Appetizers and Snacks · Breakfast · eggs

Tortilla Española with Chorizo and Caramelized Onions

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Cut into small cubes and served at room temperature, this is a Spanish Tapa.   It is also makes a pretty good breakfast .

The time it takes to caramelize the onions is time well spent.  Caramelizing brings out the sweet side of the onion and takes the flavour to a whole new level.

Makes 36 appetizers or 4 breakfast servings.

 

Tortilla Española

with Chorizo and Caramelized Onions

 

3 yellow onions, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced crosswise

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1/2″ dice

6 eggs

salt and pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In frying pan over medium-low heat, heat the oil and add the onions.  Cover and cook 10 minutes, until onion is translucent.  Reduce heat to very low, replace the cover and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is golden in colour and very soft, about 20 minutes more.   Transfer onions to bowl, set aside to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Spray a 9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Add chorizo to same pan, increase heat to medium high and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often until caramelized and cooked through.  Transfer to bowl with onions to cool until cool enough to add to eggs without cooking them.

Beat the eggs until fluffy, season with salt and pepper.  Add the onions, chorizo and the chopped cilantro and mix well.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked in the centre.

Let sit 15 minutes before cutting.

If serving as a tapa or appetizer, cut into squares or triangles and serve at room temperature.

If serving as a breakfast item, cut into 4 pieces and serve warm.

COOKS NOTE:   For a tapas party, this can be made a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand about 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before serving.

Original Source: Tapas Faciles – Tortilla de Chorizo y Cebolla Caramelizada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Appetizers and Snacks · Desserts · Sides

Tostones

Plantains…we have all seen them in the stores, sometimes green, but more often yellow with black spots so large I used to think they were past their life expectancy.  The truth is, have paid little attention to them, mostly because their appearance put me off.

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But then, one evening, watching The Amazing Race, the contestants were in Ecuador, which piqued my attention because we have friend from that country.  Wouldn’t you know it, one of the challenges was to cook plantains!!  They were making twice-fried  plantains, called Tostones.  Finally, a clue, and basically, a how to video right there, on prime time television!

I was very happy to surprise our Ecuadorian friends with a batch of these the next time they came over.

The technique is the same regardless of the colour of the plantain.  Greener ones will be savoury and can be served as part of a meal.  Salt them and dip them in ketchup, like French fries.  The yellow and black ones are riper, and therefore sweeter.  They are great for breakfast or dessert.   I like these sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

Unfortunately there are no photos of my finished product because I was lame and forgot, but if you google Tostones, you will find many examples.

This makes 4 servings, about 120 calories per serving (without toppings, of course).

 

Tostones

2 plantains

oil for frying

Heat oil in large skillet.  You can either deep fry or just pan fry in a bit of oil.  (I chose to deep-fry mine)

Peel plantains and cut into 2″ pieces.

Add plantain pieces to hot oil and fry until they soften and are golden on both sides.  About 5 minutes.

Place fried plantains on paper towel covered work surface and gently press with bottom of a heavy glass or aa frying pan , squishing them until they are about 1/2″ thick.

Return flattened pieces to hot oil and fry until crispy.  About 3 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper.  Serve.

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Ratatouille

Basically,  vegetables cooked in olive oil, but !Ratatouille! is so much more fun to say.

There are as many versions of Ratatouille as there are cookbooks, it seems.

This version is much quicker than some, but the flavours are great and you wont have to spend 3 hours in the kitchen.

Because the ingredients are added to the pot in the order they need to cook, there is also less clean up at the end.

Seasoning is key, be sure to salt (and taste!) as you add each veggie to the mix, or you will end up with a tasteless bowl of sad veggies.

Serve at room temperature, or just slightly warmed.    A bowl of this with a sliced  baguette, maybe a little cheese… makes a great appetizer or even a light lunch.  You can also serve it as a side to your favourite grilled meat or toss it with some cooked pasta for a quick weeknight meal.

This makes about 4 servings.  Can be made a day in advance, and best if eaten within 3 days.

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Ratatouille

1 eggplant, about 1/2 – 3/4 lb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 large white or yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite size pieces

1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices

3/4 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled

salt & pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Toss eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop and prep all your other veggies.

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened.

Pat eggplant dry with paper towels.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil increase heat to  moderately high and when oil is hot but not smoking, add the eggplant.   Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.  If mixture looks dry, add a bit more olive oil.

Stir in the zucchini,  bell pepper, thyme and rosemary sprigs.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until all the vegetables are very tender and tomatoes are soft and have released their juices.

Taste for seasoning, add salt, and pepper to taste if needed.  Remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs.  Cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and combine the mixture well.

Let cool to room temperature.  Spoon onto crusty bread or crostini and enjoy.

The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled.  Bring to room temperature or reheat  before serving.

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Green Chermoula

Great on Grilled Flatbread, but give it a try on pasta, shrimp or your next omelette as well.

This can be made using any combination of parsley, cilantro and mint.

 

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Green Chermoula Salsa

1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon chopped peeled ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Appetizers and Snacks

Ancho Chile Oil

This goes great on Grilled Flatbread, but on your eggs, steaks, avocado toasts or most anywhere that could use a little pick me up in flavour.

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Ancho Chile Oil

2 ounces dried ancho chiles, (about 4 or 5) stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 red serrano chile or red jalapeneo, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped

1 cup vegetable oil, sunflower or canola

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt to taste

Heat everything but the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat. Let steep for 1 hour.

