Monthly Archives: July 2018

Laurie Eats Sometimes- Spain Edition

Love Papas Bravas❤️ Salud🥂

Laurie Travels Sometimes

Every country has something they are proud of, you might even say a national treasure.

New Zealand has Peter Jackson and Lord of the Rings, Cambodia has Angelina Jolie and Spain has Jamón Ibérico! A cured ham from the Spanish countryside and the crown jewel of Spanish food!

It’s so special they cover it with a blanket and tuck it in at night….just kidding…sort of!

Ham is everywhere and in lots of food. And, it is delicious. But, for a vegetarian, we found Spain to be the trickiest of the countries that we visited during this trip.

However, one meatless dish that you can find everywhere is patatas or papas bravas. It’s native to Spain and you will see it on the menu of most bars and restaurants. It’s simple but varies a lot by sauce (tomato and aioli) potato shapes and spice level.

We ate this at at least…

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Celebrating Summer’s Bounty ~ PAN CON TOMATE ~ Spanish Tomato Toast

PAN CON TOMATE ~ SPANISH TOAST WITH TOMATO

Tomorrow I am going to a Tomato Fest at our local farmers market and I will share photos from that event in a future blog post.  Today I am sharing one of my favorite snack recipes…Pan Con Tomate ~ crusty grilled or toasted bread rubbed with garlic and fresh tomato pulp.  It is absolutely delicious. In Spain they often serve Pan Con Tomate for breakfast along with cured ham and fresh fruit.

Pan Con Tomate

Ingredients:
1 Crusty Bakery Fresh baguette, halved lengthwise and then cut into quarters horizontally.
2 cloves  garlic
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish olive oil is preferred for this recipe)
2 very ripe large tomatoes, cut in half
Coarse sea salt
Directions:
 Preheat broiler to high. Place bread, cut side up, on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Broil until crisp and starting to char around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes.
 Rub garlic cloves over cut surface of bread.
Put a box grater into a large bowl and grate tomatoes over largest holes, discarding skin. Spoon grated tomato onto toast and sprinkle with sea salt.

“a” Restaurant

In a restaurant we enjoyed Barcelona’s cuisine with a fun touch, with influences from around the world and a lot of flavor thought to be shared. And all with chef Alain Guiard’s special signature. Their tomato toast was the BEST!

Gazpacho is another tasty way to use the bounty of summer garden tomatoes. I like mine garnished with a little jumbo lump crab, burratta cheese and chopped red pepper.

I found this lovely summer recipe for Cherry Gazpacho in one of our neighborhood magazines The South Roanoke Circle in an article by David Lake Cook’s Nook, Liquid Pleasure = Liquid Salad. The cherries add a surprising zing to this Spanish chilled soup.  Don’t forget to chill your serving bowls and soup spoons in the freezer before service which will help to keep the soup nice and chilly as your guests enjoy it.  The tomatoes, peppers and herbs in the photo above were freshly picked out of my garden.

Cherry Gazpacho

Three 1-inch-thick slices of a rustic white sandwich-style bread

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound fresh bing or sweet cherries, pitted, set aside 12 cherries and finely dice them

3 ounces tomato juice

1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 thyme sprig

Tabasco sauce (I used Peri-Peri medium hot sauce)

4 basil leaves, torn, for garnish

Cherry gazpacho mixture:  Drizzle 1 bread slice with olive oil on both sides – do not cut it up yet.  In a medium skillet, fry the bread over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden, about 4 minutes. Rub the bread on one side with 1 whole garlic clove. Cut the bread int 1-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add the sliced garlic, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, whole pitted cherries, tomato juice, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Croutons:  Meanwhile, cut the remaining bread into 1/2 -inch cubes and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the bread cubes to the skillet along with the thyme and the remaining garlic clove and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until the croutons are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Discard the garlic and thyme and season the croutons with salt.

Working in batches, puree the cherry mixture in a blender until smooth.  Strain the gazpacho through a fine sieve.  Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.

