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Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again. Now that the move is over fro...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spanish tapas

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

I sit here in my bed planning the last things I need to do for dinner tomorrow with family. My mind turns to the fact that I will  be responsible for more than just the Appetizers (TAPAS) and knowing that I am always asked to put finishing or correcting touches to food by my family. Thanksgiving is a time of retrospection, being with family and sharing the good as well as the bad. Some years it feels like there is more bad than good, but thankfully we remember the good times more often than not. Must be these rose colored glasses I wear!

Recently I did a radio interview about one GFWC Ruidoso Woman's Club food demo Program I put together for them for the month of November. I fell upon my mothers Spanish heritage and put together simple Tapa recipes. I have learned to always try to establish a connection with my audience. At first, when I was trying to do demos, I was not used to sharing info about myself, and talking to them like they were my sister ....which I had not seen in a long time. Be yourself - the best advice I ever received.

Break the ice!

Seems like I always have to vary the recipe and think on my feet when an ingredient is not available or somehow never makes it on the table. I have found my sous chef may not know how to do something in a manner I prefer (sometimes they are a volunteer) so, I tend to teach as I am doing the demo. But then demos are all about teaching. Go with the flow! It always turns out fine.

Here are a couple of recipes. Feel free to modify the recipes as you wish. After all these recipes are a mere suggestion.

Sausage Marinated in Red Wine

1 or 2 links of Spanish Chorizo (or good sausage)
1 bottle of Rioja red wine (or other good red)
4 cloves of garlic
Handful of chopped fresh oregano (or basil)
Black Pepper
1 Lemon, zested

 In a large saucepan submerge sausages. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a light boil, prick sausages. Cook for 15 minutes, cut into 1 inch pieces.

Spanish Bread

Use any white bread dough recipe but add 1/4 live oil to the mix. Proceed per the instructions to make the dough.

Mixing the Yeast, with water and a pinch of sugar. I added this liquid to the flour mixture. Used the dough cycle on my bread maker.
When the dough was mixed and had risen once, I formed the dough into two loaves. Rubbed the following mixture on the dough. Slashed the loaves and let it rise once again.

Rub the bread dough with 1 overripe tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt. Bake per directions. Serve with fresh olive oil, Spanish Wine and the sausages.

 Fresh Baked Spanish Bread!

Note: Tomato Pie ingredients (see recipe in previous post) in the background I made a Tomato pie, a recipe which a friend in Alabama verbally described and served in a fundraising luncheon I coordinated for the Class of 2012 Assistance League of Birmingham.  In the background, you see two baked pie shells, and 1 thinly sliced tomato marinating in balsamic vinaigrette, top the pie crust with one layer of tomatoes. Mix with equal parts of Mayo, Monterrey Jack and Colby jack , which are mixed well.

Great as alternative food choice for people who do not like the Spanish Foods.

My Optional Garnish: Top it all with chopped fresh Basil and bake until the cheese is bubbly.


Pictures of my Spanish Tapas Demo
Tapas Tasting

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baking while on the road....

So, you think you have it hard trying to figure out how to make a recipe at home. Try it on the road!

While traveling back and forth from Alabama to New Mexico and back again, I have found a few shortcuts to cooking on the road. First of all, when you are literally traveling or caravaning with significant other, dogs and at times kids in a truck full of your basic necessitites you learn to streamline. Choices are limited by how much you can carry in your vehicle, cooler, how good your memory may be to make recipes on the road. The there is the limitation of making food with very few ingredients and tools. If you love to camp, you may have already conquered these obstacles. But for some of us who are used to the creature comforts of home -- it can be daunting. Lets throw in the limited mobility of your significant other (might have broken a bone - as my husband did and was on crutches) or perhaps the transmission went out and your are crammed into a Penske truck with your dogs and your husband and your mobile belongings (lets say home lies about 16 hours away, which it did). My significant other was a little too enthusiastic about moving a 200+ lbs table by himself, he dropped it on his foot and is in hard cast for 6 weeks - only 4 to go. Kill me now!

The scenario is set.

You have room in your cooler for the basic sandwich suppplies and some sandwich veggies, have a tote bag full of fruit, paper goods, plastic ware and some snack foods like nuts, seeds, cookies and so forth. You have checked into a place which allows pets (we have two small dogs). How can you avoid days and weeks of eating hamburgers, McDonalds, Wendys and other fast food including Fried Chicken? It does bad things to your wallet, your waistline and your cash/bank account. After all, we are feeding our cars gas too and that costs Big money!

If, you are fortunate enough to have a kitchenette in your room, you can bake a few things. Use flour tortillas to make a mexican pizza - Toast the tortilla in the oven or in a skillet ( if you have one), then add thin sliced tomatoes and top with grated cheddar cheese. Delicious! Alternatively add Shredded Cheese and Beans (Get those instant dehydrated beans and reconstitute with water microwaving for 5 minutes), warm the taco in the microwave, skillet or oven. Easy Tacos on the road.

Save those extra tacos (wrap in plastic wrap) for breakfast in the morning (love those Reynolds Wrappers)- when you are on the road it makes travelling easier and faster. Those Reynolds Wrappers are also a find (use to line a baking sheet or if you have no baking sheet! Go to the local dollar store and get a pack, along with Sandwich and gallon zip lock bags and water (12 bottles for a buck) - you can't go wrong for a buck apiece!

Biscuits are wonderful too, get a bag of Grands frozen biscuits and bake them all at one time according to the directions. Store remainer in the Fridge, remove as needed. Or, you can store in the cooler in bags (two in each - you can use them as needed). There are also great buys in the breakfast meat section. Have you ever tried Turkey Sausage? They make great breakfast sandwiches at home (add cheese and an egg for extra protein) or on the road.

But the most helpful things I have found are:   Frozen Pie crusts!

You can make a quick empanada (hand held pie) out of anything - think past the apple pie - have sliced meats for sandwiches? Take out that ham and cheese and make some hand pies (add cold cuts, and cheese and bake in the oven till golden brown; or add beans and cheese as a filling, bake in the oven until golden brown at 350 degrees.

Yes, I carry extra pieces of Parchment paper for traveling. Not sure about those cooke sheets which we encounter on the road. Call me paranoid!


Have you tried tomato pie? You are in for a treat - tastes delicious.

Tomato Pie

1 large Roma Tomato
1/2 cup salad dressing
1 pie crust baked
1/2 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thinly slice a large roma tomato (from your sandwich making ingredients), add 1/2 cup of salad dressing (balsamic or italian work great), marinate the tomatoes in the dressing for 30 minutes in fridge. You can use the dressing later for your salad afterwards (I buy spinach, cucumbers and carrot sticks). Using a bakign sheet or pie tin (if you have one), lay out a pie crust and prick well then bake. When the crust is browned and cooled then remove the tomatoes from the marinade, set aside the marinade and place tomatoes in the bottom of the pan. Add cheeses to the mayonaise and mix well. gently spread the cheese mixture over the pie. Bake until bubly and golden brown.  Makes six servings.