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JUNE Cookbook of the Month: FOODS and WINES OF SPAIN, Penelope Casas - All Recipes

oakjoan May 31, 2008 10:44 PM

Please remember to note the BOOK, CHAPTER, and PAGE of the recipe you are cooking each time you post to this thread. Thank you!

  1. JoanN Jun 1, 2008 06:00 AM

    The Paella a la Valenciana, on page 177 in the Rice Dishes chapter of F&WoS has, for quite a few years now, been one of my go-to party dishes. A friend of mine who has a house in Spain says it’s better than most he’s ever had there.

    In the recipe, as written, Casas indicates where it can be made in advance up until that point. But over the years of making this dish, I’ve rewritten the instructions somewhat to make advanced preparation even easier and less messy. Here are a few tips from my experience with it:

    I sauté the shellfish (usually including squid, which is not called for in the recipe) after sautéing the chicken, chorizo, pork, and ham (all removed to a bowl) but before (not after) adding the aromatics. It makes it much, much easier to scoop out the shellfish to set it aside. And I sauté the shrimp and squid first and then the lobster since I have more control over how much each is cooked if done separately rather than together. After the shellfish is cooked and removed from the pan, I proceed with the recipe as written, sautéing the aromatics and then stirring in the rice. At that point, I’ve held the ingredients for as long as three and four hours, giving me plenty of time to clean up the kitchen and leaving very little left to do once my guests arrive.

    I’ve found that one small chicken (not two), is plenty. Most people are concentrating on the shellfish anyway and even with just one chicken there’s often some left over. I sometimes substitute domestic prosciutto cut in a quarter-pound chunk and then diced for the cured ham. And although I make my paella in a 15-inch enameled paellera, I’ve often had unopened clams and mussels, so I now give them a head start for about a minute or a minute-and-a-half in the microwave before burying them in the rice and baking the paella.

    I’m attaching a photo, but not sure how well it will reproduce since it was taken by a friend at a dinner party and sent to me as a thumbnail pdf file.

     
    15 Replies
    1. re: JoanN
      The Dairy Queen Jun 1, 2008 10:39 AM

      Looks delicious! Thank you for sharing your tips with us. I can't wait for my copy of F&WoS to arrive!

      ~TDQ

      1. re: JoanN
        The Dairy Queen Jun 2, 2008 06:45 AM

        Joan, have you any experience making paella with brown Spanish (pearl) rice? If, do you have any tips to offer or is it the same as with white rice?

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          greedygirl Jun 2, 2008 07:37 AM

          Here's a couple of links to recipes for brown rice paella. Interestingly, they all cook it in the oven for a while as well as on top of the stove. I think that's definitely not traditional, but may be the way to go with brown rice, which takes longer to cook, typically. Definitely worth experimenting, I'd say.

          http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipe.asp?recipeids=3494&bdc=41928

          http://judyskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/11/judys-brown-rice-paella.html

          http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/537576

          1. re: greedygirl
            The Dairy Queen Jun 2, 2008 08:33 AM

            Interesting--I wonder why they all used long grain brown rice instead of brown pearl/Spanish rice? Is the brown Spanish rice hard to find?

            ~TDQ

          2. re: The Dairy Queen
            JoanN Jun 2, 2008 11:11 AM

            No, I've never tried making it with brown rice, pearl or otherwise, and couldn't even begin to guess why the recipes gg linked to call for long-grain rather than pearl.

            But comparing the Casas recipe with the one from Cooks Illustrated, I see that the CI recipe calls for the rice and liquid to be placed in the oven, covered, for 30 minutes before adding the chicken and chorizo; then cooking for 15 minutes before adding the shrimp; and then cooking for yet 15 minutes more. Casas, on the other hand, calls for adding the boiling broth to the rice, cooking on the stovetop for 10 minutes, and adding the chicken and shellfish and baking, uncovered, for 20 minutes. In essence, the brown rice in the CI recipe is cooking, covered, for a half hour longer than the short-grain rice in the Casas recipe, which cooks uncovered.

            Also, the CI recipe, calling for 2 cups of rice, calls for 3-1/3 cups of liquid. The Casas recipe, which calls for 3 cups of rice, calls for 6-1/2 cups of liquid. That seems a bit odd to me since I would have thought the brown rice would require more liquid. But perhaps not. Since you'll be cooking the rice, at least initially, without the meat and shellfish, it would probably be easy enough to test the rice before adding those other ingredients to see if more liquid would be required.

            Just my thoughts on how I'd approach it if I were going to give it a try.

            1. re: JoanN
              The Dairy Queen Jun 2, 2008 11:46 AM

              Thank you so much JoanN (and greedygirl)! I found brown pearl rice at the co-op, so I'm going to experiment. You two have given me some very helpful and specific options to try, so, I thank you for that. And, of course, I will report back.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: JoanN
                greedygirl Jun 2, 2008 03:57 PM

                Does Casas put her paella in the oven? I've made paella a few times, using different recipes, and it's always cooked exclusively on the stove top. I've never heard of it being cooked in the oven. I might have to try the Casas method to compare. I can't imagine it can be better than the Moro ones, which are delicious, but who knows!

                1. re: greedygirl
                  JoanN Jun 2, 2008 04:35 PM

                  Yes, she does. All the paellas in F&WoS are cooked on the stovetop for about 10 minutes and then, uncovered, in a 325F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.They are then covered lightly with foil and allowed to rest for 10 minutes. I don't know whether or not she uses this same procedure in her Paella book.

                  This is the only paella recipe I've ever made so I'm in no position to compare it to anything other than what I've had in restaurants, and hers wins that contest hands down. I hope you do try it. I'd love to know how you think it compares with others you've made.

                  1. re: JoanN
                    greedygirl Jun 3, 2008 02:38 AM

                    I'll see if I can find an online Casas recipe for paella so I can give it a try.

                    1. re: greedygirl
                      NYchowcook Jun 3, 2008 04:46 AM

                      Here you go.
                      Spanish Paella a la Valenciana
                      (rice recipe #3) http://www.spanish-food-and-recipes.com/spanish_rice_recipes.html

                      Bean Pebbled Paella http://www.thefoodmaven.com/diary/archives/00000017.html

                      Garlicky clam paella
                      http://www.recipezaar.com/189414

                      Online links are posted in main June thread at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/522410

                      1. re: NYchowcook
                        greedygirl Jun 3, 2008 05:02 AM

                        Thanks very much, NYchowcook.

            2. re: JoanN
              greedygirl Jun 3, 2008 05:20 AM

              I agree that two small chickens is way too much for this dish! I'm also interested in the fact that she cooks the shellfish first - I've never done this while making paella. I'm concerned that by doing that, and then baking them for twenty minutes, they'd be overcooked.

              1. re: greedygirl
                JoanN Jun 3, 2008 10:55 AM

                Not sure what to say except that you only cook the shellfish long enough to pick up some of the flavors from the now-seasoned oil, not long enough to cook it through. Perhaps, compared to your usual recipes, this would seem overcooked to you. It never has to me. And if any of the many guests who have had it thought so, they certainly kept their mouths shut.

                As I believe I said above, I've never made any other paella recipe. I do hope those who have will try this one and let us know how they think it compares.

              2. re: JoanN
                j
                jenn Jun 4, 2008 12:13 PM

                i am also a fan of the Casas' receipe--my paella pan was given to me by a friend who wanted me to do that recipe. I like to make it outside on a bar-b-que grill---those round Weber kettle things are just the right size to fit a paella pan. I do the whole thing on the grill and it works fine. Then when you add the shellfish, you just put the lid on.

