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May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Soups, Vegetables, Starches, and Legumes Thread

Please use this thread to discuss Soups, Vegetables, Starches, and Legumes from the following chapters:

Food of Spain - Soups, pages 169 - 193
Food of Spain - Salads and Vegetables, pages 225 - 295
Food of Spain - Rice and Pasta, pages 439 - 481
Food of Spain - Beans and Chickpea Stews, pages 483 - 499
Moro - Soups, pages 53 - 76
Moro - Rices, pages 159 - 176
Moro - Vegetables, pages 227 - 246

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  1. Patatas Bravas – p. 232 Moro

    Who doesn’t love Patatas Bravas? This is one of my favourite Spanish dishes so I was keen to try the Moro version and I’m happy to report, this version did not disappoint. We really enjoyed it!

    The tomato sauce is made by stir-frying some sliced garlic until golden then adding dried chili, tomatoes and herbs. The tomatoes are simmered while in another pan, chopped onions and green pepper are sautéed until they caramelize slightly. White wine is then added to the onion mixture before incorporating the tomatoes from the other pan. Sugar, paprika, S&P are added and the sauce simmers until thickened. The book suggests 5 mins but mine needed more time. Approx 20 additional minutes in fact.
    Instead of frying my potatoes, I’ve taken to roasting them. I peeled, then cut the potatoes into chunks before tossing in EVOO, paprika, S&P then roast them @ 400˚ until tender, tossing at least once. To serve, the sauce is spooned atop the potatoes. The book suggests you can pass paprika and aioli at the table which we did.

    What takes this from good to great, IMHO is the roasted garlic aioli. We did have some of the tomato sauce left over so I froze it for another round of this dish.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      This sounds and looks great. I also like the idea of roasting the potatoes. Will be trying this verrry soon.

      1. re: Breadcrumbs

        This looks wonderful. I have had the Moro cookbook for years but have never cooked from it so this is a perfect link to inspire me. What recipe do you use for the garlic aioli?

        1. re: KitchenBee

          Thanks KB, I use a recipe from the Gilroy garlic festival cookbook.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Taking a break from my Spanish meals to have good ol steak and potatoes. Making marinated rib eye with gorgonzola sauce, sautéed mushrooms, and oven roasted potatoes. I could kick myself for not making the patatas bravas but it is too late to amend the menu. Hope to be back on course as of Thursday night.

            1. re: dkennedy

              dk your dinner sounds absolutely delicious, I love gorgonzola sauce!

      2. Paella de Cerdo Con Chorizo y Espinaca, Moro pg. 164.

        There's much to like about this paella and one thing that I didn't like, Mr. QN on the other hand simply gobbled it up and was quite happy to have leftovers for lunch too.

        On the plus side the slow cooked sofrito is lovely and rich, most of the flavors come together very well in the end including the spinach, and the rice texture and taste has that marvelous paella-ness that is so crave-worthy. On the minus side, while the pork, which is lightly cooked in unseasoned oil at the beginning, then removed and added back at the very end, retains a lovely texture, the taste seemed dull to me and was rather a sore thumb in the flavor mix. Still and all I would make this again.

        2 Replies
        1. re: qianning

          Made this paella last night and it came together very nicely and pleased our family group. Its also a very pretty dish with the freshly cooked spinach. I do agree that the pork was not a big enhancement - I used some boneless country spare rib meat and it was a little bland.

          I didnt have nora peppers so soaked a dry mexican chile, but it dod not add much flavor. Daughter commented that this could have used some spice, end everyone salted vigorously.

          1. re: qianning

            Paella de Cerdo Con Chorizo y Espinaca (acelgas), Moro pg. 164

            Made this last night and thought it was just wonderful! I made a few changes: used b/s chx thighs after reading the reviews about the pork being a big lackluster, but I added a spoonful of lard to the olive oil for a touch of porky lusciousness. I had a yellow tomato entering the for-cooking-only phase so tossed that into the sofrito. Finally, I used swiss chard for spinach, which added a pleasing tangy contrast to the smoky rich tones of the rice. No noras, so added extra pimenton (though after thoroughly perusing the moro cotm reviews ,I wonder if kashmiri chiles would have been the better substitute).
            Anyway, we really, really enjoyed this and polished it off nearly-instantly. A definite make-again. Moro has become an absolute treasure.

          2. Saffron Rice, Moro pg. 170

            Persian rice? Well, why not. Due to some missing ingredients and some personal taste preferences, I played with this one quite a bit, given that caveat, we loved this and I'll make it again. Here's how it is supposed to go, and what I actually did.

            Soak 200g basmati (kalizeera for us) in salted water for 3 hours.

            When ready to cook, melt 80 g butter (80 g butter for 200 g rice? yikes. I went with 40 g butter and the end result was plenty rich) in a sauce pan, add cinnamon, green cardamon, and black pepper sauteing until fragrant, add the drained rice and stir, then add pistachios (I was out and so was my local Indian grocer, so cashews it was) and if you can find them add barberries, none available so I skipped this.

            Add water and put a parchment drop lid on the water's surface cover the pot with top lid and simmer for 5 minutes, uncover drizzle with saffron infused water, replace the two lids, and cook on low for 5 more minutes. Serve topped with caramelized onions, and a side of garlic flavored yogurt.

            1 Reply
            1. re: qianning

              Saffron Rice, Moro, p. 170

              OK, time to confess that what I made had only a superficial resemblance to the recipe in the book. I was looking for a tasty rice dish to accompany the grilled tahini chicken wings (oven-baked drumsticks, in my case), and decided to use this recipe as inspiration for a far simpler dish. Here's what I did for 200 grams of basmati rice (= 1 cup on my scale):

              Melted 2 tb of butter (about 30 grams), sauteed 5 green cardamom pods, 3 black peppercorns, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, and a healthy pinch of crumbled saffron threads until fragrant, added the rice and toasted for about two minutes, added 1 cup of water and some salt, put the lid on, turned the heat way down, and cooked for 20 minutes. Fluffed and let sit covered in the pot for another 5 minutes. This made a very flavorful, aromatic rice pilaf for which I got rave reviews. I will definitely be repeating my simplified version of this dish, I could see it going well with many kinds of Indian/Middle Eastern flavors and was very easy.

            2. Vegetable with Tomato and Hard Boiled Egg Vinaigrette, Food of Spain, page 228.

              This is a very nice treatment for mixed vegetables. I did the vegetables as written, dropping them into boiling water in stages. First potatoes and leeks, then artichokes, then asparagus. But I had to fetch out the potatoes as they were fully cooked when the leeks were still too firm. With the potatoes pulled early, everything came out fine.

              The basic dressing is made up of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, chopped tomatoes, and a chopped hard boiled egg. I made the variation, which also includes chopped red onion, capers, and chopped olives. My one further (unauthorized) variation was to add a crushed clove of garlic. This vinagreta is poured over the warm vegetables and they are tossed to absorb the flavors.

