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The menu:

  • Melon & prosciutto
  • Tortilla EspaƱola
  • Spanish-style tuna salad on flatbread
  • Smoked salmon with cream cheese
  • Goat cheese with paprika, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers
  • Marinated olives
  • Marinated manchego

The preceding menu (and following recipes) were just the right amount for a party of around 25 folks. We served Spanish white and rose wines and Granny’s peach gin freezes to drink. Two days before, we did most of the shopping. The day before, we made bread dough and prepared the marinated olives and cheese, tuna salad, and made the garlic-goat cheese mixture. The afternoon of the party, we made the Tortilla, baked the bread, and assembled the appetizers.

The recipes:

Melon and Prosciutto

  • Honeydew or canteloupe
  • 1/4 lb proscuitto, thinly sliced (use Serrano ham if it’s available)

Seed and peel the melon and cut onto bite size pieces. Wrap with a piece of ham and secure with a toothpick.

Tortilla EspaƱola

  • 6 medium sized red potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated manchego cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dice the potatoes, then heat oilover medium heat in a nonstick, heat resistant 10″ skillet. When oil is hot, add garlic and sautee briefly. Add potatoes and cook until browned. Meanwhile, beat eggs and add 3/4 cup of cheese and salt and pepper. When the potatoes are done, pour the egg-cheese mixture into the skillet. As the egg starts to set, use a rubber spatula to lift the edges and allow egg to run under the omelet. When the center starts to set, place pan under broiler and broil until the top is browned. Let cool and cut into bite sized pieces.

Spanish-style Tuna Salad

  • 2 red bell peppers, peeled and diced
  • 4 6-oz cans tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 30 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 4-5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4 TBS olive oil

Mix ingredients and serve on flatbread or sliced and toasted baguette. (Note: leftovers make a great sandwich on toasted whole wheat with goat cheese/garlic/paprika mix from goat cheese tapas and a slice of tomato.)

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese

  • 4 oz smoked salmon
  • 8 oz cream cheese (or other soft cheese; next time I’ll use goat cheese)
  • Toasted baguette slices or flatbread
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Assemble bread slices with a bit of cheese and an appropriately sized piece of smoked salmon. Garnish with thin slices of lemon.

Goat Cheese with Paprika, Garlic, Sun-Dried tomatoes, and Capers

  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 8-10 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2-3 TBS capers, drained
  • Baguette slices

Heat oven to 350F. toss garlic with olive oil, and roast uncovered for 15 minutes or until soft. Let cool.

Add paprika to goat cheese and mix. Squeeze the garlic into the cheese and add olive oil. Mix thoroughly.

On each baguette slice, smear some cheese mixture and then add a piece of sun dried tomato and a couple of capers.

Marinated Olives

  • 2 jars pitted Kalamata olives
  • 4 green onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sweet paprika
  • 2 TBS sherry vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Rinse olives in cold water, then combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients, stir well, and marinate at least one hour, preferable overnight.

Marinated Manchego

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 4-inch sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 8 oz manchego, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil and thyme, rosemary, and red pepper until the oil is hot (about 160F). Set aside and cool to room temperature. Place manchego in a bowl, cover with the oil mixture and marinate at least 4 hours and preferable overnight.

Dough for flatbread and baguettes

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast

Mix water and yeast, then add flour and salt. Stir to mix, then refrigerate overnight. The next day, knead and divide in half. Roll out half to fit a 13 x 18 baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Divide the other half and form into two baguette loaves. Preheat oven to 550F (use a baking stone or tiles if you have them). Brush the flatbread with olive oil and bake until golden brown. Bake the baguettes until well-browned.

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1 lb rigatoni
4 or 5 ripe tomatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 oz shredded fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
olive oil
salt, to taste

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

While waiting for it to boil, coarsely chop the tomatoes. Put them in a mixing bowl with the garlic, salt to taste, drizzle with olive oil, and let stand while you prepare the other ingredients and cook the pasta.

Toast the pine nuts, chop the basil, grate the mozzarella, and cook the pasta.

When the pasta is almost done, drain and combine with tomatoes and other ingredients. Let ii sit for a few minutes to allow the pasta to absorb some of the tomato juice.


Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Originally uploaded by ted_major

1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp curry powder (very mild flavor–use more or less to taste; I’ll use more next time)
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff but not dry
zucchini or squash blossoms, and/or baby squash/zucchini
oil for frying
salt to taste

whisk together liquids, flour, and curry powder; let rest for 20 minutes or so to allow flour to absorb liquids. Fold flour mix and egg whites together.

Dip blossoms and/or baby squash into batter and fry in small batches in 375F oil. Drain on paper towels and salt to taste while hot.

Claire also likes the blossoms stuffed with a ricotta/mozzarella/egg mix before frying