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Found 207 results

  1. As tapas becomes more popular in the US, I've also noticed the rise of numerous non-Spanish cuisine restaurants that serve typically American cuisine in the format of tapas: small dishes often accompanied with wine. Here in Austin, we have 219 West, which you can see their menus online. I would guess that there are similar establishments in DC with which you are familar. Do you think this movement embracing smaller dishes is a positive change for the US dining scene? Are there fundamental elements of the tapas format that these American restaurant are failing to consider when designing their dishes -- or in other words, what criticism would you offer to these restaurants?
  2. Jeeze, this is exciting, I have about a zillion questions and don't know where to start. I guess I'll make the most of your combined knowledge of Spanish cuisine and American tastes. The U.S. is an increasingly important market for Spanish wine in both volume and money. What do you think Americans' attitude towards Spanish wine is the moment? Are they more aware of it? In know this is a pretty broad question, but I would love to hear some of your thoughts on the subject. ¡Gracias!
  3. I decided to make the Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe from BBA and followed the directions (although I did convert from active dry yeast to instant -- don't worry, I didn't do a direct substitution). I made the starter and after about 70 minutes it looked quite lovely. I've made starters before (usually poolishes) and I can definitely tell an active starter. At that point I creamed the butter, shortening, dry milk, sugar, and salt until everything looked uniform (I used my KitchenAid for this). I then added the eggs, oil extracts, the starter, and all of the flour called for in the recipe. I measured out the water and had it at the ready. I then started the KA on low with the dough hook, but the air today is so humid that not only did I not have to add any of the reserved water, I actually had to add about 1/4 cup more flour for the dough to come together into a soft ball. I then needed on speed 2 on my KA for 11 minutes (BBA called for between 10-12 using a stand mixer). The dough felt quite soft and there was definite gluten development. I then left it in my workbowl and covered it with plastic. It is now two hours later and not one sign of rise has happened. I know the yeast was active in the starter when I added it. I understand that rich doughs with lots of sugar and fat take longer to form gluten. Could the 11 minutes on the stand mixer have been too much? Any thoughts? BTW, the ambient air temperature is around 80 deg with about 86 percent relative humidity. All ingredients were room temperature before being added to the bowl. Thanks!
  4. Can someone tell me the best place to buy Moroccan "supplies" (ie. olives, spices etc.) in Madrid? Believe it or not, I will be carrying them back to Mexico (along with everything else).
  5. I recently spent some time in Spain, including several days in Asturias, and was privileged to have a lunch of Fabada Asturiana at the restaurant La Maquina in Lugones, which specializes in this wonderful dish. Always nice to start at the top. For the edification of those who may not be familiar with fabada -- sadly, most Americans have never heard of it -- it is a deceptively simple dish. In the most classic version, white beans (fabes in Asturiano) are cooked low and slow with saffron, black morcilla, chorizo and lacón (the salt-cured foreleg of a pig). A large bowl of beans in liquid comes to the table and a plate with a few small pieces of each of the three meats. That's it. But that's only really the beginning. The white beans I had were of a wonderful local variety (granja variety?) -- similar in appearance to the familiar Italian cannellini, but significantly longer and creamier in texture. The beans were all whole. Not one single one was split or broken, nor did they break apart on the way to our bowls or up to our lips. And yet, upon the slightest pressure from the teeth it was as though they immediately transformed into creamy softness. Some of this was the quality and variety of the beans, no doubt, but I can only assume that some of it was also the result of many decades of experience and expertise. This fabada was by no means a light dish, and yet it was certainly less rich (and less meaty) than other well-known bean dishes such as cassoulet. Really, it was all about the beans. The few small bits of meat that came along with the beans seemed more like condiments for the beans than fundamental structural elements of the dish. Since that eye-opening lunch, I have come to understand that there are many different versions and styles of fabada. I have heard good things about fabadas with clams and also what sounded like a very interesting fabada with centollo (giant spider crab). As will be apparent to our Spanish members, and those more familiar with Spain than I, my knowledge and experience in this area is very meager at this point. But I'd like to learn more! What can you tell me about fabada? Is there any possibility of approximating this dish back here in NYC? What are some favorite recipes and variations?
