Sunday, August 18, 2019

Emerald Corn Chowder with Roasted Tomatillos and Poblano from Rick Bayless for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This week I was craving hominy and sweet corn and wanted a chowdery soup to enjoy in my cold office lunchroom. I ended up slightly adapting this Rick Bayless recipe for Emerald Corn Chowder with Roasted Tomatillos and Poblano by swapping out the chicken broth for veggie broth to make it vegan, adding canned hominy and cauliflower rice to make it more substantial. Because this soup uses jarred green salsa in it, it doesn't require a lot of effort in the kitchen making it great for a humid August Sunday.  
 


Rick Bayless says, "The roasty flavors of this zesty soup are wonderfully enriched with the sweet corniness of masa the dough that’s used for making corn tortillas. Whether you use the easily accessible dehydrated masa harinaor the fresh dough available from tortilla factories, you’ll love the complex flavors. (No masa at all? Thicken the soup with a little cornstarch dissolved in water.) Dress up your soup with grilled shrimp or scallops to start a very special meal—even drizzle on a little Mexican crema or crème fraiche right before serving. It’s based on a classic soup from Central and Eastern Mexico that’s called chileatole"


Emerald Corn Chowder with Roasted Tomatillos and Poblano
Slightly Adapted from Salsas That Cook via RickBayless.com
(Serves 4 to 6)

1 small white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large fresh poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
2 cups corn kernels, either freshly cut off the cobs or frozen, depending on the season (I used 4 cups)
2 cups Frontera Roasted tomatillo Salsa 
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I subbed in 4 cups of veggie broth)
 (1 added one 29 oz can white honimy)
2 Tbsp freshly ground corn masa for tortillas or masa harina (corn flour) (I used cornmeal + cornstarch)
(I added one 10-oz package of frozen riced cauliflower)
salt, about 1/2 tsp to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
(I added diced avocado and toasted peptitas)

In a large saucepan or soup pot, cook the onion and poblano in the oil for 5 or 6 minutes until both are tender. Scrape into a blender or food processor and add half of the corn and all of the salsa. Process to a smooth puree and press through a medium-mesh strainer back into the pan or pot. Stir in the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low, stirring often, for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the fresh masa or masa harina with 1/4 cup water, making sure there are no lumps. Strain the mixture (you can use the same strainer) directly into the simmering pot, stirring all the while. Continue to stir until the soup thickens, then taste and season with salt. Add the remaining corn kernels, let return to a simmer, then ladle into warm bowls and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro before carrying to the table.


Notes/Results:  I like this chowder a lot--it has the great tang from the tomatillos and a kiss of heat at the end. The salsa I used it medium, you could get a spicier salsa or add some hot sauce if you like more a burn. I added extra corn (using about 4 cups total) in addition to the hominy and still found myself wanting a  bit more substance so I added a bag of riced cauliflower from my freezer. Perfect! I didn't have the masa on hand or want to drive to get some so I used cornmeal and a bit or cornstarch instead. Also, other than sieving the cornmeal mixture, I didn't want to bother with doing the same to the soup and I used my VitaMix blender and I don't think it needed to be put through a sieve first. I topped the soup toasted pepitas, diced avocado and the suggested cilantro. I would happily make this again. 


Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs for this weeks Monthly Cuisine Spotlight: Mexican.


Let's look into the Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays Kitchen 


Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog is here with Healthy Vegan Wraps and says, "Bright green collard greens stuffed with mixed colorful raw vegetables, a little avocado, and some flavorful hummus, make a satisfying vegan lunch and a delicious way to eat more greens! Transitioning to an all vegan diet is not easy for me. I'm not always sure what to make to eat but I'm discovering as I go! My newest idea are these healthy looking collard green wraps!"



Tina of Squirrel Head Manor enjoyed this Grilled Chicken and Black Bean Salad on a recent trip to Tampa, she says, "We ate well while being away. Next is a healthy salad of grilled chicken breast over salad greens, black beans and feta cheese. Refreshing and cool with a balsamic vinegar dressing."


Welcome back to Nancy of Colors 4 Health who shares some awesome reasons to eat celery with recipes attached. She shares a tasty Chickpea/Celery Salad on a Bed of Tossed Greens and says, "Try your hand at making a crisp, crunchy, fresh-tasting veggie salad with a rainbow of colors that's pleasing to the eye and palette. ... Top this salad with a vegan bean, garlic, and ginger salad dressing to enhance celery's subtle, but juicy flavor".
 

