Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tortilla de Patata

Tortilla de Patata

Last year (I can only say that for four more days) when I was in Spain, I ran into this offering in the Navarra region and again in the Galacia region. Tortilla there, is not the flour/corn flatbread we think of in the States as Mexican food. In Spain, the tortillas refer to pan-sized egg omeletes that are sliced like we do with pies.

These were hearty meals, held up well in the backpack and did not spoil (at least for the day or two I would haul them around - yes, unrefrigerated).

When I returned to the U.S.A., I craved the foods that I had enjoyed on the Camino. I found a website that had imported food and items from Spain. Last year it was Cola Cao and Membrillo that I ordered. To make the tortillas it requires that you flip the pan sized omelet over. So before Christmas it meant pan > plate > pan > plate. Quite an undertaking when one utensil is HOT.

The only thing I "wished" for for Christmas was a Tortilla Espanola pan. A double skillet (they hook together) for making the basic Tortilla de Patata (and its variations). Thank you baby doll!

Here's the recipe sent with the pan....a Google search will net you others with various combinations of ingredients: peppers, ham, etc.


6 eggs
4 large potatoes, peeled, sliced thin.
1 medium onion, sliced thin.
olive oil

Peel and slice the potatoes. I cut them in half lengthwise and then sliced them. Same with the onion. Brown the potatoes and onions in a pan with the olive oil. The potatoes should be ready to eat when done.

Wisk the eggs in a large bowl and add the browned potato/onion mixture. The English translation says to "check for salt". I did and it was on the counter, right by the stove. Then I added it. You'll have to guess how much because I didn't feel like tasting raw eggs for the salt content. And I peppered it up too...just because I do that.

Oil your pan again and add the mixture. Cook until set and slightly browned. Cover with another heated frying pan or slide on to a plate. Either flip the pans over or put the uncooked side down into the original pan. Cook until brown again, not letting the inside fully dry out (cook). Remove to serving plate and let it stand for a few minutes. Slice and serve.

I heated a ham steak while this was cooking. Nice and lean and tasty with the tortilla.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Buffet

Christmas Day was just supposed to be breakfast and dinner. But I received new cookbooks and utensils and didn't dally in using them. The menu below reflects dinner and what I did the rest of the day.

Biscuits and Gravy

Gingersnap Pot Roast with Dumplings
Pefect Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Nope - no vegetable - it was Christmas!

Chocolate Mousse in white chocolate serving cups
Eggnog Cookies

The last two were from a Christmas gift/cookbook. I've posted the link. But, I've also heard it is out of print now. Well, I'm so happy I got one. LOVE IT! The mousse will be a regular item for me to make. So sweet, so good, and not really bad for you in the small serving sizes I made. The chocolate serving cups? Well, I have plans for those in the future - in a much smaller size. So easy, so decadent!

I spent the entire day (after presents) in the kitchen!

Check out my next post for another Christmas gift that was awesome!

Gingersnap Pot Roast with Dumplings

Gingersnap Pot Roast

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe many years ago. I made it once for a boss/friend of mine who was a gourmet cook. I caught him in the kitchen after dinner spooning the gravy directly out of the pan. Easy and tasty!

Pot Roast:
Beef Pot Roast, plan to cook it 1/2 hour per pound.
Olive oil
12-16 gingersnap cookies, crumpled
1 onion sliced thin
3-4 tbls. vinegar
Dahs of clove

1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder

Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a dutch oven/roaster that can be placed in the oven AND used on the stove (I have a Pyrex/Correlle one that's probably considered an antique by now), heat the oil and brown the roast.

Drain any remaining oil, add onions, add enough water (hot water if using a glass pot) to cover the roast 3/4 of the way, salt/pepper the top of the roast. Add the cloves and crumpled cookies to the water and give it a stir.

Bake until internal roast temperature is 155 degrees. The liquid should be simmering. When done, move roast to a platter and cover to keep warm.

