domingo, 25 de abril de 2010

Soup the color of Spring

Spring is spectacular. This soup is like tasting the fresh spring leaves and swallowing sunshine. It's easy and yummy and tastes great re-heated. You simply boil some potatoes and green vegetables (I've used broccoli and asparagus, both very successful) and puree veggies, cooking liquid some Greek yogurt and lemon juice for a magical mouthful!

lunes, 12 de abril de 2010

Welcome back, it's spring!!

It’s finally spring!!! Spring means picnics and picnics mean deliciousness out in the sunshine!!! In this first installation of allkindsofdelicous in way too long, I’ll be describing picnic fare extraordinaire! But first, a little set-up, we’ll call it an amuse bouche for the imagination. Yesterday afternoon marked the official opening of picnic season here in Madrid and the first installation of what I will call the “International Picnic Brigade.” The sun was shining, the wine flowing and the company a treat.

We set up camp in a shady spot in Las Vistillas, a lovely terraced park with views of the city and great people watching. After we laid out the food, my friend Giovanna said the only thing we were missing was musica, and sure enough a minute later, someone nearby picked up a guitar and played while his friends sang along.

In other news, all is well here in Madrid. I am continuing my struggle to help the people of Spain learn phrasal verbs and the second conditional. I’m also doing an internship at an NGO helping write evaluations of food security projects in Central America. Not a whole lot of news to share.

For the first picnic of the season, I decided to keep it simple and use my favorite spring ingredients. At this time of year I cook and eat asparagus like it's my job. Sometimes I have to fight the old ladies at the market for the best bunches, but it’s always worth it. I´m so mad at myself that last week when I was in Ronda (stunning little town in Andalucía) I didn’t buy several bunches of the wild asparagus a woman was selling from an overturned cardboard box. I´m still kicking myself for that lapse in judgment, but yes, the roasted potato salad with (grocery store) asparagus was a big hit as were the little morsels I call devilled eggs piquillo (classic Americana infused with a Spanish kick, chopped roasted peppers and a little smoked paprika!). A loaf of bread, some cured meat, a basket of strawberries and a carrot cake kept us munching well into the afternoon!

Roasted potato salad with asparagus and honey mustard

My new Columbian friend Ximena was smitten with the salad in part because she was happy to eat something with flavors other than the simple olive oil and salt that are the hallmarks of her husband’s Basque standards! I’m always happy to undermine the Basques (mostly joking).


4 medium red potatoes cubed or large quantity of other waxy/new potatoes

3 or 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped (big pieces are less likely to burn…)

1 bunch asparagus cut up in good sized pieces

Lemon wedge

1 container cherry tomatoes, halved

Handful walnuts, roughly chopped


1 heaping tablespoon seedy mustard

1 tablespoon honey

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry or balsamic vinegar

***Combine ingredients in a small bowl or shake shake shake in a little jar


  1. Toss potatoes with garlic, olive oil and little salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large baking sheet and cook at 375/190 (look at me, all metric) for about 45 minutes, until tender and golden
  2. While potatoes cook, toss asparagus pieces with lemon juice salt and pepper and cook for about 7-10 minutes until just tender and bright green (be careful to not overcook them!!!!)
  3. Take out veggies and let cool a bit. Toss remaining ingredients with potatoes and asparagus with dressing and taste for salt pepper and brightness (if you sense a lack of brightness, my favorite culinary euphemism for acidic ingredients, just add a little lemon juice or more vinegar!)

Deviled eggs Piquillo

One of my favorite parts of living and cooking in Spain is using all the delicious Spanish ingredients in my own special ways. Piquillo peppers are one of my favourite items. They are bright red, fire-roasted peppers with a rich flavor that can only be described as peppery (in the sense of true to vegetable, not spicy, because spicy is definitely NOT a part of the Spanish canon!) If you don’t have piquillos, try other roasted peppers or anything brined, cured or roasted.

