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Tag: Appetiser

Revivals… {Pan-Seared Scallops with Nectarines and Balsamic-Honey-Mustard Reduction + Broccoli Rabe with Golden Garlic}

I drove into town the other day specifically to buy more yarn for the snood I‘m making just finished for myself. The woman at the yarn store said I would have enough with one skein, but well obviously I didn’t quite follow her instructions….

I’ve become completely obsessed enamored with the beautifully produced television series Outlander and its costume design. The Starz original (I sound like an advert) is very truthful to the books – I’ve read five of the eight already – and quite possibly better! While the executive producer Ron Moore is fastidious about keeping all the details from Diana Gabaldon’s novels, he’s also very astute and perceptive by incorporating the personality of the actors and making small modifications, as he did in one of the last episodes where Caitriona Balfe does a singing and dance performance to the tune of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, which was a very popular 1940s song. Apparently Cait does a lot of humming and singing when off the set and Ron thought it was a perfect way to include her own personality to enhance the drama. In the books, one knows what Claire is thinking because she’s narrating most of the story. But in the television series, there’s a lot less of that. So, by adding these scenes, we get to experience what it feels like for Claire to be caught between her two worlds, post WWII and the mid-18th century. In my opinion, the result is an improvement on this seductive and mystical story.

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Only Count the Happy Hours & Rustic Tomato Soup w/ Seared Scallops

A Particularly Nonfacetious Summer with Musical Houses

Summer has come and gone, and I’ve barely noticed. First, “just the beginning” of the scorching summer heat came upon us in Sevilla from one day to the next. Once that happens, it’s generally hot (by hot I mean 40s and 40+ Celsius) for the rest of the season until the end of September. But I left in June, so I guess that I was lucky to escape the torture. Then, the humid air, fetid odours and exciting rapid lifestyle of NYC I had forgotten about enveloped me on my daily journeys to New York Presbyterian Hospital, all of June and July. And lastly, the serene and peaceful breeze of the Southeastern Connecticut shore, where we have been graced with some gorgeous Indian Summer days in the past few weeks, has finally brought the summer of 2014 to an end.

[Read more…] »

Almond-Crusted Scallops with Apple-Onion Puree

Scallops are a funny thing for me. My oldest niece used to have a severe allergy to them when she was little; and we actually don’t know if she still would have this reaction, since out of fear and for her own protection, she never eats them or anything that even contains their juices. My brother, sister-in-law and my youngest niece, on the other hand indulge in them all the time when they are in season, especially raw.  My brother, although not a fisherman by trade anymore, will be a fisherman at heart until the end of his days. I have no patience for it, but when I lived nearby I loved enjoying his bounty. We always had a continuous stream of seafood from what he caught or from the trades he made with his fisherman friends. Fresh, raw tuna, by the way, literally cut right off the just-caught fish still on the boat, is amazing. Nothing compares to eating raw fish that has just come out of the water. The Japanese have something on us there…

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The Dutch do too. I love raw herrings when we visit The Netherlands. I remember this past summer on two of our visits to Noordwijk, where I simply couldn’t get enough raw herrings with onions, and I believe I ate three in a row (and could’ve continued if not out of fear of getting an upset tummy from my glutony). Of course, as with all fish, you want it to be extra fresh and hopefully not get sick from it, if you eat it raw.

I love seafood, but strangely enough since my niece was little, I’ve hardly eaten scallops. I’ve never really given it much thought until recently, when I purchased a bag of large, frozen scallops at the Chinese market we frequent. And I’m back in love with them…

I guess that out of empathy with my niece, I reacted as I did to my horse-back riding. We used to go on weekends together, so she could learn to ride; but it was not just riding. The stables were great because we were allowed to brush the horses, saddle them up, clean them up after riding, and clean up their stalls. It sounds like an awful lot of work, and it is, but for a true horse-lover, it’s pure heaven. The longer you can be with the horses, all the better. Anyway, my poor thing started having severe asthma attacks after some of the riding sessions, one of them landing her in hospital.

So, I quit altogether. And never rode again until many years later.

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I’ve recently started taking up riding again and feel very rusty and slightly out of place… years without doing something will do that to me. I hope I can keep up the hobby as riding is not only fun, but therapeutic and helps relieve stress. Plus, it’s a beautiful way to be out in nature.

But back to the scallops….

