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August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - EGGS, MILK, CHEESE, BEANS, POTATOES, RICE, PASTA, VEGETABLES

Just looked it up. I'll have to try it. I'll add rosemary and do it on the grill. I notice his recipe calls for grilled artichokes from a jar in oil, and that's something I've been buying a lot lately. I've kind of become addicted to them.

Aug 27, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - EGGS, MILK, CHEESE, BEANS, POTATOES, RICE, PASTA, VEGETABLES

PAELLA VALENCIANA - p. 343 in TNST, p. 174 in MKIS (my vegetarian version)

How is it that no one has made a paella Valenciana yet? I have to say that I haven't really made one either, as I took great liberties with the dish. But I'm not letting that stop me from writing it up. I looked at the recipes in both of our COTM's while making the paella, which is why I include both sources above.

The TNST recipe is started on the stove and finished in the oven, while the MKIS recipe is cooked entirely on the stovetop. I wanted to cook my paella on the grill, so I knew I'd have to adapt a bit. Also, Mr. MM and I no longer eat meat, so I wanted a vegetarian paella. Neither book had such a thing, but reading through the paella Valenciana recipes, I realized it would be pretty simple to adapt by just leaving out the meat (chicken, rabbit, and snails in the MKIS recipe; pork in the TNST recipe).

So here's what I did: I lit my Big Green Egg, got it up to about 500 degrees, and threw on some soaked applewood chunks. I put the pan on the grill, let it heat up, added olive oil, then added green beans (mine were skinny, not broad as called for, because that's what came in my CSA box). Sautéed those for a bit, then added thawed lima beans, artichoke hearts (from a jar, packed in oil), garlic, and two grated tomatoes. Some pimentón and cayenne went in, and everything was sautéed for a couple minutes. Then I put in rice (I used arborio, which had been well washed and then completely drained), and stirred that for a bit, along with some salt and pepper. To this I added some broth, which I'd previously brought to a simmer with some pulverized saffron in it. 6 cups broth for 2 cups rice. On top, I threw a few rosemary sprigs. These are called for in the MKIS recipe, and I always use them in paella. I learned in The Heritage of Spanish Cooking that the snails add a rosemary flavor to paella, so if you aren't using them, adding rosemary can help replicate the flavor. I also put some strips of roasted bell pepper on top. Then I closed the lid, stabilized the BGE temp at around 425, and let the rice cook for 20 minutes.

And it just worked out that at the end of that 20 minutes, the rice was perfectly cooked, the vegetables were tender, and the whole dish was infused with a subtle smoke flavor. Delicious. Next time, I'll use whole dried ñora chiles as called for in TNST. I have them in the pantry, but just went the easier route with the ground pimentón. And after cooking it on the BGE, I don't think I'll ever cook paella on the stove or in the oven again.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Nice to know I'm not the only one!!!!

Aug 26, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

August 2012 Cookbook of the Month, Planet Barbecue: Poultry, Fish, Shellfish, Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

I'm with you on the Aleppo pepper. A mild heat to it is what I've found. It's a nice flavor, but somewhat less hot than your standard supermarket red chile flakes.

Aug 25, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Are those quail eggs in the photo?

Aug 22, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

September 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

We DID have a companion thread that was "all Spanish books" in May, 2012, when Roden's The Food of Spain and Clark & Clark's Moro were COTM. We've had some amazingly broad companion threads over the years.

Cooking from Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbooks

OK, I don't have an electric PC (yet!), although I'm toying with the idea of getting one, and have certainly enjoyed following this thread and hearing what y'all do in your Instant Pots. But I do have a few stovetops (all Fagor, one 8 qt, one 6 qt, and two 4 qt, the latter different shapes). I've had these pressure cookers for 8 years, but tonight I finally got around to making risotto in one of the 4 qt cookers. A friend has been telling me for years how he likes to make risotto in a pressure cooker, and for some reason I just kept on stirring on the stove. No more.