              This is a colorful and tasty vegetable dish. The hard boiled egg adds an extra dimension to the dressing (and I don't even like hard boiled egg). I made extra dressing just to put on a salad or roasted potatoes, I might even add an anchovy or two.

              1 Reply
              1. re: L.Nightshade

                Vegetables with tomato and hard-boiled egg vinaigrette, Food of Spain, p. 228.

                LNightshade has done a great job of describing this delicious recipe, and her photo really gives an indication of how inviting and colorful the dish is. I made it just as she described. I liked needing only one pot to boil all the veggies in sequence--Roden's timing worked for me, but it does pay to watch; my asparagus spears took only 5 minutes. My only change was that I pulled out and separated each vegetable at the end and arranged them as attractively as I could as "spokes of a wheel" on the plate, drizzling each with the vinaigrette. It was kind of fussy, but I had kids at the table that I knew would prefer to choose their vegetables!

                Of course, it's the vinaigrette that really makes this dish. Like LN, I also used the chopped red onion and "a few capers and chopped olives" variation in the dressing, which made the vegetables very happy.

                All in all, a pretty and savory vegetable dish that feels especially "summery," and could be made with all sorts of other vegetables.

                Braised Peas and Artichokes, Pg. 264
                (Guisantes y Alcachofas - Catalonia)

                This was a different combination of ingredients for us and we quite liked how they all came together to create a tasty and satisfying finished dish. Fava beans are used in Catalonia as a matter of course but here Roden gives us her peas variation. As she says, "it's delightful." I didn't make any changes to the recipe but did take advantage of her options: prosciuto rather than serrano ham, grappa instead of brandy, dried herbs instead of fresh, and frozen vegetables not fresh.

                Chop a large onion and cook it in olive oil till just it just begins to color. This takes about 20 minutes.
                Now add the ham, and cook till lightly browned. Add chopped garlic and after a few seconds add 2 chopped tomatoes, and a bit of sugar. Cook till reduced and almost like a paste. This stuck after 4 minutes so G added a couple of splashes of chicken broth, which corrected the problem, and continued cooking. Pour in the brandy, add thyme, mint, and a cinnamon stick. Put the artichoke hearts in next and add broth to cover. Cover the pan and simmer "enthusiastically", as Nigel says, till artichokes are tender. Then the peas go in and everything continues cooking till the peas are done. I left the pan uncovered at this point because it was more soupy than I wanted. When it was ready we served it hot with a slice of grilled crusty bread but this can also be served at room temperature.

                Very nice. We liked the peas and artichokes together, a pleasant textural feel... even G who really dislikes artichokes. It could be a soup I think with some kind of protein or grain which would give it more body but it was quite flavorful as is.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gio

                  Braised Peas and Artichokes, Food of Spain, page 264.
                  Gio nicely describes the procedure for this dish above. Using frozen vegetables, this came together quite easily. As I was trying use ingredients on hand, I substituted pancetta for the serrano ham. I did use brandy, and I used homemade duck stock for the broth; I thought it would tie into our ducky main course. This was a nice side, I don't think anyone was ecstatic or anything, but it was good. It could be played with too. I have some frozen limas leftover from another dish, and I think I'll cook them up and combine them with the leftovers from this dish.

                2. Rice with Mushrooms, FOS, pg 454

                  Roden aptly calls this a "homey" dish, it's not knock-your-socks-off got-to-have-it, but it is a wonderful foil for a flavorful meat or other robust entree. I know that I will turn to this rice again and again.

                  Sliced mushrooms are sauteed in olive oil over low heat until their juices release, remove the mushrooms leaving the juices in the pan, turn up the heat and add onion, when the liquid has reduced turn down the heat and allow the onions to caramelize, then add some garlic, once it is fragrant add back the mushrooms and the rice, add stock and sherry, bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium, after ten minutes reduce the heat to low and cook an additional 10 minutes.

                  My mushrooms were just supermarket baby bellas, but with wild mushrooms or morels, this might become knock-your-socks-off after all.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: qianning

                    That beautiful photo tugged at my socks for sure--it's practically an apple pie :) !

                    1. re: blue room

                      funny thing is the mushrooms arrange themselves, no nudging needed, in the right pan (which this wasn't) it would be a great dish for a buffet or family style service w/ guests.

                    2. re: qianning

                      Rice with Mushrooms, FOS, pg 454

                      Thanks for highlighting this one qianning. I made this to go with the leftover meatballs in almond sauce and it is a nice homey accompaniment. I actually increased the rice amount and and ended up with not enough stock and so used about 2/3 stock and 1/3 water. This still yielded a flavorful and rich pilaf. I also used supermarket cremini and Japanese sushi rice. Interestingly, the final result kind of reminded me of the sticky rice they serve at dim sum-- not quite that sticky, but I felt like the flavors could vere asian if you wanted them too. That wasn't a bad thing for us and this will all get eaten up. I'd be interested to try it with the "correct" Spanish rice and see how the texture differs.

                      1. re: qianning

                        Rice with Mushrooms, FOS, pg 454

                        Made half a recipe with supermarket white mushrooms, Arborio rice and water instead of stock because I did not have any. It was very good; imagine with wild mushroom and good stock it would be outstanding.

                        1. re: qianning

                          Arroz con Setas (Rice with Mushrooms), Food of Spain p. 454

                          I happened to find some fresh porcini and morels and remembered this posting. After sauteing the mushrooms in olive oil, I was tempted to eat the mushrooms right out of the pan, but I managed to make it through the recipe using bomba rice and chicken stock, sherry and finished with chopped parsley. A very satisfying dish.

                        2. FOOD OF SPAIN, Caldo Gallego, p.182
                          This was a fairly plain version of this soup, but quite satisfying in its simplicity. Potatoes and greens (in my case, slivered cabbage, fresh spinach and broccoli raab - the book recommends turnip greens and if they are not available, cabbage) are cooked in broth (I used some good meat stock with some pieces of ham) and slices of smoked bacon. When the veg are cooked the recipe calls for adding a can of white beans, cooking a few minutes and serving. I had cooked some turkish white beans with garlic and olive oil so these were added instead and some of the bean cooking broth went in as well.

                          Alternative recipes of this dish in other cookbooks (Casas, Janet Mendel) use significantly more meat, as well as onions and in one case, a spoon of sweet pimenton. This is a very mild pleasing soup, and a cup was good as part of a meal - even a bit elegant in its simplicity with the high quality broth- and good for the unadventurous eater we were hosting - I will likely try to jazz the leftovers up a bit with some green onions, pimenton, maybe a bit of chorizos and see how it goes.

                          1. Leek and yoghurt soup with dried mint, page 70, Moro
                            This was delicious. Leeks were on sale so I decided to try this. I did not have dried mint so I subbed a few leaves of fresh basil. I also do not yet have Turkish chilli flakes - so I used a half a teaspoon of paprika and half a teaspoon of Aleppo pepper flakes.
                            I was hesitant to add the caramelized butter as I thought it might be 'gilding the lily' - but it really did add just the right finishing touch. I LOVE creamy soups - if you do too, you should give this a try. But with all that butter, this is definitely not for everyday. I'll definitely make this again.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Blythe spirit

                              the aleppo pepper is very similar to the Turkish maras pepper so you made a good choice.
                              Sounds delicious!