Whilst they are lovely just sautéed with some butter or olive oil and a little bit of sea salt, there is just so much more you can do with them. I used some in a delicate soup the other day, which gave the soup just the right touch of gourmet, as well as texture and dose of protein. In Spain, they are called vieiras and are usually eaten inside the shell, stuffed, and are a famous delicacy from Galicia. The Galicians know best how to eat seafood in Spain, or maybe it’s because they have the best seafood.

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Today, I’m sharing with you a recipe that I slightly adapted from Karlos Arguiñano, our own Spanish TV celebrity chef. He’s a delight to watch with his Basque accent and his humorous manner. He has at least one restaurant in the Basque Country and I can’t wait to go back and check it out. Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t done so yet?!

His recipes are what we call “casero” or homey, but always with his special gourmet touch. I love to watch him on television.

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I ate this all by myself as lunch with some green sprouting broccoli. But you could serve it as an appetiser for two, as well. I wouldn’t omit the Albariño from Galicia (or a fine white wine) as it adds depth to the sauce, which wouldn’t be achieved otherwise, and reduces the sweetness also. But if using wine bothers you as a Paleo person, then by all means do omit.

Almond-Crusted Scallops with Apple-Onion Puree
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1-2
Serves 1-2, depending on accompaniment.
Ingredients
  • 6 scallops
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • zest of two lemons or limes (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (butter will work well too)
  • additional sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons Albariño white wine
  • 2 thin fresh onions, finely sliced
Instructions
  1. I used frozen scallops, so I defrosted first, sprinkled with some coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven on the grill setting.
  3. In a saucepan, pour the olive oil and the finely chopped onion. Poach (on very low heat) for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they do not burn or brown too much.
  4. Add the apple pieces and cook an additional 6-8 minutes until tender.
  5. Allow to slightly cool before pouring into an immersion blender cup, food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.
  6. Add the Albariño and sea salt to taste. Stir well and set aside.
  7. Use the same saucepan as you cooked the onions and apples for the almonds. Wipe it clean with a paper towel, but don’t worry about getting all the oil off, just the pieces of onion.
  8. Add the almonds and over low heat, toast until golden. Be careful to not let them burn or they will turn sour. I stir them constantly, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep stirring letting them get a bit more golden.
  9. Pour into a clean immersion blender cup or blender.
  10. Add the garlic and lemon/lime zest. Pulse until very finely chopped.
  11. In an ovenproof dish, place the scallops, drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  12. Spoon the almond mixture over each scallop (you will have mixture leftover).
  13. Bake under the grill for 5 minutes.
  14. To plate: pour some of the apple-onion sauce on each plate and place the cooked scallops on top.
  15. Sprinkle the fresh onion slices over top.
  16. Serve as an appetiser or a meal with a vegetable as accompaniment, if desired.

Fast and Easy Paleo Recipes

Cream of Swede (Rutabaga) & Turnip Soup with Kale-Cashew Pesto & Scallops

Living in the United Kingdom gives me the possibility of exploring the countries which are part of it, enjoy the unique opportunity of experiencing London as a local, and also have the chance to try what for me are new vegetables and fruits… quite a comparison contrast, but all three are high up on my list.

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For me, trying new food is always interesting and fun. Such has been the case with the swede, or rutabaga. Before arriving in England, I believe I had never even seen or heard of it. In fact, I remember the first time my husband, who many times does the shopping, brought it home. I had to take a picture of it and send it to a friend, who had already been living here longer and is an avid gardener and foodie, to see if she knew what this strange white and purplish thing sitting on my counter was!

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The inspiration for this recipe came to me last night, as I was trying to fall asleep… I am starting to feel slightly obsessed! 😉 This actually has an explanation that is more logical: the turnips were starting to go soft and I needed to use them. So what better than a creamy soup for a chilly and wet day?

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I purposely kept the soup’s flavour a bit neutral, not adding too many spices so that it would pair well with the kale-cashew pesto I had planned. The addition of the scallops came a bit later to me, as I wanted to include some protein in my dish.

I’m in love with the combination and hope you will be too! If not, I hope you are at least inspired to come up with your own mix.