I made the Risotto with Mushrooms from "The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Cookbook" by Tom Lacalamita. The book came out in 1997, and I got it around the same time I got my pressure cookers. I really can't recall what I've made from it, if anything. I bought several books when I got my PCs, but mostly cooked from Lorna Sass's books, then improvised on my own.

The recipe has you sauté onions, add rice, and some soaked, dried porcini mushrooms. I also added sun-dried tomatoes. You add a small amount of white wine, and some stock (I included some mushroom soaking liquid as part of the stock). Put the lid on and bring up to pressure (this is for a stovetop, so 15 psi), and cook for 7 minutes. Do a cold water release. You are then supposed to finish with butter, parmesan, and white pepper. I left out the butter and parmesan, because I wanted a vegan dish. I added grilled artichokes (from a jar, packed in oil) and steamed fresh fava beans.

I was amazed at how well the texture came out. If I were to make the recipe as just a mushroom risotto as written, I'd increase the amount of mushrooms. But with the extra add-ins that I used, it was perfect. I see no reason to spend 45 minutes standing over a hot stove stirring. Can't believe I waited so long to do risotto in the PC!

Aug 17, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM Announcement: THE NEW SPANISH TABLE and MY KITCHEN IN SPAIN

Let's see... the Paella Valenciana, Rice with Salt Cod and Spinach, Leek and Salt Cod Soup... I think there were other rice dishes I made, and some more salt cod.

Aug 13, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2015

I've got three Harumi books, and I really like them. I would suggest "Everyday Harumi" as a place to start. She wrote that book in the UK, and it is more geared towards an international audience. And yet, the recipes are less "fusiony" than in her previous books that were aimed at a Japanese audience. It's also very well-produced with lovely photos of each dish.

September 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

Don't you think that's too many books to deal with for a COTM?

Aug 12, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

'Bespoke Water' Video Pokes Fun At Earnest Artisanal Food Makers

Really. That was hilarious. And sad, in a way, because it's so close to reality.

Aug 10, 2015
MelMM in Food Media & News

September 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

A GRACIOUS PLENTY

I'd like to see this book happen when there is still summer produce around. But it also has plenty to offer our Northern participants who will be moving into fall mode. Like a recipe for making your own Cajun boudin.

September 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

I'll second BARBECUE ADDICTION. I've made a few things out of it, and had excellent results. It has a lot of recipes for vegetables, fruits, cocktails, and the like, so it isn't your typical meat-heavy grilling book.

Aug 10, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

September 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

I think for old-timers already active, the new format will be easier to follow. I'm just not sure how to guide newcomers to the COTM threads.

Aug 10, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

September 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

Thank you, Herby, for stepping up and taking over as COTM coordinator.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

Commercial flash-freezing produces better quality than freezing at home, because the commercial freezers are colder and the fish freezes faster, which causes fewer large ice crystals, and keeps the texture of the fish intact. Also, home freezers are not cold enough to kill parasites. Since the infection rate of wild salmon in the PNW with anisakis (a roundworm) is close to 100%, this is important, especially if you are going to serve it medium rare or as gravlax. ALL salmon used for sushi in the US must be frozen at temps below what a home freezer can achieve, and there's a really good reason for this. And frankly, the consumer cannot tell the
difference.

This is rather sensational, but demonstrates the point. The leftover sea bass mentioned in the article was COOKED! But you have to cook fish to 145 to kill the worms, and almost no one does that. The article does point out that anisakis infection in the US is not that common, but I think most of it goes unreported, or is misdiagnosed as something else (it has been misdiagnosed as stomach cancer), and also we have regulations for processors of commercial products and restaurants that protect us. But with everyone wanting wild salmon now, and home cooks increasingly cooking their fish medium-rare or making gravlax or cold-smoked salmon at home, we're going to see a lot more of it.
http://munchies.vice.com/articles/alm...

I used to sport fish in the Gulf of Mexico a fair bit, and would freeze my catch at home, vacuum sealed. The quality was not as good as commercial frozen, except for the bit of magical thinking that occurs in one's head where you think if you caught it/made it/built it or whatever, it's better (a phenomenon well-documented by those studying behavioral economics).

