LENTIL BEAN AND CHORIZO STEW

Hola!

 

I can’t believe winter is almost here. When it’s cold outside, I love to eat comfort foods such as casserole dishes, stews, soups etc. In Spain, we have a lot of comfort food! One of my favorites stews is Lentil and Chorizo Stew. Even better, this is actually a very easy dish to make.

The main ingredients are lentils and chorizo. Nowadays, you can buy Spanish chorizo almost anywhere. Make sure to buy chorizo from Spain and not the spicy chorizo.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 3 ¾ cups cooked lentil beans (1 ½ cup dry lentils)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 7 ounces chorizo halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 tomatoes (ripe!) grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

– Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other similar pot over medium-high heat.

– Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.

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– Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

– Add the tomato, paprika, bay leaf, a teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.

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– Add the chorizo, stir occasionally for about 5 minutes (it will release some of its oils).

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– Add the lentils and the broth. Bring it to boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, or longer.

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Make sure to serve it with some fresh bread and a glass of Spanish red wine!

 

Bon profit!

Sweet Spanish Squash Triangle

Hola!!!

Today I made a traditional Spanish dessert. Making this recipe again in the United States transported me back to my childhood and my Àvia’s kitchen in Spain. My Àvia is my grandmother whom I love very much and who, over the years, has taught me and inspired in me the passion that I have for food today. This particular recipe stems from a tradition that is very common in Spain.

On Sundays in Spain, it is very traditional to visit a bakery after attending church service to purchase a dessert for that day’s lunch, an important meal that always brings families together. Instead of going to the bakery, I was fortunate enough to have a great cook at home, my Avia! We would make this dessert just about every Sunday. Always with my grandma, and sometimes also with my mom as well.  This is a recipe that has been in my family for many years. My grandma would make this recipe with her mom as a kid, as would my mom, with her mom, my grandma.

This recipe is really easy to make and obviously, as you can tell, very kid friendly. It brings people together, both in the cooking aspect and more importantly, the eating aspect!

Recipe
     
 8 oz puff pastry Sheet 
One 1.5 lb spaghetti squash 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 cinnamon stick 
the peel of one orange
1/8 cup chopped unsalted almonds 
powdered sugar

1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 360 F.  Cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, scrape out all of the seeds. Using a knife, poke holes in the spaghetti squash and microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes on high. Next, use a fork to scrape lengthwise the inside meat of the squash. The result are long stringy pieces of squash, these are the why they call it “spaghetti” squash.

In a non-stick pot and on medium heat, add the spaghetti squash, one cup of granulated sugar, the cinnamon stick and  the orange peel.  Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Reduce to low and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the orange peel and the cinnamon stick.


While the squash mixture is cooking, you can roll the dough out onto a well-floured surface into a 17″ x 9″ shape. Transfer the dough onto a baking sheet. 

Next, spread the squash mixture on only one half of your dough rectangle, making sure to leave ½ inch of the edge free of squash. (We will fold the other half over.) Ensure the squash filling is flat and even.
Make a quick egg wash by beating one egg. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Now, fold the empty half of the dough on top of the other half. Seal the edges by using your fingers to pinch the edge closed. (You don’t want the squash leaking out!)  Cut it into 8 triangles.

Brush the triangles with the egg wash and sprinkle on some of the chopped almonds.

Place it into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until it turns a nice golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool down.
Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.
Bon Profit!

Melindros (served with Hot Chocolate)

Melindros are very popular in Spain, they are similar to a cookie but with a cake-like texture. The tradition is to dip the melindro into hot chocolate. In Spain, the texture of hot chocolate is much thicker, more like a pudding and its spooned, not sipped.

The recipe for these melindros is very easy. By themselves, they’re good, but they are much better when you dip them in hot chocolate.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar vigorously with a whisk until creamy. Sift the flour and baking powder into the sugar mixture. Stir until it’s incorporated. Gently, add the egg whites and fold them until fully incorporated.

Using a piper, or plastic bag, pipe the mixture approximately 4 1/2-inches in length on to the baking sheet. Dust them with powdered sugar. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until just firm on the outside and soft in the center and golden brown.

