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JUNE Cookbook of the Month: DELICIOSO by Penelope Casas

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  1. So I am new at this, but I was planning on cooking Spanish food this summer as my sister is living with me for a couple of months before she departs to study in Spain for a semester, so the timing is perfect! I was very excited to find out the selections and I am thrilled to have extra motivation to cook along.

    I started with DELICIOSO. The recipe is for chicken in garlic and wine sauce on page 371 in the chapter for Andulucia: Region of Fried Foods and Gazpacho (as this is where my sister will be living...what a place!) I tried to follow the recipe exactly (tough for me, since I tend to veer off course as I read recipes, they always spark other interesting ideas!) I did use a greek olive oil and a french wine, since that is what I had, and I had no idea what exactly a "small" head of garlic was, but knew certainly that what I had was not that, so I used 6-7 large cloves from the head that I had.

    The recipe was delicious and easy. I will definitely make it again. I did not have to cook it for a full 45 mins, for the chicken to be finished, more like 30. I also prepared the dish, went to yoga, came back and turned the heat on under it for 5 minutes again before I ate it. My kind of convenience! It tasted almost lemony, and was really very good. This may be a regular addition to my repertoire. It is a perfect weeknight dinner dish, and I can see the flavors appealing to a diverse crowd of eaters. Really straightforward but tasty.

    One thing I did notice was that it looked really oily. It didn't taste that way at all, but I think for aesthetic purposes, I will drain some of the chicken fat as it cooks next time. I also will probably not cut the chicken as small. It made sense to cut the breast in half, particularly since I prefer smaller portions of white meat, but on a 3.3lb chicken, cutting the thighs in half, as the recipe suggests, was unnecessary.

    I can't wait for my next recipe!

    2 Replies
    1. re: littleneck

      Sounds fantastic! I'm looking forward to reading about more of your Delicioso adventures!


      1. re: littleneck

        That does sound great! I picked up DELICIOSO from the library last weekend and have marked some recipes to try. I might add that one to the list. Thanks for posting.

      2. Marinated Pork Loin, page 271

        The recipe is pretty straight forward and simple to make. Pork marinated with garlic, cumin and couple of herbs: one of them is oregano-4 tablespoons! I was skeptical about the amount of oregano and it was indeed too much even when I added just 2 tablespoons. All the tastes came well together, but I don’t think it needed to be marinated for 24 hours; it can very well be last minute marinade. I used pork tenderloin, but I could have done easily with a cheaper cut as it was less about the quality of meat and more about the marinade.
        I might make this dish again as most of the ingredients are available off hand, but will not use oregano as it was overpowering.
        I served it with potato zucchini cakes I had made a day earlier.
        If the pork is already marinating in the fridge, this one is a 15 minute dinner. Great for weeknights!

        2 Replies
        1. re: cpw

          I don't have Delicioso and would like to know what cut of pork Casas recommends. Thanx.

          1. re: oakjoan

            The recipe calls for 11/4 lb of boneless pork loin.

        2. Baked Pork Chops with Garlic and Lemon, Delicioso, The Central Plains, pg 268

          We liked this fine. Good comfort food, pretty easy. My husband wasn't sure he liked the combo of pork+lemon, but I was okay with. I didn't adore this dish, but it's a nice one to have in the rotation just to change things up some. We served it with a side of steamed cauliflower (because I like everything on my plate to be white! HA!)


          2 Replies
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Darn! The photo didn't post. Trying again.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I made that one last night. I'm a fan of citrus with pork, but I think I prefer some of the other riffs on it--Cuban or Yucatanean with bitter orange juice(or some combination of juices to approximate it) rather than lemon. Also felt that Casas recipe needed some additional herbs or spices, not quite sure what. Thought it was good not great.