8 hard boiled eggs

2 teaspoons mustard

3 tablespoons mayo

3 tablespoon finely chopped piquillo peppers

½ teaspoon Spanish paprika

A sprinkle of dried rosemary

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper

1. Cut eggs in half long ways.

2. Scoop out the yolk

3. Smash up the yolk with all the other stuff (taste for salt and pepper)

4. Spoon the yolk mixture back into the whites

5. Arrange on lettuce leaves (not necessary, but looks really pretty)

The final step is packing up the food, putting it in a fun bag and heading out into the world to find a nice spot to enjoy all the kinds of deliciousness the spring has sprung!!!!

jueves, 12 de febrero de 2009

Welcome Back

Welcome to the new and improved alllkindsofdelicious experience! After a period of restructuring and reimagining, I'm back to share my culinary and otherwise delicious adventures in Spain.

Before we get to the meat of the thing (pun very much intended) a few general notes on life in Madrid. I'm working on a very interesting Masters program in International Development and program management. Classes are a little long (four hours of Spanish lectures) but I'm learning all kinds of cool stuff (did you know how you say breeding ground in Spanish? Well, I know you've been waiting your whole life for this, it's caldo de cultivo literally "broth of cultivation...")

I'm still making my living teaching the people of Spain the subtle differences between "make" and "do." I have great students including a group of twenty marketing student hipsters (our last lesson involved facebook, David Bowie and Simon Says...), a team of aeronautical engineers, and a linguist phd student who is writing her thesis on an Indo-European suffix. Other than work and school, there are cooking projects and lots of funtimes on the mean streets of Madrid.

The Recipes
A new friend from school told me the other day that she was having long-distance boyfriend problems, the solution, carrot and apple cake, obvio! The recipe was a smashing success (I recently purchased an American-style measuring cup from a Chinese shop, meaning I no longer have to mess around with the stupid metric system. That is a lie, I love the metric system but I haven't yet internalized grams and centimeters, making baking euro-style a bit precarious.) The cake was even easy enough to throw together for a mid-week gathering of roommates and friends. It tastes great and comes together in a snap with household staples.

Apple Carrot cake delight!

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar

1 eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup apples - peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, grated

In bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla apples and carrots. Stir into flour mixture. Bake in a fun, greased loaf or other shaped pan Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until bread test done. Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack before removing from pan.
(This is important, mouths have been burned from premature removal of apple-y goodness. I'm not saying whose mouth, I'm just saying it can happen!)

But woman cannot live on cake alone (sadly!) So, what to serve as prelude to a cake? Lately I've been obsessed with the giant heads of curly escarole sold in the little vegetable shops near my house. The frizzy leaves can be eaten cold in a salad or cooked in tons of garlic and olive oil fueled concoctions.

Easy Idea for escarole number 1:
Saute one onion finely chopped and a few cloves of garlic with a little salt until translucent. Add some sausagey bits and cook til a bit crunchy. Add chicken stock, cooked white beans and bring to a simmer. Add a lot of chopped up escarole and cook until it wilts. A little lemon juice wouldn't hurt... And bread, of the crusty variety, is key!

Slightly more involved escarole infused dinner option 2:
Make a little sauteed escarole with garlic and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Serve it under pounded chicken or turkey breasts filled with a yummy pepper and goat cheese mixture.

2 thinly pounded chicken or turkey breasts
1/4 cup chopped roasted peppers (piquillos if you can find them)
a pieces of soft goat cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs (fresh is best, whole wheat is even better, make them more chunky less powdery. This can be done by toasting two pieces of bread til well done and crumbling them between fingers)
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pine nuts or chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
a little fresh parsley would also be nice but not necessary
salt and pepper
half a lemon

Mix everything but the lemon juice and chicken in a bowl. Spread the chicken onto a plate, salt and pepper each side. Divide mixture between pieces of chicken in a loggish shape and roll up. In a large saute pan, set chicken seem side down in some hot olive oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through (the thinner the meat, the faster they cook). Squeeze a little lemon juice over the chicken rolls and serve over cooked greens. Wait for "oohs and ahhs," pour a glass of wine and enjoy!

