato, season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Let it cook for about 2 – 3 minutes and then add the squid. Let it cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, add the garlic and let it cook for 10 more minutes.
Today I thought I would take you to the Catalan Pyrenees. I love my region in Spain, Catalonia, we have wonderful places to go throughout the year. A lot of cute small towns, with lots of local history. And each small town with their own well known local cuisine.
Its a great place to go during wintertime because the Pyrenees are packed with skiers and snow lovers, but the summers is also a great time for hikers, bikers, walkers etc.
This recipe is from one of those small towns in the Catalonia region of Spain. It is called Trinxat de la Cerdanya. This part of Catalonia is beyond beautiful as you can see. It’s about a 2 hour drive (100 miles) north of Barcelona.
The capital of La Cerdanya is Puigcerdà. (pronounced Poo-chair-dah)
I took this picture a few years ago, but it still looks the same today. It’s a lovely small town.
Castellar de N’hug is another small town in La Cerdanya and is 26 miles from Puigcerdà. It’s a very small town with less than 200 people!
If you have a chance to go to La Cerdanya, do yourself a favor and visit some of these small towns, such as the ones I’ve mentioned. Be sure to check out all of the small stores and taste the different cuisines. From the pictures, you can see the many products they sell, the different cured meats and cheeses, and… the huge croissants! That croissant was very good, but you’ll definitely have to throw a party to eat it in one day!
For this recipe you will need:
– 1 cabbage (depending how much you want, choose big or small).
– 4 medium potatoes
– olive oil
– garlic (optional)
Peel and cut the potatoes. Place them into a large pot and boil them for about 15 minutes. Cut the cabbage and place it into the pot with the potatoes for another 10 minutes. Before removing, check that the potatoes are cooked. They might need a few extra minutes.
Strain into a colander. Then place the potatoes and cabbage back into the pot or into a different bowl and mash them. I used my masher, but you could easily use a fork. Once they’re mashed, place them in a pan with some olive oil and cook on a medium-low heat. Season and stir.
If you want, you can add some garlic for flavor. Just cut a clove of garlic into thin slices and cook in a pan until it gets very brown. Then, mix with the cabbage and potato.
During all of this time, you can cook your bacon. I like it extra crunchy.
Plate the cabbage and potato however you like (here I used a small mold), then top it with bacon.
I’m back from the Bahamas. It was a fantastic and relaxing trip. The food was good and the cocktails were even better! Can you believe that I had grouper (fish) for breakfast? It was called Boil Grouper, like a fish soup. I thought it was a little weird, but that is a traditional breakfast there, and it was out of this world.
Speaking of seafood, I have a seafood recipe today and it’s from my grandma. My grandma (àvia in catalan) is always on my mind whenever I cook something. So of course, I am stealing her recipe. You can make this in less than 30 minutes. Isn’t it worth it? It is for me!
I love the broth that this recipe produces It’s so good, that I have to have some bread on hand for dipping. Spaniards in general eat a lot of bread. It’s like it were a part of the utensils:) The restaurants there will usually serve bread with olive oil (no butter for us!) I guess that’s why I like to go to Italian restaurants here in the U.S. because they normally serve extra-virgin olive oil. Oh! Speaking of restaurants, did you know that you have to pay for water in Spain?! Weird for the Americans, huh? Sometimes a glass of wine is cheaper than water…
Ok, let’s get back to the mussels. Sometimes I can go off on a tangent, the same way I talk. I talk a lot! This comes from my family. We talk a lot, and since we are a big family, we don’t know what the word a quiet conversation is, so we YELL! (Or talk very loudly. It is an animated conversation to say the least.)
Ingredients: (serves 2-4)
– 2 lbs (1 kg) mussels
– olive oil
– salt and pepper
The process is super easy and it takes about 20-30 minutes. Rinse the mussels, and scrub as necessary. You should also check for the ones that are already dead. The ones that won’t close on their own are probably dead, and should be discarded. Debeard the mussels, you don’t want any of the mussel beard in your mouth.
Once the mussels have been cleaned, place them into a large pot with a 1/4 cup of water on medium high heat. You don’t need to add much water to steam them, as the mussels are filled with their own water. Adding a little will give you more broth, which is a good thing. They should open in about 5 minutes. That is how you know they are cooked. When they are done, KEEP THE BROTH!
(This next step is optional. I like to eat the mussels on the half-shell. That is typically how we do it in Spain. Basically, just separate the two halves and discard the shell without the mussel attached. You also eat it with your hands there, not with a fork as is common here.)
Place the leftover broth remaining in the pan into a container or bowl. I use a strainer when I pour the broth to remove shells or sediment. To this, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and pepper and stir it.
