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May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Miscellaneous Thread

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the following chapters:

Food of Spain - Stocks and Basics, pages 123 - 131
Food of Spain - Dressings and Sauces, pages 133 - 145
Food of Spain - Desserts and Pastries, pages 501 - 577
Food of Spain - Drinks, pages 579 - 588
Moro - Bread, pages 9 - 20
Moro - Sauces and Dressings, pages 247 - 260
Moro - Puddings, pages 261 - 279

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    I have started reading the first 120 pages-
    interesting so far- The introd to most cookbooks are revealing about the authors
    I haven't decided which recipes I am going to make in first section.

    1 Reply
    1. Pomegranate molasses dressing, Moro, p260

      OMG! I'm so glad I discovered this because it's (forgive the adolescent hyperbole) crazy good. I made it as the sauce for a simple first course of asparagus but it was so great I ended up using the leftovers to dress a simple green salad. My dinner companions, both men, were asking for seconds and thirds of the salad - it's that good.

      Anyhow, very easy to make. Crush a garlic clove to a paste, then mix with a little cinnamon and 2T pomegranate molasses. Whisk in 1T of water and 4T EVOO. If it's too tart, add a little caster sugar to taste - mine needed just a touch. Season.

      We loved this with the asparagus and the salad. It would be really nice with feta. Gorgeous.

      20 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        This *does* sound good! Any particular brand of pom molasses? Oh wait, I remember you're in the UK, might have to find a good brand here in the US.
        I cooked some pom juice down once, but I don't think it's the same--I'll do some reading.

        1. re: blue room

          I think the brand is Al- Rabih - I got it from a local deli.

        2. re: greedygirl

          gg I'm excited by your enthusiastic review. I'd flagged this so it's great to know you loved it! We've become quite fond of pomegranate molasses and really look forward to trying this. I'm imagining it w some bitter greens and roasted salmon as a main and your idea of asparagus as a starter is terrific too. Thanks for starting us off on such a positive note!

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            It would be fantastic with greens and salmon, yes. As it's quite a sour dressing, you might want to add a little more sugar to balance the flavours.

          2. re: greedygirl

            Going to have to try this - I'd passed it right over when I had the book from the library, but jeesh, this is a huge endorsement.

            1. re: greedygirl

              In my first foray into Spanish Month, I tried the Pomegranate Molasses dressing. I have to say I was a bit doubtful - I have never put cinnamon into salad dressing before! My only substitution was green garlic for regular, and this actually worked well because the green garlic is a bit milder when eaten raw. I did not add additional sugar as my pomegranate molasses is on the sweet side. Everything came together easily and the dressing emulsified beautifully as promised. Served on a salad of mixed baby lettuce (including some chicories) with sliced green shallots. We liked the dressing very much. However, it is on the sweet side. Because of the sweetness, I don't think we'd repeat this very often. It was nice for a change though. I would definitely include bitter lettuces in the salad - I think they are essential to balance the sweetness of the dressing. BC, I think it would go very nicely alongside salmon.

              1. re: Westminstress

                That's interesting - mine was the opposite - definitely on the tart side. Must be a difference in the brand of pomegranate molasses.

              2. re: greedygirl

                Pomegranate molasses dressing, Moro, p260

                We loved this as well and found it to be more on the tart side than the sweet side. I served it over a spring salad mix that included many bitter greens and it worked quite well. Next time, I'd like to take gg's suggestion and add feta to it.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Pomegranate molasses dressing, Moro, p. 260.