  6. Has anyone tried them? This is one of the most famous pastry items here in Portugal. Feel free to check my recipe and tell me what you thought of them.
  7. bills

    Spanish Notes

    Notes from a Spanish off-line. For a normally wild and crazy group, it was interesting to see that most people stuck pretty close to the traditional wines rather than bringing one of the many ‘new’ styles now available. 2001 Valsaero Dioro Rioja – no indication of whether this is a Crianza or not. It showed medium colour, sweet oak in the nose, some soft tannins and lively acidity, and ended with a medium long earthy finish. Some spice developed in the nose with time in the glass. This was a new style wine that I am not familiar with. 1970 Marques de Caceres Gran Reserva – a youthful wine with a nose that was quite rubbery at the start. Relatively pale colour, browning at the edges – the only sign of age, as we all figured this was a wine from the 80s. The nose became more cherry with some air, a little stewy, the fruit was still bright and the length was quite good. I liked this a lot. 1999 Rochioli Russian River Pinot Noir – similar light colour, but with still purple edges. Nice cherry fruit, medium body with good flavour concentration in the middle, and good length. We disagreed about this ‘ringer’, some thinking it would continue to develop and some (myself included) thinking it as good now as it will ever be, though it will certainly continue to coast. 1994 Gaudium Rioja – made by Caceres with Tempranillo and 25% cab, this wine has always shown a funky nose, but this one was definitely slightly corked. You could tell there were some good things – nice fruit etc., but it wasn’t possible to properly evaluate the wine. 1993 Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva – nice mellow oak and fruit nose, very silky smooth on palate and nicely balanced with good length. This one just slipped down the throat. 2001 Neo (Ribero del Duero) – OK, we did have a new style wine (the Gaudium was AWOL so doesn’t count). A definitely new age Tempranillo, this product of JC Conde was dark purple with a Bordeaux style nose but a bit sweeter, and was slightly hot in the mouth with some raspberry flavour. In fact the wine was very good, with my only criticism being a slight sourness on the finish.
  8. The Week of the 3rd of January, 2005 Metrópoli, El Mundo’s leisure magazine presents their best of Madrid 2004 Awards, the winners are: Restaurant of the Year Winner: SANTCELONI Finalists: Europa, Kabuki Newcomer restaurant of the year Winner: DASSA BASSA Finalists: Citra, La Gorda Top traditional restaurant Winner: CASA D'A TROYA Finalists: La Cocina de María Luisa, La Casa de Itziar Foreign cuisine restaurant Winner: ASIA GALLERY Finalists: Hakkasan, La Gorda 'More than a restaurant' Winner: CAFÉ OLIVER Finalists: Puerta 47, Colonial Norte Out of town restaurant Winner: ARS VIVENDI (Majadahonda) Finalists: Casa José (Aranjuez), Hakkasan (San Sebastián de los Reyes) Up-and-coming chef Winner: JOAQUÍN FELIPE (Europa) Finalists: Alberto Chicote (No Do), Darío Barrio (Dassa Bassa) Top maître d' Winner: FRANCISCO PATÓN (Europa) Finalists: Mª José Monterrubio (Chantarella), José Alves (Tras Os Montes) Top sommelier Winner: LUIS GARCÍA (Aldaba) Finalists: Miguel Laredo (Laredo), Gema Vela (Castellana, 179) Top decoration Winner: ASIA GALLERY Finalists: Hakkasan, Dassa Bassa Wine bars and tapas bars Winner: LAREDO Finalists: Taberna del Sarmiento, Casa Vila Gourmet shops Winner: PONCELET (Cheeses) Finalists: Giangrossi (Ice Creams), Barolo (Wines) Fernando Point ends the year visiting La Leñera, a young restaurant belonging to the Oter group and specialized in roasted meats. Top Metrópoli goes for the best restaurants cooking Poularde. 5 a Taula visits Casa Lázaro the place to meet all the Barcelonian cultural world and taste ytheir burgalesian specialities. Enrique Bellver complains about the blindness of the Michelin Inspectors giving a star to the almost dissapeared El Lido and not mentioning Mesana, El Lago, Ruperto de Nola, Taberna del Alabardero, Palo Cortado, Adolfo...and proposes a Stelar New Year's Day Menu. Caius Apicius writes about the now almost disapeared Ox.
