Trinxat de la Cerdanya (Cabbage and Potato)

Hola!

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.

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Llac de Puigcerdà

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!

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Town of Castellar de N’hug

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Local shop selling assorted meats and cheeses

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Giant croissants

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

– bacon

– salt

– 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.

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Cut the cabbage

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Potatoes and cabbage are cooked

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.

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Potatoes and cabbage mashed

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.

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Trinxat de Cerdanya

Bon profit!

ZUCCHINI & ASPARAGUS OMELET

Hola!

I hope you all like asparagus and zucchini because the omelet that I made today includes these two ingredients. In Spain, omelets are very popular and eaten on a regular basis. You may know the most popular one is the Spanish Omelette or Tortilla. We will make any kind of omelette, even ones with leftovers!

Sunday, I was at the supermarket. Besides seeing deliciously juicy, red strawberries, (which I made into a strawberry jam), I also saw fresh asparagus. That’s right, it’s asparagus season! My first thought was grilling them, but the weather was not so great, so I made this omelet with and included some zucchini.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow onion,  chopped
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1/3 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

In a medium pan,  drizzle some olive oil and cook the onion until it is tender and brown (not burnt!). Once it starts to brown, add the garlic, zucchini and asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Cook together for about 7 to 10 minutes until cooked. It should still be a little firm, not mushy. While the vegetables are cooking, whisk the eggs in a bowl.

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Add the veggies to the bowl with the whisked eggs. Be sure it is juicy! If it looks dry just beat another egg and pour it into the mixture.

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Using a pan you used for the vegetables,  pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on medium-low heat. Once the oil has warmed, pour the egg mixture in. After about a minute, peel back the edges of the omelette from the pan so it doesn’t stick. Shaking the pan also helps to ensure the omelet doesn’t stick.

In about 4-5 minutes, the bottom of the omelette should be cooked.  Position a plate on top of the omelet in the pan, and flip it. The omelette now will be on the plate. Next, slide it back into the pan, with the cooked face of the omelette facing up. Cook it for another 3-5 minutes and flip again. Now the omelette should have a consistent texture throughout. Slide it back into the pan for another 30 seconds and flip it again.

In less  than 30 minutes you will have a perfect and tasty vegetable omelet.

 

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Bon profit!

Healthy Fish & Chips

Hola foodies!

Finally, Spring is here! Yay!

For today, I made cod with potatoes and scrambled eggs. Ok, it’s not fish and chips, but I did get your attention! I like fish and chips just as much as the next person, but sometimes   I want to eat something that’s not fried. To be sure, this is not the classic recipe, but I think it’s a healthier version of it.

The beauty of the recipe is that you can make it in less than 30 minutes, it’s the perfect dish for a week night dinner. Its also a great dish to “hide” some fish for those in the house that don’t eat fish.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 portions of cod, fresh or previously frozen- cut into chunks
  • 10 oz potatoes (2 or 3 large potatoes)- peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 onion- sliced very thin
  • 4 eggs
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a non-stick pan, heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil on medium high heat and cook the onion and the potatoes until soft and a little browned. Remove from the pan and transfer to paper towel to remove excess oil.

Drizzle some olive oil in another pan on medium heat, and cook the cooked onions and potatoes along with the cod. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the cod is cooked. Add the eggs and stir until the eggs are scrambled.

Transfer the mixture into a baking dish or into individual baking dishes. Broil for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle some chopped parsley on top. Classic Spanish flavors with a twist and a healthier way to serve fish and chips.

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Bon profit!

Zucchini Soup

 Hola and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
This recipe is a special shout out to all of my Irish friends. While certainly not an Irish recipe, it is keeping “in the spirit”, it’s green!
I hope you are doing well because this last week almost everyone has been sick or has a cold. The weather has been beyond crazy here. Cold to hot, back to cold. I am really looking forward to Spring. Since I am one of those people who has a cold, I though it would be a good idea to eat something warm and healthy.
For today, I  made a classic zucchini soup. This soup is great for all seasons. It’s great cold or hot, either way its delicious. In Spain it’s a pretty popular soup. It’s so easy to make it, it takes less than 30 minutes and its so healthy. It is also something good to eat at home or to twork. My mom used to make it  often when I was a kid, and I loved it. I think that one of the secrets of the soup is the small amount of cheese that gives it a little kick.
Ingredients for 3-4 cups of soup:
– Zucchini (mine was a little less than 1lb)
– 1/2 onion
– 1 small potato
– 1 ounce cheddar cheese
– salt and pepper
Bring some water to boil in a medium pot. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini and the onion into chunks and peel and cut the potato. Once the water is boiling, add the ingredients and boil for about 10 minutes. Transfer the ingredients to a blender (I didn’t have to use any water, you can save some of the water in case you want the soup more liquidy ) and blend it up!
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Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
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May the luck of the Irish be with you.
Bon profit!

