Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Be Damned the Political Conventions: Let There Be Tapas

I'll be happy when these political conventions are over.

David has started to repeat things from the speeches. It's annoying. Recently, he's been dropping Obama-isms into everyday conversation.

Several times a day now as I am justifying some parenting technique that I think, even though it isn't working right now, will pay off somewhere down the line or explaining why I should wear a certain style of clothing or why Lucy should do tap instead of Tai Kwon Do or whatever thing I feel needs my thorough analysis and explanation and David will stop, look at me with the kind of smug look that parents give their kids when they know they have won the argument before the words come out of their mouths, the smugness that comes with knowing they will deliver a conversation-stopper that will halt the kid dead in his tracks with no allowable room for whining or pleading.

Like this one, which I never use, but is one that I regard highly and keep for just the right time - "But you said your tummy was super-full and you couldn't possibly eat another pea...I'm sure there isn't room in there for ICE CREAM, right?"

Aaaaaah! Score.

How does a toddler come back from that? The kid is stuck - He must eat the peas to get the ice cream or he can refuse the peas and lose out on the ice cream. This is when parents absolutely SUUUUUUUUUUCK!

Anyway, this is what David has been doing to me, stealing bits of memorable phrases from the speeches and lobbing them into any conversation that comes up.

This one is his favorite:

"I know you care, sweetheart but you just don't get it," he says as a response to just about everything.

And really, there is no retort. Except maybe rolling my eyes and pretending that my husband was accidentally lobotomized in a tragic combine accident. (Okay, that's not funny. Farm equipment is dangerous.)

And thanks to you, Obama speechwriters. You've made me feel like John McCain in my own home.

Okay, I promised tapas last week and have lazed about the Hamptons this weekend as if I had no other mandates or jobs to get done. So, I give you my favorite, worthwhile tapas from the dinner I had last week.

Enjoy with a little beer or Spanish rose!

xo YM


These dishes are all adapted from Food and Wine Magazine but you should re-jigger to taste. This "food magazine" didn't even include salt and pepper in the recipes. Not that I'm bitter or anything. The food ideas are good, but I did a lot of re-seasoning at the stove. I tried to include my re-seasoning here, but you should expect to do the same.

Chorizo, Chick Pea & Spinach Salad
Serves 6

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 small chorizo sausages, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, chopped
1 can of drained chick peas
2 good-sized handfuls of baby spinach
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until clear, about 5 minutes. Add chorizo and saute until beginning to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chick peas, season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add chorizo back in. Add spinach, just until before it wilts, about a minute. Sprinkle with paprika. Dust with parsley. Bring to table in the pan.

Sardines Escabeche
serves 6

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 fresh sardine fillets (not from a can)
2 sliced garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
6 whole cloves
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook sardines for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a plate. Add remaining ingredients to pan and cook for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the sardines and serve warm or cool.

Note: I do not like sardines and this dish tasted so tangy and un-sardine like that I will definately do it again. The sherry vinegar and herbs really give the fish a huge hit of acid which just sets it apart from run of the mill fish preparations. In fact, after making these tapas, I am a sherry vinegar convert. It's worth buying the big bottle.

Lamb Cutlets with Fig and Tomato Salsa
Serves 6

12 trimmed lamb cutlets
12 cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 sliced garlic cloves
1 sliced onion
3 fresh bay leaves
6 halved ripe figs
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

To make the salsa: Blanch tomatoes briefly in a sauce pan of boiling water and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Peel off skins. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute garlic, onion and bay leaves until softened or about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, figs and sherry vinegar and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

meanwhile, cook lamb cutlets over high heat in a cast iron pan or grill pan to get a nice sear for about 5 -7 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to plates and smother with salsa.

Note: This dish is gorgeous - the summery green of the figs and the eye-popping brilliant tomato reds make this dish impressive to bring to the table. You can also prep all the ingredients before, blanch and peel tomatoes, chop garlic and slice onions, etc and have them all ready to go in your "mis en place" and then, the dish can be whipped up in under ten minutes.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes with Tuna, Parsley, Garlic, Capers & Tarragon
Serves 6

12 ripe cherry tomatoes (the very little ones are unruly suckers, go bigger if you can find them)
1 can of tuna, drained
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp tarragon, chopped
2 tbsp capers
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Blanch tomatoes for 5 seconds in a sauce pan of boiling water. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl of ice water. Peel skin off tomatoes carefully.

Slice off tops and carefully hollow out the insides with a small spoon or melon baller. You can easily mash them, so be gentle. Set on a tray.

Mix together tuna, parsley, tarragon, capers, garlic and onion in a bowl. Ad in olive oil, sherry vinegar.Be generous with salt and pepper. Stuff the hollowed out tomatoes with the tuna mixture and serve on plates.

Note: This dish can be completely prepped ahead. Make the tuna mixture and keep in fridge. Prep the tomatoes and stow in fridge. Put the tuna in the tomatoes 15 minutes before dinner. I included this dish because it is one dish you can make ahead and you won't have to fire it before it gets to the table, which will help if you are making various tapas dishes.

This pate-like dish is easy to make and comes straight from my friend at Art of the Pig. I'm a bit queasy about the handling of chicken liver. Or having it near my person. Or in my house. Or my neighborhood. Or that it simply exists. But this guy makes making meat more manageable. (I think that should be the tag line on his blog.)

If you like the chopped liver, you'll like this. At Art of the Pig, they call it, "Liver Flavored Butter". And it is. But I won't be offended if you just buy pate at the store...

Chicken Liver Parfait

2 lbs chicken livers
1 1/2 lb butter
1/4 Cognac
1 tablespoon oil

Soak chicken livers in ice water for two hours.

Place in 5 cup terrine (glass bread pan will do) with oil, Cognac, two pinches of salt and one of pepper.

Marinate for two hours.

Place terrine in a warm water bath in preheated 300 degree F oven. About 40 minutes, livers should be firm but still pink inside. Let cool and drain them.

Puree the livers and whisk in warm, room temperature butter, adjust seasoning. Wash terrine out. Place liver/butter mix back in terrine.

Chill for 24 hours. Serve with toast.



Krysta said...

i feel like mc cain in my own home... hahahahahahaha... at least your husband doesn't have a crush on donna brazile and wants cnn at night when *cough cough* we should be doing other things. cnn is my husbands porn and ib if your reading this, sorry that i'm totally embarassing you and being a bad parent!

ntsc said...

That is 1/4 cup of Cognac, Cognac you would drink.

It also freezes.

melissa said...

I made a similar tuna, with capers, anchovies and other things, to do stuffed peppers. I actually wasn't a fan but LOVED it with tomato (on a sandwich). So I might try these stuffed tomaters.