                Casas cookbook was one of my first cookbooks and one of the few to survive the devastating flood when I moved from the East Coast to the West coast way back in '89. its got such great stuff.

                1. re: JoanN
                  i
                  iandoh Jun 29, 2008 10:49 PM

                  I gave the paella a la valenciana a go tonight. I don't have a paella pan, nor is my my largest skillet oven safe, so I transferred the paella to a broiling pan before placing in the oven. Seemed to work fine, and my wife (who normally doesn't like paella) enjoyed it.

                  I omitted pork chop, lobster, clams and ham. Somehow, the 20 minute bake + 10 minute tent resulted in overcooked mussels for me. The quality of the chorizo makes a big difference; I used Whole Foods chorizo, which was only so-so. Next time, I'll make an effort to find better sausage. Also, I used Italian arborio rice; does anyone know how different arborio is from valencia rice?

                  Photos (courtesy of my lovely wife) attached.

                   
                2. Rubee Jun 4, 2008 10:46 AM

                  Gambas Al Ajillo - Garlic Shrimp (Tapas, p. 6).

                  This book has a few variations of this classic Spanish dish, so the first one I made was the version from "Rincon de Espana" in NYC. I really liked the addition of sherry in this, and am going to try different recipes to see which is my favorite since it's an easy tapas. For this one, butter and oil are heated in a casserole dish, and then shrimp and sliced garlic is added. The recipe calls for small/medium shrimp, but I only had large. Then add lemon juice, dry sherry, paprika, a cut up chili pepper (I used one chili de arbol; next time would use two), salt and pepper, and chopped parsley (didn't have any so garnished with sliced scallion). I served this with Ensalada Mora from "Cocina", and some garlic bread.

                   
                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee
                    oakjoan Jun 4, 2008 11:45 AM

                    A friend of ours made a wonderful shrimp dish she learned while living in Spain. It's similar to the recipe above, but with fewer ingredients. It is also verrrrrrry olive oil intensive.

                    You heat about a cup of olive oil in a large skillet and add whole garlic cloves (lots and lots) and several large bay leaves broken into several pieces. The whole thing sizzles until the garlic cooks through and starts to brown, then salt and lots of cracked pepper, along with raw, cleaned shrimp, are added and cooked until the shrimp are done. The whole mess is poured into a serving bowl (sometimes we just put the skillet on the table) and eaten with lots of baguettes heated in the oven. Then we all go to a Weight Watchers meeting.

                    1. re: oakjoan
                      l
                      littleneck Jun 4, 2008 11:46 AM

                      Holy goodness that sounds fabulous...

                      1. re: oakjoan
                        Rubee Jun 4, 2008 11:58 AM

                        That sounds like the version I'm more familiar with. Thanks, now I'm hungry again! I'm not sure if I liked the combination of butter (and I love butter) and oil as much in this version, though E loved it.

                        I wanted to add more chilis but didn't want to change the authenticity of the dish. I'm partial to a Mexican version called Camarones al Mojo de Ajo or Camarones a la Guajillo - shrimp in sizzling olive oil and garlic, but with strips of guajillo peppers and orange rind.

                        1. re: Rubee
                          MMRuth Jun 4, 2008 07:24 PM

                          It also sounds similar to the Delicioso version that I've made many times - will check tomorrow.

                      2. re: Rubee
                        l
                        littleneck Jun 4, 2008 11:50 AM

                        So on the Gambas al ajillo topic, I have a question that perhaps the Boston boarders might relate to, but the COTM boarders might be able to help with. I would LOVE to recreate the Gambas al ajillo from the restaurant Toro and I am at a loss as to where to start. The description on the menu is just "griddled garlic shrimp." I know there is saffron in the sauce, because I can see it, and last time I was there when I probed the server, all they gave me was "lots of butter." I could eat that sauce with a spoon. Are there any recipes in FaWofS that might approximate?

                        1. re: littleneck
                          Rubee Jun 4, 2008 12:04 PM

                          Oh, unfortunately, I never ordered that dish at Toro (now I wish I had!). Hopefully some of the other Boston 'hounds will be more helpful!

                          1. re: Rubee
                            oakjoan Jun 4, 2008 07:06 PM

                            I just noticed that La Cocina de Mama has a recipe for Gambas al Ajillo. I'll post a discussion of it on that thread.

                        2. re: Rubee
                          Gio Aug 25, 2013 07:27 AM

                          Gambas Al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp), "Rincon de Espana" Version, Pg. 6

                          This version of garlicky shrimp is perfect for large shrimp and we love everything about it. In fact when I read the recipe I decided to cook a mushroom combo in more or less the same method. I didn't substitute anything, but because we had one pound of large shrimp I increased a few of the other ingredients. Like Rubee I used arbols - 3 of them, 6 cloves of garlic, 2 1/2 T sherry, 1 t paprika, 1/2 t sea salt, 1 t black pepper, 2 T minced parsley. Everything else remained the same. I peeled the shrimp although the recipe does not call for it. A wok was our cooking vessel of choice.

                          The shrimp was their perfectly pinky briny selves. Crusty bread mopped up the spicy sauce. The mushroom recipe on page 82 was my guideline for a combination of cremini and portobellos. I also served a melange of stir-fried rice and vegetables.

                        3. The Dairy Queen Jun 7, 2008 08:05 AM

                          "Fried eggs with garlic and paprika, "F&WofS, "Eggs and egg dishes", page 155

                          Alas, for two reasons, the first being I cannot stand eggs with any hint of crispy or brown edges, the second being I wanted to keep the oil content low, I simply fried my eggs in a nonstick pan that I'd sprayed with a bit of food release. Then, I proceeded with the recipe as written, except for reducing the olive oil for frying the pimientos and garlic from 2 TBSP to 2 tsp. Turned out to be a lovely, simple dish. The only complaint I have about this recipe is that she has you fry the eggs first and let them sit about 4-6 minutes while frying the pimientos and garlic, so, the eggs were of course, cold, by the time they were served. If I were to do this again, I'd fry the eggs in a pan on a separate burner, while the garlic is having its 2 minute cooling.

                          I've noticed throughout her recipes that she doesn't have you do things in a logical order, but, rather, in order by ingredient. For instance, the Beef Hash Casserole recipe I tried from Cocina de Mama she has you fry the beef, then boil water for potatoes, cook the potatoes, then pre-heat the oven. So, just a caution, I advice reading through the whole recipe and adapting the order of things for a better flow.

                          I know the photos aren't that appetizing, sorry, I'm not good at plating (I have a hard enough time just making sure the food tastes good!) but they are attached nevertheless. What you're looking at is strips fried pimientos on the side, and garlic/paprika sauce drizzled over the eggs.

                          ~TDQ

                           
                           
                          1. Rubee Jun 8, 2008 03:51 PM

                            Atun Escabechado - Marinated Tuna (Tapas, p. 24)

                            I used this tasty tuna salad to stuff Piquillo peppers for a tapas party yesterday (rest of the menu linked below). I didn't have any Spanish tuna, but used a can of high-quality tuna that I got at a local farmer's market. This is flaked, and mixed with vinegar (I used white wine vinegar), minced onion, capers, parsley and s&p. I also drizzled in a little extra virgin olive oil. Simple, but really bright and flavorful. My friend even asked for the recipe.

                            Tapas report:

                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52451...

                             
                             
                             
                            1. m
                              moh Jun 10, 2008 06:49 AM

                              Ensalada Catalana, "F&WofS" page 112.

