Sunday, July 15, 2012

7/14/12 - Preparo La Cena

I didn't do much of note for most of the day. I went to the Silverlake farmers' market and got some lovely heirloom tomatoes from Tutti Frutti Farms. I impulse-bought a head of elephant garlic. I had to! It was just so big!
Then I went home and cleaned the house. That's the trouble with having guests - you have to clean up before they come, and then again after they leave. I guess it's worth it in the end. It did feel pretty good to have the place looking so ship shape.

I was running a little behind getting dinner ready, so I laid out some aperitivos: tetilla and manchego cheese with dulce de membrillo (aka quince paste), sliced Cantimpalo sausage, and jamon Iberico with crostini. It was a nice little spread of goodies from La Espanola. I was particularly excited about the jamon Iberico, a cured ham made from acorn-fed Black Foot pigs. It's expensive, but I sprung for a small amount just to try it. It's pretty tasty, but I think next time I'll stick to the Serrano. It's not so different.

For dinner, I made tortilla de papa y chorizo with romesco sauce, Catalan-style spinach, and pan con tomate.
Turns out tortilla Espanola is pretty easy to make. I may have let it cook too long on one side, but other than that, it was a breeze. I followed this recipe (kind of), but I felt like their directions made it seem difficult, when it was actually anything but.

The romesco sausce turned out awesome. That's another thing that kind of sounds complicated, but isn't. You basically just put all the ingredients in a food processor. Done. If you want to follow a procedure though, here's the recipe I used.  I will say that some other recipes call for smoked paprika and/or nora (I wish I could get the ~ over the n) pepper, and I heartily suggest adding both, to taste. Forget measurements. Some even say the nora pepper is the secret to perfect romesco. I used piquillo peppers to supplement the roasted red pepper, but that's probably not necessary. I just figured since I had aquired them, I might as well go for it.

Espinaca Catalana is spinach with apples, pine nuts, raisins, and shallots. It's pretty good, but I think next time it needs a little citrus or perhaps a more flavorful green to add some kind of contrast to the sweetness.

As for the pan con Tomate, it's hard to go wrong with bread browned in olive oil, spread with delicious ripe tomato.
Brice with the spread before him, soaking in the ambience.

So the meal was great and all, but the part I was really excited about was dessert. I think I may have mentioned yesterday how over-the-moon I was to find mato del Pirineu at La Espanola. I discovered this exotic little dairy wonder when I was in Barcelona at a diner called La Granja Viader. They serve mel i mato, Catalan for "mato and honey." 
That's me in Barcelona with a hefty slice of mel i mato for breakfast. I'm a little overwhelmed.

So here we go, the highlight of my evening, my very own mel i mato, with fresh fig.

Hot. Damn. 

We finished off the evening with some bourbon. Some of us more than others. In fact, Alex is still sleeping. A good time was had by all.

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