Monday, February 23, 2009

Response to Sunlight on Gray

Spain needs a fair share of the air time around here. So in contrast to our beautiful gray San Francisco skies, Andalusia brings you some blue.

Which do you like best? Gray or blue?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunlight on Gray

We see a lot of gray here.

Gray gets a pretty bad rap.

Compared to blue, that is.

But it has so many shades.

I find it soothing.

Stormy, drizzly, rugged, shadowy, misty, but soothing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Make Ahead Dinners

Okay, here are my best Make Ahead Dinners.

I consider a Make Ahead dinner anything that can be made and eaten later. So I might make two lasagnes at once and put one in the freezer for a week or two down the road, or I might make a pot of soup after dinner is done for the evening and keep it in the refrigerator for the following night. Or I might make a frittata in the middle of the day and serve it with soup or salad for dinner. Just as long as I don't have to do it "in the moment."

List and links:
Spinach Pie*
Vegetable Soup*
Jacques Pepin's Crab Cakes
Chicken Pot Pie*
Shepherd's Pie -- I do it just like this, but with ground beef.
Whole Chicken
Beef Stew*
Beef Carbonnade*
Split Pea Soup*
Minestrone Soup*
Tortilla Espanhola
Zucchini Frittata

* = freezable

Of course, here's a little song for you:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jacques Pepin's Crab Cakes

This recipe is from Fast Food My Way.

8 ounces crab meat
1 and 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced scallions
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

Put the crabmeat in a bowl and add 2/3 cup of the bread crumbs, scallion, cilantro, garlic, mayonnaise, Tabasco, and salt. Mix lightly, just until the ingredients are well combined.

Put the remaining breadcrumbs in a food processor with the almonds and process until the nuts are well chopped and combined with the bread.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees [if serving immediately]. Form the crab mixture into 4 patties, then dip each patty into the crumb mixture until it is coated on all sides.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and arrange the patties next to one another in the pan, handling them gently because they are soft. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Keep warm in the oven. [At this point, I will sometimes save these for the next day, and reheat them quickly in skillet on high heat.]

Red Sauce to serve with the crab cakes:
Mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 teaspoon wasabi paste or wasabi powder, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, and 1 tablespoon water.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spinach Pie

1 pre-made refrigerated pie crust at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bag spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 large pinch of dill
2 ounces goat cheese

Heat oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease 9-inch pie dish and roll pre-made pie crust into dish.

Saute onion in olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Add a pinch of dill. Add chopped spinach and sauté until spinach is wilted and reduced, about 7-8 minutes.

Crumble goat cheese on bottom of pie crust.

Remove spinach and onion mixture with a slotted spoon from skillet and press on top of cheese in pie crust. Fold over edges of pie crust to form a nice rim around the pie. Bake until crust is golden-brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Cut into wedges or freeze when cooled.

Serve with an antipasto platter as first course.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Picture Tag

I got tagged a couple of days ago by Mama Goose to share a random picture. And I'm tagging 4 more people:

Tongue In Cheek
Brand New Eyes

Here's what you have to do:
1. Go to the 4th picture folder on your computer

2. Post the 4th picture in that folder

3. Explain the picture

4. Tag 4 more bloggers

Here's what I found:

This is Rafa's passport photo from last summer. He looks so serious. His father must have told him not to laugh while he was taking the picture because he is usually laughing and smiling all over the place. We went to Spain last summer for 2 weeks, and had a lovely time. Oops -- it's almost 2 years ago -- it was summer of 2007! I hope that we get to go again this summer!

A few years back I saw a painting by Murillo in the Fine Arts museum of Seville, and it was a boy who looked exactly like Rafa. This photo reminds me of that painting, the same serious look. Murillo is a Spanish painter from the 17th century who worked quite a lot in Seville.

Here are a couple of Murillo paintings -- I think the portrayal of the child looks like Rafa because of the coloring and the eyes. I wonder about who his models were. And it makes me think that perhaps Rafa is more Sevillano than San Franciscan.

Murillo. La virgen de las servilletas, Seville.

Murillo. Madonna and Child, Dresden.

This child looks more like Luisito.

Murillo. Madonna and Child, Corsini Gallery


Monday, February 2, 2009

Vegetarian Dinners

Here is a list of meatless dinners that my kids will eat, and a link to one of my favorite food sites.

Colcannon: we like this the traditional way, with potatoes and cabbage and lots of butter, but it also lends itself to some good variations, like using kale with the mashed potatoes instead of cabbage. Even further afield, but also delicious, is mixing sauteed chard with previously roasted potatoes. Saute the roasted potatoes in butter and smash them a bit with a spoon before stirring in the sauteed greens.

Falafel: I like to make this one in the Crock Pot and have it ready when we get home. Yogurt and cucumber salad is delicious alongside. We can serve it with pita bread or without. Fresh pico de gallo is also good.

Vegetable Soup: This is just your basic puree of vegetables with good stock, and can be mixed and matched in so many different ways. One way way to make an almost-cream based soup is to puree one vegetable (like broccoli)with a potato or two, and adding evaporated milk instead of cream.

Quinoa with vegetables: This one can also be done in 5 minutes if you make the quinoa earlier in the week, and just reheat and fluff before adding the vegetables. Don't forget to wash the quinoa well - with at least two changes of water. It should not taste bitter or strange at all. You'd be surprised how many people forget to rinse it.

Lentils: There are as many different versions of this as there are of lasagne. Our favorite lentils are the small green ones from Spain, but black lentils and french lentils are good too. Funny that the small green ones from Spain are cultivated in the US and imported to Spain. Can't find them here!

Barley Soup: I like to add barley to carrots and mushrooms sauteed in lots of butter.

Spinach Pie: This is based on delicious spanakopita filling, but uses a quick pre-made pie crust to get it in the oven in about 7 minutes.

101 Cookbooks

And a little song.