                              About this salad, Casas writes: "In Southern Spain, where the temperatures in summer often top 100 degrees, a cooling salad such as this one is ideal." This statement is accurate! As we are in the middle of a nasty heat wave, I had no desire to start cooking the roasted chicken dishes I wanted to try. This salad was perfect.

                              This salad is a Spanish version of Salade Nicoise, but layered. Boiled sliced potatoes, sliced onions and green peppers, olives and chunk tuna are slathered with salad dressing, salt and pepper, then topped with tomatoes and boiled eggs. I used up a jar of pimento stuffed green olives I had left in the fridge, and in the future I would probably use stronger tasting olives. We also used canned tuna packed in water to try to reduce calories, although I used so much dressing for the salad that I probably negated any benefits of the water packed tuna. The dressing is unusual and tasty. She gives a recipe for El Alino salad dressing (page 104), a dressing with cheese and herbs. We used grated Manchego as our cheese. The dressing also has a touch of horseradish, which gives it a gentle piquancy.

                              After layering the ingredients and sprinkling with dressing, we refridgerated the salad for 2 hours. This nice thing about the delay is it gives time for the dressing to permeate the salad. The herbs and cheese in the dressing have time to amalgamate. As well, the raw onions become much less harsh when marinated in dressing. The salad is light but filling. Very tasty, and worth making again.

                               
                              2 Replies
                              1. re: moh
                                oakjoan Jun 10, 2008 07:10 PM

                                Wow, moh! The photo looks glorious. We're also having a hot spell and this looks perfect for dinner. If one boils the potatoes and eggs in the a.m., it'd be cooler in the kitchen, too.

                                1. re: oakjoan
                                  m
                                  moh Jun 10, 2008 08:55 PM

                                  Thanks Oakjoan! Hmm, I wish I had thought about doing the boiling earlier, it would have been much more pleasant....

                              2. m
                                moh Jun 18, 2008 10:02 PM

                                Well, the weather has finally become cool enough to make the chicken recipe I have wanted to try. I made two dishes tonight, the Pollo en Pepitoria and a vegetable dish, the Pisto Manchego.

                                Pollo en Pepitoria (Chicken in Egg, Almond and Sherry Sauce): F&Wof S, page 252, Poultry and Game section: (photo 1)

                                I have decided that Casas is the Queen of sauces! The sauce for this recipe is yet another winner, easy to make and wonderfully flavourful. You start by browning chicken pieces in olive oil in a large Dutch oven on the stovetop. I used bone-in, skin-on pieces of organic chicken. The chicken skin produced nice brown bits at the bottom of the pan that then add a lot of flavour to the sauce when it deglazes. The pieces of chicken that I got from the butcher were a bit big – Casas clearly writes to use small serving pieces. The pieces we had were so big we had to cook the final stew for an extra 15 minutes at the end to make sure the chicken was fully cooked. The more you brown the chicken, the more flavourful the final sauce, so I waited patiently before flipping the pieces of chicken over. Once the chicken is browned, add julienned pieces of cured ham (I used Presunto, the Portuguese version of Serrano Ham, because that was what we had in the house), chopped onion, minced garlic and parsley. Cook until the onions are tender, then add sherry (I used a combo of Amontillado and Manzanilla), chicken broth, nutmeg, saffron, a bay leaf, salt and pepper. If you are using canned or boxed chicken broth, don’t ad too much salt at this stage, because the combo of the cured ham and chicken broth could make the sauce too salty very quickly. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove chicken and ham and bay leaf.

                                I then used a food processor to finely grind some blanched almonds. The liquid form the chicken was then slowly added to the almonds to create a smooth sauce. Combine the chicken, ham, bay leaf and sauce in the Dutch oven, cover and cook for 20 minutes in a 350 degree Farenheit oven. As I mentioned before, we had to cook it for an extra 15 minutes because of the size of the chicken pieces. Sprinkle chicken with chopped hard boiled egg, cook 5 minutes more, sprinkle with parsley, and serve. This sauce is absolutely divine! I don’t think my picture does this dish justice.

                                Pisto Manchego (Zucchini, Green Pepper and Tomato Medley): F&WofS, page 94, Vegetables section: ( photo 2)

                                This dish reminds me of a nice combination of ratatouille and succotash. It is easy to make, and very satisfying. Saute diced bacon until transparent. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until onion is soft. Add dice peeled potato and sliced green pepper, cook 10 minutes. Then add chopped tomato, sliced zucchini, parsley, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover and cook 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. The bacon really makes this dish, adding a smoky, savoury flavour to the vegetables.

                                I will make both of these dishes again. However, I would not recommend making them together. Both of these dishes are saucy, and I find the two sauces compete with each other. I would make the chicken dish with a drier vegetable side so that the chicken sauce can really take center stage. The Pisto Manchego would be a great accompaniment for a grilled hunk of meat! Both dishes should be accompanied by good bread to sop up the sauce.

                                 
                                 
                                7 Replies
                                1. re: moh
                                  The Dairy Queen Jun 19, 2008 04:25 AM

                                  moh, sounds delicious (or, delicioso!)--is the Pisto Manchego more of a side or a main?

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                    m
                                    moh Jun 19, 2008 10:16 AM

                                    We treated the Pisto as a veg side, but with the addition of the bacon and potato, it could very well serve as a main. It is quite hearty. There is some sauce, so some nice crusty bread could round out the meal, maybe a green salad. I recall Casas recommended having some fried egg on the side.

                                  2. re: moh
                                    Gio Jun 19, 2008 10:27 AM

                                    Both those dishes sound wonderful, moh! I'm going to look for something similar in the La Cocina book. I have made a couple of her chicken dishes and we absolutely loved them....

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      m
                                      moh Jun 19, 2008 11:34 AM

                                      Gio, if you don't find the recipe, feel free to email me...

                                      I am really loving her recipes. Easy, yet such delightful treats to eat.

                                      1. re: moh
                                        Gio Jun 19, 2008 05:55 PM

                                        Thank you very much moh!!
                                        What a treat this whole project is. I absolutely love all the books so far even though I've cooked more from some than others. And to think I was such a culinary snob. That'll teach me.....

                                        1. re: moh
                                          Gio Jun 20, 2008 05:20 AM

                                          http://www.cuisine.com.au/recipe/Poll...

                                          I found that link to a similar recipe....but, there's no mention of using ham. Moh, what is the amount of the ham called for in the original recipe?
                                          Also, this version calls for juniper berries. Does the original? TIA!!

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            m
                                            moh Jun 22, 2008 11:59 PM

                                            Gio, sorry about the delay of response, I've been out of town and away from internet (eek!)

                                            Your recipe is similar in many ways, although the quantities are much larger and some of the ingredients are used in different proportions. In the Casas recipe, she uses 1/4 pound of cured ham in julienned strips, and she doesn't use the juniper berries. Her choice of spices are nutmeg, saffron and bay leaf. The other recipe uses a lot more sherry! and wine, which Casas does not use. Casas only uses 1/4 cup of sherry! (I must admit, I used more than this - more like half a cup. I like sherry...) Still, the process seems similar in the two recipes. I think the addition of the ham would be good, but I am very fond of ham and may be a bit biased.

                                    2. Rubee Jun 22, 2008 10:45 AM

                                      Huevos con Picadilla de Champiñón (Baked Mushrooms and Eggs)

                                      I served this for a late breakfast Saturday and we really liked it, especially as it is as "incredibly easy and quick to prepare" as she says.