            2. Crisp Pasta with Allioli (Fideos) (has shrimp in it), p. 184

              This was our main course on Monday night. Pretty straight forward to make though I had to be careful not to burn the capellini when I fried it. I used large shrimp, rather than medium, and added the shells to the broth that I simmered while preparing everything else. It's a lot of pasta but, well, I tend not to mind that! I baked it in my large oval cazuela rather than in individual dishes. Oh, and I forgot the parsley. I don't know why she says to strain the liquid, which I did - I would have enjoyed the tomatoes and onions that are cooked in the liquid in the dish itself. I cheated on the aioli and doctored up some WF mayonnaise. Very tasty dish, and one I would make again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                This is my next attempt, I think. I happen to have lobster stock in the freezer. I am very excited about it. Sounds delicious!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I made this recipe this evening and it was a huge hit (my family is not the toughest group of critics, but this did end up pretty tasty...) I also did not use parsley, I didn't have it, and I often don't like it. At MM's suggestion I also did not strain the stock a second time and left the tomatoes and onions as part of the final dish. Mine was possibly a bit more "juicy" than the recipe would have been had I strained it? But it was really delicious. I used lobster stock that I had in the freezer, and added the shrimp shells to boil in it for about 20 minutes. It was really tasty and I will definitely make it again. I might wait for cooler weather, as it was a really warm meal to eat on a really hot day!

                2. I made a couple of dishes from this book for a Spanish-themed dinner party this weekend. Sorry, no pictures, though! My camera is on the fritz.

                  Arroz al Azafran con Pinones (Saffron Rice with Pine Nuts p. 297). This dish is a take on a pilaf, and came out very nicely. It has chopped onions and pine nuts sauteed with butter, then you add the rice, thyme (we used fresh), parsley, saffron, seasoned with salt. The liquid is 1/2 broth (recipe calls for chicken, but I used vegetable broth because some of our party didn't eat meat) and 1/2 water. Then, you bake it in the oven. I also had to substitute jasmine rice for the short grained rice called for in the recipe, because the person who was supposed to bring the arborio forgot. All in all, it came out great, and was a nice compliment to the rest of the meal (grilled lamb chops, grilled swordfish, grilled veggies). The flavor was hearty and the saffron provided nice color. At least one person asked me for the recipe, and I will use it again.

                  We also made a large batch of gazpacho, based primarily on the recipe called Gazpacho Andaluz, Estillo Salvador (Salvador's Celebrated Gazpacho, p. 340). I have all four books and the recipes vary slightly, so I didn't follow this one exactly. Additions/substitutions I made were: green bell pepper for the "green frying pepper," plus, I added 1 red bell pepper and a tiny bit of fresh tarragon, since several of the other books called for tarragon, as did one of my friend's favorite gazpacho recipes. We pureed it very well in a blender, and so did not strain the soup, as there was only the littlest bit of texture left after the blending, and I like some texture to my gazpacho. Overall, it came out really nice -- very refreshing. I would caution to watch the garlic -- the recipe (for 8-10 people) calls for 7 cloves of garlic, and since I made a batch that was 1-1/2 times the recipe, I added 10 cloves, and some thought the soup was too garlicky. I think it depends on the strength of your garlic, but in the future I would hold back perhaps half the garlic until you've blended the soup and tasted, then if it needs more, re-blend a portion with the extra garlic.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: DanaB

                    Dana, do you know what is a green frying pepper. I am planning to go shopping for few recipes, but I have no idea where to look for this one. Thanks.

                    1. re: cpw

                      cpw: In Casas' La Cocina de Mama she mentions the Italian long green pepper as the one to use.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I usually use cubanelle peppers - don't know if it's the same thing.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          MM: Yes, the same thing....

                          1. re: Gio

                            Thanks you all. I don't think I will trouble finding them at all.

                      2. re: cpw

                        I didn't know what she was talking about, either, but I had kind of a hectic weekend and didn't spend as much time going through the ingredients section of the book as I normally would have before I made the recipe.

                        Glad others here had the info :-)

                    2. I made Zarangollo Rincon de Pepe(pg. 291) yesterday. It's a simple recipe for stewed zucchini and onions, but I used yellow squash instead. This is one I'd definitely make again. The sweet paprika, oregano, and garlic went really well with the squash. Quick, easy, and good.

                      1. Guisado de Melon(pg. 324)--beef stew with melon. Even having cooked stewed meats with fruits many times(usually Persian food), I was still skeptical of this one. The recipe calls for "half a medium melon, such as honeydew". I decided to push my luck even further and used cantaloupe. I browned the beef and added the onions & spices. Put the cantaloupe in, based on the aroma thinking this isn't going to work. Let it cook awhile, becoming more and more intrigued by the fragrance transformation that was taking place. I held off on tasting it until it was completely done. Started eating it--huh, never tasted anything like that before. Commented to my wife how unusual it was and that I didn't think I'd guess cantaloupe was in it if I hadn't seen it go in. My wife said it was the best stew I've made(and I make a lot of stew type dishes.) I don't know if I would go that far, but I will be making this often. It is fabulous.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Chimayo Joe

                          Awesome report! Love your wife for her faith in your cooking ;-)

                          1. re: Chimayo Joe

                            Wow, who'd have thunk it? Thanks for the report.