Here at Kahakai Kitchen I tried my hand at Welsh Rarebit this week for a book tour review. I adapted a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe to what I had on hand and ended up with a tasty, cheesy open-faced sandwich for an evening snack.

 
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Accidentals" by Minrose Gwin Served with a Recipe for Welsh Rarebit

Happy Thursday! It's been a long and busy week and I want nothing so much as to get started on my weekend. A good way to do that is by an engrossing novel, paired with a comfort food snack. I'm happy to be today's stop on the The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin. My review is accompanied by a recipe for Welsh Rarebit, a dish inspired by the book.


Publisher's Blurb:

Following the death of their mother from a botched backwoods abortion, the McAlister daughters have to cope with the ripple effect of this tragedy as they come of age in 1950s Mississippi and then grow up to face their own impossible choices—an unforgettable, beautiful novel that is threaded throughout with the stories of mothers and daughters in pre-Roe versus Wade America.

"Life heads down back alleys, takes sharp left turns. Then, one fine day it jumps the track and crashes.”

In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life–seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental”—a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations—and the consolations of imperfect return.

Filled with tragedy, humor, joy, and the indomitable strength of women facing the constricted spaces of the 1950s and 60s, The Accidentals is a poignant, timely novel that reminds us of the hope and consolation that can be found in unexpected landings.


Paperback: 416 pages 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 13, 2019)

My Review:

The Accidentals is my first time reading one of Minrose Gwin's books, I was drawn to the tour based on the publisher's description of two sisters whose lives are forever impacted by a choice their mother makes. The title refers to vagrant birds, accidentals who stray outside their expected territories, It also alludes to several characters in the books feeling like they don't belong. I will confess that I had a hard time getting into the story at first, not particularly liking Olivia, wife to Holly and mother of Grace and June. This changed once the book got into the girls' adolescence and I found myself hooked. The story is told from multiple points of view and moves forward and back in time, which meant I had to follow along carefully to make sure I knew who was talking and in what time frame, but it also made the story interesting to see the different impressions of events the characters had. It also meant the author didn't get as in depth with some of the events and characters as I would have liked and there were plenty of loose ends that I wanted to have more of a resolution--it felt a bit disjointed. Any small frustrations I had were balanced out with the beauty of the writing, it's lush and evocative and a pleasure to read. Grace and June go through a lot in the book which covers multiple decades, but there is enough humor to lighten up some of the darker moments. The sisters make some questionable choices but it is understandable since their family structure is so unstable and rather than fault them for it, I wanted things to turn out okay for them both. I don't want to go into much about how the story unfolds as I think that this is a book to walk into without a lot of details and just enjoy the journey, but if you like historical fiction--spanning from the 1950s to close to present day, stories about women  and sisters, southern fiction, and family  drama and relationships, I recommend giving The Accidentals a try. 

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Author Notes: Minrose Gwin is the author of The Queen of Palmyra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and the memoir Wishing for Snow, cited by Booklist as “eloquent” and “lyrical”—“a real life story we all need to know.” She has written four scholarly books and coedited The Literature of the American South. She grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, hearing stories of the Tupelo tornado of 1936. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Find out more about Minrose at her website.

-----

Food Inspiration:

Food plays a bigger roll in The Accidentals than I  originally thought it would. There’s a somewhat funny but also poignant scene after Olive’s death where Grace and June are cooking Coq au vin in the kitchen. Holly is going barely going through the motions of life and his daughters are not eating well so June gets out her mother’s cookbook to get some decent food on the table. For some reason she picks coq au vin even though she has not way to get some of the ingredients. She subs or omits many of them—especially notable is her use of her father’s cherry bounce (homemade moonshine) in place of wine and brandy. I was expecting someone to get food poisoning or burn up during the making of the dish, but the family survives, and June becomes a proficient cook.

