Tag Archives: Spain

Nearly Birthday Musings: Foods You Should Learn in your 20s

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday.

Hell, 10 minutes from now.

I’m not upset about turning 30. Truly. My bff Ally very wisely called your twenties the “middle school” of your life. So I’m excited to see what my thirties will bring. (Although, let’s face it, I was still working out a lot of the kinks in high school, including but not limited to my hair. Bangs were not for me.)

I just happened to be trolling looking on Twitter tonight and saw one of those annoying/clever Buzzfeed lists. You know, lists like: 20 Signs Your Dog is Gay. 10 Signs You Used to Watch Muppet Babies. 253 Signs You Read Too Many Buzzfeed Lists.

But this one was oddly apropos today. 26 Foods You Should Learn to Cook in Your Twenties. So, I decided to click.

I was very pleased to see that I’ve made just about everything on their list. I have never made homemade pancakes (I leave the homemade pancake making to my pal, Sarah, cause she’s got some mad skills). I’ve also never made mussels at home. I love mussels, but they never compare to the first time that I had them. I was on a boat in the north of Spain and the mussels were being pulled out of the ocean and cooked in white wine for us on the boat and we were eating mussels and drinking wine and on the boat and holy shit I sound like such an asshole but I don’t regret those mussels at all maybe I regret telling this story but I’m just going to go with it.

Ahem. Anyway.

I’d like to add a couple things to this list. So without further ado, a few extra items for Buzzfeed’s consideration.

27. A fried egg.

Egg cookery can be tricky. I’d say to make a perfectly cooked fried egg is important to have in your repertoire. Good for breakfast. Clutch for brinner. Always perfect to bring to the party.

28. Chicken Noodle Soup.

Beef stew (#22) is great, but that’s a heavy, cold weather, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish. Chicken soup will soothe your soul (according to the books) and it’s plain delicious. It cannot be beat when you’re sick. It’s also great with a soda on the side.

29. An Entertaining Meal.

This is a meal that you can make when friends come over and people will be impressed. This dish doesn’t have to be gourmet, per say, but it needs to have something special about it. My go-to is Ina Garten’s portabello mushroom lasagna. It’s not a hard dish, but it’s time-intensive and I feel like it shows the people I made it for that I love them. CAUSE I DO.

Fun fact: one time I made this for a dinner party and then dropped it on the floor and had to throw the whole thing out. I laughed a lot and then bought a frozen lasagna for the party. The party was RUINED. (It wasn’t, but it wasn’t quite as delicious.)

30. Your favorite food.

I’ve saved this one for number 30, symbollically, because I have yet to master this. I love fried chicken. It is my favorite food. I’ve only made it once at home and it was ok. This year, I will master some fried chicken.

So, those are my thoughts. My final musings as a 29-year-old.

And those musings are about fried chicken.

I’m not surprised.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tortilla Española: Simple, Spanish, Non-Slutty, Eggy Goodness

I can’t remember the first time I ate tortilla española, but I’m sure it was a life changing experience. So life changing, I cannot remember it.

Boom. Joke landed.

But seriously, folks. Tortilla española. Are you familiar with this Spanish delight? It is the simplest food. Egg. Potato. There’s some salt. A LOT of olive oil. Sometimes, people try to add some other shit in. But I’m a bit of a purist. We’ve got a good thing going, baby. Why fuck mess ruin fuck that up?

Tortilla bella.

Tortilla bella.

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself: Self, what is the difference between this dish, and say, a frittata.

Well, let’s start with the obvious: this one is better.

CALM DOWN. Frittatas are excellent. They’re unbelievably versatile. But, they’re incredibly difficult to spell. So, let’s simplify our lives.

The main difference, based on my one Google search my vast experience and knowledge is that a tortilla española must always have egg + potato as a base. A frittata is egg + anything. Frittatas? Kinda slutty. Butternut squash? Cool. Cheese? Whatever, I’ll try anything. Have some self-respect, frittatas.

Before you think that the tortilla española is boring for being basic, I will repeat the thing I keep repeating on this blog: I don’t know what I’m doing.