Return roaster/dutch oven to the stove top and stir and simmer until it is just before a gravy consistency. While it is simmering, mix the dumpling ingredients, addking just enough milk to make soft, but not sticky balls.

Drop the dumpling mixture into gravy by teaspoonfuls. Cook 15 minutes without peeking. (This is why I have the clear dutch oven - so I don't cheat).

When done - remove the dumplings to a serving dish, then the onions.

The gravy should be a perfect consistency without adding any thickener. (If you need to thicken it, use cornstarch). Strain gravy, serve.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cooking Marathon

Fun weekend:

8 dozen Better Than Sex Cookies
6 loaves of Banana Bread
5 dozen Polvorones
4 ChickPea Burgers
3 loaves of Cranberry Orange Apricot Bread
1 Roasted Apple Tart in Phyllo
1 batch of Hummus
1 batch Cranberry Sauce

Would have been much faster with the second oven....SEARS are you listening?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Buttermilk Substitute

Buttermilk Substitute
From Faster than a trip to the store :)

Milk (just under one cup)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.
3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

A Perfect Day

My day began with yoga. The center that I started attending a few months ago is fabulous. The instructor knows how to encourage and push me to the next level. It is truly my refuge from stress and the awesome start to many good days.

I did the zig jag shop up the road and got all the rest of my holiday shopping done in less than an hour. I bought some fabric for my next project - a cloth clollage.

Home to some wonderful leftovers and completed my second art project. I did a gift for a co-worker of mine for Christmas.

I'll do some more holiday cooking here in a bit and today can be deemed - ultra perfect.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yummy Scramble

Yummy Scramble

1/2 T Penzey's green pepper flakes
1/2 T Penzey's red pepper flakes
1/2 t bottled, minced garlic
3 dried sundried tomatoes halves, cut into strips
1 t butter
2 eggs
1 t sour cream
pinch of kosher salt

Soak the peppers and tomatoes in a little water to hydrate. Melt the butter in a skillet. Drain veggies and add to skillet with garlic. Saute for a few minutes. Beat the eggs until mixed. Pour over veggies and allow egg to cook until somewhat set. Scramble to complete cooking. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve with sour cream.

This was excellent served with a slice of my molassas/whole wheat homemade bread

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

I'm so sorry to say I can't post my recipe for this. It is another exquisite recipe from Chef Kent at Chef's Table.

I've looked and looked for a recipe online that I could share in its place and I can't find one.

So this is a promo ad for my favorite place to eat.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pork Medallions with Apricot-Orange Sauce

I've posted on this before, but only as a link. This is a great recipe and I'll be serving it for company this week.

Pork Medallions with Apricot-Orange Sauce
(Cooking Light and

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 8 (1-inch-thick) slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm.

(Or prepare tenderloin in oven and slice when ready to serve)

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in apricots, broth, juice, garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Serve sauce with pork.

4 servings (serving size: 2 pork slices and 1/4 cup sauce)

Calories: 236 (29% from fat)

This is a great meal to make in advance and heat up when ready to serve.

Diana's Deviled Eggs

Here it is folks - the infamous, delectable, most sought after Curried Deviled Egg recipe in existence:

Makes 12 halves.
From Diana, who credits Jennifer Balderama, The Washington Post

6 large hard-boiled eggs
4 T Mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip)
2 t Dijon-style mustard
½ t curry powder (I use Penzey's)
¼ t Dry mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
Chopped green onion for garnish (optional)

Peel the eggs. Using a thin-bladed knife, halve the eggs lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites intact, and transfer the yolks to a small mixing bowl. Place the whites, cut side up, on a plate.

Using the back of a fork, mash the yolks with the mayo, Dijon mustard, curry powder, dry mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper until smooth and well-mixed.

