Tortilla Española

Tortilla Espanola

I recently returned from a trip to Spain – Barcelona, Valencia and Seville, to be exact.  The trip was incredible for many reasons, but one of my all-time favorite things about traveling is getting to experience the cuisine of different cultures.   Ham, wine, cheese, croquettes, patatas bravas – Spain did not disappoint.

The thing I consistently loved ordering for breakfast, and really at any time of the day, was what they call “tortilla”.  This is not like what we think of in the United States as something you wrap a burrito up with; it’s really more like a Spanish omelette or frittata.

TE 7

It’s very simple, straight-forward ingredients – just potato, onion and eggs, really.  But because of the ratios and the way it’s cooked, it has this very unique texture that’s both dense and fluffy at the same time.  It’s the thing I  I enjoy the most about it.  A lot of times eggs can get a rubbery or dry texture if they are cooked to quickly, and this is anything but that.

TE 6

Most recipes are pretty standard, but I used this recipe from Epicurious.  You start by simmering the potatoes and onions in olive oil (like a grip ton of it) so that they soften – not brown – and then you stir them into the eggs before dumping everything back in the pan to set and cook.  It is a little bit of a time investment since you have to cook everything at a medium to low temperature, but it’s worth the wait.  And it serves 6-8, so it’s a great brunch dish when having guests over.  Just slice that bad boy up, serve and wait for the compliments to roll in.

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Espanola

What are some of your favorite Spanish dishes?

 

Fresh Herb Potato Salad with Peas

Herbed Potato Salad

Growing up, the only potato salad I ever really knew was the pre-packaged stuff from the grocery store – you know, the thick, sour, lumpy yellow mush that you could no longer even recognize as potatoes?  No wonder I never liked it as a kid.

Potato Salad Ingredients

But I do love potatoes!  I wanted to tweak this popular summer side dish to bring for a BBQ I was invited to over the weekend for Memorial Day.

Potato Salad 012

The first thing I did?  Scrap the mayo.  Don’t get my wrong, I actually really love a homemade mayo/aioli, but I also didn’t want it masking the star ingredient in this recipe.  Plus super hot weather and things covered in mayo?  Pass.

Potato Salad

What I whipped up instead was a bright, tangy dressing using lemon zest and juice, whole grain Dijon mustard, olive oil and a little butter for some richness.  Once the potatoes were coated, I threw in huge handfuls of dill, parsley and chives for a good dose of freshness, and also some green peas because I had some lying around and like, why not?

Potato Salad 015 Continue reading

Orange Glazed Carrot Ribbons with Pistachio-Mint Pesto

Glazed Carrots witih Pistachio-Mint Pesto

In the past, I’ve played around with making raw carrot ribbon salads, especially when colorful heirloom carrots are around, but I wanted to try something a little different that varied in texture and packed a lot of flavor. By those measures, this recipe is a success.

Ingredients

Instead of leaving the carrots raw like I would usually prepare them, I lightly cooked and glazed them so that they became soft, pasta like ribbons.   And while traditional pesto would have worked fine, I chose pistachios, which like carrots have a natural sweetness to them, and mint because I love it and it’s a nice departure from basil, especially in spring.

Carrot Salad Prep

When you take a bite, you are immediately hit with the intense sweetness of the soft carrots followed by the more savory brightness of the crunchy pesto. It makes for lovely weekend lunch or a side dish at dinner.

Carrot Salad with Pesto

The pesto itself can be used in a ton of ways  – with regular pasta, smeared over some crusty crostini, or spooned over grilled meat – I’m planning to use my leftovers as the perfect compliment to some lamb kabobs later this weekend.

Shaved Carrot Salad with Mint Pesto Continue reading

Spring Risotto

I’ve been anxious to start cooking with Spring ingredients despite the weather in New York not getting the memo about the change in season.  I compromised by making a risotto filled with seasonal ingredients like leeks, peas, lemon and fresh herbs.  Risotto is one of those dishes that is so warm and comforting, but by including lots of fresh veggies and lemon juice to cut through some of the richness, it didn’t feel too heavy.  I also figured it was one of the last times I would want to stand over a hot stove for any extended period of time now that it is (slowly) starting to warm up.