Ladle the gazpacho into shallow bowls. Garnish with diced cherries, croutons and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Please visit the Roanoker Magazine Blog to find recipes for Insanely Simple Summer Snacks:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/insanely-simple-summer-snacks/

 

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A Toast to the Toast

Love these toasts! Here’s my favorite Scottish toast: “May the best you’ve ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever see.
May the mouse never leave your pantry
With a tear-drop in his eye.
May you always keep healthy and hearty
Until you’re old enough to die.
May you always be just as happy
As we wish you now to be.”

VinesseToday

toastI attended the wedding of my lovely goddaughter last month, and there were a number of toasts proposed at the reception.

A week earlier, I’d attended an awards banquet. There, too, toasts were in abundance.

Each New Year’s Eve, we drink coffee until 11:45 p.m., at which point we pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly, pour it into our glasses, and wait until midnight to toast the new year. (After two glasses of sparkling wine, the effect of all that coffee has been negated, and we are able to fall asleep fairly quickly. I am guessing age, more than science, has something to do with that phenomenon.)

Many theories have been offered about the origin of the toasting ritual. But theories are all we have, because nobody can say with certainty when what we think of as a toast — raising a glass of wine and speaking a…

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Put Sunshine In Your Champagne Flute This Weekend! Champagne Snockered Watermelon!

If you LOVE melon, you are going to LOVE this idea!

Champagne Snockered Watermelon!

The Wall Street Journal July 14/15, 2018 issue:

Drunk on Summer… recommends matching your favorite melon variety with a sympatico spirit.” The article, written by Aleksandra Crapanzano, makes these melon/spirit combinations:

Cantaloupe (Sugar Cube, Serenade Cavaillon or Savor melons may be substituted) with Ruby Port

Honeydew (Snow Leopard, Honey Whites, Diplomats or Honey Orange melons may be substituted with Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, White Rum or Gin

Seedless Baby Watermelon with Vodka, Sambuca, Cachaca or a mix of Silver Tequila and Cointreau

I cut my baby watermelon (Fresh Market) in half and made a little hollow in it. Then I poured champagne into the hollow and ground some pink peppercorns all over the watermelon flesh. You can use your favorite champagne, cava, prosecco or sparkling wine to make this melon.  We dug into it with a spoon and drank the liquid that was left in the hollow after we devoured the flesh. Super Tasty and Boosy!

 

It would be grand to walk outside to find an orange tree full of bright juicy oranges, but not all of us have that luxury. For the rest of us freshly squeezed orange juice is the next best thing to plucking oranges from a tree. I like to use my “Juiceman” juicer to squeeze my juice:  http://www.juiceman.com/

Champagne and orange juice is a great drink. The orange improves the champagne. The champagne definitely improves the orange.”

Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

This classic cocktail dates back to the early 1920’s when a drink called “Buck’s Fizz”  (two parts champagne to one part orange juice) was invented at the Buck’s Club in London.   Later in 1925, a bartender at the Ritz Hotel in Paris named Frank Meier invented the classic half champagne half orange juice Mimosa that we’ve grown to love.

Freixenet Brut Blanc de Blanc

This bubbly Cava is perfect in Mimosas.  Produced by the same winery that gives us Gloria Ferrer, one of my favorite sparkling wines:  https://www.gloriaferrer.com/carneros-winery

The perfect casual summer sipper…from Catalonia, Spain. 100% Chardonnay grapes.  A sparkling value…$10 range.  Lots of fun bubbles. Notes of baked apple with just a touch of lemon. Available on-line. I also found this Cava locally at Tinnell’s in Roanoke, Virginia. http://tinnells.com

Try Blood Orange juice in your Mimosa for a splash of color!

Codorniu Anna Brut Rosé Cava is another fun choice to make Mimosas.  Available at Earth Fare locally or on-line. 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay. Lots of bubbly berry flavors ~ raspberry, strawberry and cherry. $15 – $20 range. 