Other food mentions included cherry bounce, Rice Krispies, egg and olive salad at the local drugstore, Christmas hams, roast, grilled cheese sandwiches, Sazerac, lemonade, fruitcake, mashed potatoes, gumbo, field peas, cucumber, orange juice, sloppy joes, hot dogs, cheese toast, coffee, popcorn, scrambled egg, bread, spaghetti, oysters on the half shell, rabbit cake, smothered cabbage, boiled artichokes, pickled beets, piled red beans and ham hock, on steaming mounds of rice, mirliton squash (chayote) stuffed with shrimp, chili-mac, biscuits and gravy, chocolate ripple ice cream, chicken, turkey, potato salad, Jell-O molds, dumplings, hotcakes with sorghum molasses, Beanee Weenees, raw cookies made with Crisco, sugar and flour, chess pie, leg of lamb with mint jelly, Chey Boyardee over white bread, hamburgers, frozen French fries, leftover chicken pot pie, grape Nehi, coconut cake, peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter and banana sandwiches, Cherry Coke, Fritos, po’boys, "angel wings” (a dessert June makes of angel food cake, custard, and meringue), grapefruit, cinnamon toast and a hard-boiled egg, Twinkies, Moon Pies, Almond Joy, peach cobbler, root beer floats, fudge, stewed chicken in brown gravy, devils food cake with angel icing, meatloaf, creamed corn, potatoes, biscuits and eggs, apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream, apple and potato hash, salmon slathered in miso and maple syrup, almond pound cake with raspberry glace, "monstrous mutations of cream of mushroom casserole," spaghetti, and a whole wheat vegetarian soy cheese lasagna.


For my book-inspired dish I decided to make Welsh Rarebit because when June is missing Grace when she is sent away she thinks of them cooking supper together and "creamy Welsh rarebit: is one of the dishes mentioned. I looked to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Perfect Welsh rarebit recipe from BBC food, making a few substitutions based on my preferences and what I had on hand (noted in red below).


Perfect Welsh Rarebit
From Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall via BBCFood.com
(Serves 4)

50g/2oz flour
50g/2oz butter
250ml/9oz strong beer, warmed (I used hard cider)
250g/9oz strong cheddar, grated (I used smoked gouda)
2 tsp English mustard
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
black pepper
4 large slices granary bread (I used Japanese Toast aka Shoku Pan)

In a small saucepan melt the butter and make a roux with the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent the roux from burning. Stir in the warm beer by degrees, until you have a thick but smooth sauce. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. You should now have a thick paste. Mix in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce and season well with black pepper.

Lightly toast and butter the bread, then pile up the cheesy mixture on each slice. Cook under a hot grill for a few minutes, until browned and bubbling.


Notes/Results: My rarebit isn't so traditional with the smoked Gouda, hard cider and the thinly sliced Japanese toast bread (as its called at my local grocery), but the flavor worked and it was certainly rich and very tasty and the perfect treat after a long hard day. I cut the recipe in half and just heated up one which was plenty for dinner. My toast corners got a bit overdone but it didn't take away my enjoyment of the bubbly cheese toast. I will happily make it again.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

I'm also linking up this open-faced sandwich with Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays right here at Kahakai Kitchen. Anyone with a soup, salad or sandwich is welcome to join in. Details on how to participate are on this week's post.

 
Note: A review copy of "The Accidentals" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

You can see the other stops for this TLC Book Tour and what other bloggers thought of the book here.

 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

"Best Gazpacho" Seville Style for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Another sticky weekend. I was promised trade winds and I do not feel any. Luckily I pinned several cold soups, mostly from The New York Times and so I decided to try this one titled as the "Best Gazpacho"--a creamy blended soup in the style of Seville, Spain. It also happens to be vegan, always a bonus.


I skipped the step of straining the soup after blending the soup and topped it with a toasted bread square, plus extras for dipping.

 
The New York Times says, "More of a drink than a soup, served in frosted glasses or chilled tumblers, gazpacho is perfect when it is too hot to eat but you need cold, salt and lunch all at the same time. Gazpacho is everywhere in Seville, Spain, where this recipe comes from, but it's not the watered-down salsa or grainy vegetable purée often served in the United States. This version has no bread and is a creamy orange-pink rather than a lipstick red. That is because a large quantity of olive oil is required for making delicious gazpacho, rather than take-it-or-leave it gazpacho. The emulsion of red tomato juice, palest green cucumber juice and golden olive oil produces the right color and a smooth, almost fluffy texture."

Best Gazpacho
Slightly Adapted from Julie Moskin via NewYorkTimes.com
(8-12 Appetizer Servings)

About 2 lbs good ripe tomatoes, cored & roughly chopped into chunks
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded & roughly cut into chunks 
1 cucumber about 8-inches long, peeled & cut into chunks
1 small mild sweet onion, peeled & cut into chunks
1 clove garlic
2 tsp sherry vinegar + more to taste
salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, + more to taste & for drizzling if desired

Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy.
 