                              1. re: jen kalb

                                Thanks - that is very good to know. I was going to head back to The Spanish Table today for a few more things. Perhaps I'll wait to buy Turkish Chili till my Aleppo is used up :-).

                            2. Aubergine and red pepper salad with caramelized butter and yoghurt, page 151
                              This was another good recipe. I cut the proportions to make this with just one large eggplant and the resulting dish was more than enough for two people. The eggplant and peppers are roasted in the oven and then peeled. The eggplant is chopped and mixed with raw garlic that's been mashed with salt. This is spread on a plate and seasoned with salt, pepper, a spritz of lemon juice and a drizzle of good olive oil. Rough chopped roasted red peppers are strewn over the top. Greek yoghurt thinned with a bit of milk is placed on one side and a bit of caramelized butter and fresh cilantro finish the dish. The
                              resulting concoction is scooped up with warm flathead.
                              The only issue I had was the enormous amount of liquid the eggplant kept giving up. Next time, I'll put the cooked eggplant in a colander for a bit, I think. Overall, I really liked this.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                Oops. Forgot to mention this was a Moro recipe.

                              2. Mashed potatoes with olive oil and scallions - Foods of Spain p. 281

                                I've never made olive oil mashed potatoes before and I will say - they were pretty good. I served with roast chicken, but have a ton of leftovers so tomorrow, I'll serve with a nice strip steak which I think is a better pairing. You can definitely taste the olive oil. The scallions and parsley were maybe a little heavy handed. But overall - a good solid mashed potato recipe.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: moreace01

                                  Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil and Scallions - Food of Spain, pg. 281

                                  I really enjoyed these mashed potatoes. Years ago, I added scallions to mashed potatoes (that time with butter), and this reminded me how much I like the combination!

                                2. Eggplant Stuffed with Meat, FOS pg. 292

                                  We really enjoyed this. Made half a recipe, but otherwise followed the directions, with one substitution, allspice for cinnamon, and it all worked well. The only minor glitch was that the topping wasn't browning, so for the last few minutes I turned the oven to broil, problem solved.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Last night I made the Meat Stuffed eggplant as part of COTM; page 292 in Food of Spain.

                                    Basically, you steam eggplant in a sugar/water/red wine vinegar mix until tender. I wasn't very happy with this as the eggplant 1/2's just seemed to get soggy, not tender. Pulled out after a couple minutes past when recipe said they would be done (to this point in recipe), and regrouped; threw them on the gas grill for a couple minutes each side to get some char and finish tenderizing.

                                    I think it helped. So, you hollow out eggplant shells, fry up some onion (I used spring onions from farmer's market), add ground meat - called for pork, I used ground turkey which is mostly dark meat - chopped eggplant pulp, chopped tomato, some seasonings, garlic, breadcrumb n milk panade. Pretty standard meat stuffing except the flavor profile. Bake, top with a little Manchego (I used a little of my spanish Basque Petit Agaur, and some Parm). That's about it.

                                    I thought it was a little boring. Didn't enjoy as much as qianning seems to have....Worried about that on reading the recipe, since very low on seasonings. I can't seem to let 'subtle' well enough alone.... So when almost done and I tasted the filling, thought I would add a sauce. There was some of the steaming liquid in the pan, so I added some leftover tomato sauce with smoked pimenton from my saffron rice pepper from last weekend. The sauce made all the difference.

                                    Roasted local aspergrass on the side with pomagranate mollasses dressing, also from COTM. THAT was awesome.

                                    creme brulee for much later afters. Gotta love pulling out that little kitchen blow torch. So fun!

                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                      Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy these. I probably should have mentioned in my original report that these are more like a steamed eggplant (which we happen to enjoy) than a roasted.

                                      Anyway, sounds like the creme brulee finish might have eased the pain!

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        It was good Q, but just not singing, as it were. The creme brulee did help heal the boredom tho:)

                                  2. Zucchini with Onions and Oregano, FOS, pg. 249

                                    This is nice enough, the slow cooking and onions lend the squash a subtle sweetness, and the oregano adds a contrasting earthiness. As for the texture, once in a while it is nice to have zucchini cooked so soft, just not every time.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: qianning

                                      Clams with Manzanilla, p 88, Moro Cookbook

                                      I don't want to jinx it but I am on fire. I have never made this many recipes out of a COTM this early in the game - ever! I think this recipe brings me to number 7.

                                      Steamed clams in sherry. I used Fino, as the back of the book described Fino and Manzanilla as being very similar in composition. These were by far the best clams I have ever made at home. A simple recipe, perfect for a week night fare, provided you could run by the fish market on the way home from work. I picked mine up just prior to picking up the kids from school, so they had to sit on ice in my car for an hour (it was a cool day so no worries). The clams were briny and buttery and I wish I had bought more.

                                    2. Seafood Paella Without Shells (Arroz del señorito a la marinera) Food of Spain p. 447

                                      Fry onion in a paella pan, add garlic, then tomatoes (a sofrito). Add saffron, ñoras, squid, rice (bomba). Add boiling fish stock, cook 10 minutes, add shrimp to top of pan and cook until the rice is done and shrimp is pink. Add shucked clams for last 3 minutes. Cover with foil and rest 5-10 minutes.

                                      Typically, we make Spanish rice dishes that we cook in a paella outdoors, but poor planning on Sunday had us making dinner quite late and we cooked it on the stovetop. Consequently, the dish was a little more moist than I like and did not have the caramelized crust (socarrat)- no fault of the recipe. The rice did taste of the sea. We served this with alioli which adds a nice garlicky punch to the finished dish. This was good and with proper cooking on my part would have even been better.

                                      15 Replies
                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Big Sal, would you be willing to share some tips on how to make paella over a fire? Do you use charcoal or gas? Anything special to pay attention to? I have always wanted to try doing it, but haven't yet.

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          We’ve only used gas thus far. Last year we used a burner we purchased for making a deep fried turkey to cook paella with good results, but we upgraded to a paella grill system with a burner. We haven’t tried it with wood yet, but hope to do so this summer.

                                          The biggest benefit of cooking it outdoors is being able to cook the dish over even heat (even heat distribution- no worrying about rotating the pan. I also like to cook with a bigger paella than typically called for in recipes. For 1 c of rice we use a 16” paella (instead of a 13.5” pan). This is something that I learned from Alberto Herraiz’s book, Paella ( I like more for technique rather than the recipes). This change really improved my paella (and arroces) and helped me achieve the soccarat. We like the rice on the drier side (Herraiz calls this extra-fine) and using the bigger pan helps achieve the texture we like. Also, for a non-expert like me, I use bomba rice because the results are very good and the rice is forgiving.

                                            1. re: Blythe spirit

                                              Bomba is a variety of rice that is able to absorb at least one and a half times its own volume of water (some sources say up to three) while still keeping the grains separate. This rice does require more liqud than other varieties, but I find that many recipes are written with bomba in mind. Many years ago, before the different varieties of Spanish rice were available to me, I would make Spanish rice dishes with Japanese rice with good results.