Here’s a link to the most  DELISH Mimosa recipes:

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/g2720/mimosa-recipes/

Here’s some more sunshine to put in your wine glass.  Blood Orange First Press. Fun French Rosé Wine with Orange & Other Natural Flavors. The orange flavors balance the sweetness of the wine.  So pretty in the glass.  Easy to sip in the sunshine.  I would call this a “girlie” wine since I would drink it with my girlfriends by the pool or on the patio.  Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar or on-line. $12 – $15 range. 

 http://mrbillswinecellar.com/

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Today Is A Caviar And Champagne Kinda Day!

Zen Sauces are the flavor bomb!  Find out more about these fabulous local pepper sauces on the Roanoker Magazine blog. Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/the-secrets-in-the-sauce/

Caviar and Champagne…the perfect pairing!

On a trip to Madrid, Spain this summer, we found a gourmet store that was filled with delicacies. My eyes were big as saucers when I saw row after row of unusually large bottles of my favorite beverage – champagne!

This bottle of Taittinger champagne is a Nebuchadnezzar which equals 20 regular bottles of champagne! Nebuchadnezzar is named after the greatest, most powerful of all Babylonian kings, who ruled from the late 7th to the middle 6th century BC. (The bottle next to it is a magnum which equals 2 standard bottles of champagne.)

While shopping in this glorious gourmet store we happened upon a caviar tasting!  The gentleman that was serving the caviar paired it with a lovely Russian vodka and champagne.  The caviar was a delicious surprise!

I was happy to see the pasta displayed behind him…Capriani pasta that we can purchase at Fresh Market – the closest thing to fresh pasta I’ve found in Roanoke.  https://shop.cipriani.com

Caviar served with toast points or blini, pickled onions or capers, crème fraîche, egg yolk and egg white that has been pushed through a sieve. Add lemon wedges for squeezing over top of the caviar once you’ve compiled it on your toast or blini.

Always serve caviar with a non-metal spoon. Metal gives the delicate caviar a metallic taste. A mother-of-pearl spoon is perfect for caviar service (available locally at Provisions/RSVP or on-line).

Photo by Megapixie

http://megapixie.com

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Let’s Throw A Champagne Party

It’s party time! Thank you Champagne Chick for the bubbly ideas!

THE CHAMPAGNE CHICK

So you want to throw a Champagne Party?  Fantastic idea … it can be as simple as a beautiful champagne cooler and some pretty flutes, or you can go all out setting up a champagne bar with a décor theme to match.

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Summer Time Sparkles … Sangria + Rosé + Dragon Fruit Salsa

Visit Roanoker Magazine to find Fun Summer Appetizer Recipes

including Dragon Fruit Salsa with Baked Wonton Chips Sprinkled with Sea Salt and Pink Peppercorns

Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/magazine/features/healthy-summer-appetizers-with-an-asian-flair/

Happy Summertime Sippin’!

 Peachy Rosé Sangria

This Peachy Rosé Sangria is a lighter, fruity version of classic Sangria. The Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach is a blend of the natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardèche in the south of France, combined with the world-renowned Grand Marnier…makes any get together a FIESTA!

1 bottle Rosé

5 ounces Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach

6 ounces fresh raspberries

12 fresh strawberries, capped and sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

3 small fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

1 cup seltzer water

Ice for service

Place strawberries in a small bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine. Set aside.

Place Rosé in sangria pitcher.  Add Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, raspberries, sugared strawberries and peaches. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to serve, add seltzer water and stir lightly to combine with other ingredients.  Serve in glasses over ice.

This recipe was originally published in the South Roanoke Living Magazine, July 2016 issue.

First Press Blood Orange Rosé is a fun little summer wine.  I think it’s perfectly OK to put ice in my wine glass when the temperature outside is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  So pretty in the glass, this rosé is made in France with blood orange and other natural flavors.  $15 range. Available at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar locally or on-line.  http://mrbillswinecellar.com/

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