Cream of Swede & Turnip Soup with Kale-Cashew Pesto & Scallops
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Soup serves 6.
Ingredients
  • For the soup:
  • 1 swede/rutabaga, about 600g (1.3lbs), peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 turnips, about 400g together (1lb), peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 large leek, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
  • For the pesto:
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • For the scallops:
  • 2 scallops (or more if desired), per bowl
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme sprigs, as garnish
Instructions
  1. For the soup:
  2. In a large pot, place the swede, turnip and leek pieces with 3 cups of filtered water.
  3. Cook over low heat, for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Set aside to slightly cool.
  5. With an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  6. Add 3 cups of filtered water (or more if too thick for your taste) and stir well.
  7. Add the salt, turmeric and mustard and place over low heat to warm up.
  8. In the meantime, make the pesto:
  9. Roast the cashews in a dry skillet until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir frequently so they do not burn.
  10. Combine the cashews and garlic in the food processor and process until very finely ground.
  11. Add the kale leaves, sea salt and pepper and process again until well chopped.
  12. Continuing processing, while adding the olive oil in a steady stream, until you have a creamy paste. (You can refrigerate or freeze, if not using all of it.)
  13. For the scallops:
  14. Place about 1 tablespoon of olive oil per 4 scallops, in a pan. Over medium heat, cook the scallops, until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes each side.
  15. For serving:
  16. Pour two ladles of soup into each bowl.
  17. Drizzle with the kale-cashew pesto (the amount desired) and place two (or more) scallops into each bowl on top of the pesto.
  18. Finish with a sprig of thyme for each bowl.

 

Baby Calamari with Garlic

This is one of my favourite dishes from Spain, which is usually served as a tapa or a second course at lunch. I don’t eat it frequently to be honest, just because I’ve found it hard to find fresh squid/calamari where I live.

But I always have it while in Spain; and while visiting with my parents, my mother prepared this dish, which I now share with you.

My mother and father love fish and seafood, as much as my husband and I do, and have found a little place nearby at which they get really good quality and fresh seafood.. lucky them, as we’ve found that it’s also not an easy task in the US! 😉

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You can make this a bit simpler by cooking the squid with the garlic all at once, but you can risk burning the garlic. Also, make sure the calamari are completely dry; if not, they will release a lot of water and you’ll end up cooking them instead of sautéing.

Baby Calamari with Garlic
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Serves 2-3.
Ingredients
  • 500g (about 1 1/2 pounds) baby squid/calamari with heads, cleaned and pat-dried
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • guindilla or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • cilantro or parsley, for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, sauté the calamari (and calamari heads) with the olive oil in a pan, about 5-7 minutes, turning over a few times.
  2. Add the garlic and pepper and cook a couple of minutes longer, until the garlic are golden.
  3. Add sea salt, to taste.
  4. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve immediately.

 

Leek Salad

This salad is usually served as a side dish at our home. But it can be eaten as a main meal or even breakfast, if desired.

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This salad served 4, as a side dish.

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Leek Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 2 large leeks, washed and with some of the top layers taken off (if necessary) and cut into 2-in pieces
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
  • herbs for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Steam the leeks until tender.
  2. Drain the water over a colander.
  3. Place the leeks on a serving plate and sprinkle the tomato and egg pieces over top.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and seasonings.
  5. Garnish with herbs, as desired.
  6. This salad can be eaten warm or cold.

 

Stuffed Avocado with Garlic Shrimp

During our travels this summer, we spent some time in The Netherlands; and one evening, we ate at a lovely restaurant in Lisse, near the beach. If you’ve ever eaten out in The Netherlands, you know that evening is prime time and usually quite expensive. On the up side, the food is generally fresh and delicious.

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And as usually happens with me, since I want to try everything that sounds intriguing or new, my eyes are bigger than my stomach… I ended up ordering an avocado appetiser and a full entree. Fortunately, the fish entree was normal Dutch portions, or else I would’ve had to leave it there or exploded. 😉

The appetiser was an avocado stuffed with shrimp and other ingredients, which I cannot recall. What I do know is that it was rather creamy. In Spain, a halved avocado stuffed with shrimp and/or ensaladilla is tapa that is very typical in Granada, where bars give you a free tapa with a paid drink. I can’t recall the last time I had a stuffed avocado, so the appetiser in Lisse tasted sublimely divine!

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In recreating this, I thought I would first steam the shrimp and use mayonnaise, to achieve the creaminess…but after messing up a batch of mayonnaise*, I changed my mind.