                  Such an interesting and different dressing--I'd never had anything quite like it (my previous exposure to pomegranate molasses has been nil!) and we enjoyed how it complemented the roasted asparagus that we tossed it with. I added some sugar to counteract the tartness of my AlWadi brand, and the combination of crushed garlic, cinnamon, and EVOO was refreshing. Mr. Goblin, who has a bit of a sweet tooth, loved it.
                  Like others, I think it would also be great on salmon.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Pomegranate Molasses Dressing, Moro, page 260.
                    I tried this on a whim last night, as I had the ingredients, and some greens, on hand. I used it over mixed lettuces, with a bit of red cabbage, tossed with feta (per greedygirl's recommendation). The dressing was a bit sweet for me when paired with the greens, which is odd, because the molasses by itself is so tart, I scrunch up my face when I taste it. It is very good with the feta. I did like the taste of it, and I want to try it with some other things that would stand up better to the flavor. I think it would be good on a chicken and vegetable chop salad. And for some reason, I want to try it with roasted sweet potatoes.

                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      Pomegranate Molasses Dressing Redux...
                      I used this dressing again tonight on a salad of greens, feta, and strawberries. I'm not sure what the difference was, but it was wonderful! Not too sweet, not too tart, just perfect!

                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                        I made this dressing for the third time last night, and served it with roasted asparagus with a little feta crumbled on top (a Gourmet Today recipe I think). It was really, really good.

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Inspired by GG, I did the same thing last night. Roasted asparagus, a little crumbled feta on top, and the pomegranate molasses dressing drizzled over. It was very good! Brilliant combo, GG, thanks for sharing.

                          1. re: Westminstress

                            Inspired by this thread, I made this last night to have with my asparagus and spring greens, was delicious. Was quite tart, but then I like it like that. The idea of feta over the top is great, will try that tonight.

                    2. re: greedygirl

                      After reading through the discussion on this dressing, I had that in mind when I went to a Med. import store this morning; lo and behold - they had TWO brands of pom. molasses, 1 marked 'sour' and the other not. Read the ingredients, and the one marked 'sour' had concentrated pomogranate juice, citric acid, sugar, water as ingredients in decending order. This brand is 'SADAF". The second one not marked 'sour' has concentrated pomogranate juice, sugar, water, citric acid in that order. That is the other brand in the picture.

                      I think this might account for sweetness or tartness of how the dressing turns out. I bought the 'sour' Sadaf, and will report back, as planning on making that dressing tonight.

                      Here is a pic of them both....

                      1. re: gingershelley

                        Well, now I had to go and check my pomegranate molasses. The only ingredient is pomegranates! The outcome of the salad seemed odd to me, because the molasses is so tart, but the dressing tasted sweet. I think my taste buds were confounded by something. I'm actually going to try it again tonight.

                      2. re: greedygirl

                        I made the pomegranate dressing based on greedygirl's description here. My pomegranate molasses is pretty tart, but I thought the dressing was fine as is and didn't add sugar. I used it on roasted asparagus and liked the combo very much.

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          A twist on pomegranate molasses dressing...

                          In a local Middle Eastern market, in the same section as the (multiple brands of) pom molasses, there was a Turkish mulberry molasses, so I bought it just because. Similar texture to pom molasses, and similarly tart-sweet. Imagine a very tart (in a good way, not an underripe way) blackberry flavor. Ingredients, rendered in seven languages (I'm assuming the Arabic matches the roman-scripted ones), reads: mulberry syrup. Ha. Anyway, I made this dressing using the mulberry molasses, just to use on a mixed green salad, and it was very nice. Oh, instead of cinnamon, I added a little pinch of ground cumin.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Oh that tart blackberry flavour you describe sounds wonderful Caitlin. I'll keep my eye out for this. Thanks for posting, its always exciting to discover a new product!

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Breadcrumbs, the brand is Sera. Looks like it's widely available via mail order, at least in the states. This is it, for visual reference, except the bottle I have is half this size (340g/12 oz): http://www.serafood.com/en/ProductDet...

                        2. Tarta de Santiago (Almond Cake) from Food of Spain

                          I don't have the book, so used the recipe at Epicurious.


                          I can't imagine anyone not liking this, it's a moist flourless cake, made with ground almonds, superfine sugar, and eggs. Both orange and lemon zest and a little boost from almond extract add flavor. I made a half recipe in an 8 inch round pan, didn't change the temp in the instructions, but took it out 5-6 minutes early.