Using a teaspoon, carefully spoon the yolk mixture back into the hollows of he egg-white halves; there should be enough to create a small mound on top of each. Garnish with green onion if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Chicken Spinach Sundried Tomato Pizza

This pizza sounded so horrible to me, but it was my daughter's favorite request at a local pizza place. They discontinued serving it after the recent spinach scare. I made this for her last night and she rated it as "better" than the one she used to order and I liked it a lot too. Being "of the season" I used turkey breast instead of chicken.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
2/3 can tomato paste
tablespoon dried onion
1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) Penzey's Granulated Garlic
1/4-1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) Penzey's Mural of Flavor
1/4 teaspoon olive oil (garlic)
prepared marinara (optional)
additional olive oil (I used garlic flavored)
sundried tomato (I prefer the dehydrated type vs marinated)
1 1/2 - 2 cups diced, cooked, turkey breast
2 garlic cloves, minced
additional granulated garlic
4-6 cups fresh spinach leaves
grated mozzarella
sea or kosher salt

Prepare pizza dough and let rise.

Prepare "sauce" with tomato paste, dried onion, seasonings and oil. Add water to make it a spreadable conistency. Set asside to let the dried onion soften and the flavors mix. You can skip this section and use prepared marinara or pizza sauce if you'd like.

If using dried tomatoes (not soaked in oil), place them in a small bowl with boiling or very hot water. Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size punch/press down the dough and prepare the following:

In one skillet, saute the minced garlic in the garlic olive oil for a few minutes and add the chicken/turkey cubes to blend flavors.

In another skillet use a bit more of the olive oil and saute the spinach leaves until just wilted and do a very tiny sprinkling of salt and granulated garlic.

Roll out the pizza dough making a "pie crust rim" (this is going to be stacked high). Spread whatever marinara sauce you've chosen to use - edge to edge. Sprinkle generously with cheese. Place the cooked spinach on top of the cheese. Next comes the meat. Drain the tomato water and cut the tomatoes into strips/pieces, discarding the tough parts. Place these on top of the meat. Top the whole thing with another light sprinkle of salt and granulated garlic (go easy here).

Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 6-8 slices depending on how you slice it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Tortillas by Maria Guadalupe

I received this recipe about 10-11 years ago when helping build houses in Tijuana with Esperanza. She came to our posada to teach us how to make real tortillas (the Mexico kind). I'll post the Espana kind of tortilla in another post.


Flour 4.4 lbs (approx)
Lard 1.1 lbs (approx)
Salt 1/4 C (approx)
Hot Water 4 C (approx)

En Espanol / Metric
Harina 2 kilos
Manteca 1/2 kilo
Sal (to taste)
Agua Claiente (as needed)


In a large bowl cut the lard into the flour by hand until it resembles a pie crust pastry texture. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the hot water. Add enough water to form a ball. Stir first with a spoon and then knead by hand.

Pinch off golf ball sized balls. Dust each one with flour and roll out on an unfloured board with a rolling pin. In a medium hot Teflon or cast iron pan, with no oil, brown each tortilla on each side.

Makes approximately 45 tortillas.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quick and Tasty Garlic Hummus

With all the appliances not yet working optimally (at all) I needed to get creative on what I could make without an oven or stove.

3 cans of chickpeas (drained with liquid reserved)
1/2 cup reserved reserved liquid
1/4 cup olive oil (use your good oil, garlic is best)
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon Turkish Seasoning (Penzey's)
1/4 teaspoon Granulated Garlic (Penzey's)
1/4 cup tahini, stirred well (room temperature)
1/4 lemon juice
salt to taste (remembering the canned chickpeas contain a lot of sodium)

In a food processor, puree the chickpeas with the reserved chickpea water, 1/4 cup olive oil and the garlic paste. Add the Turkish Seasoning, Garlic Granules along with the tahini and lemon juice and process until creamy. Season the hummus with salt, if needed, and transfer to a serving bowl.

NOTE Tahini has a tendency to separate, so be sure to stir the sesame paste thoroughly before measuring.