More to come!!

viernes, 7 de diciembre de 2007


I want to take this opportunity to expand on earlier themes of carnivorousness. This lovely porcine display was kitty corner to a serious butcher counter filled with whole baby pigs for roasting, giant sides of beef ready to be cut into serving sized fillets and all the meaty delights you could possibly imagine.  As I waited in line for some freshly ground beef (I had a serious meatball craving all week) I watched the other patrons take home parcels steaks stuffed with sausages and tied up in string, long strands of pokey lamb ribs and chunks for braising, roasting, frying and boiling! 

The little pigs are particularly rough.  Cochinillo
 or those little guys roasted, is a much storied delacacy.  For this rabbi's daughter, cochinillo is still on the no-fly list. I'll stick to giant fillets and the occasional baby lamb chops.  

miércoles, 28 de noviembre de 2007

Six Steps to Pisto Bliss

Pisto is a vegetable melange suitable for all kinds of bread-dipping, fork-licking and lycopene-induced, tomato-tinted day dreams. It is simple enough, sauteed onions, peppers, zucchini and a little tomato sauce. Top with an egg or two and you've got something special.

It is also one of the few honestly vegetarian Spanish dishes. Spain i
s in general, a seriously carnivorous country. A passionate connection/devotion to all things piggy, fishy, meaty, rabbity, sea-buggy and birdy crosses all lines of class, region, and age in the Iberian peninsula. Order a salad and it will most often come covered in tuna and ham bits. But pisto is vegetable revelation. The vegetables cook down together and the eating is good! A perfect dish for cold winter nights or late Sunday lunches.

Pisto is also one of those dishes that everyone says their mom makes best. Recipe and technique consensuses are difficult to come by. There is a bit of contention about whether each ingredient should cook down separately or if they can all be cooked together. After consulting several recipes and several mothers, I have arrived at a recipe that hues close to the pop
ular dictum. I added a little wine which strays a bit from the original, but I think it gives the dish a little more depth. Feel free to omit it for the sake of tradition. The eggs are also optional but give the pisto a little more substance. My dining companion insisted on the eggs because he claimed that without the eggs "you are just dipping bread in sauce." But I say, "what's wrong with that?" You decide.

Serves 3-4

2 onions finely chopped (divided)
3 large cloves garlic finely chopped (divided)
1 small green bell
pepper finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper finely chopped
2 medium zucchini
s cut into thick chunks
4 large tomatoe
s roughly chopped (or one large can canned tomatoes)
***(Don't worry about peeling them, but please don't tell any of the Spanish mothers that I gave you that advice! If you must peel the tomatoes, cut an x in the bottom and pop them in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Then, fish them out and carefully
remove the skin. You can peel them if you really want to, but the skins are not a big deal and who wants to clean another pan?!)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup white wine
3 eggs (optional)
salt and pepper

In a large pan heat a generous glug of olive oil and add half of the onions and a teaspoon of salt. Saute until translucent then add peppers and half of the garlic and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in wine and let bubble for a few minutes.

In a separate sauce pan, heat some olive oil and saute the onions until translucent and soft, then add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon sugar and let cook until they are thick and saucy, about 15 minutes over medium-high heat.

Add the zucchini to the onion and pepper mixture and give it a good stir. Let cook a few minutes and then add the tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Poke around the pan with a fork. If everything is tender and melty, you are ready to add the eggs or eat up, if not, check back in a few minutes and then proceed.

If you would like to make this egg-tastic, crack three eggs into the pan over the pisto (still on the flame). If you like sunny side up, cover the pan and let the whites set to your liking. If you like a more scrambley kind of egg (as I do) just mix the eggs into the pisto pretty vigorously, breaking up the yolks and essentially scrambling them into the veggies. They will cook through quickly, but you want to make sure they stay creamy, so don't don't overdo it (2-3 minutes of egg cooking, max)

With or without the eggs, eat the pisto with plenty of crusty bread maybe a little wine. Be sure to imagine that you are seated at a wooden picnic table in a sun-dappled olive grove, that should chase away any winter blues!

martes, 27 de noviembre de 2007


So, remember how I wrote about being a recovering picky eater? Well, last night I made some serious headway. What I am about to tell you may not seem like much, but for me, it was a major leap forward. Last night, sitting around a small wooden table, drinking deliciously tart white wine from a small ceramic bowl/cup, I ate two pieces of purple-tinged octopus. The felled beast arrived at our table sliced into bite sized chunks, the little suction cup bits and tentacle points dusted with smokey paprika. The meat was ocean-y and chewy and not totally unpleasant. My dining companions were all over it. I demurred after my two bites and moved onto the other dishes that completed the Galician spread.