                          The almond-grinding and egg-white-whipping make it a little time consuming, it would be well worth doing a whole 11 inch cake.

                          I spun my plain granulated sugar in the food processor a bit to make it the superfine sugar called for. (The sugar on top is powdered, I had a heavy hand with it here!)

                          While reading online, I learned that almond *flour* is made from almonds ground after the oil is pressed out. That's different from simply grinding unpressed almonds. (This cake uses the latter.) I also learned how to get that light brown papery skin off almonds. It's very easy -- cover them with boiling water for a minute or two, drain, the skin slips right off as you pinch them.

                          Enjoy this -- it would be perfect to bring if you're invited to dinner -- will not outshine the host's dessert, but excellent anyway.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: blue room

                            I made this cake several times and like it better with orange blossom water instead of almond extract. It is light as a feather and super flavourful. Keeps well tightly wrapped.

                            1. re: blue room

                              Just received this book as a gift and have been pining over making a Santiago for ages. Can't wait to dive in and start cooking although right now I am engrossed in the introduction. As a Spanish teacher I have read a lot on the history of te peninsula but never really in English. So many interesting tidbits of information already. Can't wait to get home from work to read some more.

                            2. Green Sauce with Parsley (mojo de perejil), Food of Spain, p. 139

                              This is similar to a chimichurri: parsley, garlic, olive oil, white or red wine vinegar (I used red), and salt whizzed up in food processor or blender. I made 1/3 recipe with 2 small garlic cloves, heaping 1/3 cup parsley, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 T vinegar, in the mini bowl of my FP. Roden suggests using it on meat or fish, but I tossed it with small steamed potatoes

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Tahini Sauce, p. 255 Moro Cookbook

                                Perfect flavor and consistency. Made a batch to drizzle over the grilled chicken wings mentioned on page 39, but it tasted equally good as a dip for celery sticks and slices of grilled chorizo. Yum! Make this one!

                              2. Sherry Vinegar dressing, pg. 258, Moro Cookbook

                                A simple vinaigrette but it worked well with the butter bean salad. I reduced the ratio of oil to 2 to 1 instead of 4 to 1 and I included the squeeze of lemon.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  Sherry Vinegar dressing, pg. 258, Moro Cookbook

                                  I made this to go with the cecina and beet starter in the book (reported in the other thread). It worked quite well with the beets and I wouldn't mind trying it with a green salad.

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    I made the sherry vinegar dressing to go with the fantastic hot chorizo and butter bean salad. I have this amazing new sherry vinegar made with Pedro Jimenez that is incredibly complex and not too sharp. So I added an extra TB of vinegar to the dressing and did not include the squeeze of lemon. I liked the dressing, though I am sure getting tired of muddling single cloves of garlic in my giant mortar and pestle! I am actually contemplating buying a garlic press again after tossing mine years ago, with never any regrets until now. For some reason I'm not too good at crushing garlic with the side of a chef's knife.

                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      Do you have a rasp? Very easy to finely grate garlic, ginder and such. The trick with the side of chef's knife is to use a but of coarse salt that helps to make garlic into a paste. I use salt in my M&P too.

                                      1. re: herby

                                        Yes! I actually have three sizes of microplane and this is a great idea, I will give it a shot. I do use salt when crushing the garlic, but I think my salt is not coarse enough. I have a few different salts though, I really should dig some of them out and experiment.

                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                          The rasp and my mortar and pestle with salt are my best garlic secrets. Highly recommended.

                                  2. Salsa de Romesco (Almond, Dried Pepper and Tomato Sauce) from The Food of Spain p. 143


                                    Roden lists different variations, but I followed the main recipe as written. Blend ñora peppers (that have been seeded/stemmed and soaked in boiling water until soft), garlic (roasted in broiler), blanched almonds (we used marconas), and lightly toasted hazelnuts to make a paste. Add tomatoes (previously broiled) to blend. Mix in wine vinegar (we used red), olive oil and salt to taste.