                                      Mushrooms (I used creminis) are quartered, and then quickly cooked over hight heat with olive oil and garlic. Transfer to a baking dish, make wells, and slide in eggs. Sprinkle with s & p and chopped parsley, and bake in the oven at 450 until whites are just set and yolks are soft. She says about 5 minutes, but it took closer to 10 for me. She also says 1/2 lb of mushrooms are enough for 8 eggs, but I found that it was just enough for 4.

                                       
                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Rubee
                                        Gio Jun 22, 2008 04:52 PM

                                        Oh now that sounds delicious. I'm definitely going to try this one!!
                                        Thanks Rubee.

                                        1. re: Rubee
                                          m
                                          moh Jun 22, 2008 11:46 PM

                                          What a gorgeous picture! And that does sound like a lovely breakfast dish... Yummm, mushrooms...

                                        2. i
                                          iandoh Jun 24, 2008 10:48 PM

                                          Oca con Peras (Baby Goose with Pears), poultry chapter, p274 F&WoS

                                          I'm a sucker for duck, and I couldn't pass up a dish described as "the supreme dish of Catalan cookery". Per Casas' suggestion, I used duck instead of goose, since it's difficult to find a small goose. To save time and money, I decided to make the dish with 3 whole duck legs and 1 breast instead of buying an entire duck. It turned out to be a good decision, since the legs held up much better to the long braise; breast turned out tough and overly gamey. I would recommend making the dish with only duck legs.

                                          The raisin-pine nut-roasted duck juice sauce is amazing, and the combination of flavors (duck, pear, sauce) is truly fantastic. I'm not normally a big fan of Spanish cooking outside of paella, but this recipe has renewed my faith in the cuisine. Rich and complex, full of different flavors and textures (e.g. fruit + meat + nuts + sweet + savory + duck fat = yummy).

                                          I followed the directions pretty closely: started by roasting the duck with garlic, onion, and bay leaf; then deglazed the pan to collect pan juices. Sauted onion, garlic, pine nuts, raisins, parsley, and pears with some broth and brandy (substitution for grappa). I wanted to experiment with pears so I used 2 boscs and 2 d'anjous. In the end, I preferred the crispness of the boscs, and my wife preferred the softer/sweeter d'anjous. Added duck and reserved pan juices and simmered for a while. At the end, caramelized sugar syrup is poured over the pears.

                                          The recipe resulted in a non-crispy skin. Because crispy skin is my favorite part of duck, I put the duck in the oven for 10 minutes. This achieved a nice skin, but resulted in a little bit of overcooked meat (especially the breast). I would recommend a shorter stovetop braise if you want to crisp the skin in the oven. Alternatively, you could move the pan to braise uncovered in the oven after adding the duck and pan juices to the saute. This second approach is similar to a Alice Waters recipe I love for braised ducks with leeks & olives: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                          I wasn't able to get the sugar syrup to caramelize, so maybe adjusting the proportion of sugar to water would do the trick? Nonetheless, a great dish for my first ever Chowhound post and COTM effort :-) Photo attached.

                                           
                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: iandoh
                                            Rubee Jun 24, 2008 11:59 PM

                                            Wow. Welcome, and what a great first post. It looks fantastic! I didn't even notice that recipe, so I'm glad you posted about it. I'll have to try it with your suggestion of duck legs.

                                            1. re: iandoh
                                              The Dairy Queen Jun 25, 2008 02:58 AM

                                              Great post indeed! Welcome to Chowhound and to COTM! I love the presentation on the plate with the pear.

                                              ~TDQ

                                              1. re: iandoh
                                                m
                                                moh Jun 25, 2008 08:17 PM

                                                Fabulous photo iandoh! I must say that I love her use of pine nuts.

                                                1. re: iandoh
                                                  Gio Jun 26, 2008 05:31 AM

                                                  Welcome!! What a wonderful first post and recipe report. I've been cooking from Casas' La Cocina De Mama all month so didn't know this recipe existed. Thank you for the Alice Waters recipe link. That's a recipe I'm definitely going to make.

                                                2. The Dairy Queen Jun 25, 2008 06:39 PM

                                                  Puff Pastry with Salmon Filling, F&WofS, "Sausages, Pates, and Savory Pies", pg 74

                                                  We tried this tonight with canned wild alaskan salmon (the recipes says to use fresh or canned) and phyllo dough (instead of the puff pastry on pg 336), and tomato sauce from a jar (that had artichoke hearts in it--oh well, it's what I had). It was easy and pretty quick about (35-40 minutes), especially with the short-cuts I took. We liked it a lot and I can definitely see this becoming a staple. Just about everything called for in this recipe is a "pantry" item, so, it could be whipped up in a jiff.

                                                  I ran out of phyllo dough, so used won ton wrappers for the last several. As you can see from the photos they turned out a bit darker and crispier than I hoped. But, THEY WERE AWESOME. We almost preferred the won tons to the ones with phyllo. They would make great appetizers, maybe with a harissa dip of some kind.

                                                  One small warning--they are exceedingly hot right out of the oven. Take care to let them cool a little before serving.

                                                  One thing I have really appreciated about the Casas books is that many of her recipes fit into my Weight Watchers Core Plan with only minor modifications. (In this case, this entire recipe is core, except for the points you have to count for the phyllo).

                                                  Photo #1--Won ton pastry
                                                  Photo #2-Phyllo pastry

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                   
                                                   
                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                    m
                                                    moh Jun 25, 2008 08:19 PM

                                                    Yes, I could see wonton wrappers working, they look great, and that would make this very easy to do!

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                      Rubee Jun 25, 2008 10:47 PM

                                                      Nice! I'm planning on making these this weekend (I've made and froze the tomato sauce on p.218 already). I was going to use store-bought puff pastry, but I like your wonton and phyllo ideas, hmm....

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                        beetlebug Jun 26, 2008 07:02 AM

                                                        Do you think the recipe would work well with smoked salmon/lox? I have a ton of it leftover and have been thinking of other ways to use it up.

                                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                                          The Dairy Queen Jul 16, 2008 06:44 PM

                                                          Hi beetlebug, I just saw this question of yours. I'm so sorry I missed it. It's probably too late for you, anyway, but, no, I don't think this would work well with smoked salmon/lox. I can't explain why, but I just think the texture would be wrong. I wouldn't use anything but canned salmon for this dish...

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                      2. The Dairy Queen Jun 26, 2008 07:29 PM

                                                        Rice, bean and greens soup, F&WofS, Soups and Meals in a Pot, page 135

                                                        I had some CSA collard greens to use up and I was looking for a dish to prepare for one of our two weekly "vegetarian" nights, so, this seemed perfect (except, I now realize as I type this that I used homemade chicken stock. I think I'm a really bad vegetarian!). I made the recipe exactly as written, except that I used brown pearl rice (instead of white pearl rice) and I did the whole thing in the pressure cooker rather than on the stovetop. Because I used the pressure cooker, I drained off the water I used to cook the beans in order to compensate for the fact that the soup wouldn't reduce in the pressure cooker the way it would on the stove.

                                                        I used about a tsp of salt (her recipe didn't specify the amount of salt), which was not enough. We finished each bowl with a couple of pinches of Fleur de Sel, which was just right.

                                                        We'd definitely do this soup again.

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                         
                                                        1. Rubee Jul 7, 2008 12:26 AM

                                                          Trigueros en Vinagrillo (Marinated Asparagus), p. 119

                                                          I made this as part of a tapas spread so I would have a vegetable dish, but ended up liking this even more than I thought I would. The vinaigrette has only a few ingredients, but had a really nice balance of flavor. The leftover vinaigrette also made a great dressing for a tossed salad. Cooked asparagus (simmered in water) are marinated for about 4 hours at room temp in extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, crushed garlic cloves, some of the asparagus water, paprika (I used Spanish smoked), and s& p. These are served at room temperature, and I garnished with chopped parsley and some Spanish smoked salt.