  9. I have developed such an abiding affection for canónigos that it is really bothering me that I can't find a word for them in my native language. I think they could be the perfect green--pretty little bundles of tender leaves with sweet and bitter undertones--what watercress could be if it was less assertive and much easier to clean. According to my French-Spanish dictionary, they translate as "mâche" in French. I don't think I've ever seen them on the other side of the pond. Perhaps the British have a term for them...
  10. A professor of History at Oberlin College describes, in the Travel section of The New York Times, a hike in Extremadura to Yuste, emperor Charles V's last residence, where he died. She writes: "We spent that night, as Charles did, in the Castle of Oropesa, today a state-run parador. It is a lovely place, with its Renaissance-era courtyard perfectly preserved, its guest rooms comfortably furnished. From its walls we could look back up over the mountains we had just traversed. We took long hot baths, and confounded the waiter in the parador restaurant by leaving the white asparagus (a Spanish delicacy that we both find repellently flabby) on our salads untouched - the equivalent, we deduced from his reaction, of eating only the toast points on a plate of caviar." This reminds me of a text by another American writer on Rioja or Basque menestra (I can't remember which one it was), describing it as a platter of "overcooked vegetables". It seems to me that in today's vegetable culture, deeply influenced by 30 years of insistence on 'al dente' textures, some people no longer understand the subtlety of tender vegetables - and white asparagus must be tender and melt in the mouth - and confuse them with those boiled, mushy, overcooked vegetables that graced or disgraced plates of home-cooked food (particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world) in a previous era - or sometimes still appear on those plates today. I think these people are missing some great delicacies...
  11. That Spain has a tremendous variety of regional cookings is undeniable: from Andalusia to Galizia, we find different traditional cuisines all over the country. In fact, sometimes I find them so different that makes me wonder (and this is a debate that is not new in Spain) if we can talk about a Spanish cuisine as a whole. Do you think that there's a Spanish cooking? If you do, which are the elements that characterize it? I can think of several products (i.e. pork, olive oil to name two of them) that are used in each and every region, but I guess something more than that is needed to define a cuisine. Ideas, please?
  12. For some reason, yesterday ended up being a fungally-oriented day. In the morning, I bought two small bags of mushrooms--chanterelles and black trumpet mushrooms--from the mushroom vendor at the San Miguel market (in Madrid). I cooked them up for lunch. The chanterelles were much meatier than their US counterparts (slightly different variety, I suspect). The black trumpets were very interesting and smelled much stronger uncooked than they ended up. A bit hard to clean (lots of grit and critters in the crevices), but well worthwhile and a fraction of what they would cost in the US. The same evening, we were out tapeando in Chueca and ended up at El Cisne Azul--a bar that specializes in mushrooms (setas). They had four or five different types: chanterelles, black trumpets, oyster mushrooms, and a few that I didn't recognize--one of which, I suspect was a "níscalo" (not sure what the English translation is). When I asked, the man behind the bar told me the latin names for the mystery mushrooms, which are now escaping me... The mushrooms were prepared very simply--sauteed in olive oil and salt. They also offered sauteed flor de calabaza and watercress salads. Great place. Very low key. Next time I'll be sure to limit my mushroom consumption before going, as there's only so much that a body can handle and appreciate in one day. Seriously, I may be suffering from some psychotropic side-effects today from ingesting too many, because I'm completely unable to get any work done and have been relentlessly slacking off. Questions for the experts: What are some of your favorite mushroom dishes? And where can I find them in Madrid? Are there any low-key Basque places that do those wonderful egg and mushroom dishes? What are the different varieties of wild mushrooms available in Spain? And the seasons? Can I look forward to morels in the spring? Are there any good mushroom hunting areas in the Sierra around Madrid? Or do they all come from the misty green north?