                                    Romesco from Moro p. 252


                                    One starts by frying garlic in oil. Remove the garlic and fry cubes of stale bread until light brown. Remove and reserve oil. Process the garlic, bread, ñoras and guindilla (stemmed, seeded and soaked in boiling water- water reserved), piquillo pepper, and toasted blanched almonds (marconas) and hazelnuts until it is a coarse paste. Stir in reserved oil, some of the reserved water from soaking the peppers, red wine vinegar, crushed raw garlic clove, tomato puree (tomato paste), saffron, pimentón dulce (smoked) and salt and pepper.

                                    Moro’s romesco had a slight piquancy from the guindilla pepper, a little more body from the addition of fried bread, more prominent garlic flavor and a subtle sweetness and smokiness from the piquillo pepper. Overall, the flavor was more robust and the color reflected this difference too. That being said, I’d make either sauce again. The Roden version is not as complex, but still very delicious. We ate the romesco with grilled asparagus and shrimp.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      Wow, what a great comparison! And thanks for finding the links; I'm copying the Moro recipe, as I don't have the book.

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Thank you for this wonderful comparison, BigSal; it's just what I was looking for! I'm trying to find a good romesco recipe to serve with grilled plump green onions & asparagus and couldn't decide between the two books....I'll probably go with the Moro recipe now (even though I don't have ñoras or guindillas--hope it still works with ancho subs!).

                                      2. Almond and Sherry Vinegar Sauce - Moro p. 251

                                        I made this sauce to go with the cecina and beets starter in Moro. They also suggest that it goes well with fish or chicken. I loved the sauce and should have enough left over to test it with a roast chicken tonight.

                                        To make, grind whole blanched almonds (I was out of whole almonds, so just used the powdered ones I had in the cabinet.) Add water to form a paste. I found I needed a little bit more water than called for. Add stale bread that's been soaked in water and a crushed garlic clove. A bit of olive oil and more water is added until it's the consistency of mayonnaise. They suggest adding chopped capers if you're serving the sauce with fish which I omitted. A little bit of sherry vinegar is added at the end for seasoning.

                                        1. Tomato & Onion Dressing, FOS, pg. 138

                                          This was a hit with us. I used it to dress a very simple green salad (romaine w/ slices of baby zucchini), which was served as a side with a grilled fish, and it worked fabulously.

                                          The recipe calls for roasting tomato, but as I had the grill going I just grilled a skewer of grape tomatoes, which worked out fine. And since the only fresh chilies I had on hand are very hot, I skipped those and added a dash of cayenne. The flavor of the onion really comes through, so if you make this, bear that in mind. The vidalia that I used was just right for us.

                                          1. Tahini Sauce – Moro – p. 255

                                            I prepared this recipe as a component of another dish in this book; the “Grilled Chicken Wings w Tahini” – p.39 which has been well-reviewed here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8469...

                                            Prep for this dish is very simple. Garlic is crushed w salt, transferred to a small mixing bowl before whisking in tahini and then thinning out w lemon juice and water. The authors suggest 5 tbsp of water however I didn’t need much more than a tbsp to achieve the desired consistency of “double cream” Sauce is then seasoned w S&P.

                                            This recipe produces a lovely, lemony tahini sauce that works wonderfully w the chicken recipe but also is delicious drizzled on eggs, rice and even my finger!! mr bc loved this too and I made another batch for lunches – perfect as a dip for veggies. This was a hit for us.

                                            1. Fresas en Moscatel con mantecados, Moro, p270

                                              We finished our Spanish meal last night with this light, summery dessert. First, strawberries are marinated in sweet Moscatel wine or sherry. I had some Muscat de Rivesaltes in the fridge so used that. While the strawberries were chilling, I made the mantecados, or Moorish cinnamon sand cakes.

