Tapas

Tapas party! All muy yummy. The José Andres recipes are shockingly easy and very quick. Excited to try more.

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Some tried and true…

Manchego-Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Bacon (Epicurious)

Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas] (Smitten Kitchen)

Potato Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas) (Smitten Kitchen)

…and some new.

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Sautéed green beans with garlic and Spanish ham (José Andres)

Spanish cured ham, such as jamón serrano and the prized, luxurious jamón ibérico, impart a wonderful flavor to all kinds of vegetables. This dish works well with snap peas, broccoli and leafy greens.

Yield: Serves 4

6 ounces fresh green beans
2 ounces Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
4 thin slices jamon serrano (Spanish cured ham)

Cut the green beans in half, slicing them on a diagonal.
Put the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan, then heat over medium heat until the garlic begins to turn light golden. Increase the heat to medium and add the green beans. Do not stir the green beans, you want them to sear on one side. Allow the beans to cook until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Season to taste with salt.

Remove the pan from the heat. Shred the pieces of jamon into large slices with your hands. Toss them with the green beans and serve.

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Traditional garlic shrimp (José Andres)

This is the ultimate tapa – there is no other dish with greater simplicity, speed of cooking, or reward for your taste buds. Be sure to include a lot of bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Serves 4
4 tablespoons of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
20 large shrimps (about 1 pound)
1 guindilla chili pepper (or your favorite dried chili pepper)
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste

In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-to-high flame. Sauté the garlic cloves until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp along with the chili pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn over the shrimp and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour in the brandy and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with the parsley, add salt to taste, and serve.

José’s tips
This tapa depends on great shrimp. You can use previously frozen shrimp, if that’s all that is available. But if you’re able to find fresh shrimp from North Carolina or the Gulf of Mexico, or even the small red Maine shrimp that are available for a short time around January, you’ll make a dish you’ll never forget.

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And one more just for me, devoured with leftovers. (The attractive nuisance doesn’t even know about this one. Until now.) If you don’t make this, you’re crazy.

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Tomato toast with Manchego (José Andres)

This classic Catalan pan con tomate can be topped with Spanish ham, anchovies, and a variety of cheeses, just be sure to use a great Spanish olive oil for drizzling

Yield: Serves 2 – 4

4 slices rustic sourdough bread
2 ripe tomatoes
Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
3 ounces Manchego cheese, sliced

Toast the bread. Cut the tomatoes in half and rub the open face of the tomatoes into the bread slices until the flesh is gone. Discard the skins.

Drizzle the tomato toasts liberally with olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Lay slices of the cheese on top of the toasts and drizzle with more olive oil.

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Finally, one last dish from a few nights later (that’s right… the future!). I didn’t have sweet dessert wine, so I used regular ol’ red wine. I imagine it would be better to follow the recipe to the letter, but this was still tasty. Trust José, not me.

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Cauliflower with olives and dates (José Andres)

This is a quick and simple tapa that mixes sweet and savory. But the key ingredient here is the pimentón, Spain’s sweet smoked paprika. This amazing seasoning should always be in your pantry.

Yields: 4 servings

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces (1/2 pound) cauliflower, broken into pieces
3 sprigs fresh thyme
8 dates, cut into quarters
8 cured black olives
8 green olives
¼ cup sweet dessert white wine, such as Pedro Ximenez
2 teaspoons pimentón

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and thyme and cook until the cauliflower is brown and caramelized, about 8 minutes. Add the dates and olives and cook for about 1 more minute, until they are heated through. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, allowing the alcohol to burn off. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle with pimentón.

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Diagnosis: Kale addiction

I’ve tried making kale chips before but that was long ago, before we became obsessed with kale. Now I can confess that these are pretty darn addictive. Also nice sprinkled over popcorn.

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Baked Kale Chips (Smitten Kitchen)

Adapted from a bunch of inspiring places

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale (I used Lacinato or “Dinosaur” Kale but I understand that the curlier stuff works, too, possibly even better)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet (I needed two because mine are tiny; I also lined mine with parchment for easy clean-up but there’s no reason that you must). Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.

