March was challenging, to say the least. Lambs and lions and all that. My apologies for only food posting once! But among other things, we both got our Covid jabs.
That being the case, Sally wanted to host a luncheon for a couple of her work friends (and fellow vegetarians) who have also been jabbed. We decided I would do a Spanish Tapas luncheon with 8 or 10 "small plates" so everyone could have some choices. Unfortunately, with so much going on at once, I was too busy to get really pretty "before" and "plated" photos of most of the dishes. But here's what I made:
That's Spanish for "white garlic". If you like garlic and almond-based non-dairy products, you'll love this chilled summer soup!
cups ice-cold Water
1 cup blanched whole Almonds
2-3 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 (6-8 oz.) Baguette, preferably day-old, crusts removed, white innards torn into pieces
1/3 cup Olive Oil, plus more
3 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
White Pepper, to taste
16-20 Green Grapes
Quarter the grapes, mince the garlic, and reserve as
separate items. Blanch the almonds in boiling water and rub off the skins. Rinse.
Combine 3/4 cup tap water, blanched almonds, and bread in a food processor and let sit 4–5 minutes. Purée until smooth. With the motor running, add the 2 cups of ice water, the oil, and the vinegar. Puree again until the oil and water emulsify. Adjust seasonings and vinegar as needed. Chill.
Note: To get this step right, it really helps to transfer the liquid to a blender; a food processor to emulsify just doesn't work well, it just doesn't do the job right. 30 seconds in a blender is better than 10 minutes in a food processor...
To serve, put "some" minced garlic and sliced grapes in each bowl first. Then pour
the cold liquid over all.
Croquetas amb Ceps
Air-fried lightly breaded whole mushrooms. The only issue I had was getting the breading to stick to the 'shrooms. Very tasty though!
12 whole Mushrooms -- White or Crimini
1 Egg, beaten
½ cup Breadcrumbs -- Panko is fine
½ tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Onion powder
¼ tsp Basil
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or zip-top bag and shake to combine.
Berenjenas con Meil
I made this dish back when I was just getting started with cooking fancy dishes. These days I like the long slender Japanese eggplant for this dish. It's firmer, less seedy, and cuts nicely into bite-sized rounds.
3-4 Japanese Eggplant sliced into 3/4" thick rounds
3-4 Tbsp Honey
1/4-1/2 cup julienned fresh Mint leaves
1-2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
Saute the eggplant in a good amount of EVOO, and when it's just browning and turning soft, turn it out into a serving bowl. Drizzle with honey and dress with the mint and sesame seeds. Best served a bit warm, but it's not bad at room temperature either!
Tangy marinated carrots! These are an excellent accompaniment to any meal. Make a batch today!
2-4 Garlic cloves
1 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black pepper
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup H2O
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Cook the peeled, cut
carrots until just fork tender -- don't overcook! Drain and cool.
Mash the garlic and spices into a paste – a mortar & pestle is perfect for this, and Sally has a couple of these classic pharmacist tools.
Calçots con salsa Romesco
Grilled spring onions with a classic roasted red bell pepper and almond Romesco Sauce. We don't get "spring" onions here very much, so I used small Florida-grown Strawberry Onions.
16 Spring Onions or 6 Strawberry Onions divided
Salt, Olive oil. I used Black Icelandic Lava salt.
Airfry or roast at 400F until
cooked through – about 30 minutes. Serve with Romesco Sauce (see recipe below). That's it. Simple!
Another ultimately simple dish, yet so tasty. Roasted fingerling potatoes with herbs and spices.
15 Fingerling Potatoes, halved lengthwise
3 cloves minced Garlic
1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Salt
Smoked and Hot Paprika to taste -- how brava are you?
Toss everything together in a bowl, the spread the patatas cut-side-up on a baking sheet, and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes.
Pan de Oliva
Fairly simple yeasted bread similar to Italian foccacia. You can add all sorts of herbs and/or spices. I chose chopped kalamata style olives.
4 cups AP Flour
1-1/3 cups warm Water
2 tsp Sugar
1 packet quick-rise Yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup EVOO
24 large, pitted, chopped Kalamata Olives
Paprika for dusting
Bloom the yeast with the sugar in the warm water and let it set while you measure out the flour and other dry goods.
Combine the flour and salt. The pout in the olive oil and yeast water. Mix with a fork to make a "shaggy" dough. When things are about half combined, fold in the chopped olives and continue mixing. Dust your bench with flour then dump out the dough and knead for about 10 minutes, adding a bit more flour if the dough seems a bit wet. Form into a ball.
Put the dough ball back in the mixing bowl, cover with a warm damp towel, and let the dough rise 45 minutes to an hour, to double in size.
Pat the dough out to a 10-12" diameter round oiled baking pan. Cover and let it rise again for 20 minutes.
Now, like foccacia, poke finger holes down all the way to the bottom all over the loaf. Spritz with a bit of EVOO and dust with sweet or smoky paprika so the crust will brown nicely.
Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for 20-30 minutes, to an internal temp of 190-220F.
Salsa Romesco --
A quintessentially Spanish sauce. So simple. And so tasty on such a wide range of foods...
3/4 cup Sliced Almonds
2 large Red Peppers, split, deveined and roasted skin side up until nicely blackened
1 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp oil-packed Sundried Tomatoes, chopped, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp fresh cracked Black Pepper
1-2 peeled Garlic Cloves
everything in the food processor and whirrrr
until nicely pureed. Yes. That. Simple.
You can make it thick, like I did, or thin it out with a mix of water and vinegar, or EVOO.
Chickpea "Omelet" Flatbread
I guess the "gurus" at Blue Zones have never heard of flatbreads made from chickpeas!! Never heard of Indian Socca or Italian Farinata among others which have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years!!! They posted this recipe, and for some reason known only to themselves decided to call these flatbreads an "omelet"!!! How bizarre!
Anyway, these delightful little breads or crepes are very tasty, easy to make, and are an interesting addition to a meal. Think of them as a wrap to gather together bits of stir fry or a dry curry or in this case roasted veggies. This recipe makes only 4 flatbreads, so you might need to double or triple things...
1/2 cup Chickpea Flour (I like Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
3/4 cup Water
Optional -- 1 Tbsp finely minced chives, green onion tops or shallot
Optional -- fillings
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisking, add the water gradually. Yes, this is a very thin batter! Lastly add any optional.
Now it's Crepe Time! In a medium hot non-stick skillet with a bare spritz of oil, ladle in about a quarter of the batter and swirl to spread it out thin and round. Cook for a minute or two until you get broken bubbles and the surface is dry.
Flip carefully and cook the second side a minute or two.
Repeat with rest of the batter, keeping the cooked stack warm covered with a towel.
Here's where you get creative. Fill your chickpea flatbreads like you would the flatbread we all know -- the soft tortilla. Whatchagot? Cold cuts and cheeses, pickled vegetables, roasted veggies like I did, leftover chili, curry or stir fry? Use them to mop up a bowl of soup. It's all good. These little flatbreads are tasty but not bursting with flavor, so they go with almost everything.