  13. Hi All- I tried a recipe out of The good cook, James and Jellies over the weekend. It is a bitter orange, lemon and watermelon Jam. Actually its more like a marmalade. The recipe went together easily, but a curious thing happened while I was cooking it. The recipe said to add 3 cups of sugar for each 4 cups of fruit and simmer slowly for 1 hour. I did that but at the end of the hour, the consistency still seemed thin. My first though was to reduce it further. I pulled some out of the pot to taste and continued to reduce. I never did get to a really jelled consistency, however the taste started to change, it lost the fresh watermelon flavor and took on almost a "tea taste" like the sugars in the watermelon had carmelized. It doesnt taste bad but should I have taken another approach? I'm not familiar enough with sure gel to use it if its not called for in a recipe. Any help would be appreciated. Its a beautiful jam, I would just like to maintain the fresh watermelon taste and have it thicker.
  14. Okay - queso de Burgos has been bothering me since my last trip to Spain. How is one supposed to eat this stuff? Three different places in Burgos, three different ways: I've been given little packs of sugar, a little pot of honey, and what appeared to be crême anglaise. My pal tells me that honey is the "correct" one, but she's from Asturias. Anyone care to offer words of enlightenment?
  15. I was making zucchini alla scapece last night and I started chatting with a friend about the different theories that exist on the origins of this dish. Scapece is a general Italian term describing dishes in which the main ingredients are flavored and preserved by the use a vinegar based marinade. The recipes can vary quite a bit but the term is found in central and (mainly) southern Italy. I find the similarity of the Italian term, and technique, with the Spanish escabeche is hardly coincidental. In Italy there's a few different theories, all slight variations of two main ones, about the origin of this term and I was wondering if any of them has an equivalent in Spain or if there are alternative ones. The first and most popular one claims that both scapece and escabeche come from the Latin esca Apicii, Apicius's sauce. This term should refer to a special liquamen recipe, invented by one of the many roman cooks who called themselves Apicius, made up of white wine vinegar, garlic, mint and probably garum. Another theory claims that the term escabeche originated in South America and was brought to southern Italy by the Spanish where it became scapece. What do the Spanish experts say?
  16. Where in PDX can one purchase quality Italian and Spanish grocery items??? I am specifically searching for olives and canned in olive oil tuna.
  17. Summer's here and the time is right for eating in the streets. It looks like summer finallly arrived to our peninsula, after some timid tries. So now we're going to see the temperature high in the thirties (ºC) - nineties (F) for some months, which cold dish do you enjoy the most? Since I've created the thread, I'll choose the cliché: gazpacho, in almost any of its endless variations. But there's much more outside gazpacho. I'm curious what our triumphant friends to the other side of the border have these days, since I'm not familiar with any cold dish from Portugal.
  18. Andre

    Spanish wine tasting

    Spanish Wine Tasting Special Reserve May 13th 2004. Whenever Rioja – Spain’s most famous red wine region is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is barrel aging. The way things are progressing; this rapidly changing wine region may be in need of a new connotation. Tradition: the very basic difference between one cultural thing and another. One might argue that tradition is therefore a source for miscomprehensions and disputes, yet it is the finest way to express the fruit of the earth. So many young and talented winemakers invade the traditional world of wine with clearer, stricter, yet soulless and less experienced systems and earn much praise and compliments, that I find myself worried more and more about the ignorance of the mass consumer and the abuse of the famous critic. Then again what can you expect of species preferring to live an artificial life rather than a natural one? It seems we are back to stage one very time there is a new revelation. A father trying to teach his son about his business is likely to be in trouble these days. Lack of proper communication and an outside consultant can bring the best of businesses to their knees. The father, who may lack some of the knowledge possessed by his son, wishes to teach