(*Mayonnaise is not that difficult to make. But my blender broke a couple of months ago, and instead of replacing it, we purchased a food processor that has a blender as well. However, this blender doesn’t work for making mayonnaise. I’ll have to resort to my mini-pimer -immersion blender- from now on. But today, I was too lazy to keep trying.)

Back to the avocado: Sometimes it’s actually good that things don’t work out. If they had, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this delicious combination.

How I came up with the idea? Simple. I love garlic shrimp, and that mixed with the natural creaminess of avocado is, for me,  just a perfect match.

You can use this recipe as an appetiser for 2 persons or a meal for one. I had the whole avocado as lunch… talk about ingesting a lot of good, healthy fats! 😉

Stuffed Avocado with Garlic Shrimp
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1-2
Serves 1 as a meal, or 2 as an appetiser
Ingredients
  • 1 whole medium avocado
  • about 2 cups medium to large shrimp, raw or uncooked frozen (defrost prior to cooking)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • chili powder, optional
Instructions
  1. Half the avocado and take the pit out.
  2. Scrap out most of the meat, leaving a very thin layer to hold up the shell better. Set aside.
  3. Chop up the meat into squares and place in a bowl. With your hands, squish the squares a little bit, to crush some but so that most keep their shape. Set aside.
  4. In a pan, place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the minced garlic and the shrimp.
  5. Add a dash of coarse sea salt, and over low heat, cook just until the shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook, or they’ll be dry and hard.
  6. Pour the shrimp with garlic and olive oil into the bowl with the avocado pieces.
  7. Add some chopped parsley or cilantro and mix well. (If you want to incorporate some chili powder for extra flavour, do so now before mixing.)
  8. Spoon the mixture into the avocado shells, sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper, and garnish with additional parsley/cilantro if desired.
  9. Serve immediately.
  10. (I added a leftover, hardboiled quail egg as garnish, but it’s not essential to the recipe, of course.)

 

Pork Belly Tacos with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa & Avocado Mayo

I am totally not a planner when it comes to food. In fact, I was explaining this to a friend the other day, how most days I determine what we are having for dinner by whatever I take out of the freezer in the morning. On occasion I do plan the evening before and sometimes I dream about a breakfast combination… but in general, I tend to surprise even myself, which for me makes eating and cooking so much more fun. 😉

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And many times, our meals are based around what we have available or something that I must use up, as is the case with this recipe and the pineapple that would soon have gone bad and to waste. I hate wasting food for many reasons, but I won’t go into that now.

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Here’s the combination for this dish: pork belly stripes made in the oven with a dry rub (get the recipe for the spice mix here), a pineapple-avocado-tomato salsa, an avocado mayo (recipe included below), and Paleo soft tortilla shells (get the recipe here)*. The tortilla shells can be made days in advance and frozen. I usually take them out of the freezer just a few minutes before heating them. They are easily warmed up in a hot pan with no oil or grease necessary, just a few seconds on each side.

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*For the tortilla shells this time, I halved the recipe, omitting the flaxmeal and cumin, since I knew the pork was going to be spicy enough. Plus, I doubled the amount of coconut milk in the recipe to make them slightly thinner.

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Pork Belly Tacos with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa & Avocado Mayo
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • For the pork belly stripes:
  • 1 kg pork belly strips
  • 2-4 tablespoons of Cinnamon-Chili Rub*
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (or a bit more) of lard, cut into think slices
  • For the pineapple-avocado-tomato salsa:
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cut into slices and then diced
  • 1-2 ripe avocados (depending on size), diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • For the avocado mayo:
  • 1 medium avocado
  • juice of one lime
  • coarse sea salt, to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the set up:
  • fresh onions, for garnishing
  • Paleo Tortilla Shells*
Instructions
  1. For the pork belly stripes:
  2. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  3. Rinse and place the pork belly stripes in an oven proof dish.
  4. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-chili rub on both sides.
  5. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt, to taste, and place the slices of lard on top.
  6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes on each side or until done, depending on the amount of meat on them. (I turn mine over about every 20 minutes.)
  7. Cut each strip into small pieces to use in your tacos.
  8. For the pineapple-avocado salsa:
  9. Mix the pineapple, avocado, and tomato and drizzle with the lime juice.
  10. For the avocado mayo:
  11. Pulse in a blender or immersion blender the avocado, lime juice and sea salt.
  12. Add the olive oil slowly and blend until all is smooth.
  13. For setting up each taco:
  14. Place some pork belly pieces on each shell (amount is up to you).
  15. Cover with some of the salsa, the avocado mayo, and fresh onions.
  16. Enjoy!