                                                           
                                                          1. Rubee Jul 14, 2008 01:44 PM

                                                            Pollo al ast Glaseado (spit-roasted chicken brushed with honey and cumin), p. 261

                                                            I had originally picked this recipe out to try the rotisserie on our new grill, but due to the weather I ended up roasting it in the oven. It was a tasty, simple recipe with a marinade and glaze of vinegar (I used w. wine vinegar), ground cumin, garlic, and honey (I used an AZ orange blossom honey, for locals - McClendon's Select). It made a nice weekday dinner last week served with a tossed salad with sherry vinaigrette, and leftovers made great sandwiches with mayonesa (p. 104) and piquillo peppers.

                                                             
                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Rubee
                                                              drewb123 Jul 20, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                              Hi Rubee

                                                              I am making cornish hens tonight and would love the recipe of the marinade you used on your chicken. Sounds wonderful.

                                                              1. re: drewb123
                                                                Rubee Jul 20, 2008 11:30 PM

                                                                Oh, I'm so sorry I didn't see this until now!

                                                                For future refernce, here's the recipe for the marinade:

                                                                1/4 cup olive oil (I used extra virgin)
                                                                1-1/2 tb vinegar (I used wine wine vinegar)
                                                                2 tsp ground cumin
                                                                2 crushed cloves of garlic (I used three)
                                                                2 Tb honey

                                                                Marinate the chicken for at least one hour, turning frequently. Roast the chicken, reserving marinade to brush on chicken frequently.

                                                                1. re: Rubee
                                                                  drewb123 Jul 21, 2008 12:33 PM

                                                                  Not a prob. Did a sarah mouton morrocan chix marinade turned out great!! I may try this tongight on bone-in chix breast.

                                                                  1. re: drewb123
                                                                    Rubee Jul 22, 2008 02:19 PM

                                                                    That sounds good too - care to share your Moroccan marinade recipe?

                                                                    1. re: Rubee
                                                                      drewb123 Jul 22, 2008 09:24 PM

                                                                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sa...

                                                                      here you go. I think I left out some spices b/c I didn't have those on hand. I am trying no to have to follow a recipe word for word thats what my husb. tells me. LOL

                                                            2. Rubee Jul 15, 2008 09:39 AM

                                                              Paella a la Valenciana, p. 177

                                                              Thanks JoanN and iandoh for your reports on this dish, they were really helpful. If it wasn't for your detailed tips, JoanN, I wouldn't have attempted this dish for the first time for a dinner party of 6 on Saturday. I was so happy with how it came out, and never realized what a great party dish this is since so much can be done ahead.

                                                              I made sure the stock had lots of flavor - reducing roasted chicken broth I had in the freezer to make it more intense, and I had a couple of lobster shells in the freezer also so was able to make about 2 cups of a nice lobster stock, which I combined with the chicken stock to make 6 cups. I made no changes to the ingredients. I bought the olive oil, Bomba rice, chorizo, and jamon serrano from LaTienda.com. The jamon was expensive for a boneless piece, so when I saw they had a special of serrano shank end pieces ($9.95), I bought that instead. For the chorizo, I used mini-links, and for the lobster, I used warm-water lobster tails which happened to be on sale at a local store. As suggested, I used one chicken instead of two, and that was more than enough. First the chicken was browned, removed, and then the ham, chorizo, and pork added, followed by onion, scallions, garlic and piquillo peppers. Tips I used were to push the aromatics aside when I cooked the seafood to make it easier to remove from the pan. I also cooked the shrimp first, and then the lobster. Then rice is added, coated with the oil, and then sprinkled with chopped parsley and crumbled bay leaves. At this point I covered the meat, put a lid on the pan and rice mixture, and cleaned up the kitchen.

                                                              We started with tapas, sparkling wine, and sangria, and I was able to relax and enjoy myself because I had everything ready to go for the paella. When everyone was hungry, I added the stock with wine, lemon juice, and frozen peas to the rice, and then brought to a boil, stirring for a few minutes. Bury the shrimp and chicken, and add the clams, mussels, and lobster. This is baked uncovered at 325 for 20 minutes, then lightly covered with foil for 10. It was a huge success. I was worried that the seafood might overcook, but it didn't. In fact, I should have listened to JoanN about giving the mussels and clams a head start. Most didn't open completely so I had to remove them and steam them in a pot before adding to the paella. This is definitely something I'll make again and again - impressive presentation, easy to finish with beforehand prep, everyone served themselves, and no need for side dishes which cuts down on work. It served 6 with almost everyone having seconds, and we had plenty leftover for dinner last night.

                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: Rubee
                                                                MMRuth Jul 15, 2008 09:45 AM

                                                                Rubee - that is absolutely beautiful. I'm going have to get my Paella pan down and give this a go.

                                                                1. re: Rubee
                                                                  Rubee Jul 15, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                                  Some ingredients:

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: Rubee
                                                                    Gio Jul 15, 2008 09:54 AM

                                                                    Oh my! What an ambitious dinner....but then, you're famous for exquisite meals. I love that you're continuing to cook from past COTMs. I have, to a certain extent, but very simple dishes, I'm afraid.

                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                      Rubee Jul 15, 2008 10:19 AM

                                                                      Oh thanks so much MMRuth and Gio. I was so pleased with how it turned out. It did help me be less intimidated too that none of my guests had had paella before, so no worries about authentic soccarat, etc. It was so easy to finish too - it was nice being able to relax and enjoy plenty of adult beverages and tapas with my guests.

                                                                      My husband mentioned that although the chicken was good, he loved the seafood and chorizo. Cutting up the chicken and browning it was actually the most time-consuming and messiest (splatter) step, so I might try leaving that out next time.

                                                                      1. re: Rubee
                                                                        i
                                                                        iandoh Jul 15, 2008 10:49 PM

                                                                        Oh, you made me crave paella again! Definitely agree that browning chicken is pretty messy; I skinned the chicken (which reduced splatter), but oil still got everywhere. The chicken also didn't reheat very well in leftovers.

                                                                        1. re: iandoh
                                                                          MMRuth Jul 16, 2008 03:49 AM

                                                                          Do you have one of those splatter guards? I find it really helps reduce the amount of oil flying around:

                                                                          http://www.amazon.com/Cuisipro-746588...

                                                                          I don't have this particular one, but something similar with out the feet things.

                                                                    2. re: Rubee
                                                                      m
                                                                      moh Jul 15, 2008 02:25 PM

                                                                      Beautiful pictures Rubee! dang i wish I had time to cook, it has been crazy.

                                                                      1. re: Rubee
                                                                        drewb123 Jul 20, 2008 01:19 PM

                                                                        WOW!! what a chef you are.

                                                                        1. re: Rubee
                                                                          JoanN Jul 29, 2008 06:48 PM

                                                                          What a terrific report! And I'm so pleased my tips helped a bit. This is one of my all-time favorite party dishes, for all the reasons you mention. And your photos are marvelous.

                                                                          For dessert, I often make her Flan del Gran Flanero (Caramel Custard). It's another do-ahead recipe that's just perfect with the paella. I highly recommend it for the next time (and from your report, I'm sure there will be a next time).

                                                                          I've been out of the country for a month and am just beginning to try to get caught up on what's been going on while I was away. This was the best possible welcome back to the Home Cooking Board. Thanks for sharing, Rubee.