Spring Risotto

You can be creative with the veggies you use – artichoke hearts would have also been great.  I love using leeks in this recipe though since the flavor is a little more mellow than onions, and because they are in season, of course.     Continue reading

Blood Orange & Golden Beet Salad

Beet & Blood Orange Salad Ingredients

I recently made the brilliant decision to move to New York during one of their most frigid winters, and while I’m looking forward to spring, I wanted to make a dish that has my favorite winter fruit as the star before they’re out of season: blood oranges.  Pretty much all types of citrus are in season during the winter, but I love the uniqueness the blood orange brings to the table.  For a contrast in color and flavor, I decided to pair them with earthy golden beets.  To round out the texture I also tossed in avocado for creaminess and sunflower seeds for a crunch.

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Instead of a traditional dressing, I simply tossed the mixed greens with really flavorful extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper.  Then after adding all the rest of the ingredients, I drizzled everything with a balsamic reduction for a really sweet, caramelized finish.  Alternatively, you could just as easily reserve some of the juice from the blood oranges and blend with olive oil as well.   Continue reading

Stuffed Acorn Squash

What is it about eating food served in a bowl made out of food that makes it that much more appealing?  My favorite device for doing so is acorn squash.  For one thing, they are just delicious on their own, but the number of different filling combos you can use is endless.  They are great as a main entree or an elevated side dish.  I love to assemble everything on Sunday and then heat and eat throughout the week.

Roasted Squash

This time around, I kept them vegetarian and stuffed them with sauteed leeks, mushrooms, wild rice, walnuts and sage – all topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  You can sub any veggies you like (more on that below), but I like the meaty texture of mushrooms in place of – well, meat.

Stuff Squash Filling

I find these are especially great for entertaining served alongside a simple salad; there is the obvious “wow” factor, but these are perfect for making ahead and then just popping in the oven right before your guests arrive. Imagine that: actually enjoying a drink and some appetizers with your dinner guests instead of frantically flying around the kitchen.

Stuffed Roasted Squash

When serving as a main course, I usually like to include some sort of animal protein (assuming there are no vegetarians in the house).  Below is a great guide to stuffing options and portions as recommended by The Kitchn:

What You Need (makes one squash, serves two)
1 winter squash, like acorn, kabocha, red kuri, sweet dumpling, delicata, spaghetti or any other grapefruit-sized (or slightly larger) squash
2 to 3 cups of filling

General amounts for filling — to equal 2 to 3 cups total:
1/2 to 1 cup protein — sausage, chicken, pork, tempeh, or baked tofu
1 to 2 cups veggies — onions, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, greens
1/2 cup cooked grains and/or nuts — barley, quinoa, millet, farro, rice, walnuts, almonds, pecans
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese
1 to 3 teaspoons herbs or spices

Whatever combo you try, these are sure to be a hit.  Recipe for my stuffed squash after the jump.   Continue reading

Shaved Brussels Sprout & Kale Salad

salad 1

I could eat an entire bowl of Brussels sprouts sauteed with some bacon. Alright fine, I could eat a bowl of just about anything cooked with bacon.  But after the Thanksgiving holiday, I was craving something that would make me feel like I was making amends for all those extra helpings of mashed potatoes.  I decided to shred up some leftover raw Brussels sprouts I had as the base to this very seasonal salad.

Salad ingredients 2

I say seasonal because in addition to kale, I  threw in dried cranberries and chopped walnuts for some texture and finished it with some grated Parmesan for a hit of saltiness.

salad 2

As for the dressing, I kept things simple with an olive oil base, adding lemon for brightness and Dijon mustard for tang.  This salad is so flavorful you won’t even notice there isn’t any bacon. Continue reading