                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                Oddly enough I still make my Spanish rice dishes with Japanese rice. It's not "authentic", but the quality and availability of the Spanish varieties can be tricky for me (mostly because I don't use it often enough), where as with the Japanese rices I use them often enough to know what I like and where to get them. I much prefer the texture of the Japanese rices in Spanish dishes to the Italian rices, which a lot of authors recommend but seem very wrong to me.

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  Qianning, or anyone else... I have several Japanese rices in my pantry, Sho-Chiku-Bai® Brand Premium Sweet Rice, brown, and white all from Koda Farm in California. And, all organic I might add. Which rice can I use in the Spanish recipes, or can I use all three?

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    not the "sweet", which i'm pretty sure is a glutinous or sticky rice variety, that would be all wrong. But either the brown or white should work. I use a genjimai (Japanese-style brown rice) these days with great results, mind you we like this rice to begin with so your mileage may vary.

                                                    One trick that seems to work well for the Japanese brown rice if it is being used in a pilaf/pullau/paella or any prep that sautes the rice in a sofrito or oil base before boiling/steaming, is to wash the rice, then drain in a sieve and let it rest for a while in the sieve (15 min-1/2 an hour), the rice softens up just enough so that from there I cook it just like the directions for white rice with great results.

                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                      Gio- I just looked at the Koda Farm web site, it looks like their brown rice might have a heavier bran than the genjimai rice I'm using, so take the above with a pretty big grain of salt.

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        OK, Thanks, Q. Yes, the sweet rice we have is indeed sticky rice.

                                                        I just have to tell you that during Japanese COTM earlier this year G went to Hong Kong market and bought 5 lbs. of that rice thinking he was getting just the "basic" Japanese rice. I went to the Koda Farm web site to find out if it were the correct rice to use and decided to order a pound of their white rice. Not only was the shipping super speedy but they sent a complimentary pound box of the brown rice along with a nice letter of thanks. Lovely customer service, I'd say. BTW: That brown rice is delicious..

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          Good luck using the sweet rice....it does make good congee if you like that sort of thing (we do, but I think it is an acquired taste). All the different names/translations/varieties/brands of rices gets so complicated so quickly, it can be really hard to know what's what.

                                                          The customer service at Koda Farm does sound very good. We've both come to prefer the Japanese brown rice to the white, which is completely amazing as before we were"forced" (health concerns) to switch Mr. QN would have had a conniption fit if served brown rice.

                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                    So I'm in a bit of a paella panic....planned on using calasparra rice to make a paella for a dinner party tomorrow night and just now realized that I don't have enough! Checking on here to see what I can do, and am hopeful that I can successfully use Japanese (white) rice in lieu of.
                                                    For those of you who have done this before, do I need to do anything different? Should I be letting my rice plump after rinsing as with normal use with this type? Using more/less stock?

                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      If it is Japanese white rice, I never pre-soak for paella. If it is Japanese brown rice (genji mai or hai ga) I do pre-soak for paella, by washing it and then letting it sit damp in a sieve so that it softens just a bit not mushy. No need to panic, Japanese rice in a paella works fine and the liquid ratios are the same as with the Spanish medium/short grain rices.

                                                      Just one note, make sure it isn't sweet/sticky/glutinous rice.

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        Swell. Thank you kindly for your assistance...I shall proceed with more confidence now!

                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                          No doubt your paella will be great, wish I could crash the party!

                                              2. re: BigSal

                                                Thanks! Your points make great sense. If we have the right weather (rainy patch this week) sometime this month I might give the charcoal grill a try for the monkfish paella in Moro.

                                          1. Marinated Mushrooms with Lemon - Food of Spain, p. 270

                                            The recipe says these mushrooms will keep in the refrigerator for many days, but I can't imagine them lasting that long.

                                            They couldn't be simpler to make. Take some button mushrooms and quarter them. The recipe has you cook them in a dry nonstick skillet. I used a carbon steel skillet with a very thin layer of oil. Worked great. The should stay dry while you're cooking them, so you need a skillet large enough that when the juices release, they evaporate right away and the mushrooms don't start simmering. The hot mushrooms are turned into a bowl containing a simple marinade of lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Refrigerate for 5 hours or until needed.

                                            Lovely tasty little bites to serve cold. Made me wonder why I don't do that kind of thing more often. I can see making these often, as it is a great make ahead dish, and absolutely good enough for company.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MelMM

                                              Marinated Mushrooms with Lemon – Food of Spain - p. 270

                                              I love pickled or marinated mushrooms so a lemony version sounded really delicious and I was keen to try this recipe. A relatively simple prep as Mel so expertly covers above. I didn't bother adding the parsley until I was about to plate then I just stirred it in.

                                              This is a great example of how a few good ingredients can produce a dish far greater than the sum of its parts. The mushrooms were lovely with just the right amount of fresh, lemon flavour without any of the bitterness you might expect from a marinade with so much lemon in the mix. My only regret was that I didn’t make a double batch. I can’t wait to serve these as part of an outdoor tapas menu when it warms up a little more outside. mr bc just loved these.

                                            2. THE FOOD OF SPAIN, Claudia Roden
                                              Winter Vegetable Medley, Pg. 255
                                              (Menestra de Inverno - Asturias)

                                              It was chilly and rainy in my little corner of the world yesterday and this homey combination of vegetables really hit the spot. It includes a chopped carrot, leek, potatoes, cauliflower, onion, garlic, and I threw in about 4 oz. of green beans. The first 3 vegetables are cooked together for 20-ish minutes in salted water then the cauliflower and, in my case the beans, are added and cooked for 10.minutes. Drain the veggies, retaining 2 cups only of the cooking water, and return the vegetables to the pan.

                                              In the meantime saute onion, garlic and Serrano ham, add a little flour and cook a minute. Add the vegetables to the skillet and ladle in the reserved water till a little sauce is created. This is cooked till everything is tender. After tasting I added salt and pepper which boosted the flavor considerably.

                                              So...the verdict is...Delicious. I usually don't boil vegetables preferring to steam them instead to retain all their nutrition. In this case, for this recipe it just made sense to follow the directions. If I had been thinking ahead I would have saved the cooking water that wasn't used for the sauce. It could have been used as a soup base or another sauce. Next time, for certain. As the main dish I served roasted chicken leg quarters tossed in Spanish EVOO, S & P, chopped garlic, sweet paprika and cayenne.

                                              1. MORO - ACELGAS (DRESSED) - p. 234

                                                This was super simple, but we loved it. Swiss chard is blanched in boiling water, drained and tossed with salt and pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. In my case, we skipped the pepper, and I cooked the greens in salty water which eliminated the need to add salt after cooking. The instructions call for blanching the leaves and then the stems sequentially, but I put the chopped stems in first and added the leaves when the stems were almost done. I cook greens several times a week, nearly always sauteed in olive oil with garlic. This was a good reminder to get out my boiling pot more often. The chard had a perfect, tender texture and the simple dressing of lemon juice and good quality olive oil was light, springy, and delicious. I used young red chard and the jewel-like colors of the cooked greens and stems were extremely attractive. My only regret is losing the cooking water when I drained the pot. It would have made a splendid soup base.

