Category Archives: Cooking

From the Kitchens of Seville cookbook

From the Kitchens of Seville cookbook

I went to Half Price Books here in town and found an copy of From the Kitchens of Seville. I was intrigued because of the subheading “Visiting Spain though authentic recipes” and the fact that the book was a compilation of recipes that the author gathered from Sevillano families and friends while she stayed in Andalucia. The copy I bought was published in 2004, but the latest edition of the book has been revised and some new recipes added since then.

From the Kitchens of Seville

This is what my copy looks like… it’s an oldie.

I wanted to make something simple and light, and a recipe for Puré de Calabacín caught my eye. It called for a couple of wedges of La Vache Qui Rit cheese, but I didn’t have that, so I just used an ounce of cream cheese instead. Keep in mind that’s really the only thing I measured. Here are the ingredients.

Puré de Calabacín ingredients

Seriously. That’s it.

Here is the recipe as it was written in the book.

Puré de Calabacín

2 lg. zucchini

1 med potato, peeled

salt to taste

2 pkts triangular foil wrapped soft white cheese

garnishes: hard boiled egg slices, croutons, cured ham bits

Boil zucchini and potato in salted water until soft. Remove from water and purée in blender, adding cheese. Reheat if necessary. Top with preferred garnishes. Serves 2-4

 

As I said, I didn’t measure anything. I just grabbed a couple of zucchini I had, and grabbed some red potatoes. It was super easy to purée using a hand blender after I poured the water out of the cooking pot. The cream cheese made it creamy and the potato made it thick and hearty. You might think it would be bland, but it was quite tasty!

Puré de Calabacín

Puré de Calabacín

This can be something easy to whip up if we find zucchini (calabacín) at the weekly market while we are at The Casa. If only I had some crusty bread and jamón…

Salmorejo and pizza

Salmorejo and pizza

I recently started following a great blog which is written by a lady from the UK who has been living in Andalucia for a while now. She includes such tasty looking recipes that I decided to try a couple out for lunch today. Since it’s been so blasted hot here in Texas, it seemed that a veggie pizza and a bowl of salmorejo would be perfect!

Salmorejo is similar to gazpacho in that it is a cold vegetable soup. I wasn’t fully sure what the differences were, so I had to refer to my good pal “Wikipedia” and some other web sites to find out. It turns out that salmorejo contains tomato, bread, olive oil, and vinegar, but gazpacho tends to include green peppers and cucumber as well.

It was a breeze to make! I followed her recipe exactly. You can find her recipe here. I blended it up in my blender and then chilled it in the freezer for a few minutes while the pizza was getting put together and baking. Here is the final product. I would have liked to have garnished it with some boiled egg pieces and maybe some croutons, but this was spur of the moment and I didn’t think about boiling an egg. Next time!

Salmorejo

Refreshing salmorejo

The second part of lunch was also one of Chica Andaluza’s recipes (Garden Vegetable Pizza with Blue Cheese), but I adapted it a tad. This was a “white pizza” (no tomato sauce) topped with fresh vegetables. I used my own pizza dough recipe which I make on the dough cycle in the bread maker. We like a fluffier pizza dough and this one is very simple to throw together.

Mama Mia Pizza Dough ingredients

Mama Mia!

Mama Mia Pizza Dough

1 1/2 tsp yeast

2 1/2 – 3 cups  bread flour

3 tsp butter flavor sprinkles

1/4 tsp (or more!) garlic powder

2 T olive oil

2 T honey

1 cup warm beer

Follow the instruction for your bread maker and prepare the dough on the dough cycle. Watch as it is mixing to decide if you need to add more than 2 1/2 cups of flour. (Sometimes humidity comes in to play and you need to add more.) When the dough cycle is complete, Flatten into pizza shape, place on baking stone or cooking sheet that is covered with cornmeal, prick dough with fork, brush with some olive oil, and let rise for 15 minutes in warm place. Top with toppings and bake for 7-10 minutes in 550 degree oven.

 

 

I followed her topping recipe except I also used some red bell pepper to top the pizza, since I had it handy from the salmorejo. And unfortunately I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand. But it turned out super! I recommend you try it yourself as a nice, light summertime meal!

Pizza toppings

Toppings

Pizza

A great summer pizza!

Getting a paella pan

Getting a paella pan

I had been using a large low roasting pan to make paella, and thought that I really should get an actual pan that was meant for cooking paella. I found out that World Market carried a “paella kit” which included a 34 cm pan, olive oil, seasoning, and rice. The hardest thing seems to be finding the right kind of rice for the paella, so I was interested to see how this would turn out. I wasn’t too hyped up on using the seasoning packet, but I figured we’d give it a try.

El Avion paella seasoning

Seasoning that came in “the kit.”

In the end, the paella was quite tasty! Still we have the issue of the rice not cooking well on the sides, but here is the finished paella:

Paella from El Avion kit

Tasty Paella!

 

Paella

Paella

During this time of waiting and waiting, we decided to try our hand at some paella making.

Homemade Paella

Our first try at paella!

We went to Half Price Books and picked up a copy of Perfect Spanish, a great cookbook. I love cookbooks that have pictures of each recipe because you can look through it and salivate over the possible meal-to-be. This particular paella recipe was one of several that we could have chosen from, and was called Outdoor Paella. We did not, however, make it outdoors, nor did we have an actual paella pan, but we made it in a large, shallow, circular roasting pan. It turned out quite tasty!

Outdoor Paella

serves 4 to 6

5 1/4 cups fish stock or water

12 large raw shrimp in their shells

1/2 tsp saffron threads

2 Tbsp hot water

3 1/2 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ pieces

3 1/2 oz pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2″ pieces

3 Tbsp olive oil

3 1/2 oz Spanish chorizo, casings removed, cut into 1/2″ slices

1 large red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1 red bell pepper AND 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

generous 1 1/2 cups medium grain paella rice

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

salt and pepper

1 lemon AND 1 lime cut into wedges, to serve

1. Put the stock in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. Let the stock simmer. Put the saffron threads and water in a bowl and let infuse.

2. Season the chicken breast and pork to taste. Heat the oil in a paella pan and cook the chicken, pork, and chorizo over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, and saffron and its soaking liquid, and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the bell peppers and tomato halves and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

3. Add the rice and herbs and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute to coat. Pour in about  5 cups of the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Do not stir during cooking, but shake the pan once or twice and when adding ingredients. Season to taste and cook 10 minutes more, or until rice grains are plump and almost cooked. Add a little more stock if necessary. dd the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more.

4. When all the liquid has been absorbed and you detect a faint toasty aroma coming from the rice, remove from the heat immediately. Cover with a foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with the lemon and lime wedges.

*We had a tough time getting the rice on the edges of the pan to cook. It was as if our pan was too large for the burner. Maybe getting an actual paella pan would make a difference, but we were cooking on the largest burner of the stove, and it seems like a paella pan would also be too large for the burner. Short of getting an actual outdoor paella burner (I’ve seen a cool one at La Tienda online) we will have to do some more experimenting.