#1. To relive the amazing paella that we had in Cannes this past May
#2. To celebrate our first month reunion from graduating business school
#3. Tapas party Part Dos since I missed the first one while I was in Costa Rica
#4. To put to use Uday's newly remodeled kitchen (think granite counters, stainless steel appliances, new cabinets.. Hmm.. looks strangely similar to my kitchen.......)
We decided to make a bunch of tapas (* denotes recipes available below). We had two versions of sangria: cava sangria (with sparkling wine) and traditional red wine sangria. Nectarines, oranges and apples were used in both versions. There was also ample wine and champagne.
The final product. It was scrumptious! This reminded me of the amazing bacon-wrapped dates that I had at Primitivo. There were loads of great flavors and textures, all in one bite: The date was sweet and creamy, the bacon was salty and crispy, and the almond added a nice, hard crunch.
Albondigas* (the non-soupy kind), in tomato sauce. The meatballs were cooked well (tender, not dry) and the sauce was thick and had a little kick to it (from the chipotle). I also liked that they were mini meatballs, which made for good tapas-style dining.
The spread. Apart from the albondigas, scallops and dates mentioned above, we also had a plate of prosciutto, homemade hummus, chickpeas and spinach*, and in the top right corner of the photo, Spanish Tortilla*.
Seafood Paella, the staple of the night. The rice was cooked perfectly, and the dish was aromatic. There was a plethora of seafood including mussels, fish, shrimp and clams. There's really nothing better than a home-cooked paella because you can choose any ingredient that you desire.
To end on a sweet note, we had homemade ice cream. Two choices: Strawberry and Heath Bar. Although the strawberry was great, the heath bar was my favorite. It had the perfect combination: chocolate and toffee. I loved the crunch that it gave in the ice cream.
6 slices bacon, cut into halves
12 dates, pitted
Flip the dates over and bake for additional 5 minutes.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 lb bay scallop, rinsed and patted dry
3 garlic cloves, slivered
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons capers
1 pinch kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon zest
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil and half of the butter over medium-high heat until mixture starts to brown.
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
3 tablespoons olive oil
26 ounces Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce
Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the meatball mixture to a serving bowl. Serve with toothpicks.
Simple Tomato Sauce^:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, chipotle peppers and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
19-ounce can (2 cups) chick-peas, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 to 2 lemons, juiced or to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tortilla al estilo Route 11 (Route 11 potato chips omelet) - "Tapas : A Taste of Spain in America," by Jose Andrés
1 medium onion, chopped
3 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed well
3 cloves garlic, smashed
5 medium russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
In a large heavy-based stock pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until softened.
Add the potatoes, 4 cups of the stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
In a blender, puree soup in batches until smooth. Return it to pot. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream and parsley, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, if you like. If the soup is too thick, add remaining stock in 1/4-cup increments until it is the consistency you prefer.