Ahem.

I will repeat another thing: the simplest food, when executed well, is the best food.

Believe you me. Though simple, it is not a dish for the timid. It requires some real machismo. Particularly when you get to that ever-dicey flip of the tortilla to cook the uncooked top.

Edges are done. Time to flip.

Edges are done. Time to flip.

Cover that shit up. Don't slide, just flip.

Cover that shit up. Don’t slide, just flip.

You did it. You are the champion!

You did it. You are the champion!

If done without the proper guts, you will wind up with egg and potato on your floor. But if done with just the right amount of courage (liquid or otherwise), you will come up with a dish that frankly, is just divine.

Your trip to Barcelona is just a bite away.

Tortilla Española from Bon Appetit May 2014 issue

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 cups olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes (about ¾ lb.), peeled, cut into ¾” pieces | Yukon Gold work well. Also, I think you could get a little thinner than this. My potatoes were downright chunky.
  • 8 large eggs

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and dark brown, 35–40 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat potatoes and remaining 2 cups oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until oil around potatoes begins to bubble; reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender but have not taken on any color, 10–12 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving oil. Season potatoes with salt and let cool slightly.

Combine eggs, onion, potatoes, and ¼ cup reserved potato cooking oil in a large bowl and gently beat with a fork.

Heat 3 Tbsp. reserved potato cooking oil in a 10” nonstick skillet over medium heat (reserve remaining oil for another use). Add egg mixture and cook, lifting at edge and tilting skillet to let uncooked egg run underneath, until bottom and edge of tortilla are set but center is still wet.

Set a large plate on top of skillet. Swiftly invert tortilla onto plate, then slide back into skillet, cooked side up. Cook until center is just set, about 2 minutes longer. Cut into wedges.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rah Rah, Ardmore RAH!: 10K, 5K or Fun Run for Hunger October 19

This past Saturday, I went to Whole Foods to pick up a piece of salmon and grab lunch. And I saw they had quince paste, which I’d never actually seen outside of Spain. So I bought two containers. And you REALLY can’t have quince paste without queso manchego. So I got some of that. And I needed to pick up some ice cream for my girl’s night I was having a few days later.

So 1 fish filet, 1 cheese wedge, 2 fruit pastes and 4 pints of ice cream later, I make it to the front of the store. Shockingly, I broke nothing. (But I did drop 2 pints of ice cream.)

As I was walking out, I ran into none other than a former work colleague SLASH friend, David Mullen. He was manning the grill out front to make burgers in support of the Ardmore RAH, or Run Against Hunger. 

After catching up for a bit, he told me about said Ardmore RAH. It’s a 10K (…that’s a lot for me…), 5k  (ok! better!) and one-mile fun run (aw, hell! I could do that! ….and then collapse and die!) through the beautiful historic neighborhood of Ardmore right here in Winston-Salem. 

I didn’t need a burger at the time. (I KNOW. I WAS SHOCKED TOO.) But I said “let me give you a donation.” So I gave him a $10.

And listen to this.

David said to me, “Thank you so much. That $10 goes to make 70 meals. They can turn $1 in 7 meals.”

And then, everything went black because my brain exploded and dripped out of my ears.

Did you hear that? That is some Dumbledore ish right there. I mean, that is truly magical. Because of their partnerships, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC can turn $1 in 7 meals. And in the past 6 years of doing the Ardmore RAH, more than $85,000 has been donated. Which means that almost 600,000 meals have been donated. Amazing!

If you’re in town on October 19th and have any inkling to run or walk, do this! 100% of the proceeds go straight to Second Harvest. Everything that you give goes to helping somebody. I mean, that’s kind of awesome.

So, sign up here. Run or walk around Ardmore. Help some people out.

Because not everyone is as fortunate as I am, to buy 4 pints of ice cream and 2 containers of quince paste.

What an idiot. 

Hermione always knows.

Hermione always knows.

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Mi Viaje a Barcelona (Part 2): Patatas Bravas EVERY. DAMN. DAY.

This is a typical conversation between me and the Voice in my Head about potatoes. You know. As you do. 

