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Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Foods and Wines of Spain

The other day I ordered a couple of Spanish cookbooks after watching an Anthony Bourdain show on Spain; and I'm so glad I did. It probably wasn't a good idea to watch Anthony Bourdain before breakfast, because I wound up ordering 4 cookbooks. The Spanish Table was the other Spanish cookbook I ordered as well as a vegetarian one "Fresh and Fast Vegetarian" and "Provence the Beautiful". 

We've been adding more fish and vegetarian meals and the Provence cookbook looks like it may have some nice vegetable and fish dishes, since that is pretty much the main diet in that part of France due to the very rocky terrain not being great for grazing.

Yesterday afternoon I was browsing the Penelope Casas book "The Foods and Wines of Spain" and I can't wait to try some of these recipes. The tapas section looks wonderful and there are some really nice and easy recipes there. I'm thinking I should plan a night of Tapas for dinner. Jim loves appetizers, so this would work for him.

We have a lovely Spanish Rioja that we found at Costco. It has around a 90 rating is pretty inexpensive, so I think we're set for a Tapas night. Jim wasn't up for Riojas but indulged me, liked it, and went back to Costco to buy a few more bottles.

One of the recipes I would like to try calls for Bacalao (salted cod); so I've been looking on the Internet for a quality source to the make one of the bacalao recipes in this book. So far, no luck; but I'll keep searching.
I checked but the reviews weren't great for most of what is for sale there, so I might have to search out some Italian specialty stores. Unfortunately we don't have an Italian grocery stores in Southern Oregon.

I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y in an Italian neighborhood and remember seeing this dried, salted cod in the local fish market; but never ate it. My family wasn't Italian so my mothers Italian repertoire consisted of spaghetti and meatballs or meat sauce and lasagna, which our Italian upstairs neighbor Delia, taught her to make. She probably never would have thought of asking for a fish recipe since my dad loved to do deep sea fishing and was always bringing home fish, which he rarely ate. He loved crab and lobster but that was the only thing from the sea that he wanted to see on his plate. So it was my job to give a lot of the fish to the nuns at my school who were always thrilled to get fresh fish.

Tuesday  I decided to try a batter fried chicken recipe. The meat was lovely but I wasn't thrilled with the recipe which called for a buttermilk brine, then double flour dipping before dipping in the batter. I think the double flour thing was what didn't work. In any case, I have plenty of leftovers for tonight, so dinner is going to be just a matter of reheating the chicken and mashed potatoes and corn. I'll try batter fried chicken again, but use a Bobbie Flay or other recipe. After the very messy after dinner cleanup, Colonel Sanders was sounding pretty good for a while! LOL

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