in a multidimensional way rather than the clear, precise and one dimensional system the son is to absorb in schools. The Father’s “Watch and learn” system requires time and attitude today’s youth seem to lack – there goes tradition. A famous French marketing consultant once said: “respect your father but be ready to kill him”. The gentleman is known to have aided many older companies to regain control of the market. Such are the troubles traditional wineries are facing worldwide and namely in Spain. The term Bodega –the cellar meant to age the wines and release them when ready to drink is modernizing and fast. Off we go… The Whites: Marques de Riscal Rueda 2000. Nothing they teach you in wine courses should be taken for granted. This yellowish toward goldish and by far less appealing wine may be ejected by sight alone yet overcoming such “an obstacle” is much worth it. Dried fruit nose with a focus on apricota and citrus fruits with a pleasant slightly oxidized aromas that seem to add complexity and authenticity. Soft and smooth on the entry with a good almost chewy body ending with a very well balanced dry finish. I am happy Marques de Riscal stuck to the region of Rueda and are constantly improving the production of this Verdejo grape [ although some Viura is added lately]. Conde de Valdemar Finca Alto Cantabria A big impressive dry white made from 100% Viura grapes and fermented in oak. A classic oak impression, fully compatible with the acidity and texture of the high quality Viura located at the alto Cantabria. A pleasure for those not seeking the fruits in white wine with some pefectltly balance sherry aromas. Enjoyed very much. The Reds: Rioja Faustino 7 2002. A modern fruity red wine with a mildly spiced finish. Short? So is the wine. Drink now. Rioja Conde de Valdemar Crianza 2000. A wonderful medium bodied Rioja, fairly priced with a good balance between well-integrated tannins, fruity and spicy flavors, acidity and oak. Good job! Rioja Faustino Crianza 1999. Nearly five years old and already tired. This wine lacks the backbone acidity that balances good quality Rioja. Poor barrel aging or storage technique with plenty of off beat tannins. Skip. Rioja Faustino 5 1998. A disappointing Reserva from an able producer. Somehow softer and lacks the intensity and complexity expected from a good Rioja Reserva. Rioja Conde de Valdemar Reserva 1998 Now that is a very good example of a Rioja Reserva. Medium + body well integrated tannins and spices and a concentrated texture that turn this ine into a drinking pleasure if good meat and time are available. Deserves high rating. Rioja Conde de Valdemar Grand Reserva 1996. A wine to learn aging from. Perfect balance of this 8 year old wine with plenty of complexity, tannins and acidity to keep it going several more years yet, why wait? Rioja Finca Valpiedra 1996 Not the perfect wine in terms of balance yet a well constructed single vineyard concentrated Rioja. The wine needs time to fully develop which makes it more difficult to taste yet much more interesting to drink. Different than previous years, then again this is what the Valpiedra is all about. Give it time and enjoy. A wonderful experience. Gaudium Marques de Caceres 1994. This wine had me worried for some time. I realized its potential and had bought several cases of this wine. None of the previous bottles opened over the years showed substantial development and only now it seems that the time has come. Tannins are finally stepping aside in this modern Rioja to express ripe yet delicate sweet red fruits, good acidity and a lingering complex after taste. The wine continues to develop over an hour with a less than impressive start and and an elegant and complex finish that turns this wine into a wonderful experience. Drink 2004-2008. Rioja Marques de Caceres Grand Reserva 1989. Slightly brownish with a tired nose? Let it rest. Light red towards light gold-brownish colors. The nose is dominated by older oak and spices with mild dried fruits lingering very nicely. The fruit gain intensity as the wine develops in the glass. In the mouth the wine is soft on the entry and develops slowly into spicy sweet flavors. Amaretto, herbs and spices linger in the after-taste. The wine needs no less than 25 minutes in the glass to open up and is excellent with cold meats and aged Manchego and Parmesan cheese. One hour later and the wine fully develops into an emotionally moving older Rioja that portrays the greatness that could be found in simplicity.
  19. If anyone has suggestions for Sidra bar's and Chocolate y Churro places in Madrid I'd be grateful to hear them. Thanks!
