Spanish Tortilla with Gazpacho

Whew, summer has rested her warm hands upon us. It’s always every year around the 4th of July that I really feel it and think summer’s almost over! Need to take advantage of the warm breeze out the car, the beads of sweat that grace our foreheads, and the blanket of warmth that we often write off until we yearn for it come January.

June 1, we moved across town into a bigger space. A partially finished Beltline in our backyard, a park in our front, I can’t complain. We’re still getting settled. After a month and a half without a washer and dryer, we are finally getting one installed. Every day I’ve had to give my sweaty yoga clothes a soak in the tub. I just finished a load. As I rung them out and hung them on the line, the penetration of the sun took me back to my first trip to Spain. Our very first day, our host Mati made us come up to the roof to help her hang the sheets on the line. The terra cotta colored roof was hotter than blue blazes. Growing up in a house with a laundry shoot and ample appliances, I remember naively groaning in my head, we have to do housework? Ha, and now here I am 10 years later using all my might to ring out my clothes for the line.

That summer turned out to be a good one. We did have to work, and get accustomed to things like crunchy air dried towels and no A/C on the 7th floor of an apartment building. It was a summer of discomfort, big adventures, and growth.

Mati cooked most of our meals. She was aware of my roommate Leslie’s vegetarian diet and would attempt to make 2 batches of everything. “Carne,” she’d say, pointing to mine. “No carne,” she’d say, pointing to hers. It was quickly clear that she’d cooked all the food together in meaty broths and gravies and then would just pull the big meat pieces out to make a “vegetarian” meal. It most always had tiny residual meat chunks in it. Poor Leslie would pick through and try to tell Mati that there was still meat in it while the Simpsons played in Spanish on the small TV in the background. I think I gained a few pounds that summer making it look like Les had eaten her food–we felt rude being wasteful.

Fortunately, we did have a favorite meal that we could both eat and enjoy together: Spanish tortilla. Similar to a frittata, the egg and potato dish is a staple in most Spanish households. It is fairly simple to make. The trickiest part is flipping it onto a plate from the pan and then sliding it back into the pan to cook the other side (see below). Paired with a side of gazpacho (a tomato based cold soup), you’ve got yourself a memorable Spanish lunch. Before Summer whistles her last call for departure, you might as well sneak a siesta in there, too. ¡Que aproveche!

Spanish Tortilla

4 potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces

1 white onion, chopped

6 eggs

½ jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional, I had some from the gazpacho so I decided to throw in there)

salt and pepper

olive oil

2 or 3 skillets

1 large plate

Directions: Lightly coat a medium pan with oil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. While that’s happening, in another pan, do the same with the onions (these won’t take as long).

When tender, set each aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Then put in a bowl, add the jalapenos if going that route ( or really whatever extra you would want to throw in) and then add the eggs. Stir the mixture and then pour into in an oiled skillet on medium heat.

Slowly let it cook, around 10 minutes, but BEWARE! The next step is the trickiest part. Pay attention to the sides. The object is to get the sides and bottom cooked enough that you will be able to flip it onto a plate. If you cook it too long, it will burn and stick to the pan. If you don’t cook it long enough and try to flip it before it’s ready, its a eggy mess (think omelete). The top surface will still be runny but it will all hold together with the bottom and the sides cooked enough.

FLIPPING: When you think it’s ready, and this takes some practice and maybe another person to help, put a large plate over the skillet and hold it firmly, then flip the skillet over to transfer it to the plate. Then, put the skillet back on stove and gently slide the tortilla from the plate into the skillet to cook the other side. Probably won’t take as long on this side. When done (golden to your liking), let cool and serve at room temperature with a bowl of gazpacho (see recipe below).

Gazpacho

5-6 ripened tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped

2 cups of tomato juice

1 Bell Pepper (your color of choice)

1 medium red onion

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 ½ tsp balsamic

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional- add more or less for desired spiciness)

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper, to taste

1 lemon or lime juice, to taste

¼ cup olive oil

Cilantro or basil to top it off

Directions:

This recipe is great because you can really modify it to your liking without changing the gyst of what you’re doing. Basically, put all the ingredients in a large bowl. From there, you can decide how fine you want it pureed. I like mine a bit chunkier so I only puree maybe half of it in a food processor and then combine it all back together. Again, you can make it as fine or chunky as you like! Top with cilantro, basil, or herb of your choice. Chill and serve.

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I Scream for Good Ice-Cream

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Raspberry Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream with Fresh Peaches

This was so fun!  And, dang is it HOT in Atlanta!   My car temperature is reading 100 degrees.  Throw in the humidity and we need to eat some ice-cream to cool things off a bit!

So, I am also reminiscing of France today in this heat.  Not because of the heat but because of the ice-cream.  One of the first things I wanted to buy after my trip to France and cooking with Patricia Wells was an ice-cream maker.  I immediately bought the ice-cream maker back in October and now, 9 months later, it is finally getting some great use.  Patricia’s ice-cream is what made me want to own my own ice-cream maker.  The flavor is like nothing you could ever buy in the store (or at least nothing I’ve ever tasted).  The tangy goat’s milk yogurt brings me right back to Patricia’s beautiful Provençal yard overlooking the grape vines and olive trees.  Smells, tastes, breezes… what wonderful memories.  Now, I can make more great memories right here in Atlanta with my own family and loved ones while making and eating ice-cream.  I am feeling extremely grateful for the experience, Patricia, and to be able to enjoy it back home with all of you.