Enjoy with a hot cup of hot chocolate.

Bon profit!

Orange Marmalade

 

Hola!!

For today, I made an orange marmalade. I love oranges! And it’s orange season! As a kid growing up in Spain, I would have a fresh squeezed orange juice every day. (Thanks mom!) Here in the US, I don’t do it as often, but makes for a nice treat.

Oranges are so healthy, and since it is orange season, I try to utilize oranges as much as I can.  This recipe is so tasty, I love it!

Ingredients for about 3 jars of 10 oz and 1 jar of 6oz:

  • 2 lbs oranges peeled and quartered (about 6 oranges)
  • 1 small lemon peeled (if it’s big, cut in half).
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cups water

Cut the skin of the orange and the lemon into julienne strips or into 1/4 inch strips.

Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil and boil the cut strips for 15 minutes and set aside.

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In a large pot, bring the 1/3 cup of water to a boil, add the oranges, the sugar and the orange and lemon strips. Reduce the heat, and let it simmer.

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Continue to cook on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Stir every 20 minutes.

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To keep the jam fresh in a jars, I first boiled the jars, then added the jam to about 1/8 inch from the top. Place the lids tightly on and place the jars upside down on the counter. Allow the jam to cool before turning right side up. Leave it upside down for a few hours.

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Easy and now you should have fresh marmalade for months to come. Also, makes great gifts!

I love to eat this marmalade with a piece of homemade bread with butter. Delicious!

Bon profit!

 

Bacon Cupcake

Hola and happy fall!

Today I am posting something new and unique (For me anyway!) Cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes. I call them the happy surprise bite! What’s the surprise? Bacon! More specifically, bacon jam! Woohoo! I was super happy when I received some delicious jams from TBJ Gourmet. (https://tbjgourmet.com) They say everything tastes better with bacon. With this recipe, I would have to agree!

Let’s get started!

Recipe for 12 cupcakes:

  • ½ cup of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

– TBJ original jam

Frosting:

  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of TBJ Classic Bacon Jam

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

Place the butter and sugar in a mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue mixing. Next add the milk and the vanilla extract.

In a separate large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until well combined.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything gets in.

Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

The frosting: Combine the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add the maple syrup and the Bacon Jam. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is mixed in.

Using a paring knife, make a 1-inch-deep hole from the top of each cupcake (you can eat the tiny piece). Fill each hole with 1 teaspoon of bacon jam. çFinally, pipe (or spread) the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Bon profit!

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Gazpacho Andaluz

Hola!!!

Summer is just around the corner! We’ve had a lot of hot days here, hot days when you don’t want to cook and you are just craving a light and cold dish. I love to go to the beach or spend a few hours on the water kayaking, then come home and have something cold and refreshing. It’s days like this when I enjoy a nice, cold bowl of gazpacho. Oh my! I love gazpacho. It’s so easy to make, super healthy and super refreshing!

This dish is very popular in Spain, in fact the origin of gazpacho can be traced to the VIII century! Crazy! It wasn’t the gazpacho that we know now, because they didn’t have some of the ingredients such as tomato or pepper. Gazpacho back then was made primarily with bread, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and water. It not until 1726 that the first recipe for the modern gazpacho is recorded…

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Cheese Balls topped with Pecans & Cranberries

Hola!!!

Wow. Those are the words that I have for these mini cheese balls topped with chopped pecans and cranberries. Eat one, and you will want another. And perhaps …. another! This tapa is perfect. It can be made ahead of time, and served small (bite-sized!) or as a two-biter. It can also be served with crackers.
Trust me, I couldn’t stop eating them!

Ingredients for about 25 cheese balls:

1 large log of goat cheese (about 11oz)

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup of cranberries

In a food processor, add the pecans and the cranberries. Blend them up, but be careful, you don’t want them to look like crumbs. Transfer onto a plate.
Shape the goat cheese into bite-sized balls and roll each ball into the pecan-cranberry mixture. Transfer the balls into the refrigerator to harden and take them out after about 30 minutes before serving.

Cheese balls

Bon profit!

Brie Bite

Hola!!!

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A bar advertising tapas and beer.