Homemade Pizza Dough

Hola!

Pizza! Every time I hear this word, a smile comes to my face. I love pizza, I love, homemade pizza. I don’t eat pizza from the supermarket and I don’t eat it from chain restaurants. (But I have, and its not always bad.) I like to make my own pizza dough. It’s way healthier with less ingredients, and you know what you are eating.

I could eat pizza almost every day! I love the thin crust, the cheese melted on top… o0h lala! My mouth watering just thinking about it.

Some people may think that pizza dough is a science and that it takes hours and hours. No! My pizza dough recipe is so quick to make. I’ve been making this recipe for the last 4-5 years. I have no idea how I ended up with this recipe, all that I know is that it’s an easy dough and so tasty.

With this recipe, you will have 2 pizzas. I usually make one quatro queso (4 cheese) pizza and the other one veggies and cheese! Sorry, I am also a cheese fanatic. When I was 4 years old, (and 7, and 12 and even now!) I used to eat the blue cheese (the stinkier the better) all by itself. No blue cheese sauce, no blue cheese dip, just a piece of the cheese. It’s not normal for a little girl to like blue cheese that much.

On to the pizza, This recipe uses a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Otherwise, you will need to mix ingredients by hand, and knead the dough.

Ingredients for dough: 

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 475 F.

Dissolve the yeast and the sugar with the warm water in a bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

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Meanwhile, combine the flour, olive oil and salt in a bowl of a stand  mixer. Make a hole in the middle of the dough, and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix on speed #2 for 10 minutes.

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After kneading the dough, let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, divide the ball into 2. Shape them. I always roll the dough extremely thin.

When it’s ready, I always pre-cook the dough for 5 minutes in the oven. (pinch the dough with a fork to eliminate big air bubbles!)

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Pizza sauce:

  • 1 can tomato paste (5.5 oz)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic power
  • salt and pepper

Mix everything until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Let’s put the topping on!

Bake the pizza for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is golden brown.

Let’s eat! Bon profit!

Paella

Hola!!

Today, I am going to tell you how to make paella. I have no idea why I haven’t posted this recipe before, but here it is, my grandma’s paella recipe. For me, this is the best paella recipe. And my grandma doesn’t use saffron for the paella, so me neither. I don’t think you need it, it really only changes the color of the rice. If you cook the onion like I tell you, the paella will take on a beautiful color, more natural I think.

Paella is considered one of Spain’s most popular dishes. Not all paellas are created the same though. Some paellas are made with vegetables, some with seafood and others are a combination. In my opinion, and I would say my grandma shares the same opinion, the best paella is the one with seafood and a little bit of meat.

In Spain, we also use cigalas. A cigala is like a baby lobster. It’s also similar to a crayfish, but is bigger. The flavors are also very different . I’ve never seen them in the U.S., but if you find them, go ahead and definitely add them to the paella. They’re delicious. My grandma also adds some cuttlefish, which is similar to squid. I also can’t find that in the U.S. You could add bay scallops instead.

I am under the impression that a lot of people think that paella is a very complicated dish, but it’s not. Paella is an easy dish to make, but it requires a lot of preparation and cook time. Of course the first couple of times will take longer, but once you get some practice , its pretty quick and straightforward  to make. You have to multi-task a bit, otherwise you will spend five hours in the kitchen for something that should take a couple.

When you make paella, you don’t have to make everything at that moment, you can pre-cook almost all the  ingredients ahead of time. Make sure your paella pan is at least for four-six people. If it’s a smaller pan, the rice will get soft and chewy.

The rice portion per person is 1/3 cup. If you are making paella for four, use 1/3 cup per person. (plus a little extra). If you are making paella for four, you will also use 8 spoons of broth plus 1. If you are making paella for six, you will pour 12 spoons plus 1. It’s always double plus 1.