                                                MORO - MOROS Y CRISTIANOS - p. 235

                                                A fairly ordinary pot of black beans served over white rice. Black beans are cooked on the stove-top with bay leaves (I used dried), a cinnamon stick, onion and garlic (I used green garlic tops). When the beans are cooked, olive oil is added along with salt and pepper, orange juice and zest, and chopped parsley. I doubled the recipe as I don't believe in making tiny pots of beans. The beans were fine but not extraordinary; overall I prefer Mexican-style beans cooked with epazote. I made the beans to accompany the harissa roasted chicken, and it paired well.

                                                1. Chickpea Salad – p. 246 – Moro

                                                  Yum! Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you; this dish comes together in no time to produce a flavour-packed salad that’s hearty and fresh tasting. The authors call for dried or canned chickpeas and the latter won out this evening since that’s all I can manage on a weeknight. Dressing ingredients of garlic, a chopped fresh chili, onion, lemon juice, vinegar, evoo, S&P are to be whisked together. Since the recipe calls for a large chili and ½ an onion I felt it would be easier to whisk the dressing without the veggies so I added them directly to the bowl along w the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, S&P and then poured the dressing atop the lot before tossing to coat.
                                                  This came together beautifully. The authors suggest you test for seasoning, however no further additions were necessary as the dish had wonderful flavours and textures as is. We served this as a side dish this evening however tomorrow it will be re-purposed as lunches and undoubtedly it will make for a delicious, satisfying meal. I’m happy to recommend this one. FYI, I used a hot Hungarian pepper and approx 1/2c. of chopped red onion. The authors simply suggest ½ a red onion and since onion sizes vary and the flavours in my dish seemed quite balanced I thought the quantity I used was worth mentioning.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Chickpea Salad – p. 246 – Moro

                                                    I don't have much to add, but this dish was a great success. I especially liked the fresh mint in this salad. We served with some sausages from Oka and a leafy green salad with the pomegranate molasses dressing from Moro.

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      I made this chickpea salad last night using canned chickpeas. I liked the salad but there was way too much chopping involved for me. It took longer to put together than I expected, resulting in late dinner, crabby daddy, and over-hungry toddler who then refused to eat anything but pb&j. So I probably won't be repeating this one anytime soon. Not enough bang for the buck for me. The leftovers look good though, hopefully my son will eat them!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Chickpea Salad, Moro p. 246.

                                                        My turn to mention how much we liked this fresh and crunchy salad, which I served along side of the cod baked with tahini sauce, p. 187 (as suggested in Moro.) The combination was delightful, and since the recipe makes lots, we had the rest of the salad for lunch the next day, when it was just as good. I also liked that the recipe recommended that the salad be chilled "for a fresher taste," so I could make it ahead on the day I was serving.

                                                        Like others, I used two 14-oz. cans of chickpeas: "Organic Natural Directions Garbanzo Beans," in fact. They were very nice: firm and separate, without being hard. Oh yes; I used a good-sized Jalapeño pepper.

                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                          We liked this too - served it with butterflied leg of lamb done on the barbecue.

                                                      2. Cauliflower with Saffron, PInenuts and Raisins, Mora p. 236.

                                                        What's not to like in this easy and healthful recipe that really dresses up cauliflower? First you separate the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, and then par-boil them "for a minute"--really, just until crisp-tender. They shouldn't be completely fork-soft because they are going to be sautéed with the other seasonings later on.
                                                        And here's the later on: you need to have caramelized a large, thinly-sliced Spanish onion (had to look this up--this is NOT the red onion I grew up calling "Spanish Onion," but rather a large sweetish yellow onion--maybe a Vidalia or Walla Walla?) The recipe instructions say 15-20 minutes "until golden and sweet in smell" but mine took several minutes longer.
                                                        Meanwhile, you also steep 50 strands of saffron in 4 TBS boiling water for ten minutes--it was weird to be counting individual strands of saffron, but I guestimated at what I thought was the right amount. You have also toasted 3 TBS of pine nuts, and soaked 75 grams of raisins in warm water.
                                                        When you are ready, you saute the cauliflower with the onion, pinenuts, raisins and saffron-water for 5 minutes, until the saffron-water has almost all evaporated. Season with s & p and serve.
                                                        The cauliflower turns a lovely deep-golden color, and the raisins and pine nuts are very nice with it. The balance of flavors--earthy saffron, sweet raisins, buttery pine nuts--is very satisfying. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch.
                                                        Here's a not very good photo:

                                                        1. Papas arrugadas y mojos canaries (wrinkled potatoes with red and green sauces ) Food of Spain p. 279

                                                          Potatoes are always a hit at home. These are boiled in only enough water to cover the potatoes and a large amount of salt. The water evaporates and leaves the potatoes with a white residue with a delicious flavor and surprsingly not over salty. My husband enjoyed these without the sauces.

                                                          The mojo verde de cilantro (green sauce with cilantro p. 280) is made of garlic, cilantro, green pepper, cumin, white wine vinegar and salt. It is a bright, flavorful sauce (very similar to the Casas recipe from Delicioso except Casas adds a hot pepper and does not use cumin). It was a nice addition to the potatoes.

                                                          The mojo picon (spicy red saucep. 280) is made of garlic sweet paprika, hot paprkia, cumin, olive oil and red wine vinegar. We did not enjoy this sauce as much. I'm not as enthusiastic about mojo picon in general, but if I were to eat it I would choose the version from Delicioso (Penelope Casas).

                                                          1. Eggplant Fritters with Honey, FOS, pg. 250

                                                            Yuck. I got suckered by the picture it just looked so good. Kills to admit that, but reading through the recipe and ingredients there's nothing that should have called to me. The results certainly didn't and most of it went to feed the garbage disposal trolls.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              So sorry to hear this qianning, such a shame when a recipe lets you down. Thanks for taking one for the team.

                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                I am amazed that the reipe did not work for you, Q! I made it a while ago for dinner club Spanish dinner and it was a hit with not a single piece left and I made three apertizers. Did you soak eggplant slices in milk as instructed? I thought that was the key to the recipe and made it taste so lovely and different from other eggplant preparations.

                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  Glad they were a hit with your dinner club.

                                                                  i did soak them in milk, and indeed the texture of the fried eggplant wheels was very soft, silky and much better than if they hadn't been soaked or if they had been salted. I think it was the lack of any spice/herb that we didn't like, although I used very good local honey it just didn't add enough flavor for us.

                                                                  Envious of your dinner club. We've always wanted to join/start/find one around here, but adventurous cooks/eaters are scarce in NH!

                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                    Off topic, qianning, but I would have thought that about where I live. I started a supper club by posting a notice on the local CH board, and adventurous cooks came out of the woodwork! We've been having amazing dinners monthly ever since!

