|so much reaching! what happened to "passing?"|
coca with onions and honey
leg of lamb with honey and orange syrup
flao (an intriguing minty cheesecake from the Balearic Islands with an anise-scented crust)
I prepared most of the meal in the morning, which was fortuitous because it meant that I knew in the morning that almost everything was bad and could then spend the afternoon cooking a whole different meal.
Everything. Everything went wrong on Sunday, except the patatas bravas, which were spicy and perfect. The Cuisines of Spain let me down at almost every turn.
|makes me sad|
-coca with onions and honey. This was my second attempt at coca, the savory open-faced pizza-like pie from the Balearic Islands. Based on reading Barrenechea's recipe for coca de cebolla con miel, I envisioned flatbread topped with a golden tangle of honeyed onions studded with plump raisins and toasty pine nuts. I took the coca out of the oven at about 11 a.m., let it cool, cut myself a 1-inch square, and realized that I could not serve this dish. The crust was gummy and sodden with honey, the onions were simultaneously crunchy and slimy, and the the raisins were burnt. To replace it I made: tuna empanada from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. The fantastic recipe is printed below.
|excellent cold the next day, and the day after that, for lunch|
-flao. Mixed exactly as directed, the dough for the flao crust had the consistency of milkshake. I added twice the quantity of flour that Barrenechea calls for to render the dough rollable. After it baked, I broke off a shard of crust and it was like chalk. I then took a microscopic taste of the cheese filling and found it insufficiently sweet. I could serve this flao, but not with pride. To replace it I made: yogurt cake from Chocolate and Zucchini, which is reliable, springy, pretty, and very, very easy. I added strawberries to the batter. Last time I added rhubarb. It's that kind of cake.
I hadn't wanted to, but I ended up cooking all day. It was hot and I was tired and felt defeated and grumpy and was drinking a negroni by the time the family arrived. I thought it would be fun to bring the baby goats up to the deck to entertain Stella and Ben, and so we did, but the human children just wanted to go up to Owen's room and play with his Transformers. While I was trying to fry potatoes and carve lamb, the baby goats ate the potted geraniums and then ran into the house, depositing manure on the kitchen floor. Finally, we got the goats down, food on the table, and I dumped all the silverware and papertowels in a pile and let people set their own places. In the end, the dinner was convivial and the food good, but there went Sunday.
|cake and flao and my mom's pottery|
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large onions (she calls for white, I used yellow), quartered and thinly sliced
3 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 large ripe tomato, cut in half and grated on a box grater, skin discarded
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
(1 small pinch saffron threads, pulverized in a mortar and steeped in 2 tablespoons very hot water; optional)
18 ounces imported olive oil-packed tuna (I used 15 ounces, the contents of 3 cans), drained and flaked 3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
(I added a big handful of dark raisins; optional)
3/4 cup thinly sliced manzanilla olives (I used mixed olives from Whole Foods olive bar)
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
2. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until they begin to soften, 7 to 8 minutes, adding a little olive oil if the skillet looks dry. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are very soft.
3. Add the tomato, paprika, and optional saffron. Cover the skillet and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are reduced to a jam-like consistency, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Stir in the tuna, parsley, and optional raisins. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the olives for when you assemble the empanada.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (I used instant)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup lukewarm water
4 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
(1 large pinch saffron, toasted, pulverized in a mortar, and steeped in 3 tablespoons hot water; optional)
2 scant teaspoons kosher salt
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.
1. Mix the yeast, sugar, and water in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the butter, oil, egg, optional saffron, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time.
2. Knead the dough -- on the counter or in your mixer -- until it's smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. If it's still sticky, add a bit more flour. As von Bremzen writes: "The dough will be oily and pliable." Divide the dough in two portions, one very slightly bigger than the other. Shape in balls, cover loosely, and let rest for 20 minutes. This dough will not visibly rise.
flour for dusting the work surface
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 17- by 11-inch cookie sheet.
2. Lightly flour a work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the larger pastry ball to a roughly 19- by 12-inch rectangle. Carefully transfer this dough to the baking sheet; one of these is immensely helpful. The dough will overhang the edges of the cookie sheet slightly.
3. Roll out the remaining pastry to form a rectangle, slightly smaller than the first. Spread the filling evenly over the pastry on the cookie sheet. Scatter with olives. Cover with the second rectangle of dough. You seal the two crusts by folding the edges of the bottom crust over the top and crimping decoratively.
3. Whisk together the egg yolk and milk and brush evenly over the top of the empanada. With a sharp knife, cut several slits in the top of the empanada to let out steam.
4. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Makes enough for 12.
I hope you like this as much as we did.
On another subject entirely, per Babacapra's recommendation, I ordered an emasculatone today. Our emasculatone only cost $30, so if you're in the market, shop around.
As you can see, we need one.