Voice in my Head: So, Bethany. You just got back from Spain? What did you eat?

Me: Well, Voice in my Head who already knows the answer but who is asking me questions for the conceit of this blog post, clearly you did not read my last post. I ate bread. And much of it. 

Voice in my Head: Wow! They have bread in Spain!

Me: Yep. …Just like in America.

VIMH: What else do they have in Spain that they have in America to eat?

Me: Seriously? You didn’t read the post at all. They have ham.

VIMH: I’m a figment of your imagination. Also, HAM!

Me: …calm down… 

VIMH: And? What ELSE?!

Me: Wow. This was an annoying device to tell this story.

VIMH: And? What ELSE?!

Me: Potatoes.

VIMH: Potatoes?

Me: Potatoes.

VIMH: What kind of potatoes?! 

Me: Patatas bravas.

VIMH: OOOOH. Those sound FANCY.

Me: They’re not fancy. They’re at every regular bar/restaurant in Spain. But my friend Marla and I decided to become connoisseurs and we ate them almost every day. Sometimes twice a day. Because, well, they’re absurdly delicious.

Seriously. And this isn't even all of them.

Seriously. And this isn’t even all of them.

VIMH: What makes them so good? 

Me: Well, they’re fried. 

VIMH: OOOOOH.

Me: Will you just…shut… They’re potatoes that are fried and then covered with a paprika sauce and a garlic aioli. And they’re frankly delicious. 

VIMH: OOOOOH.

Me: I hate you.

VIMH: I get that a lot. How do you make them? 

Me: Well, I don’t know because I’m moving and then going on production so I have not cooked anything and won’t be doing so for awhile. But I’m going to transcribe a recipe I’ve never tried by the great Jose Andres. And then try to cook them….in awhile.

VIMH: Wow. This really is a fake food blog.

Me: I know, right? Also, you’re an asshole.

VIMH: I get that a lot.

Patatas Bravas from Olive Oil from Spain 

 For the brava sauce

  • 6 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. pimentón (Spanish sweet paprika)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste

For the allioli sauce | Allioli is Catalan for Aioli which is Italian for Garlic-Olive Oil-Amazing Sauce

  • 1 small egg
  • 1 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

For the potatoes

  • 4 cups Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 3-4 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup allioli (see recipe to follow)
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped, for garnish

Preparation: 

Cut each tomato in half lengthwise. Place a grater over a bowl and grate the open side of the tomato into the bowl. Strain the grated flesh through a sieve to produce 2 cups of tomato puree.

To make the brava sauce, pour the 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a small pan and warm over low heat. Add the tomato puree, sugar, bay leaf, pimentón, and cayenne.

Raise the heat to medium and cook until the mixture reduces by 2/3 and becomes a deep red color, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Add the vinegar, add salt to taste, and reserve.

Take a deep and heavy-bottomed pot and pour in the olive oil. Heat to 250°F. Place the potatoes in the oil and poach them, frying them slowly until soft, which normally takes about 10 minutes. The potatoes won’t change color but they will soften all the way through. You can test for softness by inserting a toothpick; if it comes out easily, the potatoes are done.

Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon or a spider and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Raise the temperature of the olive oil to 350°F. Return the potatoes to the pot.

Fry in batches until crispy and brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Continue until all the potatoes have been fried.

 Drizzle a little brava sauce on a serving plate. Top with the potatoes, add a dollop of the allioli, and sprinkle with chives.

Allioli a la moderna | Modern garlic and oil sauce

Break the egg into a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.

Using a hand blender/immersion blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste. Little by little, add what’s left of the olive oil as you continue blending. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color. Add salt to taste.

** If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.

José’s tips

What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don’t throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another container and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

 Bethany’s tips

I told you. I haven’t made this yet. Don’t be a dick. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mi Viaje a Barcelona: A Carbtastrophe

Those of you who know me as a real life human being know that I studied abroad in Spain junior year of college. I believe it was the fall of 2004 and oh my god that was so long ago and it feels like yesterday. (Call on me, anyone?)