                                                                        2. Rubee Jul 16, 2008 03:09 PM

                                                                          Pimientos Fritos (fried peppers), p. 83

                                                                          Ever since I had my first plate of pimientos de Padrón a couple of years ago, I've been hooked. I'm sure when Casas wrote this book, she never thought that these seasonal green peppers from the village of Padrón in Galicia would be grown here in the US. She suggests substituting with small Italian-style green peppers, but I ordered the pimientos from La Tienda. Simply fry over high heat in some olive oil (I use a cast-iron pan), and sprinkle with salt (I used Spanish smoked sea salt).

                                                                          They're fun to eat too. They've been referred to as culinary "roulette" because most are sweet, but you never know when there's going to be spicy one - this batch had only a few, about 9-10.

                                                                          A few years ago in Gourmet magazine (I just checked - 11/99, p 112 - "The Pepper Chase"), Calvin Trillin wrote a wonderful article on these peppers. If you read it, you'll totally understand the addiction and how someone can crave something as simple as fried green peppers. It's a great read

                                                                          Pimientos de Padron (Latienda is currently running a 2 for 1 special):
                                                                          http://www.tienda.com/food/products/v...

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Rubee
                                                                            Rubee Jul 29, 2008 01:59 PM

                                                                            Just thought I'd mention that Pimientos de Padron are currently on sale at LaTienda.com ($9.95):

                                                                            http://www.tienda.com/food/products/v...

                                                                          2. Rubee Jul 17, 2008 03:07 PM

                                                                            Chorizo Cafe San Martin (chorizo with wine and pimientos), p. 30

                                                                            This is one of my favorite recipes, and I've made it twice. It's also one of Casas', and it can be found in the Tapas book too (I reported on that thread earlier). It's very simple and can be prepped ahead. Chorizo is sliced and sauteed. Pour off the oil, deglaze with wine, and then toss with sliced pimiento peppers, minced garlic, and chopped parsley. This is enclosed in tinfoil in an oven-safe pan. I did this the night before, and the day of the paella dinner, I heated it in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes to serve as tapas.

                                                                            The complete menu for the tapas before the paella dinner was:

                                                                            Chorizo Cafe San Martin, p 30 (and Tapas, p. 219)
                                                                            Pimentos de Padron, p. 83
                                                                            Empanadas de carne (Tapas, p. 121)
                                                                            Spanish Marcona almonds
                                                                            Caper berries
                                                                            Crackers and Spanish cheese sampler from La Tienda: Manchego cheese, Roncal, Murcia al Vino, and Idiazabal
                                                                            Jamon Serrano
                                                                            Marinated piquillo peppers - olive oil, garlic, sherry vinegar, fresh herbs

                                                                            DESSERT

                                                                            Helado Con Turros "Los Caracoles" (ice cream with Turrón), p. 385

                                                                            I had planned on making this easy dessert, simply store-bought vanilla ice cream topped with crumbled Jijona turrón, a Spanish candy made with Marcona almonds and honey. There are two types - Jijona, which is soft, and Alicante, which is hard. We were full after dinner, however, and when we got the munchies again at about midnight, everyone asked for the leftover tapas instead ; )

                                                                            E and I had it the next night. We both decided we liked it even better mixed into the ice cream. Time to break out the ice cream maker.

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Rubee
                                                                              drewb123 Jul 20, 2008 01:25 PM

                                                                              When am I coming to dinner :) I am so jealous of your skills... I try but my menu is never as authentic as yours. Keep up the good work,

                                                                              1. re: drewb123
                                                                                Rubee Jul 20, 2008 11:31 PM

                                                                                Thanks, that is so nice of you. You have an open invitation!

                                                                                If my husband knew how much I spent on Spanish ingredients from La Tienda this month, he'd have a heart attack ; )

                                                                            2. Rubee Jul 24, 2008 03:10 PM

                                                                              Filete Empanado (Breaded Beefsteak), p. 296

                                                                              One of E's favorite dishes is breaded cutlets/milanese, etc, so I made this last week for dinner. What made this different from the usual preps was a salt/parsley/garlic paste that was spread on the steak before breading. I spread it on, and then gave the thin slices of beef a light pounding with a meat mallet to make sure that it adheres (she says to hit "with the heel of your hand"). The beef is dipped in egg, and then bread crumbs (I used a mix of dried bread crumbs and panko). Let the meat rest for 20 minutes, and then fry in olive oil. I served it with leftover hash browns, and marinated Piquillo peppers.

                                                                               
                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Rubee
                                                                                Gio Jul 24, 2008 06:05 PM

                                                                                So when are you opening your restaurant and will it be within shouting distance from Boston? Amazing. Simply amazing. You really are an inspiration, Rubee!!

                                                                              2. JoanN Jun 13, 2010 04:15 AM

                                                                                Judias Verdes Con Ajo--Garlic Green Beans (page 78)

                                                                                Proof of two cooking maxims: Simpler is better. And everything is better with butter.
                                                                                You cook the beans in butter until they begin to brown, cover them and cook until crisp-tender (about 20 minutes), add a smashed garlic clove and salt, toss, and serve. The recipe calls for green beans; I had haricot verts so cut back on the cooking time a bit. I didn’t think one smashed garlic clove added at the end of cooking could make much of a difference. I was wrong. Perfect. Loved it. Must remember to make this again.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                  BigSal Jun 13, 2010 07:55 AM

                                                                                  I love this recipe too! Deceptively simple, but flavorful.

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                    q
                                                                                    qianning Mar 11, 2014 07:07 PM

                                                                                    Just made this for the first time tonight....how many years have I owned this book? Subbed olive oil for the butter, still fabulous. Now that I've read the reviews above I'll try butter next time.

                                                                                  2. JoanN Sep 18, 2011 04:25 PM

                                                                                    Baked Stuffed Scallops (page 210)

                                                                                    Mix together chopped scallops, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley, s&p, a tiny bit of clove, olive oil, and white wine. Put into scallop shells, dot with butter, and bake at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes. I baked mine for 17. Seemed about right, even though the tops didn’t brown as I had hoped they would.

                                                                                    This was good; very good. But not great. There are too many other scallop preparations I prefer to this one. Might consider doing this again as a first course if the ingredients stars happened to align. Wouldn’t otherwise search it out. Even though it is good. Did I mention that it is good?

                                                                                    Argh. Just realized the photos didn’t get onto the memory card. Oh well. Looked kinda pretty in the scallop shells. Not a great loss.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                      Breadcrumbs Sep 18, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                                                      Hi Joan this sounds wonderful! Sorry about your photos, I know how disappointing that can be. Thanks too for posting to this thread, it's long before my time here and sounds like an interesting book. Have you had good experience w it? I don't have it on my shelf (shocking as that may seem!!) ; - )

                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                        JoanN Sep 18, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                                                        That is rather shocking.

                                                                                        I haven't cooked from it all that much recently so was happy to find another recipe that brought me back to it. It does, however, contain my go-to paella--a recipe I've made at least once a year for decades. And it was my only Spanish book for ages, so it's what I tend to turn to whenever I'm headed in that direction cookingwise. It is a classic, although my brother, who lives in Spain, doesn't think much of it. But then, he's not much of a cook. You should certainly take a look at it.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                          Breadcrumbs Sep 18, 2011 04:54 PM

                                                                                          Thanks Joan, I most definitely will do so. We love Paella and I'd love to have a "go-to" - I've tried many but none to match my memory of one I had on the Cost del Sol. . . and while I know that was a "moment" I still don't feel I've ever made a "stellar" paella. Thanks Joan.