                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                      Great advice....I tried that but no luck here. It has been a year or two, I should probably try again.

                                                                    2. re: qianning

                                                                      I served dry Spanish bubbly with it and, guess, this pairing gave a bit of a sparkle to the eggplant - I've been thinking about making it again but haven't yet. Maybe will try on the family next week:)

                                                                      Dinner club is really enjoyable. I started one with a friend and we invited other food loving friends and are now nine - four couples and me. We meet every second month and are determined to travel the world of food. At the last dinner there was a buzz about going together to a cooking school abroad. I would love to do this in Thailand one day.

                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                        A nice Cava does wonders for tapas, I certainly prefer it to the traditional sherry. Pairing it with the honey flavored fritters certainly makes great sense.

                                                                        We had friends over for tapas (mostly P. Casas recipes) and paella a few months ago, and served a choice of sherry or cava with the tapas, by the time we got to the paella I'm sure it didn't matter what the food was like, everyone was very happy.

                                                                        Thailand for cooking school....does that not sound like fun. Even better if traveling with friends. For whatever reason our friends seem to split into the like and enjoy European/Western food, or like and enjoy Asian food, with limited cross-over. It drives us a bit crazy. Spanish food, interestingly, is one of the great compromise options, not too exotic for the Yankee-philes, and enough rice for the Asians.

                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                          These are my dinner club friends we are talking about and I have not introduced the possibility of Thailand yet - they were talking Provence, Tuscani..:) We are a mix of European, Chilean and Canadian; have perculiar likes and dislikes that drive me up the wall at times but manage to make amazing dinners that please everyone:)

                                                                        2. re: herby

                                                                          Eggplant Fritters with Honey, FOS, pg. 250

                                                                          Well, I took myself up on it and made eggplant fritters for my daughter's family and friends this evening. We were five adults and four kids 4-7; everyone but my six-year old grandboy who loves all and every veggie, loved this. I was so amazed that just put the piece he handed to me saying "I do not like it" right into my own mouth:)

                                                                          It was gone in no time and I think that another eggplant would've been well received too:) I made this version with brown rice flour because my SIL is gluten-intolerent. I also mixed nice honey with a splash of orange blossom water because I could not imagine ever finding an orange blossom honey Ms. Roden suggests anywhere in the NE USA:)

                                                                          Qianning, I wish you would try it again but certainly understand if you never do:)

                                                                        3. re: qianning

                                                                          I don't know how authentic it would be but perhaps some fennel seeds or sumac might add the depth you need? While I have yet to make this I have eaten other versions. It is quite sweet but a light hand with the honey and some other flavors might elevate it to something more desirable.

                                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                                            Yes, a spice might well have added something that we found lacking.....but really there were plenty of other good dishes in FOS, we really did enjoy the book and Moro too. FOS was a library copy and I haven't gotten it out again yet, but am sure I will. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

                                                                            Moro I bought, and it has quickly become one of my prized possessions and always reminds me to have an open mind about COTM books/nominations, because Moro didn't really call to me until it was COTM and now I don't know what I'd do without it.

                                                                    3. Garlic Soup, Moro, pg. 64

                                                                      Hmm, what to say about this one? First some back story. Over the years Mr. QN has once in a while mentioned a penchant for Spanish garlic soup. I have always demurred, side-stepped, or ignored these hints because it just didn't sound appealing to me. But this recipe with its addition of chorizo, which I love, and thyme, looked OK, so why not give it a go?

                                                                      C&C have you fry the garlic over low heat for 15-20 minutes; but mine took much longer to soften at least a half an hour maybe more. Remove the garlic from the oil, skin and make a puree; meanwhile cook the chorizo in the oil, add the thyme, add back the garlic, paprika and then stock, bring to a simmer. Just before serving poach eggs in the broth and add pieces of toasted bread. We elected to poach our eggs in the serving bowl, but otherwise followed the recipe and it works well, no problems there.

                                                                      Mr. QN had three servings, and while he said it wasn't quite the garlic soup of his dreams, he clearly liked it quite well. After half a small bowl of this I was done.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                        Years ago I tried a Julia Child recipe for garlic soup (FCC) multiple times - and never liked it very well.
                                                                        Garlic soup sounds like a good idea - but I've yet to find another version I'm willing to try. Sorry to hear this one was not that exciting for you.

                                                                        1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                          No worries, it was good to check it off the "to do" list!

                                                                      2. Monkfish Rice with Saffron, Moro pg. 166

                                                                        Gosh we are enjoying the rice dishes from this book, and this one was another winner, maybe the best yet. I had hoped to try cooking it outside, but running late and more than a bit disorganized, that didn't happen this time, maybe next time, as I'm sure we'll be making this again. This was a team effort, Mr. QN did the cooking while I did the prep and recipe reading, and with all the steps involved it is a good recipe to approach this way.

                                                                        Monkfish chunks are sauteed in oil until just slightly underdone, then removed from the pan. Wipe out the pan, add more o. oil, cook chopped onions and peppers over fairly high temp 15-20 min., turn down the heat and add garlic and fennel seed (this is the genius ingredient in this dish, it really adds a lot of character), cook for another 10 minutes until the onions are slightly brown and sweet. Add the rice and turn it into the sofrito, add wine, and then fish stock that has been infused with saffron, paprika, parsley and S&P (I was using a homemade fish stock, not very salty, and should have added more salt at this point, this is a dish that can take some seasoning). Simmer for 10 minutes, arrange the fish pieces on the rice, and cook low for 5 more minutes, then cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with piquiilo (haven't tracked these down yet, so I subbed home-made pimento) pepper strips and parsley, serve.

                                                                        Phew, it is a process, but the instructions in the book are clear, and for us it went very smoothly. And the results are worth all of it, just delicious.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                          I seem to remember making this in the dim and distant past (maybe twice!) and loving it. I think I even made my own stock. Time to give it another try!

                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                            Revisited this now old favorite a few nights ago. Although we've had it several times since the original post, Friday was the first time that weather and timing allowed for cooking it on the grill. Yum. These flavors and textures are just perfect for the slightly slower and slight smokiness of a grilled paella.

                                                                          2. Champiñones al ajillo (mushrooms with garlic) p. 269 from Food of Spain

                                                                            A lovely tapa that reminds me of my time in Spain. I ate a lot of these because they were delicious, affordable and meat-free (I was a vegetarian at the time).

                                                                            Cook quartered mushrooms (we used cremini), chopped garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil (we used 2 T instead of 4) on med high until they release juices (add s&p) and then cook until soft and most of the juices have evaporated. Finish with chopped parsley.

                                                                            What’s not to like here. Mushrooms, garlic and a little heat. Because we cut down on the oil, we did not have any extra to mop up with bread, but it was still satisfying.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                              Mushrooms w/ Garlic FOS pg.269

                                                                              Funny, we had this a few days ago and I forgot to post! Anyway, we really enjoyed these too. I did add the optional white wine, but still not a "saucy" prep. We had them as a small side dish rather than a tapa.