Aug 10, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
2

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

My mother was known to jump up midway through Thanksgiving dinner and shout, "The rolls!!!!!". They'd be keeping warm in the oven, out of sight, out of mind, while the rest of the dinner got set out.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

That sounds like a very interesting technique, with the salt and egg white.

Aug 08, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2015

I've had a Benriner spiral slicer for a long time - longer than I care to admit - and I should use it more. Lately they seem to have become a "thing", I guess due mostly to paleo, low carb, and raw food types. Anyway, if you start a thread, I'll join in.

Aug 07, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

ANDALUSIAN POTATO SALAD – p. 115, TNST

Finally got around to this. Despite what I said upthread about the cooking method, I went ahead and used the method in the recipe. My potatoes were small, so that helped, but I would not use this method again. The recipe also has you mash the potatoes a bit with the other ingredients when you combine them and add the dressing, and I have to say that I'm not in love with the resulting texture. BC notes that she reduced the acid. I did not, and I did find the potato salad to be a bit over-dressed as written. We like this potato salad, but it's not going on my top ten list by any means. There is a "Spanish Potato Salad" in Isabel's Cantina which might be a lot less authentic, but is more enjoyable to my palate, and also a prettier presentation. As for this version, I might riff on it with a different cooking method for the potatoes, and less dressing, but I won't make it as written.

Aug 06, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

SEVILLAN MARINATED CARROTS - p. 22, TNST

I had quite a few young, skinny carrots from my CSA that needed using up, and this tapa appealed to me. The recipe calls for fatter carrots, so I made up for that by changing the cutting technique, and instead of cutting into coins as called for, I did a roll cut that yielded wedge-shaped chunks. My carrots were also not all orange, but a combo of orange, yellow, and white. Sue me. I don't think this matters much in the finished dish.

The carrots are supposed to be boiled before cutting, but I failed to follow instructions and had already cut them before I noticed this. So I just reduced the boiling time a little. The marinade is olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley, cumin, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and salt. The oregano called for is dried, but I used fresh from my garden, and increased the volume to account for that.

This makes an excellent carrot salad. The flavors are strong, so it's great as a tapa, rather than a side dish. Very herbal, very garlicky, and a good hit of heat from the pepper flakes.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

TANGERINE-MARINATED OLIVES - p. 22, TNST

I like olives. No, I love them. But recipes for olives marinated in this or that rarely thrill me. This is the exception. Maybe I was exceptionally hungry, but I doubt that's it. These olives are just amazingly good.

The recipe calls for cracked green olives. I found myself staring at the olive bar at a local market, looking at green olives stuffed with blue cheese, garlic, orange peel... green olives from Peru stuffed with aji pepper. Green olives marinated in herbs, in mustard seeds, in red chile paste. That's just what I can recall off the top of my head, and barely scratches the surface. What seemed to be in short supply were PLAIN olives! I could do a whole rant on this, or maybe I just did. So I got the only PLAIN green olives there, which were not cracked, and were pitted. They were decent olives, but not spectacular, and I wasn't about to drive all over creation looking for the right olives.

You've got a marinade here of tangerine zest and juice (I used satsumas), garlic (crushed in a press), lemon slices, sherry vinegar, olive oil, bay leaf, and crushed chile pepper (de arbol is recommended, but I see no reason why one couldn't use red chile flakes), and a pinch of cumin. The olives are supposed to marinate overnight at room temp. I started mine in the morning, and let them marinate all day, to serve in the evening.

Damn, these things are good. I had to really restrain myself to keep from reaching into the jar to, ah, test them, while they were marinating. Self-restraint is not my strong suit, and by the time dinner happened, I'd probably eaten half the batch. A day later, I still reek of garlic. And I don't care. While these are definitely garlicky, the tangerine (satsuma) still comes through loud and clear. All the olives are gone now. So sad. I'll definitely pull these out as a party snack in the future.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

It is not only OK, but encouraged. We love having authors comment on our COTM threads, and add whatever advice and encouragement they can. Please feel welcome here.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - EGGS, MILK, CHEESE, BEANS, POTATOES, RICE, PASTA, VEGETABLES

Yellow food coloring? Heavens! It reminds me of a French cookbook I had (notice the past tense here), which was considered a classic, but called for red and blue food coloring in the boeuf bourguignon.