                                                                                    2. BigSal May 9, 2012 09:24 PM

                                                                                      Pincho Moruno (Miniature Kabobs, Moorish Style) p. 26

                                                                                      http://foodlovelanguage.blogspot.com/...

                                                                                      This was a surprise hit. I am using this Spanish COTM to determine my favorite renditions of Spanish classics. My husband was a good sport and helped grilled 4 different versions of pincho moruno (F&W of Spain, The New Spanish Table, Moro and Delicioso) and we tasted each to determine which we liked the best. Based on the ingredients my money was on The New Spanish Table or Delicioso.

                                                                                      For this version, 1.5” cubes of pork loin (we made our cubes bigger than the recipe calls for) is marinated overnight in olive oil, thyme (dried), cumin (freshly ground from toasted cumin seeds), pimentón dulce, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper and simply grilled. I thought this would be the least favorite of the lot, but it was our favorite. The meat was succulent and the seasoning complemented the pork rather than over power it. Definitely a repeat. Moro was our second favorite with a different flair with the addition of fennel seeds. Delicioso was third- probably had the most overtly Moorish flavors and least favorite was the New Spanish Table.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: BigSal
                                                                                        The Dairy Queen May 10, 2012 12:37 AM

                                                                                        This is from F&W of Spain? Funny, I've been going through this book (F&W of Spain) right now alongside Roden's Food of Spain and I'm actually tagging more recipes from F&W of Spain than from current COTM FOS. I think the latter is a little more accessible in terms of ingredient availability, which is super helpful to me right now.

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                          BigSal May 10, 2012 04:20 AM

                                                                                          Yes it is (F&W of Spain- tapas section). It it fun to go back to this old favorite. Penelope's book helped me recreate some of my Spanish food experiences in MN after spending a semester in Spain. Her instructions on how to make a tortilla española are very helpful. It is worth noting that at the time she wrote this, Spanish ingredients were not as readily available as they are now. It is nice to see how this has changed.

                                                                                          1. re: BigSal
                                                                                            q
                                                                                            qianning May 10, 2012 04:58 AM

                                                                                            Thanks for doing these side by side comparisons. They are so helpful. I've been looking at the Moro recipe for these, but maybe I'll get ambitious and do a side by side of my own between Casas and C&C; I've always had great luck with Casas' tapas, but have never tried these kebabs.

                                                                                            1. re: qianning
                                                                                              BigSal May 10, 2012 05:04 AM

                                                                                              I did like the Moro version too- I thought the fennel was a surprising (and tasty) addition. Casas's spicing in this is very subdued. If you prefer big flavors, the other versions may be better suited to your palate (just hate to steer you wrong).

                                                                                              1. re: BigSal
                                                                                                q
                                                                                                qianning May 10, 2012 05:28 AM

                                                                                                thanks for the additional info...if it ever stops raining here i'll be trying some version(s) of these this month.

                                                                                        2. re: BigSal
                                                                                          blue room May 10, 2012 06:38 AM

                                                                                          Nice to compare, and to compare four--!

                                                                                        3. v
                                                                                          VitalForce May 10, 2012 10:42 AM

                                                                                          The Foods and Wines of Spain is a wonderful cookbook. But, apart from a few exceptions, like her other books, when dealing with pork, it is almost exclusively loin and tenderloin. You might imagine that pigs are big loins with ears. Where's the rest of the pig?

                                                                                          1. BigSal May 21, 2012 09:00 PM

                                                                                            Arroz a Banda (Seafood –Flavored Rice, Alicante Style) p. 185

                                                                                            Arroz a banda is one of my favorite rice dishes. The rice is infused with the flavors of the sea without chunks of seafood in the rice. The key is a great fish broth. What also makes this version different is that there are finely chopped pieces of fish and shrimp that are mixed into the dish, as opposed to the seafood served on the side of the rice. The rice is punctuated with a garlickly alioli which adds another dimension to the rice. We enjoyed this very much.

                                                                                            1. q
                                                                                              qianning Dec 26, 2012 07:15 AM

                                                                                              Arroz con Pollo (Rice & Chicken) pg. 179

                                                                                              Surprised no-one has ever reviewed this lovely little version of Chicken and Rice. For sure it lacks the party-girl pizzazz of a full-on paella, but with an ingredient's list that includes plenty of saffron and paprika, with a nice first course and a good bottle of wine, it can carry its own for a nice intimate dinner. I've made this many times over the years, and I still like it very well, not least of all because it takes no special shopping, the ingredients are almost always in my freezer/fridge/pantry.

                                                                                              So the recipe; brown chicken pieces (3 thighs each cut in half, for my half batch), remove from the pan. At this point, to keep the dish a little bit less rich, although the recipe doesn't say to, I drain my pan and just add back some of the oil. Add peppers, onions, and garlic (usually I give the onions and peppers a minute or two before adding the oh so easy to burn garlic), fry until tender, add a chopped tomato and cook for about 10 min, then add in the paprika, saffron, rice and stir to coat. Add boiling broth, wine, S&P, and reduce as you would for a paella. Slip in the chicken pieces and cook in the oven for 15 minutes, then rest for 10, and serve.

                                                                                              1. q
                                                                                                qianning Mar 3, 2013 05:46 AM

                                                                                                Garlic Shrimp, "Gambas al Ajillo" pg. 5

                                                                                                My Maine shrimp were perfectly fresh and sweet, so I tried the "original" recipe--sliced garlic, pepper flakes and bay sizzled in olive oil, add shriimp (since it was just us and we like the shells on I left them unpeeled) saute for a bout two minutes. That's it.

                                                                                                Fabulous way to cook these delicate tiny shrimp, if you have any this season, I strongly reccommend this preparation.

                                                                                                We cheated a bit and had them as "dinner" rather than a tapa, so here they are on the plate.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1. q
                                                                                                  qianning Mar 3, 2013 05:54 AM

                                                                                                  Peas with cured Ham, pg. 79

                                                                                                  Ever try a recipe just because you needed to use something up, and it turns out to be the dish that steals the show? Well, that's what happened for us with the simple little pea saute.

                                                                                                  Now, to begin with I used snap peas not garden peas because that's what I had in the fridge that needed to be used. they weren't the freshest, but were still OK. As for the ham, it was two slices of slightly dried out prosciutto, hardly the right thing for a Spanish dish but oh my goodness what a nice dish it turned out to be.

                                                                                                  Saute chopped onion and carrot in olive oil, add the chopped ham, saute 1 minute, add the peas and some black pepper, cover and cook until the peas are tender. (note-PC says cook 20 minutes. Peas? Twenty minutes? Maybe in 1979 when she wrote this book--today, about 3 minutes was plenty). Even with so so ingredients this was delicious. Can't wait to try it with local peas and Serrano ham when summer finally comes to New England.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: qianning
                                                                                                    Allegra_K Mar 3, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                                                                    Oh, what a delicious-sounding feast you made! All looks fabulous. I may have to pull this book from the library.
                                                                                                    Good call on the 20 minute (!!) cooking time, haha.

                                                                                                    Now if I could only find lovely fresh shrimp like that around here......

                                                                                                    1. re: qianning
                                                                                                      Gio Mar 3, 2013 06:24 AM

                                                                                                      OK Quanning... based on your reviews of these Casas recipes I just ordered my own copy of this book. I have her La Cocina, but these recipes are just too enticing to pass up.