Ingredients for four-five people:

  • 1 onion grated
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 lb calamari tubes and tentacles sliced into rings (250g)
  • 1 cuttlefish sliced or 25 to 30 bay scallops
  • 2 medium sausages (plain seasoning, don’t use italian seasoning) or 1 pork rib chopped
  • 12-15 medium sized shrimp (usually 2 or 3 per person)
  • 12 cigalas (if you can find them…)
  • a little more that 1/2 lb mussels (300g) (3-4 per person)
  • a little more than 1/2 lb little neck clams (300g) (2-3 per person)
  • 1 quart (1L) seafood broth (better if homemade)
  • arroz Bomba (Bomba rice) 1/3 cup per person
  • 1 clove garlic
  • parsley
  • sea salt
  • On low heat, cook the grated onion with some olive oil until it looks extremely brown. This is one of the most important steps of the entire recipe. Stir it once in a while and let it cook. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get to the color that you want.
  • Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in the paella pan and cook the two bell peppers on medium heat. (chopped very small)
  • Don’t forget to stir the onion and the peppers once in a while.
  • While the onions and peppers are cooking, steam the mussels and clams in about one cup of water. Once open, keep the water and add it to the seafood broth that you will be using later. Set the mussels and clams aside.

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  • Once the peppers are cooked (it take less time than the onion), add the calamari, cuttlefish/scallops and the meat. Season with salt and let it cook. Drizzle some olive oil if necessary.
  • Add the onion (again, make sure it’s extremely dark brown) to the paella pan with all the ingredients.
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  • In another pan, cook the shrimp and cigalas (no cigalas in the picture, I couldn’t find them!) and set aside.

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  • Its time to pour in the rice. On low heat, add the rice and stir until everything is mixed and the color of the rice is brown.

*At this point you can turn the heat off, cover the paella with aluminum foil and leave it for a few hours. You could make it in the morning, and finish it later for dinner.

  • Now, add the seafood broth to a pot and warm it on low heat.
  • 20 minutes before you want to serve dinner, turn up the heat for the broth to medium. If you added rice for 4 people, using a  medium-sized ladle, pour 9 spoonfuls and let it cook. Shake the pan using the handle. DO NOT STIR WITH A SPOON! At this point, add the mussels and clams.
  • While the rice is cooking, prepare the garlic and a little bit of parsley using a mortar and pestle. Add a little broth and mash it.

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  • When the rice is almost cooked, add the shrimp and the cigalas during the last couple of minutes of cook time, and then add the garlic and parsley on top.

 

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My grandma’s paella 

*Try the rice before you remove it from the heat. If the rice is cooked, the paella is ready to be served.

Bon profit!

Cod (Lent)

Hola!

This post was written last year for Lent.  Since yesterday was the first day of Lent, I thought it would be a good idea to post it again.

Cooking time approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Ingredients: (for 6 servings)

– 3 lbs of fresh cod

–  4 to 6 hard-boiled eggs

– 1 red pepper

– 1/2 green pepper

– 1 big onion

– 1 clove of garlic

– 1 cup flour

– 2 cups vegetable or canola oil

– one 14-ounce can of tomatoes (I would recommend using a can of whole tomatoes, and then mash them or dice them. It’s always better than a simple tomato sauce from a jar).

– Raisins (optional) If you want to use raisins, soak them in cognac (traditional- that’s what my grandma does!) or water for a few hours to rehydrate. Then add the raisins to the sauce.

Let’s start!

The Sauce:  Dice the onion and peppers and cook separately:  Place the onion in a pan on medium low heat with some olive oil until brown. Once the onion starts to brown, add the chopped garlic and stir. Place the peppers in another pan and cook on medium until soft. About ten minutes.

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When the onion is fully cooked, add it to the pan with the peppers. Then, add the tomato sauce and continue to cook on low heat. Season the sauce appropriately with salt.

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The Cod: Meanwhile, cut the cod into individual size portions and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the vegetable oil on medium high heat. Place some flour on a plate, and coat the cod fillets with flour. It has to be coated, but not too much flour. Just shake the fish a little to shed the excess flour.

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Place the cod in the hot oil and cook for a few minutes, then flip it. Cook for a few more minutes.

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Remove from the pan and gently place it on a plate with paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Mix the Two: Pour the sauce into a large pan (big enough to hold all of the cod in a single layer) and heat on low. Add about 1/2 cup of water to make it a little more saucy. Add the raisins (if you want to use them). Stir. Place the cod fillets in a single layer. Shake the pan to distribute the sauce or use a spoon to pour the sauce over the cod.  You want the cod to be fully immersed in the sauce.

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Cut the eggs into quarters and place them in the pan. Shake the pan again to distribute the sauce over the cod. The cod should cook on low heat in the sauce for approximately 15 minutes. It’s ok if it cooks longer.