                            1. re: Chimayo Joe

                              Guisado De Melon (Southeastern Coast of Spain, pg. 324)

                              Thanks to Chimayo Joe for pointing this recipe out. While I didn't love it, I really enjoyed it. Plus, it was very unusual in taste.

                              Quick and easy recipe to put together. I used chuck roast and honeydew. My honeydew was a little on the big side. The half that I used may have been the same weight as my meat. Both fit in equal sized containers.

                              Like CJ, I never would have guessed that it was a melon in the stew. The melon had dissolved into the stew itself. The reasons why I didn't love it: broth was a bit too thin, it probably needed a bit more flour as a thickener; it needed something else, carrots or mushrooms because it was just chunks of meat in the broth; and it was just a tad too sweet for me. This may have been because the melon was great and probably too big.

                              I served these over egg noodles.

                            2. Lomo de Cerdo an Adobo - Marinated Pork Loin (Central Plains, pg. 271)

                              I really liked this recipe - both for the simplicity and the taste. Take a pork tenderloin and marinate it with garlic, oregano, thyme, white wine, paprika (I used hot v. sweet), parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil. I did change it a bit, instead of using the 1/8 t of salt, I used kosher salt and sprinkled it all over, kind of a dry brine a la Zuni.

                              When you're ready to cook, you are supposed to slice the loin into rounds, brown and cook. I didn't do this because I didn't feel like slicing the darn thin and then have to flip every single round. So, I browned the whole thing and then stuck it in the oven (375 degrees for about 20 minutes). The method worked well, although my stove was on too high so I overbrowned it. But, there was plenty of olive oil and marinate in the skillet to really rub the pork in.

                              I paired this with Pureed potatoes, pg. 72). This was an easy dinner but not as quick as I thought it would be.

                              1. Pure de Patatas a La Vasca - Creamy Potato Puree (Northern Coast of Spain, pg. 72)

                                This was a different version of mashed potates and these were lovely. Boil peeled and halved potatoes and garlic (I used yukon gold) until done. Note: the recipe says about 40 minutes but mine were finished in half the time. Put the potatoes and garlic through a ricer, and stir in butter and hot milk until it has the consistency of mayo.

                                Now, here's where the recipe is different. At this point, add one egg yolk and beat until smooth. I was a bit hesitant but I did it. I'm glad I did. The potatoes turned a lovely color and became a really nice smooth, creamy texture. Actually, they held up better than regular potatoes as leftovers. They stayed creamy for my microwaved lunch the next day. All in all, a nice meal.

                                1. Lomo de Cerdo En Adobo (¡Delicioso! P. 271)

                                  You marinate a boneless pork loin (we used a tenderloin) overnight in garlic, lots of chopped fresh parsley, thyme and oregano, salt, pepper and sweet paprika (I added a couple of shakes of smoked as well), white wine and olive oil. Then you slice it into ½ inch slices and sauté in olive oil over high heat. This was ¡fabulous! I don’t think I would change a thing and will make this again soon. I wonder if the other poster who found the oregano overpowering was using fresh or dried? We used all fresh herbs straight out of the garden and adored this dish. Leftovers (not very many!) were great for lunch today.

                                  1. Ensalada de Repollo y Berros (Cabbage and Watercress Salad) pg. 406

                                    Just picked up a copy of Delicioso at a book sale, and this is the first recipe I've tried. So far so good.

                                    It is a simple sort of a slaw/salad, made special by the inclusion of watercress, sweet onion and cilantro, this really gives the standard cabbage and carrot combination a nice peppery flavor, and the simple lemon olive vinaigrette was all this salad needed to taste good . We liked it a lot served with some simply grilled meat.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: qianning

                                      Hi Qianning... how far off the mark is this "adapted" version of the Delicioso salad recipe you reported on? TIA...

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Looks word for word the same to me.