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                        q
                                                                                                        qianning Mar 3, 2013 06:47 AM

                                                                                                        Ooops, sounds like I've turned into an enabler. Anyway, hope you enjoy the book. Casas's "Food & Wines of Spain" and Hazan's "The Classic Italian Cookbook" were two of my first serious cookbooks, and they both still delight me.

                                                                                                        A while back I noticed there weren't too many posts on this thread, so when I make something I try to remember to post. Hope you will too!

                                                                                                        1. re: qianning
                                                                                                          Gio Mar 13, 2013 11:07 AM

                                                                                                          So the book finally arrived... just yesterday, and this afternoon I'll sit down and make my To Cook list. BTW: It cost all of $0.01 from an Amazon re-seller. Not in too bad condition either. Let's just say it was well loved. I can live with that!

                                                                                                    2. q
                                                                                                      qianning Mar 19, 2013 06:35 PM

                                                                                                      Chicken with Shrimp in Brandy Sauce, pg. 256

                                                                                                      Mr QN thought this was ho-hum, he wasn't charmed by the shrimp in a chicken dish. I, on the other hand, liked it very well. I have a real soft spot for the rich chicken braises in this book, and enjoyed this one as I have so many of the others. Really any chicken dish that includes Spanish brandy is probably something I'll take to, the shrimp just added that much more savoriness for me.

                                                                                                      I was making a half recipe and had a few problems with things starting to stick, not sure this would have been a problem with a full recipe, or if I'd used a smaller saute pan.

                                                                                                      1. q
                                                                                                        qianning Mar 27, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                                                                        Watercress and Carrot Salad in Anchovy Dressing, pg 108

                                                                                                        I'm still on my Casas kick, and still pleased with the results I'm getting from a book I've owned for 20 yrs, go figure.

                                                                                                        This salad and dressing are a cinch, the salad is just cress and julienne carrots, the dressing a amped up vinaigrette w/ anchovy, capers, onion (shallot), sour pickle (cornichons), tomato, and parsley (skipped that-I was out). I was using a fairly tart (8%) sherry vinegar, so I reduced the volume from 3 TBS to 2+ TBS of vinegar, otherwise followed the percentages exactly.

                                                                                                        The only other thing to note, this recipe makes way too much dressing for 1 bunch of watercress, I easily have enough left over for two or three more salads, but that's fine, as I think it will go very well on endive, as PC suggests, or on arugula, or any spicy green for that matter.

                                                                                                        We had the salad with chicken and rice, a particularly pleasing combination to us.

                                                                                                        1. q
                                                                                                          qianning Jul 5, 2013 08:13 PM

                                                                                                          Traditional Valencian Paella, pg176

                                                                                                          Finally got my ducks, um rabbits and snails, in a row and made this with the following adjustments.
                                                                                                          a) Fresh Limas don't come in here until late August, and I hate frozen lima beans, so I subbed fresh favas.
                                                                                                          b) Forget finding good quality live land snails, so I subbed very nice, but canned, Burgundian helix snails. My first time using this product, and I was very pleased.
                                                                                                          c) Romano (i.e. flat) green beans weren't available, so I used fresh local round string beans.
                                                                                                          d) Cooked it over charcoal.

                                                                                                          All in all, it was very good, and I got better crusting using charcoal than I ever have on the stove; Was it my favorite paella, maybe bot, but ever so glad to have tried it. Somehow forgot to get a picture of the final product, but these will give some idea of the process.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          1. q
                                                                                                            qianning Jul 14, 2013 01:45 PM

                                                                                                            Green Beans and Cured Ham, pg. 79

                                                                                                            This recipe is on the same page as the one for the peas with cured ham, that we love. The long and the short of it? Next time I use this page of the book, it will be for the pea recipe. This one is good, but somehow not a "wow" like the peas.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: qianning
                                                                                                              BigSal Jul 14, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                                                                              Peas are finally available here. Thanks for the reminder about the pea recipe.

                                                                                                            2. q
                                                                                                              qianning Aug 3, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                                                                              Romesco Sauce I, pg 214 F&WoS
                                                                                                              Romesco Sauce, pg. 74 Tapas

                                                                                                              My first time ever trying my hand at a romesco sauce, won't be my last because we liked this very well and there are so many variations to try. In fact for this attempt i used two Casas recipes--the proportions and ingredients from one of the F&WoS versions, but roasted my tomato and garlic, as called for in the Tapas version. My chilies were Kashmirs, as Nora's are still on my "to find" list. This recipe makes a very thick dense sauce, and it went wonderfully both with grilled baby leeks, and simply grilled leg of lamb. It was relatively pale, but not quite so pale as it appears in the picture below.

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              1. Gio Aug 25, 2013 07:54 AM

                                                                                                                Champinones Salteados, (Sautéd Mushrooms) Pg. 82

                                                                                                                We made this recipe with a one pound combination of halved cremini and sliced portobello mushrooms. It's a very simple and quick recipe that creates a tasty side dish for poultry, meat, and seafood. The other ingredients are butter that I augmented with a splash of EVOO, lots of garlic, lots of parsley and a pinch of salt. I omitted the breadcrumbs, but included 1/2 t hot red pepper flakes and 2 T sherry.

                                                                                                                Everything is sautéd till mushrooms are browned. G used a wok for this, and the parsley is sprinkled over at the end. What could be easier?

                                                                                                                Served with the garlic shrimp on page 6, and left-over steamed-in-chicken-stock brown basmati rice that was mixed together with left-over stir-fried bok choy. Seems like an unlikely combination but the bok choy was minimally seasoned with a bit of light soy sauce and scallions so there was not a pronounced Chinese accent. Everything went together quite well.

                                                                                                                1. Gio Aug 26, 2013 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                  Pollo al Vino Tinto, (Chicken in Chorizo and Red Wine Sauce), Pg. 258

                                                                                                                  Mama mia, What a Sauce. Oh, and the chicken was delicious too. It starts by cutting a whole chicken in 8 pieces, seasoning each piece w/S & P then dusting the pieces in a bit of flour. After browning the chicken in hot oil a sofritto is added comprised of diced onion, garlic, carrot, and chopped chorizo (I used a spicy soy chorizo from TJ's). When the onion has wilted add some brandy and flame. Next in go chopped pimento (from a jar), parsley, bay leaf, thyme, chicken broth, dry red wine. Stir to mix then cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.

                                                                                                                  When finished the chicken is falling off the bone tender, the vegetables collapsed enough to enhance the winey, viscous sauce. It's an easy recipe with plenty of time to make the secondary dishes, which Ms Casas (may she rest in peace) suggests might be a simple green salad. Because I had a bunch of mixed Swiss chard, I did a quick garlic and oil saute. Of course crusty bread is absolutely necessary for the luscious sauce. Definitely a recipe to repeat.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs Aug 26, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                                                                                    Oh my, that does sound scrumptious Gio! A recent freezer clean out revealed an abundance of chorizo so this may very well make an appearance on our menu in the near future!

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the review.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                      Allegra_K Aug 26, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                      Methinks I need to get my hands on this book....

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                        q
                                                                                                                        qianning Aug 26, 2013 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                        Glad you wrote this up Gio. As you wrote "Definitely a recipe to repeat"; couldn't agree more. This is my favorite recipe from this book, been making it for 20 odd years, and still love it. Bread is very good with it, but so is buttered rice.

                                                                                                                      2. FIMLL Aug 26, 2013 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                        I'm sorry to have missed this one. Foods and Wines of Spain is one of my most used cookbooks, but as I've been drooling over the posts below, I see there are many recipes I've yet to try!

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