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That’s it! Ready to serve. Make sure you have some bread on hand for this delicious sauce!

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Bon profit!

Almond Crusted Sole

Hola!

Yaaaay!! The Broncos won the Super Bowl last night. How exciting it was. Hope you all had fun. For me, it’s more about being with friends, eating and drinking and having fun (And watching the commercials.) Yes, I care about the game, (sort of) and I am happy the Broncos won. (I lived in Denver.) However, my knowledge about American football is not very good.

After all of the nachos, wings, chips and other delicious junk food, I’m making something a little more healthy, almond crusted baked sole. I love this fish. It is very delicate, with a mild but tasty flavor. This is a great choice for those that may not love fish, as it is not too “fishy.” This recipe is popular in Spain. There, sole is called “lenguado.” My grandma makes it pretty often.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 1/2 Ibs sole
  • 1/3 heaping cup whole almonds
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • orange slices
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 270F.

Chop the almonds with a mortar and pestle. I used a mortar and pestle as I wanted bigger almond pieces. You could buy them pre-chopped, or you could use a food processor but be careful not too chop them too finely. Cut some orange slices (about 2 slices per fillet), and set aside.

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Dredge the fillets in the flour. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the sole for about 1 minute per side to get some color on the fillet (it will go into the oven). Remove the sole, place on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

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Add the chopped almonds to the pan and stir, if the pan is dry and doesn’t have any butter, add a little bit more.

Remove the almonds and add them on top of the fish. Next, add the orange slices to the pan, and let them cook a little (less than a minute.)

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Add them on top of the fish as well. Pour any of the buttery juice left in the pan on top of the fish. If there is none, drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over the fish.

Bake the fish in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes.

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Easy and healthy. Bon profit!

Calamares con Cebolla y Vino

Hola!

I hope everyone in the northeast (US) has stocked up on their staple supplies, milk, bread, eggs, etc. We are in for our first big winter storm named Jonas. We will see what the weather brings… My pantry is full, but my staples are a little different… chocolate, cookies, wine, and similar delectables. Guess I should make a stop to the grocery store!

Squid is a very popular seafood in Spain, you can easily find it on any restaurant’s menu as a tapa or as a main dish. You can also find it in at any fish market. Here in the US, it’s a little more difficult to find, but it’s out there if you look. Sometimes it’s fresh, sometimes I find it frozen. I think most people have tried calamari as an appetizer somewhere. Some people might not realize it’s squid! But there’s more to squid than fried tubes and tentacles. Today, we’ll try something a little different…

I made Calamares con Cebolla y Vino (squid with onion and white wine.)  The combination might sound a little weird but its very good, and something you’ll come across in your travels through Spain. Vamos, let’s check it out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (1/2 kilo) squid cleaned and sliced into 1/4 inch wide rings
  • 2 onions
  • 5 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • salt, pepper and olive oil to taste
  • parsley

Slice the onions into thin rings and cook with a drizzle of olive oil on medium heat until brownish. Add the garlic, squid rings, bay leaves and the white pepper and stir. Add the wine and reduce the heat to medium-low.

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Let it simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, to cook and reduce the liquid. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want the sauce to get too thick. If so, add some hot water (1/4 cup) or more wine! Season with salt and pepper and add some chopped parsley. (fresh is better)

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Serve warm, Bon profit!

I am happy to be sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #103!

Timbal de Vegetables

Hola!

With this dish, you can’t say that eating vegetables is boring or that vegetables are plain. I love this simple Timbal de Vegetables.(Timbal is Spanish for a drum, because this dish is in the shape of a drum.) Like a lot of my dishes, this one is so quick and easy to make. My top ingredients for this timbal are zucchini, eggplant and onion. You can easily change one or add another vegetable, such as a winter squash since its more seasonal and readily available.

I like to poach an egg on top of the timbal. The runny yolk mixed with the vegetables creates a unique flavor. Yuummy! Don’t forget a piece of bread, because you will need it.

Ingredients for 4:

  • 2 medium zucchini diced
  • 1 eggplant diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 small clove of garlic chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • salt, pepper and olive oil

On medium heat, cook the onion with a drizzle of olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, zucchini and the eggplant. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and a brownish color. Season with salt and pepper.

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While the vegetables are cooking, make the poached egg. An easy way to do this is to place the egg in plastic wrap and seal it with an elastic. Cook the egg for 3-4 minutes in boiling water. Remove from the heat and cut the wrap.

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Place the egg on top of the vegetables.

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Serve warm and…

Bon profit!