                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                The Food of Spain
                                                                                Mushrooms with Garlic, Pg. 269
                                                                                (Champiñones al Ajillo - Mediterraean Spain)

                                                                                When I first read the recipe through I realized that this is the way I've been cooking mushrooms since I've been married. This is the way my mother cooked mushrooms... exactly. I was just waiting for the chance to cook them again, and last night was it. Anyway, I used 5 garlic cloves, 2 T EVOO, 1/4 c of the optional dry white wine, white button mushrooms and added the red pepper flakes and chopped parsley... as I always do. Perfect accompaniment to roast pork, sauteed snap peas, and steamed rice.

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  Oh, Gio, that write-up made me smile.

                                                                                  Meanwhile I'm curious has anyone ever done sauteed mushrooms w/ lemon juice (CR suggest it as an alternative to the optional white wine)?

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    I smiled too at your post: my mother always did mushrooms this way too (minus the pepper flakes). We always had them with steak or what was always "baked" (not roast, lol) chicken when I was growing up. I also use the same technique for mushrooms, sometimes as a side for steak, often just to have on lightly toasted baguette slices. When I was on a student budget, this on top of a pile of these mushrooms, w/crushed peppers, on top of a pile of spaghetti was quite often dinner (sprinkled w/some parmesan, of course, which I always kept on hand, no matter how broke I was. It could transform anything!)

                                                                                    So many nice simple mushroom dishes in this thread.

                                                                                  2. re: BigSal

                                                                                    Mushrooms with Garlic FOS p-269

                                                                                    My goodness, but these were a fantastic addition to the tapas table! I made a double recipe and had a little cazuela full of the fabulous fungi to dip into all evening. On a whim, I replaced the wine with amontillado sherry (what a heavenly pairing!) and it gave such a lovely woodsy flavour to the normally-bland button mushrooms that I couldn't leave this dish alone. This is one of the most delicious mushroom dishes that I have ever had. We just loved it.

                                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                                      Champiñones al ajillo...with chanterelles! I love this dish and have always made it with button or cremini mushrooms. I happened to have some leftover chanterelles and decided to try this dish with them. It was a rich, garlicky treat that was perfect with some crusty bread. It was a very worthwhile splurge.

                                                                                    2. THE FOOD OF SPAIN
                                                                                      Baked Rice with Currents and Chickpeas, Pg.461
                                                                                      (Arroz al Horno con Pasas y Garbanza - Valencia)


                                                                                      Another rustic combination of vegetables and fruit that surprised and delighted both of us. All the required vegetables were used without deviation. I halved the recipe. My specifics: I used Carnaroli rice, small raisins from Trader Joe's, pimenton dulce, and home made chicken stock. An unpeeled whole head of garlic is first sauteed then placed in the center of the rice before baking so I peeled off just the outer layer, scrubbed the root section and rinsed the head before adding it to the pot.

                                                                                      There are a couple of preliminary steps: the first is to soak dry chickpeas for a time then drain and simmer them for 1 hour, the other is to soak the currents in hot water for 20 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Since I don't have the recommended large cazuela I used a shallow casserole, the alternative. The recipe in it's entirety is at the link I provided so I won't go into details. There is a bit of prep before hand but the recipe is easy to put together and cook. The rice bakes for 30 minutes.

                                                                                      Roden suggests serving the rice with meatballs, ribs or various kinds of sausages but G grilled pork chops that had been marinated with a dry rub from Daisy Martinez. Altogether a delicious meal, both sweet and savory.

                                                                                      1. Roasted Pepper and Onion Salad, FOS pg. 241

                                                                                        I sort of made this, kinda. Well, here's the thing, most of the recipe is instructions on how to roast the peppers, onions and garlic in an oven so as to emulate the original peasant version "made in the fields over fire". I scrapped the whole oven rigamarole, and grilled the pepper, onion and garlic over charcoal. Much easier, especially as I was planning to use the grill for Moorish Skewers anyway.

                                                                                        The grilled (or roasted) peppers and onions are sliced, and then dressed with o.oil and lemon juice made a bit special by the addition of roasted garlic and cumin. The cumin flavor really did set the dish apart from a standard roasted veg w/ vinaigrette. Finally, black olives are tossed in, but I didn't have any, so skipped them altogether.

                                                                                        What I did have was the Moorish Skewers from Moro. What a fortuitous pairing! We both loved it. I found myself deliberately taking a little piece of meat, a little piece of onion, and a little piece of pimento on each fork, very very nice.

                                                                                        1. FOS - SPINACH WITH RAISINS AND PINE NUTS - p. 274

                                                                                          A straightforward rendition of a classic dish. Gio reported on a similar dish in the companion thread. Spinach is washed and put wet into a pot to steam until wilted. Meanwhile, saute pine nuts in olive oil until just starting to cover, add the wilted spinach and hydrated raisins (currants in my case) and s&p, cook for 5 minutes. I didn't cook for a full 5 minutes, more like 2 or 3. I am of two minds about the steaming step. On the one hand, I feel that it can easily lead to overcooked spinach, and usually I skip this step and add the spinach directly to the pan without precooking. On the other hand, steaming first does give you the opportunity to press some of the water out of the spinach, resulting in a drier dish at the end. In future, I think I will skip the steaming, but try to get the spinach as dry as possible before sauteeing, as it does tend to throw off a lot of water when cooking. Anyway, you can't go wrong with this dish. Served with simplified versions of the Saffron Rice and Grilled Tahini Chicken Wings from the Moro book, and everything went very well together.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                            I dont know if FOS includes it but some sauteed garlic cloves improve this dish. - and its good with watercres or broccoli raab too, per versions served in southern italy, where the spanish/moorish cuisine had an influence.

                                                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                              surprisingly, no garlic in this recipe. i agree though, garlic would be a good addition.

                                                                                          2. Summer has finally arrived in London after weeks of damp, cold, frankly miserable weather. It's actually properly hot (26C) so to celebrate I made an entire meal from Moro, starting with....

                                                                                            Gazpacho, p55

                                                                                            A classic, which I've never made before. This version was really delicious - bursting with flavour and really refreshing. We all loved it.

                                                                                            To make, blend a kg of tomatoes, a sliced green pepper, 3/4 of a peeled and sliced cucumber and 2 rounded dessertspoons of slightly stale white bread, crumbled and with the crusts. removed. Pass three-quarters of it through a sieve or mouli (I used my mouli). Add 3T of red wine vinegar (I used my precious Forum Cab Sauv vinegar as quality is important here) and 4T of EVOO. Season and chill.

                                                                                            This was so good and a nice light way to begin a dinner party. According to another Spanish book I have (Seasonal Spanish Food by Jose Pizarro), Spanish people like to keep a jug of gazpacho in the fridge in the summer and swig from it whenever they want something refreshing! I am definitely a convert, and am going to try Pizarro's version next.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              Forgot the garlic! You.re supposed to crush it to a paste with salt and add it at the end, but I made a mistake and added the garlic paste to the blender. Didn't seem to matter.