Aug 04, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

I think I am with you on that comparative assessment. This was similar to the MH samfaina, but not cooked as long, not as sweet, and not quite as amazing. But still very enjoyable and yet another argument for long-cooked vegetables.

Aug 03, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

ZUCCHINI, BELL PEPPER, AND ONION JAM (PISTO) - p. 29, TNST

This recipe was perfect for my CSA box. It is reminiscent of samfaina, which I fell in love with back when The Mediterranean Harvest was COTM. A long, slow cook seemed like a good way to get the most flavor out of some of the vegetables in my box that were less than ideal. I had an oversized squash which I used in place of the two zucchini called for in this recipe. I had the red bell pepper, and I used a purple bell pepper in place of the green called for (the flavor is similar, and if anything, the purple ones taste worse - I don't know why people grow them, and my CSA seems inordinately fond of them).

For the recipe, onion gets sautéed, then the squash, pepper, and garlic are added and cooked until soft. Some grated ripe tomatoes then go in, and the whole thing cooks for a long, long time until it's mush. The pisto gets seasoned with vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper, and is served at room temperature. I served it as a spread on toast points.

The long cooking worked it's magic on the vegetables, making them very sweet and intensely flavored. The spread was delicious. I'm thrilled to have made another dent in my CSA box and found a way to make some of the veggies I was less than thrilled about taste fantastic. A big win!

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

CRISP POTATOES WITH SPICY TOMATO SAUCE (PATATAS BRAVAS) - p. 69, TNST

This is one of my favorite tapas, and the picture in TNST just drew me right to it. Ms. von Bremzen uses small red-skinned potatoes in her version, which she boils then tosses with olive oil and salt, and crisps in a 475 degree oven. I used even smaller purple potatoes, because that's what I had from my CSA, and followed her technique but shortened the cooking time a bit because mine were so small.

To go with the potatoes, you have the spicy tomato sauce on p. 71. Onion and garlic are sautéed, then seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. A can of tomatoes gets added, along with some water, and this sauce gets cooked down for about 20 minutes. The sauce is then seasoned with white vinegar, sugar, salt, and Tabasco (I used another brand). She doesn't say how much hot sauce to put in there, but I was pretty liberal with it. The sauce gets puréed in a blender, and then the seasoning is adjusted. The sauce is served at room temperature.

The other accompaniment to the potatoes is an allioli - she says to use any of the ones on pp. 44-45, and I took the easy route and made the "Mock Allioli" on p. 45. This one starts with storebought mayonnaise (I used Just Mayo), and you simply whisk in some garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. The allioli is supposed to be thinned with a bit of water before serving with the potatoes, but I overlooked that step.

This tapa did not disappoint! You've got a nice contrast between the spicy and acidic tomato sauce and the rich and garlicky allioli. The boil-then-bake technique for the potatoes worked great, and they had a nice crisp crust. The dish would probably be even better made with a waxier potato, and certainly prettier with a lighter colored potato, but we thoroughly enjoyed this version.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Roll out those lazy crazy days of summer, July 2015 edition! [old]

Today on Bookgorilla there was African Cooking 101 (for beginners) for a whopping $0. Needless to say, I bit. Haven't looked at it yet, but African cookbooks are hard enough to come by that I'm willing to consider any that come along. For free? Why on earth not?

Aug 01, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Hadn't noticed this recipe yet, but it's now on my to-do list. I find cooking the potatoes in heavily salted water gives a better texture, and pressure cooking also does the same. I'll do one of those techniques for this recipe. Heck, I wish I'd seen this earlier, because it would have been a heckuva lot easier and faster than the patatas bravas I'm making tonight.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

I'd be happy to scan those pages for you and email them to you. After all, you own the book, you should have all the pages.

Aug 01, 2015
MelMM in Home Cooking
1