                                              Prep for the sandcakes is relatively straightforward. Toast plain flour in the oven and roast some almonds until light golden in colour. With hindsight I let mine go a little too far, because when I ground them they were a little on the dark side. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then add the ground almonds, cinnamon and toasted flour. The resulting "dough" is pretty crumbly - pack it together and pat down so it's 1.5 cm thick and cut into 3 cm rounds. Bake on grease proof paper until golden. The recipe says these will take 30-45 mins - because I'd over-toasted the almonds my mixture was quite dark so it was hard to tell when these were done. I ended up pulling them out of the oven after a scant 25 mins and they were on the verge of burning.

                                              The verdict: the straws were amazing and I'll definitely do them again. Not so sure about the sandcakes? They were extremely dry in texture, and as mentioned a bit too "toasty" because of the almonds but I think they worked well with the soft fruit. Loads left though but I've found myself snacking on them throughout the day as they're a bit addictive. Good with a cup of tea. Next time I'd probably make shortbread instead.

                                              1. Tarta de Santiago (Almond Tart with Oloroso), page 264, Moro.

                                                I made this tart yesterday for a Spanish themed dinner. The crust method was new for me. The dough contains flour, confectioner's sugar, butter, and an egg yolk. It gets very hard when chilled, and is then grated into a tart pan and is pressed around to make the shell. It was a little difficult to get the pressing even in the fluted edges, otherwise pretty easy.
                                                Once the crust is pre-baked, it is coated with a blend of membrillo and lemon juice, that has been heated and liquified.
                                                The next layer consists of butter, caster sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon, orange and lemon zest, eggs, and oloroso sherry.
                                                My tart took 40 minutes to bake, and I had to make a foil collar as the crust was getting pretty brown.
                                                I thought this was a wonderful creation! It's crispy but moist, and the flavors of membrillo, almonds, sherry, and citrus all stood out. I didn't serve it with anything, but creme fraiche is suggested, which would be nice.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                  This is a lovely tart, Linda! I thought your pic (on other media outlet) of the grated dough was SO interesting; I have never heard of this way of doing dough before.

                                                  I have membrillo in the fridge now, and lot's of raw almonds in the freezer, so might have to check this out.

                                                  Nicely done:)

                                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                                    Aw, thanks gingershelley!
                                                    Do you have the Moro book? If not, the recipe is here:
                                                    I highly recommend it!

                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                    Lovely LN, and beautifully executed. I'd love to see your grated dough, a very interesting technique indeed. Could you share a link?

                                                    I had to Google membrillo...i'd never heard the term before despite having used the ingredient a few times. Quince paste in case anyone else is wondering.

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      I've sent you a note to your posted email address, Breadcrumbs. I don't think we are supposed to link to our FB pages here.

                                                    2. Churro con Chocolate, Moro, pg. 268

                                                      Neither of us had ever had a Churro before. But we found some excellent chocolate for making drinking chocolate that had been lost in the back of a cupboard, and the other night Mr. QN whipped up a batch of Spanish hot chocolate (not this recipe) which got him thinking he wanted to try it with churros.

                                                      So we made a batch of this dough. That was easy enough, but be forewarned it is more of a dough than a batter, which surprised us. And led to some trouble. Somewhere in this house is a gadget for making jalebi, which would have handled this job well if we could've found it. We couldn't. So instead we used a pastry bag and tip. That was not very successful--the dough was too stiff, no way no how was it piping properly, eventually the bag gave up and split.

                                                      The few churros that we managed squeeze out were OK, they cooked fine and had an interesting texture, but in truth they weren't something that made me think eating fried dough was worth it.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        Churros are basically long, thin doughnuts, freshly made. I have happy memories of eating them with hot chocolate on my first, ever trip to Spain (and first foreign holiday), aged about 11.

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          Lovely. How strong and connotative food memories can be, yes?

                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                              Come to think of it, madeleines aren't quite my thing either.

                                                        2. re: qianning

                                                          I've always preferred picatostes (fried bread) to churros myself.

                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                            Picatostes...had to google that....have only been to Spain once and that was a business trip....