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Today, I made the Food of Spain Gazpacho (p. 170) for the first time this year. This became my go to gazpacho recipe last year. Simple and fantastic.

                                                                                                Puree until nice and smooth: one red bell pepper (seeded and veined), about 2.25 pounds of plum tomatoes (quartered, white tough part cut out, but not seeded or peeled), 3 cloves garlic crushed into a paste, 6 T olive oil, 2 T sherry vinegar, pinch of sugar, salt to season. I garnish with diced cucumber.

                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                  Oh, I haven't has gazpacho yet this summer, it sounds wonderful! I hope I can find some good tomatoes, and put a jug of it in my refrigerator like greedygirl mentions.

                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                    I was starting to get worried, L.Nightshade. It has been so, so, so dry here, and so many crops are behind or failed. This was the first week I saw red bell peppers at the market (I didn't go last week, but there have not been local ones at our co-op either). I used an incredibly fruity olive oil this time. It really is delicious and refreshing. And there will be a pitcher in the fridge from now until the ingredients disappear from the market. It's one of my "happy foods."

                                                                                              2. Eggplants Stuffed with Ground Almonds – Food of Spain - p. 295

                                                                                                mr bc had a hankering for a grilled steak tonight with such beautiful bbq weather here in Toronto. I was in the mood for something a little lighter and came across this recipe. With almonds and egg in the stuffing I figured it should make for a filling main dish for me, and a good side dish for mr bc.

                                                                                                Prep is too involved for a weeknight (at least at my house) but definitely doable for a weekend meal. Medium eggplants are trimmed and cut in half lengthways then placed in a pan with a mixture of water, wine vinegar and sugar. The pan is covered, liquid is brought to a boil then the heat is reduced until the eggplant has softened. Cooking liquid is retained and eggplants are left to cool at which time CR instructs you to remove their centres using a pointy spoon. Well, though I do have a few pointy spoons in my kitchen, none were up to this task. The eggplant was simply too spongy and fibrous for my spoons. In the end I used a paring knife to cut through the flesh and then scooped it out w a spoon and coarsely chopped.

                                                                                                While the eggplants are cooling some chopped onion is fried in a large skillet before adding the chopped eggplant. The mixture is cooked while occasionally mashing the eggplant until it is very soft. At this point ground almonds and fresh breadcrumbs are incorporated before adding 2 lightly beaten eggs, S&P. CR does have some variations and I opted to add some dried oregano to the stuffing mixture which was one of the suggestions offered.

                                                                                                This mixture is then spooned into the awaiting eggplant shells and CR suggests you bake for approx 20 mins @ 350°. She also mentions that the filling puffs and then collapses. If that happened in my oven, I missed it as I was pre-occupied w the prep of other dishes. What I can tell you is that I didn’t feel the stuffing looked sufficiently brown when I took a look at the 20 min mark so I continued cooking for another 10 mins.

                                                                                                This produced a hearty, tasty dish. We especially enjoyed the almost chewy texture of the filling that prompted mr bc to ask “Is there meat in these?” My initial inclination was right and the eggplant was definitely ideal as a main dish. I would like to try these with a little of the Moro Tahini sauce drizzled atop, I bet that would be great!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  That looks delicious BC! I'll have to try this as I love eggplant. I can just see myself trying to scoop out the cooked eggplant with a pointy spoon .... Ha ha. Don't blame you for getting out the paring knife.

                                                                                                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                    Thanks Blythe, it really was tasty. We've actually decided to make it again to add to our Tapas menu tonight!

                                                                                                2. Paella de pollo con alcachofas y oloroso ( Rice with chicken, artichokes and Oloroso) Moro p. 162


                                                                                                  Soften finely chopped onions for 20 minutes, add artichokes cut into small wedges, finely chopped garlic and cook 10 minutes more. Rice is added to coat with oil and then sherry is added until some of the alcohol is burned off. Next add hot chicken stock, chopped parsley and nutmeg. Simmer 10 minutes, add chicken (we used thighs-previously cooked per recipe) and cook 5 more minutes. Cover and rest a few minutes before serving.

                                                                                                  My husband liked this quite a bit (8 out of 10) and I didn't enjoy it quite as much. Overall it was a nice dish and I really wanted to like it more, but the Oloroso made for too sweet of a dish for me. Using less Oloroso might help if I were to make it again.

                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                    As someone else mentioned BigSal, this is a funny month where many of us have made a comment that our dish had mixed reviews. I wouldn't like this if it were too sweet either. Perhaps the same quantity of a drier sherry might do the trick?

                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      The Clarks do mention Amontillado as another option. I think that would have been a better choice for me.

                                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                        Good to know BigSal, I've made a note in my book. Thanks.

                                                                                                    2. re: BigSal

                                                                                                      given your comment, this is something I might try with the Lustau dry oloroso I bought. sounds like an interesting combo, tho.

                                                                                                    3. Broad bean (fava) and dill pilav, Moro, page 168.
                                                                                                      Favas were on sale at my local market, so I decided to give this a try. I started the prep ahead of time as 150g of basmati rice is rinsed multiple times (until the water runs clear) and then covered with warm water and a teaspoon of salt(this prevents the rice from absorbing the water) and put in the fridge for 3 hours. Next I prepped the Fava beans which were over the 1.5 cm size limit in the recipe. Obediently, I blanched and then peeled each one individually. This was tedious but larger beans are apparently unpleasantly tough if not peeled. When ready to make the rice, I sauteed the bunch of green onions in 75 g. (!) of butter and a pinch of allspice. After they were soft and sweet I added 3/4 of a bunch EACH of chopped dill and parsley, the broad beans and S and P.
                                                                                                      This is brought to a boil and then covered with damp parchment paper and the lid to the pot. I boiled on high for 5 min. And then 5 min on med-low. Lifted the lid and voilà - a very nice pilaf. I served it with the suggested accompanying yogurt mixed with crushed garlic and thinned with a bit of milk. I couldn't help adding some salt to this. This was a lot of work and fuss for a rice dish but it was tasty. I served it with broiled lamb chops, and a salad. I'd forgotten how much I like basmati rice - but at six dollars a bag, it's not cheap. I would make this again - probably with fish as suggested.

                                                                                                      1. THE FOOD OF SPAIN
                                                                                                        Medley of Spring Vegetables, Pg. 256
                                                                                                        (Minstra de Primavera - Navarre and La Rioja)

                                                                                                        This is another complimentary combination of Spring vegetables that we both enjoyed. It's a flavorful brothy mix of peas, asparagus, and artichoke hearts thickened with a little flour and flavored with a full cup of dry white wine. .The details are in the link but to summarize: I had more than the 1/2 pound of asparagus but decided to use all of it. There's choice given between Serrano ham/prosciutto/bacon but I only had pancetta so used that. I think it worked well. The vegetables are cooked at staggered times in broth. In another pan the sofrito is prepared then poured into the vegetables. The result is quite delicious.

                                                                                                        Although I could have eaten just the braised veggies with a slice of crusty bread and perhaps some cheese I wanted to use up the remaining pieces of roast chicken and that was fine. There's not a drop left.