Purée mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids in sieve. Season oil to taste with salt.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Appetizers and Snacks · Breads

Grilled Flatbread

You should start this 1 day in advance.  It can be done same day, but you will have to allow a couple of hours to chill the dough before shaping.   The actual work time is minimal.  Mix the dough on Thursday, pop it in the fridge and it is ready for grilling on Friday or Saturday.   The time spent in your refrigerator allows for a slow rise which gives the bread its nice chewy texture and a bit of extra flavour.  Plus, by letting it rise in the fridge for day or 2, I don’t feel like I’ve spent the whole day making bread.

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The dough is very wet

 

When its time to grill the breads, take a cookie sheet and some (lots of) flour outside so you can be right beside the grill.  The dough is sticky.  You will need a lot of extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and anything else it may come into contact with.

Yes, it is messy, but relax, and have fun with this.  In our house, I do the rolling and Kevin does the grilling, but if you prefer, you can do it by yourself.  Just don’t forget to oil the grill before each flatbread goes on.  Also, as the dough warms, it gets softer, so work quickly!

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Use lots of flour

Aside from the type of yeast I use and a huge reduction in salt,  it is pretty much as written in the original.  After all, it is a bread recipe.   Not a lot of changes I could make and still have it come out right.

 

 

 

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OOOps,  this one fell thru a bit
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The finished flat breads

Toppings for this bread are important!!  Fresh tomatoes? Yes!  Feta or cotija cheese, maybe some Lebnah?  Slices of roast beef?  Sure.   But for me, the absolute MUST HAVES are the Ancho Chile Oil and the Charmoula.  They take this bread to the next level.  Make them the day before you plan to grill the flatbreads if you like. The chile oil will keep for a week, the charmoula for up to 3 days.

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Grilled Flatbread

2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Vegetable oil (for brushing on the grill)

Topping suggestions:

Ancho Chile Oil , Green Charmoula , and grated Cotija or Feta cheese

Puréed black beans, sliced avocado, radishes

Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, black olives, red onion

In a large bowl, combine the instant yeast with the all-purpose and whole wheat flours.  Add up to 3 cups of water, mixing with your fingers until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle salt over dough, then add sour cream.  Knead until well incorporated and dough pulls away from sides of bowl and holds together in a loose, wet ball.  About 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and wet.   Lightly moisten your hands to prevent sticking if needed.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Knead dough an additional 4-5 times to deflate. Cover and chill for up to 2 days. (Dough will develop in flavor and continue to rise slowly in refrigerator.) Alternatively, let dough stand at room temperature until doubled in volume, 3-4 hours (the warmer and more humid your kitchen is, the faster it will rise). Chill for 1 hour before grilling to make it easier to handle.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Generously flour your work surface. Working with 1 portion at a time  roll out dough or press with your hands into a 1/4″-thick shape. (It doesn’t have to be perfectly round, mine rarely are!)

Brush grill rack with oil. Grill flatbreads until lightly charred on one side and no longer sticking to grill, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, turn over and grill until cooked through, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve warm, with desired toppings.

Appetizers and Snacks

Red Savina Hot Sauce 

Way back in November 2017, a blogger I follow, Cast Iron Dan, posted his recipe for this hot sauce.  I reblogged it because it looked interesting.

It was the only thing I had ever posted that I had not already made in my own kitchen.  I had every intention of making it straight away, but travel plans came up quickly, guests started arriving, Christmas came and went, then came our busy season…and this got put to the WAY BACK burner.

Anyway, I just came from my kitchen, where I made the full recipe!  By the time all is blended, you really do end up with 2 pints of hot sauce.  I know!   8 oz of habaneros doesn’t really look like that much when its sitting on a scale.  But, factor in the other ingredients and yup, its a quart.

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Cast Iron Dan will be happy to know that I did, in fact wear rubber gloves, as he recommended and my kitchen was well ventilated, plus, I had the hood fan going.

I had a small spill when blending (best to do it in 2  smaller batches instead of 1 big one!!) and I had already removed my gloves when I wiped it up.   Even the small amount that touched my palms is causing a slight tingle.  So, be warned.  WEAR GLOVES.  It does make slicing the habaneros awkward, but much better than the alternative.  Click here for an amusing story about that!

The bottom line is that this is a great sauce!  The carrots give this a nice sweetness which cuts the heat just a little.   My tongue is on fire, but I have already eaten 2 tostadas smeared with this sauce and intend to go back for more.  I cant wait to try this on … oh, probably every thing else I cook this week!

The basic recipe is below, but for the full version, follow this link to the original page.

Ingredients  (makes approximately 30 oz)

  • 8 oz carrots
  • 8 oz Habaneros  (red savina if you can grow your own)
  • 1 head of garlic- roasted on stove
  • 1 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Slice carrots into 1/8″ wheels, place in saucepan with enough water to cover a and cook until tender.

While that is cooking, slice peppers a bout 1/8″ thick.

Once the carrots are tender, add the peppers and the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour entire contents into blender and mix until very smooth.

I’m not sure how long this will keep.  My best guess is a couple of weeks if you just pour it into jars, and much longer if you process it as if you were canning.

Cast Iron Dan

The other day, I had someone on Facebook ask me what I do with all those peppers that I grow. That’s a good question, so I guess I should share what I make with all of that hot fruit! I make habanero hot sauce! The variety of habaneros that I grew this year are called Red Savina, which are about twice as big and twice as hot as the normal orange habaneros. Some of the peppers this year are over two inches in diameter!

I’ve been making this sauce for 5 years now and every time I think that I should change the recipe – I end up deciding to leave it just the way that it is! It is smoky, sweet, savory, citrussy and very hot… but not too hot! It doesn’t take much, but its a great condiment for tacos, burgers and most everything else. My youngest daughter…

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