Strain the mixture through a strainer or a food mill, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. (Note: I used a high-speed blender and felt no need to strain my soup.) Transfer to a large pitcher (preferably glass) and chill until very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt and vinegar. If soup is very thick, stir in a few tablespoons ice water. Serve in glasses, over ice if desired, or in a bowl. A few drops of olive oil on top are a nice touch.

 
Notes/Results: Is this the "best" gazpacho? I don't know that I would claim that but it is very, very good. Amazing how emulsifying it with the olive oil makes it so creamy and rich. I also like how the mild pepper and sweet onion and garlic give it just the slightest kick at the back of the throat. Easy to toss together, tastes delicious, I would happily make it again.

Let's look into the Souper (soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays Kitchen 

 
Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought Jamie Oliver's Chicken Stew and said, "This stew was inspired by bits of leftover chicken from enchiladas I made this weekend. There was also leftover rice and a few loose veggies in the fridge so I’m taking it all and making a stew for I Heart Cooking Club’s Potluck theme. I always have good intentions of joining in and time gets away from me, except this week!"

 
Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog made Roasted Summer Zucchini Soup and says, "Soup in the summer? Why not? Don't overlook this exceptional soup just because its hot outside. What spells summer more than fresh basil, fresh mint, and zucchini? Summer soups can be enjoyed hot or chilled. Personally, I like my soup hot. However, if you prefer, this soup tastes equally as good chilled or at room temperature."

 
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...


To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:


  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "When We Believed in Mermaids" by Barbara O'Neal, Served with a Recipe for Tortilla Espanola

Happy Aloha Friday! It's been a long week and the only thing better than the weekend is when the weekend comes with a great summer read and a tasty food pairing so I am very excited to bring you both. This blog is today's stop on the TLC book Tour for When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal. Accompanying my review is an easy and delicious Mark Bittman recipe for a Spanish Tortilla. Enjoy!


From the author of The Art of Inheriting Secrets comes an emotional new tale of two sisters, an ocean of lies, and a search for the truth.

Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris.

Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.

After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.

Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 16, 2019)

 My Review:

I have been reading Barbara O'Neal novels for years, going back to when she was Barbara Samuel and last summer I read and enjoyed her The Art of Inheriting Secrets (See my review here). I love the stories she writes about second chances, family drama, romance, and how often good food is mixed into the pages. With sisters of my own, I was pulled to the story of Kit and Josie, who grew up with neglectful parents too busy with a restaurant, an addiction and their explosive relationship. The girls are watched over by a teenage boy who shows up on their doorstep, but he has issues and demons of his own and then tragedy strikes. The sisters deal with it in different ways--Kit by immersing herself in medical school and her career as a doctor--pushing away anyone who gets to close, and Josie by taking after her mother's addictions and aimlessly darting in and out of Kit's life until she is killed in a terrorist act in Europe. Fifteen years after Josie's death, Kit and her mother have rebuilt their relationship and are shocked to see television coverage of a nightclub fire in New Zealand as the camera pans on a woman who has to be Josie. Kit heads to Auckland to find her and meets a Spanish musician. I don't want to go into all of the details as the secrets and childhood traumas unfold with the story told from both Kit and Josie's perspective both in flashbacks and in current time.

When We Believed in Mermaids me both reaching for the tissues and smiling at the sisterly bonds and good storytelling. I liked the characters with their flaws, bad decisions and all--I was rooting for them the entire way. Although some of the sisters' past is tough to read, O'Neal writes it without dwelling on it and with a feeling of hope for redemption. I have long wanted to visit New Zealand and she makes the gorgeous setting come alive. I think this may be one of my favorite books from Barbara O'Neal--an excellent read with a summer vibe that I recommend adding to your summer book stash. 


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Author Notes: Barbara O’Neal is the author of twelve novels of women’s fiction, including The Art of Inheriting SecretsHow to Bake a Perfect Life, and The All You Can Dream Buffet. Her award-winning books have been published in more than a dozen countries, including France, England, Poland, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Brazil. She lives in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs with her beloved, a British endurance athlete who vows he’ll never lose his accent.