We can’t always be in France but we can surely eat more ice-cream.  This one especially because there isn’t a lot of sugar and no cream.  You can also experiment with different flavors.  Being from the south, we will be adding peaches to our next batch!

One thing to remember!  Go ahead and have your ice-cream base frozen.  It really takes a good 12 hours to freeze completely.  I forgot to do this and had to wait a full day before digging in.  It did make the experience that much better but I am terrible at being patient.  If I don’t have to wait, then why would I? Now, my ice-cream base stays in the freezer patiently waiting on me to make that next batch of yummy, cold ice-cream.

DSC_0105Raspberry Lemon Goat’s Milk Yogurt Ice-cream

Ingredients

1/2 Pint Fresh Raspberries

1/4 cup Simple Syrup

1 teaspoon Lemon Zest

2 cups Goat’s Milk Yogurt

3 lg egg whites

1/3 cup Ginger Honey (or plain honey)

Directions

First you will need simple syrup.  If you don’t have any on hand it is super easy to make.  Add 2 cups sugar to 2 cups water.  Simmer this down to a somewhat thick syrup.  Actually, my last batch wasn’t that thick, but still does the job.  It will take about 15-20 minutes.  Patricia adds a squeeze of lemon to hers, as well as do I, but it is not necessary.  Store your extra syrup in a jar in the fridge for another time.  It will keep for a month (or so).

Take 1/4 cup simple syrup and raspberries and simmered them for just a minute or two to break the raspberries down.  Strain your raspberry infused syrup with a sieve to separate the seeds.  Put this aside to cool. While the syrup cools, beat your egg whites in a mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold in your yogurt, lemon zest, honey and cooled raspberry syrup.  After everything is mixed together, pour into your ice-cream maker.  Then, the ice-cream maker does the rest!  Viola!  And this is how memories are made!

Now, you may say, goat’s milk yogurt?  Don’t judge until you’ve tried it, as I tell my children.  It is addictively good.  Even the Goose likes it.  She says it tastes like a raspberry cheese cake.

Now, I am contemplating.  Is this an ice-cream or a sorbet?  I will have to google the difference another time or you guys can answer that question.

Wherever you are, hot or cold, in France or Atlanta, I hope you are making great memories and enjoying your summer.  Here is to ice-cream on hot days.  Cheers!

 

Fireworks!

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Ice-cream with Strawberry Sauce and Fresh Blueberries

I am sitting at my new home in what I call my “Lady Parlor” (Lauren dubbed it this) or office/art space.  Haha!  I love it.  My desk faces a large window overlooking my front yard where Knockout Roses, herbs, and plants galore flourish.  It is so inspirational.  Last night we had a good summer shower, so this morning is quite fresh and green.

This weekend is July 4th!  Memories of family vacations abound.  Most all July 4th vacations include some type of water fun, fireworks, lobster rolls, corn-on-th-cob, watermelon, and home-made ice-cream. This weekend our family will head to Lake Jackson to join my childhood friend and her family.  There is nothing sweeter than joining up with old friends that you know so well and don’t get to see very often.  The bond seems to be just as strong as 20 years ago.  I feel absolutely rejuvenated after these rendezvous.  I don’t always give myself permission to take off with my girlfriends so we have to make the kids think it is their idea.  It’s a win-win!

One thing that I need for this weekend get-away is simplicity.  A little less fireworks if you know what I mean…  Now that the move is complete and work is rocking and rolling, I want a simple summer vacation to feel, well, lazy.  I am seeing a lot of lovely work on instagram for the 4th festivities.  But, it looks like too much work for me.  So, to make things a bit more calm, I have prepared a simple Strawberry Sauce to pour over some Vanilla Ice-cream (Lemon Sorbet would be good too) with fresh blueberries to top.  Now, that seems easy enough and I’m pretty sure the kiddos (and adults) will feel pretty special with this red, white and blue treat!  But, most importantly, I can relax and enjoy it too.  😉

 

Simple Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 Pint Fresh Organic Strawberries

1 Cup Sugar

1/3-1/2 Cup water

Directions

I began by blending my washed and trimmed strawberries in the blender.  I then mixed the strawberry puree, sugar and water in a sauce pan.  I did not strain my strawberries but you could.  I personally think it adds a little more fiber and again, I am looking for the simple road.  Simmer this on very low heat until it begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.  But, don’t burn it.  Let your sauce cool then refrigerate it until you are ready to pour over your ice-cream.  This sauce is great over pan-cakes the following morning too!

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Summer Time Ice-cream Break!

Next blog we are going crazy and making ice-cream to go with our Strawberry Sauce.  So, stay tuned… Have a fantastic 4th of July and I hope you too are having a wonderful time with your friends and family.  OR, at least being lazy!  Cheers!