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Kale-Dusted Popcorn

If you’re making the chips with the intention to grind them up for popcorn, I’d use less oil — perhaps half — so they grind without the “powder” clumping. I ground a handful of my chips (about half) in a mortar and pestle (well, actually the “pestle” was MIA so I used the handle of an OXO reamer, not that anyone asked) and sprinkled it over popcorn (1/4 cup popcorn kernels I’d cooked in a covered pot with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium heat, shaking it about with potholders frequently). I seasoned the popcorn with salt. I liked this snack, but I think Parmesan and Kale-Dusted Popcorn would be even more delicious. Next time!

Just in case you need it:

How to Pop Popcorn on the Stove (The Kitchn)

Ingredients
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Equipment
Heavy-bottomed pot with lid

Instructions

1. Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat.

2. Add three kernels.

3. When one or more of the kernels pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels and cover.

4. Gently shake the pot over the heat source to prevent the kernels from burning.

5. Continue shaking until most kernels have popped and you can’t hear many moving against the bottom of the pan.

6. Turn off the heat and continue to shake – a few stragglers will pop. Hold the lid over the pot for a few seconds in case of a last minute pop (which will send many more popped kernels flying across your kitchen).

7. Remove lid and enjoy!

Goat cheese – check!

The attractive nuisance not only tolerated goat cheese, he actually liked it! Yay for me! Thanks to the bro and sis-in-law for introducing me to this easy and delicious recipe by everyone’s favorite, Smitten Kitchen.

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Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta (Smitten Kitchen)

Adapted from Bon Appetit

As it turns out, goat cheese makes a really great quick, creamy pasta sauce. And whether you blanche your pasta with asparagus or you swap in fava beans or string beans or seriously, you name it, this comes together so quickly that I forgave it for not winning any beauty contests.

Serves 6

1 pound spiral-shaped pasta
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

Cook your pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another two to three minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple slashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season genersously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick. (We did.)

Genius

I know some people think Thomas Edison was a genius. But did he invent S’more Pie?! Gadzooks! The hardest thing about this is being patient while each component cools.

This genius was so busy eating, she forgot to take a picture of the end result. The broiler action is key to s’moring up the pie. Guess you have to make it yourself to see. (You should.) (Now.)

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S’more Pie (Smitten Kitchen)
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2006

Don’t be daunted by the number of steps in this pie–it is surprisingly simple to make, yes, even the marshmallows.

The biggest trick with the marshmallows is how messy they are. You’ll be tempted to break a strand of marshmallow between the bowl and your pie with your finger, it will then stick to your finger and you’ll use another finger to clean that one off and end up with sticky cobweb hands and strings of marshmallow everywhere, so don’t do it–use another spatula instead. Trust me, this has happened to me each time.

Of course, you could take a lot of shortcuts. You could buy an already-prepped graham cracker crust and/or you could line the chocolate layer with store-bought marshmallows and toast them instead. But then how would you play “Look! I’ve Got Spiderman Hands!” in the kitchen?

For crust
5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 24 small gingersnaps; about 6 oz, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (omitted if you use salted butter)

For chocolate cream filling
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not more than 70% cacao; not unsweetened), finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes

For marshmallow topping
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vegetable oil for greasing

Special equipment: a candy thermometer

Make graham cracker crust: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter pie 9- to 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

Make chocolate cream filling: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put chocolate in a large bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust (crust will be about half full).

Cover edge of pie with a pie shield or foil and bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools), about 1 hour.

Make marshmallow topping: Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a large deep heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about 1 minute.

Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water in cleaned 1- to 1 1/4-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260°F, about 6 minutes.

Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream, beating (avoid beaters and side of bowl). When all of syrup is added, increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined, then immediately spoon topping onto center of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill, uncovered, 1 hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and chill 3 hours more.