 

Popcorn Cauliflower

Seriously I don’t know why I’ve missed out on this dish up until now. I’ve seen the idea pop up here and there on other Paleo blogs, but for some reason it didn’t really appeal to me.

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But today, talking with my parents over Facetime, both of them told me about the “popcorn” cauliflower my sister-in-law had made the other day. When they rave, you know it’s good! 😉

So, I took the idea, added spices, and it was part of our lunch today! I also envision these as a great “tapa” or appetiser for parties (although you may want to hold off on the turmeric in that case, if you make it a finger food).

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Give this a try… I think you’ll love it, even if you’re not a huge cauliflower fan. The texture is really nice and the flavours make the veggie less bland. But go ahead and experiment with other spices for other variations. (I can just imagine making them with cinnamon and cumin for a Moroccan touch…hmm…)

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Popcorn Cauliflower
Recipe Type: Side
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
For 2 persons
Ingredients
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup melted lard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili (more or less to your taste, however)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
  2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Drizzle with the melted lard to ensure all the pieces are coated.
  5. Mix the spices together and drizzle over the cauliflower, ensuring that the pieces are well coated.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the top rack.

 

Parsnip, Spinach & Kale Spanish Tortilla

Growing up in Spain, I used to dislike tortilla, the regular “tortilla de patatas”, which is rather bland and uninventive. And the problem with that is that you find it everywhere; and since, it’s a “staple” to take to parties, the beach or on a picnic, it’s a hard one to avoid.

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However, as I like to experiment in the kitchen, incorporating changes to the traditional recipe is making this dish more delicious for my palate and so much more fun!

We have a friend who is staying with us overnight, and tomorrow we’ll be driving her to Oxford very early in the morning. So, I thought that having something ready for a quick bite before we leave would be a good idea… and of course the “socorrida tortilla” came to mind. Socorrido/a in Spanish means something that is easy to turn to in a bind. I guess that’s why tortilla turns up everywhere in Spain… 😉

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Anyway, the package of parsnips in the fridge called out to me and well, we have this delicious dish, which is completely 100% Paleo, since I didn’t add any white potato this time. For my Sweet Potato Tortilla recipe, click here.

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Give it a try and let me know what you think! I think it won’t disappoint you..!

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Parsnip, Spinach & Kale Spanish Tortilla
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 6 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 egg whites, beaten to foamy, soft peaks
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 2 heaping cups parsnips, small dice
  • 1 heaping cup kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 heaping cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup jamon serrano, very dry chunks, very small dice (taquitos de jamon in Spanish)
Instructions
  1. In a 20-cm (8-in) skillet, pour the olive oil.
  2. Over medium heat, poach the leeks for about 2 minutes until they start to become soft.
  3. Add the parsnips and poach, over low heat, for an additional 10 minutes, or until the vegetable is soft and tender. You do not want to the parsnip pieces to turn crispy, but instead rather mushy, yet holding their shape.
  4. In the meantime, beat the eggs in one bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
  5. Beat the egg whites in another bowl, until soft, foamy peaks form.
  6. Drain the parsnips from the oil, when they are done.
  7. Add to the whole egg mixture.
  8. Incorporate the kale and spinach, as well.
  9. Then fold in the beaten egg whites and the jamon serrano.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Remove most of the oil from the skillet, leaving about 1-2 tablespoons.
  12. Over low heat, pour the tortilla mixture into the pan.
  13. Cook for about 3 minutes, pushing the sides in with a wooden spoon or spatula, or order to create rounded sides.
  14. Place a plate or flat cover over the tortilla and flip it over onto the plate. Then slide it back into the skillet.
  15. Cook for 3 minutes on that side.
  16. Repeat once more for each side, always pushing the sides in.
  17. Can be served warm or cold.
 For 23 top benefits of kale, please check here!

 

Dairy Free Chicken Liver Pate

Here’s my revised version of chicken liver pate, which is less complicated than the first one I posted. It is pictured with the Rosemary-Coconut Savoury Bread.