Connect with Barbara on her website, Facebook, Twitter or Instragram.

-----

Food Inspiration:

There were numerous food mentions in When We Believed In Mermaids and plenty of inspiration including s’mores, an omelet with peppers, feijoa trees with aromatic fruit, blueberry muffins, Sicilian dishes like swordfish rolls, stuffed artichokes and arancini, a bento box lunch of cherry tomatoes, green grapes, rolls of ham and cheese on skewers, a little brownie and a clementine, wine, a loaf of fresh bread, fruit, eggs and cheese, gnocchi with mushrooms and peas, antipasti, assorted cocktails, prawn and crayfish risotto, brown ale and tequila, stuffed squid, pasta with bread and herby olive oil, ginger beer and peanuts, cheeseburgers and cherry coke, fried eggs, Hokeypokey ice cream (with chips of honeycomb toffee), a flat white (coffee) and apple Danish, tuna sandwiches and Little Debbie’s snack cakes, lemonade, kumara (sweet potato) soup, whitebait fritter, fish and chips, oysters, caraway rolls, a martini, roasted Padron peppers and stuffed olives with bread, fresh mozzarella, squid in its own ink, fresh pasta, ham and peaches, vermicelli all siracusana (pasta with eggplant, red pepper & olives) with preserved lemon, cauliflower salad and chocolate cake, hand pies filled with meat and potato, chocolate and passion fruit cake, and blueberry pancakes.


Several dishes sounded good to me but I think that the Tortilla Espanola that Javier cooks for Kit just had to be the book-inspired dish. Who wouldn't want a sexy Spaniard cooking you a simple but delicious diner of potatoes, onions and eggs? I have had tortillas before in Spanish restaurants and tapas places but had never cooked one myself. I ended up looking at a few recipes online and used Mark Bittman's as a base, modifying it by cutting down the oil. I was a bit worried about "the flip" and decided that I might just broil the top in my oven as suggested in another recipe, but then I ended up doing the plate inversion and it worked perfectly.

 

Spanish Tortilla Recipe
From Mark Bittman via NYTimesCooking
(Serves: 3 Main Course, 6 Appetizers)

1 1/4 lbs potatoes (3 to 4 medium)
1 medium onion
1 cup olive oil (I used about 1/2 cup)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
6 jumbo or extra-large eggs

Peel and thinly slice potatoes and onions; it's easiest if you use a mandoline. Meanwhile, heat oil in an 8- or 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. After 3 or 4 minutes, drop in a potato slice. When tiny bubbles appear around its edges, add potatoes, onions, a good pinch of salt and a liberal sprinkling of pepper. Gently turn mixture in oil with a wooden spoon, and adjust heat so oil bubbles lazily.

Cook, turning potatoes gently every few minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a small knife. Adjust the heat so they do not brown. If potatoes begin to break, they are overdone; stop cooking immediately. As potatoes cook, beat eggs with some salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Drain potatoes in a colander, reserving oil. Wipe out skillet, and heat over a medium flame for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Gently mix warm potatoes with eggs, and add to skillet. As soon as edges firm up, after a minute or so, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 5 minutes.

Insert a rubber spatula all around edges of tortilla to make sure it will slide from pan. The top will still be runny. Carefully slide out onto a plate. Cover with another plate, and holding plates tightly, invert them. Add another tablespoon oil to skillet, and use the spatula to coax tortilla back in. Cook 5 minutes, then slide from skillet onto a clean plate. Serve warm (not hot), or at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.


Notes/Results: This was a whole lot of yum! I did it in two steps, cooking my potatoes and onions one night and reserving the oil, then mixing in the eggs and cooking the tortilla another night. It's not hard to do it all at once, but weeknights I get home late and like a quicker dinner. It worked a charm and the ensuing tortilla was really good for such simple ingredients and not at all dry even though i cut the oil by about half. I ate a quarter that night, for breakfast the next day, dinner the following night and lunch the next day--and I enjoyed every morsel. I can get why this is an everyday comfort food dish in Spain, I'll happily make it again.


Linking up with I Heart Cooing Clubs where this week's theme is Summer Sunday Suppers. Serve this Mark Bittman recipe with a salad and you have a light and lovely meal.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

 
Note: A review copy of "When We Believed in Mermaids" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for my review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

You can see the other stops for this TLC Book Tour and what other bloggers thought of the book here.