Brown topping: Preheat broiler. Transfer pie to a baking sheet. Cover edge of pie with pie shield or foil and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat, rotating pie as necessary, until marshmallow topping is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Cool pie on a rack 10 minutes. Slice pie with a large heavy knife dipped in hot water and then dried with a towel before cutting each slice.

[Alternately: I browned the topping with a creme brulee torch. It took some time and didn’t get as brown as I think it would have under the broiler (the pie was still cold, and hard to heat up with a small flame) but it does work in a pinch, or when you’re away from the oven.]

Note: Pie (before browning topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.

Bizarro Tortfeeder

The tortfeeder goes to work. The attractive nuisance cooks dinner! (And does the dishes!) Bizarro!

*Note from future me: you might need to add more broth to get the consistency right. And that’s okay.

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Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame (Smitten Kitchen)

Usually, recipe writers urge you to season food throughout, building layers of flavor. Here, don’t. The miso we add at the end is very salty and it’s safest to decide how much seasoning your soup needs after that.

Note: This soup is “gluten-free” with a large caveat, and that is that most miso is in part from barley and is not gluten-free. You will need to seek out a miso brand — such as this shiro miso from Eden — that is clearly marked as such for it to be good to go.

New to miso? This here is a fantastic primer.

Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger, or more to taste (it could easily be doubled)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste

To finish
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, very thinly sliced

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth and ginger. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of sesame oil and small mound of scallions.

Pickled scallions? I didn’t do this in the end, but was tempted to lightly pickled the scallions by letting them hang out in a mixture of 6 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt (I use Diamond brand, use less if you’re using Morton or another, which are more dense) and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar for a while before using them as garnish.

Galette

I’m not sure I really knew what a galette was before today, but I did know I had to make it.

A few things. First, this smelled outrageously good. Second, it tasted amazing. Third, so that’s what a galette is. Nice.

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Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette (from Smitten Kitchen)

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves

1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

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Plus, here’s our new favorite salad dressing, courtesy of Nancy Silverton from her “master class” on salads in the LA Times:

Sherry vinaigrette

2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons Spanish sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the shallots, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if desired. This makes about one-third cup vinaigrette, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. Use the vinaigrette or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Rain

Rainy day eats. (Well, half a day of rain.) Plan was to make soup. Until I realized we needed mac and cheese. So I made both. Please note the green on the plate. We’re not total pigs.

Quick tip on the soup: rather than adding the spinach to the entire pot of soup, add some to the batch you’re about to eat right before you dig in. Old wilty spinach doesn’t taste nearly as good as fresh wilty spinach.

And I made half the batch of mac and cheese. Still a lot.

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Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup (from Smitten Kitchen)
Bon Appetit, October 2007

We ended up using spicy chorizo (yee-ouch!) but it played off the sweet potatoes perfectly, saving me from death by cayenne.

Gourmet note: This hearty soup gets rich flavor from linguica, a delicious pork sausage from Portugal seasoned with garlic, paprika, and other spices.

Makes 8 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Spanish chorizo can be substituted)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. (I poured off some of the oil in the pot at this point, but the original recipe doesn’t think this is needed.) Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.

Other options to consider: Kielbasa (suggested by commenter Wendy) instead of chorizo/linguica, adding a can or two of drained white beans or using more spinach. I love spinach wilted in soups and could have used even more.

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Mac-and-Cheese (from Smitten Kitchen)
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics

Now, please be warned, this makes a ton-a mac-and-cheese. Not interested in going on an all-mac, all-the-time diet this week, but wishing to try the recipe at last, I halved it and guess what? We still had three dinner’s worth of mac-and-cheese, or a full six servings. Which is, of course, what the recipe said it would make if halved, but I was in denial.

This is particularly delicious with a big, crunchy salad and a steamed vegetable, like green beans or broccoli.

Serves 12

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.

2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.

5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (though we needed a bit more time to get it brown, but your oven may vary). Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.