This vacation was my first time back to Spain since then. While I was there, I had some really powerful visceral memories of things I did/did not miss from my time living there.

Things I did not miss:

  • Weird old men that hit on you while you’re walking down the street
  • The smell of sewage that randomly assaults your nostrils as you walk down a picturesque sidewalk
  • Dog shit just all over the aforementioned picturesque sidewalk

Things I did so much miss:

  • The sound of church bells ringing in the hour
  • Cafe con leche
  • The weird, nonsensical graffiti that is so well executed that you can’t even be mad at it, for example:
  • What? But...ok.

    I don’t remember this from the movie.

  • The rapid fire Spanish you both can and can’t understand; and on the flip side, broken English for tourists
  • The amazing sights, including but not limited to beaches, cathedrals, parks and monuments
  • Sigh.

    Sigh.

  • And duh. The food.

For me, this trip was about relaxing and eating. It was like How Stella Got Her Groove Back if Stella had been jilted by a Lean Cuisine and she chose to get her true revenge ON the Lean Cuisine by eating and drinking all of the carbs that there were in the world.*

*I think it’s pretty clear that I’ve never seen the movie. So this is a really bad metaphor based on what I THINK the movie is about. But somehow I don’t think I’m too far off.

Anyway. Barcelona.

Spanish food is generally simple, fresh and so, so good. And, y’all, they have the best ham in the world.

HAM!

If you’re a lover of ham like I am, then you simply haven’t lived until you’ve had jamon iberico. Prosciutto? Garbage compared to jamon iberico. The meat is salty and the fat melts in your mouth. I miss it already. But be warned, it is also a little bit stringy and hard to eat in front of people you think are good looking. But I digress. Jamon iberico is delicious and it’s perfect on my new favorite Spanish delicacy: pan con tomate.

This was a new discovery for me. The Spanish have bread at every meal, but in Barcelona that bread is so much more than just bread. They take sliced crusty bread, toast or grill it, rub it with a bit of garlic, and then rub it with a ripe tomato.

THAT’S IT. It’s effing delicious.

I have more posts about Barcelona to come. A whole post about potatoes. (MMHMM. POTATOES.) And one a restaurant you simply must go find if you’re in en Barthelona.

Cause everyone deserves a chance to get their groove back , y’all.**

**Seriously, I’m not going to see the movie. But I will continue to make references like I have.

Pan Con Tomate adapted from Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain by Joyce Goldstein

Ingredients

  • Crusty Bread
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Ripe Tomato, cut in half

Heat grill pan (or broiler) to medium-high heat.

Cut the bread ½ inch thick. Brush both sides with olive oil. Grill (or broil) until marked on both sides and somewhat crisp. Immediately rub one side with a garlic clove. Then rub the cut side of halved tomato on the still-hot garlic-rubbed bread. If desired, garnish with an anchovy or a slice of Serrano ham, since we cannot easily get the delicious jamon iberico here in America.

Roast salmon, tomato and watermelon salad and pan con tomate.

Roast salmon, tomato and watermelon salad and pan con tomate.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
curiouser & curiouser

a collection of the delicious & delightful

Motherhood - WHAT?!

Making it through motherhoodhood with the grace of a camel on ice skates

costablancamama

A Spanish Adventure - raising kids and giving birth in Spain

PornBurger

Burger Perverts Welcome

NC | NY

bringing a little bit of the south to the city

Erin Lesica

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Crafty Cook Nook

Preserving Food, Stories, and Place

Justin Timberlake Does Things

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Feed Me Phoebe

{ health, hedonism & all the delicious things in between }

pancussion

Real Food. Fake Blog.

the-frenemy.com

Real Food. Fake Blog.

THE KIDS ARE RELATIVELY OKAY

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Curious And Curiouser

I Find the World Curious

POPSUGAR Living

Real Food. Fake Blog.

This American Wife

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Eat, Live, Run

Real Food. Fake Blog.

So Delushious !

personal random ramblings from a girl who loves bacon and can't be fat.

Seasoned to Taste

I'm just a girl with an appetite.