Galicia is the northwestern province of Spain directly above Portugal, and these Gallegos know how a thing or two about a thing or two. When the bread basket arrived (with a little screen at the bottom to catch the crumbs or
migas) I bit into a dense, chewy slice and sighed a brief sigh before the crust's gentle crunch took over. Then there were these croquetas. Fried bits of almost feathery, bacalao tinged bechamel with a perfectly golden crust. For a little Spanish surf and turf, we then used our tiny forks to inhale a plate of juicy, salty, ethereal steak bits and fried potatoes.  Dessert was thick slices of tetilla cheese, a creamy, rich showstopper topped with an equally thick slice of slightly grainy, sweet but not cloying, preserved quince (dulce de membrillo.) Perfect!

I wish that there could be an accompanying recipe for Pulpo a la Gallega, but I can't quite bring myslef to wrestle one of these sea monsters.  Maybe you should just come to Spain to visit me and you can try for yourself!

viernes, 9 de noviembre de 2007

The Freudians Live

Last Monday a new student told me that the reason why I couldn't remember the Spanish word for band-aid was because I didn't want to acknowledge my wound. She is a psychoanalyst and apparently thought that I was asking her opinion when I was really just trying to tell her that we all struggle with learning a new language and we have to be patient and thoughtful about the process.

If only the analysis had stopped there. Very much in keeping with the tone set by the giant Freud calendar adorning the office wall, she proceeded to tell me that my inability to acknowledge my wound stemmed from (I think you
know where this is going) my deeply held penis envy. YUCK! And she used a dirty word in Spanish to tell me this (she would not speak in English.) When I told the story to the language academy director he said "that is something out of a Woody Allen movie." Only it was worse because I couldn't just start to laugh as she made lewd gestures and explained to me that Freud really got it right about women, that we never take responsibility for our short comings. This unsolicited journey into my soul came after the reading of her new poem about the solitude of death and just before she looked at her watch and said "time's up!" Things can be rough for an itinerant English teacher.

So, food. Well, I ate a lot of tuna sandwiches this week. And some sub par pizza and some dreadful Mexican food (if you are in Granada, do not, I repeat, do not eat the tacos.) The week's highlights included some really g
reat pears and many, many clementines. Pears are one of the new foods I have discovered. I say new because I am a recovering picky eater. Pears along with pretty much everything green including avocados (and the vast majority of foods of almost all colors) were once on the no-fly list. I once accidentally ate a pear in a fruit salad at a potluck and became moderately famous in certain circles as the girl who shouted "what the hell is wrong with this apple?"

As a recovering picky eater, certain foods provoke a kind of "where have you been all my life" epiphany. The sweet, earthy and slightly grainy texture of a Comice or Bartlett very much fit into that category. While foods like pears, squash, mayonnaise and beets are recent additions, there are other foods like anchovies, anchovy stuffed olives and blue cheese that are still touch and go. Since I first realized about 10 years ago that being a dry hamburger eater was really quite boring, I have been steadily adding new foods arsenal. The process is pretty strait forward. I pick a food I "don't like" and decide to like it. It mo
stly works. Except int he case of blue cheese. I still think it is one of the grottiest things I can possibly imagine ingesting. Hopefully though in a few years' time, that designation will go the way of the "funny tasting apple."


These little bad boys are anchovy explosions on a stick. Made by Alvaro, the much beloved photographer of, they are sure to cure anyone of an aversion to anchovies or further cement one's fears about their salty, fishy dubiousness. The technique is simple. You get a bunch of olives (preferably stuffed with anchovies) a jar of brined green chilies, a nice container of anchovy fillets and you push one of each onto a toothpick. Yum! Or, Yuck! Who says women don't acknowledge their own weaknesses?