  20. This morning, while placing my regular order at the Lisbon El Corte Inglés (which expertly deliver live shellfish as well as everything else) I was told a shipment of "percebes" ( goose barnacles) from Galicia had just arrived, so I naturally ordered a kilo, which usually costs between 50 and 60 euros. My friend at the fish counter, probably when her supervisor wasn't watching, warned me that these, though they were no fresher or better than usual, would cost me a whopping 125 euros a kilo - more than double. Only 20 years ago, percebes were almost free. In fact, on the coast, you got a free small plate with a dozen of them whenever you ordered a beer. As the appetite for them has grown (specially in inland Spain and Portugal) and their harvest (quite dangerous when the weather's bad) has become more difficult - not to mention the ravages of oil spills and pollution in general - their price has escalated beyond anyone's most pessimistic predictions. There are a lot of cheap live percebes on the market (from Morocco, Peru, practically everywhere in South America) but they're enormous, chewy, dry and entirely devoid of that particular sea-tangy delicate flavour of Galician and Portuguese percebes. Frozen percebes, about 15 euros a kilo, are a waste of money. There really is no substitute. In Summer, when their harvest is easy, the prices tumble - but consumers have become used to the high prices and they never descend below 40 to 50 euros a kilo, unless you travel to the little fishing villages where they're caught. 125 euros is a nightmare and probably a freak occurrence. But already 3 kilos had been sold... The same price spiral has affected "angulas" - the delicious baby elvers we Iberians so treasure quickly fried in olive oil, garlic and two "malagueta" peppers. Not only are they prohibitively expensive (the best ones) but they're also becoming rarer, so that the few restaurants who can get their hands on prime, just-caught percebes and angullas will keep them for their best customers only, via a well-established phonecall system. How difficult it is to pay such prices for delicacies we once took for granted! I need some help here: what should a gourmet's correct attitude be? (For the record, I refused the percebes and rose hell, ordering two very angry lobsters instead. Two one-and-a-half pounders, caught yesterday off Peniche, cost me 120 euros. That's a kilo and a half of wild "lavagante" for the price of a kilo of goose barnacles.) My, how times have changed...
  21. Unfortunately Espai Sucre was closed, but I did manage to get to, taste, buy and bring back chocolate from Oriol Balaguer's Estudi Xocolada and Cacao Sampaka. Estudi Xocolada is an artisanal producer of exquisitely fine chocolate in a number of varieties. Unlike the other places, it does not serve its chocolate products on site, but we did have an interesting discussion with the pastry chef (not Oriol Balaguer), who offered us samples of chocolates with pop rocks inside. This was some of the most incredible and fun chocolate I have ever eaten. The chocolate was dramy pure dark chocolate, but the pop rocks gave an incredible mouth sensation to go along with the flavor of the chocolate. We bought chocolates and a dessert book (in English) by Balaguer. Cacao Sampaka is located off the Ramblas Catalunya and has a small cafe in adition to the retail Chocolate shop. They have an incredible array of flavors and styles. I sampled the black truffle, which was amazing. I'll report back as I sample some of the others we came home with.
  22. This evening, my friends Michael and Elizabeth and I were sharing a bottle of albariño (Martín Codax--excellent), and the conversation quite naturally turned to favorite food experiences in Spain. We all quickly agreed how marvelous that wine would be with some pimientos de padrón, those tiny green peppers from Galicia, about a bite each (and of which about one in ten are hot!), fried in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt, served as tapas throughout the country. They seem to be catching on in some areas here, but I have never seen them for sale in NYC. I must admit I haven't done an exhaustive search, but I would have definitely noticed them if they were lying around. Do they ever show up at Fairway? The Green Market? An internet search turns up a grower in Northern California that sells them, and the the Spanish internet food site La Tienda will ship them to you for 25 DOLLARS A POUND!! (I think not...) Suggestions, anyone?
  23. For yesterday's lunch, I made this for the first time. As you know, the "original" is potatoes, onions, & egg. I added red pepper strips & garlic. I enjoyed it but I found it wanting. So . . . Does one go back to the simplicity of the "original"? Or, might adding, say, fresh oregano make a difference in the right direction? Comments, suggestions, etc.?
  24. I was just doing a search on Oriol Balaguer and it came up that he was opening this place which is a chocolate studio, I think. Any info?
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