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!

Saucy Squid

Hola!!

Isn’t this weather crazy? Last week it was 65 degrees and I was BBQing and this weekend it’s in the 20’s. So, I am not outside grilling. Instead, I am cooking some cozy, saucy dishes… The other day I made a simple but delicious saucy squid. This dish is very simple to execute, it literally takes 3o minutes or less,  perfect for a busy weekday dinner.

Let’s get into the recipe!

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 1 lb squid, include the tentacles! (If its longer than 3 inches slice it- or it will take longer to cook)
  • 1/2 cup peas
  •  olive oil
  • salt and pepper

 

Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, then heat the pan on medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add the bay leaf and the vermouth and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Add the squid and let it cook on medium-low heat for about 7 minutes. Add the peas and let it cook for another 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

squid

Bon profit!

 

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!!

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

Before

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After

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Bon profit!

Enjoy it!

Bon profit!

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!

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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SHRIMP, TOMATO AND PEPPER IN PEACH SAUCE.

Hola hola!!
I am back from Spain and I am alive!
I had such a wonderful time with family and friends in Spain. The wedding day was the BEST, BEST day of my life! It was awesome, and I don’t have the words to properly describe it.
wedding R+I

Mr. & Mrs. Yay! 

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I’m sure you understand. The wedding was busy, and as soon as I got back, I was busy with work, including a work trip to  San Francisco. For those who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some pictures from San Fran. For the rest, you should follow me on Instagram! 😉
Today I made something pretty summery. It’s peach season, and if you’re like me, you have delicious peaches just waiting to be used for something yummy. (They get ripe fast!) I decided to make adelicious and refreshing peach sauce, and I served it with grilled shrimp, and cherry tomatoes and a green bell pepper from the garden. The recipe is very easy, it takes about 20 minutes to make.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
-16 shrimp (peeled or in the shell, it’s up to you)
– 24 cherry tomatoes
– 2 large green bell peppers
– 2 peeled peaches
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/4 tsp of dill
– 2 small green onions
– salt and pepper
In a blender, mix the peaches, the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and blend it. Once its smooth, add the dill and the green onions and blend it again. Set aside for use later.
Grill the shrimp and the whole pepper and then after 3 minutes add the tomatoes. If you don’t have a grill, you could use a grill pan on the stove, or just sauté them in a pan. Cook until the shrimp are cooked. Slice the pepper  and plate them together and serve with the peach sauce. Simple and fresh. A great way to use summer ingredients.
Bon profit!
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Watermelon & Feta Salad

Hi there!
It has been a while since my last post, but my wedding is right aroung the corner and I’ve been super busy with everything. I hope you can understand. I am leaving next week for Spain!
Summer is here, I can’t believe it how time flies. I love this season, and all my favorites fruit and vegetables that come with it. I have four blueberry bushes at my house and I will be picking berries very soon. (If the birds don’t get to them first…) I have been sourcing them in the mean time from a local farm.
Something that I really like to eat in the summer is watermelon. (I’m growing those too!) So refreshing and so healthy. I love it. For today I made an easy salad of watermelon, feta and basil. My basil and mint are growing like crazy. I am pretty much eating tomato with basil everyday.
Anyways, back to the subject… regarding the watermelon… I made this easy and quick salad. It will take you less than 2 minutes to make it and trust me, it might sound a little weird, but it’s delicious.
Ingredients:
3 cups diced watermelon
1/2 cup diced feta cheese
3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh basil
pinch of salt
Mix the watermelon, feta and basil. Pour the balsamic vinegar on top and add a pinch of salt. That’s it! Always fresh, delicious, and nutritious!
Try to use a watermelon that is very cold. It will taste better and be more refreshing, especially on of of those hot and beautiful summer days. Happy summer!
watermelon
Bon profit!
I am happy to share this recipe with Fiesta Friday #125!

Artichoke Heart with Cod Brandade and White Sauce

Hola!!

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.

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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.

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Bon profit!

Grandma´s Squid

Hello!

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.

Ingredients:

–          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.

Enjoy!
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Bon profit!