Place the mussels in a pan and cook on medium heat. Pour the broth on top. Let them marinate for a few minutes and the mussels are ready!
Have that bread handy for dipping, you will need it!
I love baking! I love to cook everything but I go crazy when it comes to baking. Every time my family has a party I am the baker. I guess I am the official baker in the family. Since there are 31 of us, I have to bake more than one cake, usually three, and sometimes four cakes! My family loves to eat like me, and of course, when it’s homemade dessert everyone wants to try a piece of every cake. My mom sometimes tells me to just bake an easy cake, and not get involved trying to bake some crazy dessert. But of course, I can’t. I have to go crazy and try new things…
For my nephew’s 3rd birthday party , I baked a Chocolate Construction Cake and for his brother I baked an M&M cake. The construction cake It was a chocolate cake with miniature toy construction vehicles at work atop the cake. He went crazy! Nothing makes me happier that seen people enjoying my food! Am I right?😉
There are bakeries on every block in Spain. It is a part of daily life You can buy amazing baguettes for $1.00. And a chocolate croissant for a little more than a dollar also. Just like the tapas bars, cafes will advertise on their blackboards, “coffee/latte plus pastry for $3.00”.
Today I thought I would bake something. It is a muffin that we call Magdalenas. My version for today are mini Magdalenas. I like them a lot, but sometimes a whole Magdalena is too much. These magdalenas are small, similar to a cupcake. Super tasty and you can add fruit or chocolate or almond to the batter, whatever you like. (I added chocolate chips and blueberries this time).
This is an old recipe, but one that I have changed just enough to make it my own version. My sister always says to me, “I don’t understand you, why would you do that? Isn’t it easier to just follow the recipe?” I guess so… but that’s just me! I do it all the time.
These Mini Magdalenas are super moist and super yummy! In just 3-4 bites, they´re gone!🙂
– 3 large eggs
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
– 1/2 vegetable or canola oil
– 1/2 olive oil
– 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
– 3 tablespoons milk (2% or whole)
– 1/2 lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix the eggs in your mixer for a minute, add the sugar until it gets incorporated. Next, add the lemon zest. Add the flour and the baking powder. Add the milk and then the vegetable and olive oil. If you want to add anything into the batter, this is the time.
With an ice-cream scoop (or similar), add the batter to your cupcake mold. Add some sugar to the tops. Bake in the oven for 20′ (high altitude will require a little bit more). Test with a toothpick to make sure they´re cooked through. Let them cool on a rack for a few minutes.
I love cheese! Don´t you? When I was in Spain, sometimes I would eat different kinds of cheese tapas. I would add a little bit of tomato jam to the tapas and it was out of this world. Yesterday, I got the craving for cheese and tomato jam. But, I didn’t have any jam in my fridge. What did I do? I made my own! So easy and so tasty. Trust me, you’ll want to try it.
I had some different varieties of Manchego cheese and I also had some mozzarella that I wanted to use up. I thought, “what can I do …?” I remembered just once I had this delicious little mozzarella sandwich. So, I got into the kitchen and I recreated it. I call them Mozzarella Mini Sandwiches. Tapa style. It’s yummy.
Ingredients for the mozzarella mini sandwiches ;
– White bread or any kind of soft bread (I used honey oat bread).
– Bread crumbs
– 2 cups vegetable or canola oil
Cut the bread into shapes. I cut it in squares, using my ravioli stamp. Slice the mozzarella into the same shape as the bread.
Make the sandwich. Beat the egg and place the sandwich into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Fry it for a few minutes on both sides until it’s brown.
Remove and place onto a plate with paper towel.
Ready to serve!
Ingredients for the tomato jam (makes about 1/2 pint):
– 2 large, ripe tomatoes (use as many as you want)
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 fresh lemon juice
Place the tomatoes in a boiling pot for a few minutes. Place them immediately into a cold water bath and then peel them.
Place them into a blender for a minute.
In a sauce pan, combine the sugar, lemon juice and tomatoes that were already blended. Stir on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Place a lid on the sauce pan and leave it on a low heat for 35- 45 minutes. Let it cool down and then place into a jar.
You can make as much as you want and store it if you want to make more than 1 jar. I would recommend to place the jam into the jars, put the lids on and place the jars into a pot with 1inch of hot water for 20 minutes. The jam will last longer in the refrigerator. Otherwise is good for a few weeks.
Easy, cheap and tasty! Hope you enjoy it🙂
I am happy to be sharing this post with Friday Fiesta! Yaay! Its Friday, Have a wonderful weekend!