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DAIRY FREE CHICKEN LIVER PATE

Ingredients

  • 350g chicken livers, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, chopped or julienne style
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups coconut milk, full fat
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of gelatine powder (one package)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 125ml Moscatel or another sweet dessert wine (optional) + 2 tablespoons gelatine.

Process

  1. Place the chicken livers, onion, garlic and olive oil in a deep pan. Over low heat and covered, cook until the chicken livers are done, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Once the livers are done, set aside until they cool at room temperature.
  3. In a blender or food processor, add the cooked chicken livers, onion, garlic and 2 cups of coconut milk. Pulse until you have a smooth puree.
  4. Add the additional cup of coconut milk and pulse further to incorporate.
  5. Add the sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  6. Return to the same pan used before and heat, but do not boil.
  7. In the meantime, mix the gelatine with the cold water and allow to sit about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add to the liver mixture and cook until the gelatine is fully dissolved and blended into the mixture.
  9. Remove from heat and place in ramekins or your preferred glass container, which can also be used to serve.
  10. Refrigerate until set.
  11. Heat the Moscatel or sweet dessert wine. Add the powdered gelatine and dissolve completely.
  12. Pour over the pate ramekins and refrigerate again until set.
  13. If you prefer, the Moscatel or sweet wine can be omitted. I like the contrasting sweetness it provides to the pate, but it’s not a necessary addition.

 

Spanish Sweet Potato Tortilla

This is a dish that everywhere you go in Spain, you can find in all the bars and restaurants. Spanish tortilla is the typical “go-to” meal when you’re in a hurry or have nothing else to make. In fact, we call it “un plato socorrido”, which means when you’re in a bind, you make this.

It’s the dish mothers make to take on beach picnics (usually inside a crusty loaf of Spanish bread), on camping trips, to El Rocio pilgrimage… and the best part about Spanish tortilla is that you can make it in a variety of ways, depending on the ingredients you have on hand or that you want to put in it.

The traditional one is made with white potatoes and eggs only, and it’s the one combination of which I’m not really fond. I seem to be the “weird one” whenever I say that… but it just doesn’t do it for me. Growing up, my friend Inma’s mother, Kety, used to make the best “pizza” tortilla with some pretty cool herbs and spices that resembled a pizza so much more than even the real pizza itself, plus ten times healthier without the wheat dough, of course.

Whenever I make tortilla, I’m always looking to innovate, since as I’ve just said the tried and traditional one is just not my cup of tea….

The one I’m sharing with you today is a far cry from the traditional, but all the tastier and more fun to enjoy!

The rule to keep in mind when making Spanish tortilla is that for every cup of potato or ingredient, you should use one whole egg. I also like to add an extra beaten egg white or two to create a spongier or fluffier effect.

SPANISH SWEET POTATO TORTILLA

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, diced (about 2 large sweet potatoes)
  • 1 cup white potato, diced (about 1 medium potato – optional)
  • 5 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1 egg white, beaten to soft peaks
  • 2 cups wild rocket & lambs lettuce mix (you can also substitute with spinach leaves or another green of choice)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, cubed
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • additional olive oil

Process 

  1. Locate a plate or a lid that is about the same circumference as the nonstick skillet pan you will be using. This will be used for flipping the tortilla.
  2. In a wok or deep pan, heat the 1 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and white potato and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, but not brown.
  3. In the meantime, whisk the eggs (if using egg whites, whisk those separately until very soft peaks) in a medium bowl.
  4. Drain the potatoes from the oil and add them to the beaten eggs, along with the wild rocket & lettuce lamb (or spinach). Add the feta cheese and give it all a stir to incorporate well.
  5. In a nonstick skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and make sure it is well spread across the skillet and all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  6. While cooking, with a spatula or wooden spoon, press the sides of the tortilla inward.
  7. Cook about 2 minutes. Then place the plate or lid on top and flip the tortilla. Slide it back into the skillet with the uncooked side towards the heat.
  8. Cook an additional 2 minutes. And while cooking, once again, press the sides of the tortilla inward.
  9. I flipped mine twice on each side, cooking about 2 minutes each time, for a total of about 8 minutes. (I like my tortilla well done and not runny. Should you like yours a bit more runny, cook less time on each side.)
  10. Gently slide the tortilla onto a clean serving plate. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting. It can be eaten warm or cold.

tortilla for breakfast the next day… just as yummy cold!

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