Tapas tapas!! Oh! I love them, I love jumping from bar to bar in Spain for tapas. You can have a beer or a glass of wine with a tapa for about $3. Fantastic right? Yes! That’s why I love it. And in the spring and summer, it’s even better! You can sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of Spain. Every tapas restaurant advertises their tapas on a blackboard outside so you can see before you go in.

I love cheese, any kind of cheese. They really make any dish a little bit more tasty! There are many tapas with cheese in them.

One cheese I like is brie. You can bake it, put it in salads, make brie croquettes (see my croquette recipe) or brie pinchos ( I’ll post more about pinchos later). Today, I thought you would like to taste fried brie… It’s so good. The ones I make are about a 2-bite size. Perfect size for tapas.  You get a nice taste of the melted brie, and a nice crunch. A great contrast of textures.

Ingredients:

– Brie

– Egg

– Bread crumbs

– 2 cups vegetable or canola oil

Slice the brie in small squares (or into the size you desire). About one inch thick, if  they are too thin, they will melt while you´re cooking.

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Preheat the oil on medium high heat. Beat the egg and place the brie into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs.

Before

Before

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After

Place them into the pan for a few minutes until they’re golden brown, flip, and cook the other side. Remove and place onto a plate with paper towel.

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SONY DSCServe and get ready to eat some tapas!

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Bon profit!

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam!

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

– Bunch of Mint (optional but recommended)

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, mint 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. Remove the mint and then place into a jar.

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After

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You can make as much as you want and store it fIf you want to make more than 1 jar,  I would recommend to place the…

View original post 42 more words

Crema Catalana

Bon dia! (Good morning in Catalan!) 🙂

March 19th, is Father’s Day in Spain.  It’s also know as Sant Josep (Saint Joseph’s Day), and in Catalonia, this is the day that you would eat this dessert. It’s called Crema Catalana (“Catalan Cream”).

Nowadays, it’s consumed at all times of the year.

I guess some of you may think, “Isn’t it the same as creme brulee?” NO! It’s different. Even though they share some of the same ingredients; eggs, milk or cream and sugar. Creme brulee is baked and Crema Catalana is cooked on the stove top. Also, for creme brulee you use whipped cream and vanilla. For Crema Catalana, you use cinnamon and no heavy cream, just milk. So, it has some different flavors and uses a different technique. I have even heard that Crema Catalana is one of the oldest desserts in Europe, and the French borrowed the recipe and made it their own in Creme Brulee.

If you are in Spain, you can easily find this in many restaurants, but mostly in Catalonia, as this is where this recipe originates.

This is a very easy recipe, and one that is also quick to make. Traditionally, it’s served in a terra cota cazuela, a type of ramekin. I don’t have any cazuelas, so I used the ramekins that I have, and they work perfectly.

Ingredients;

– 4 cups milk (2% or whole)

– 6 egg yolks (large eggs), 8 if they are small.

– 1/3 cup of cornstarch

– lemon zest

– 1 cup sugar, and a little extra to burn on the top

– 1 large cinnamon stick (2 small)

Pour 3 cups of milk into a large pot and cook over medium heat. Add the lemon zest (I used a vegetable peeler) and the cinnamon stick. Try not to peel any of the white part of the lemon.

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Whisk the egg yolks, then add the remaining cup of milk, sugar and cornstarch.

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Cook the milk until it just starts to boil, then remove the lemon skin and the cinnamon sticks from the warm milk. Lower the heat and continue cooking, but don´t boil the milk.

Place a strainer on top of the pot and pour the egg yolk mixture (no egg shells!) into the heated milk. Stir until it gets a consistent texture. It should be fairly thick, not liquidy.  I like to use the wooden spoon method. (Once It coats the spoon and sticks to it, it’s done).

Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and let them cool down. Once they are at room temperature, put them into the refrigerator.

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When you’re ready to serve them, sprinkle the tops with sugar and use a torch to brown the sugar. This will give a nice burnt sugar taste and a crunchy texture.  It’s ok if you don´t have a torch, it´s also delicious without the sugar on top.

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Enjoy, and BON PROFIT! 🙂