Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tortilla Española

MMMM que ricoooooo!!! Oh how I've missed the spanish tortilla!

In celebration of our one-year anniversary of heading to Spain, I had a few friends over for traditional Spanish drinks and the quintessential tapa--la tortilla, similar to the Italian frittata more commonly seen here in the US. We'll make two separate recipe posts, so be sure to visit both!

Manoli, my Spanish mom
The Spanish Tortilla is a common tapa, and is made of eggs, onions, and potatoes. I cannot express how good they are. Delicious. 
Manoil, mi mamá española, would make these on occasion for a light dinner. I would smother hers in ketchup (how americana am I?!), but I didn't need ketchup on this one. I added roasted red peppers for flavor. Delicious. I was pleasantly (slash extremely) surprised at how well this turned out! It took me right back to Spain. I miss Manoli, what a wonderful woman!

Tortilla Española
4-5 petite Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 oz), peeled and sliced very thin
1/2 small onion, sliced thin in rounds
2 oz jarred roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons EVOO
5 large eggs
Salt and pepper

Lee and I reuniting in Sevilla
They may seem long, but aside from the flip (which took comical teamwork, thank you Lee!), the tortilla is very easy to make.

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the potato, onion, and peppers together. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat well.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons more oil in an 8" non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the potato mixture to the skillet, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 10 - 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile whisk the eggs, 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl until just combined.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold the hot potato mixture into the eggs until combined, making sure to scrape all of the potato mixture out of the skillet.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the egg mixture and cook, shaking the pan constantly for 30 seconds. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula, folding down any of the egg mixture that has built up along the sides. 
  7. Cover and cook, gently shaking the skillet every minute, until the bottom is golden brown and the top is lightly set, about 5 minutes.
  8. Loosen the sides of the tortilla with the rubber spatula. Place a large plate over the skillet, and invert the tortilla onto the plate. Taking another plate, invert the tortilla again (the wet side will be up). Place the skillet over the tortilla, and flip one last time into the skillet. Phew!
  9. Return the skillet to medium heat and continue to cook, gently shaking the skillet every minute or so, until the second side is gold brown, 2 - 4 minutes. 
  10. Slide the tortilla onto a serving plate and let cool. Slice like a pizza, and enjoy, hot or cold. 
La Plaza de España, Sevilla

Liz Kelly, Christie Zip, and Hannah Mauer, las extraño! Quisiera que podrían haber compartido la noche conmigo y Kelsey, y mis otros amigos. Que la vida las pase bien. Besitos wapas!

The girls, in front of Rayas on c/ Reyes Católicos

Spanish Sangria

The streets of Triana at sunset, mi barrio :)
Hola mis amigos! 
Bienvenido a las calles de España, llena del humo y unos olores buenísimos. Esta noche, celebramos el aniversario de mi tiempo en Sevilla, 5 meses que me han cambiado la vida.

In celebration of our one-year anniversary of heading to Spain, I had a few friends over for traditional Spanish drinks and the quintessential tapa--la tortilla, similar to the Italian frittata more common here in the US. We'll make two separate posts, so be sure to visit each!

Sangria is typically thought of as a summer drink; however with winter's citrus at it's prime, it was the perfect way to fight the winter blues. IU was covered in a sheet of black ice, but the sangria thawed that right out of my memory. We had two versions, alcoholic and virgin. Both were good, though the non-alcoholic was significantly sweeter than the spiked (normal) version. Everyone seemed to love them!

Traditional Sangria
This was our typical drink on a casual night out with friends on the streets of Spain. Typically, Spaniards would have a glass of this or Cruz Campo, the local beer, with tapas between 4-7. Dinner was served at 10 or 11PM.

1 750 ml bottle of dry red wine (I have no idea what this means, so after a phone consultation with Mom, I used an unoaked cabernet sauvignon)
1 1/2 cups pulp-free OJ
1/2 cup Triple Sec

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 orange, sliced thin (8 circles)
2 lemons, sliced thin (16 circles, total)
2 limes, sliced thin (16 circles, total)

1 1/2 cups diet Sierra Mist
Out with friends, drinking Sangria in Sevilla

  1. In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients except for the Sierra Mist. I put all of the fruit in first so that the  liquids would strain through them. Stir well to combine, and then place in the fridge overnight so that the flavors mingle (it's a party, right?). 
  2. Prior to serving, add in the Sierra Mist. This will make it fizzy. 
  3. Pour in glasses over ice and enjoy!

Virgin Sangria 
This is more like delicious, fizzy fruit punch. You could of course use extra Triple Sec, but I like it as is.

3 cups grape juice
1 cup pulp-free OJ
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 orange, sliced thin
1 lemon, sliced thin
1 lime, sliced thin
1 small apple, cored and sliced thin

1 1/2 cup diet Sierra Mist
1 cup Club Soda

  1. Combine all ingredients except the Sierra Mist and club soda in a large pitcher. Again, I placed the fruit at the bottom so the juice would go through the slices. Stir well, and place in fridge overnight.
  2. Prior to serving, add the Sierra Mist and club soda, mixing well.
  3. Pour over ice and enjoy. Don't forget to spoon out the fruit slices - they're delicious, and the apples taste like Jolly Ranchers!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pan-Glazed Basil Balsamic Chicken with Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke Pasta

Sound gourmet enough?

Easiest dinner ever. And can be done in under 30 minutes!

Miss Jamie came over last night for a quick dinner before heading out to see War Hose. Although the movie was just okay, thankfully our meal was great. Picked up some great tips from Jamie and enjoyed sharing a kitchen with her :) Did you know that to keep chicken from burning (apparently my specialty) you cook them in the pan until golden and then finish them in the oven? What?! Mind-blowing.

Everything (including roasted veggies can be finished in under 30 minutes. Start them all around the same time and voilá, gourmet meal.

Pan-Glazed Basil Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. For the glaze, combine the balsamic, honey, and chopped basil. 
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. 
  3. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook in the pan 5 - 6 minutes per side, until cooked through. If it begins to burn and is still pink in the middle, finish cooking in the oven at 350F.
  5. Once cooked, coat with the balsamic glaze. ( I also put the glaze on the noodles and it was great!)

Sun-dried Tomato & Artichoke Pasta
1 bag sun-dried tomatoes
1 can artichoke
1 clove garlic
Egg noodles (nostalgia!)


  1. Make noodles according to box instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes, artichokes, and garlic to desired size
  3. Once cooked, drain noodles in a colander.
  4. Using pot that contained the noodles, sauté the tomatoes, artichokes and garlic in the olive oil until aromatic. Toss in the noodles, combining everything thoroughly. Done!

Grandma's Raspberry Pretzel Jello

I have two weaknesses in life: tall, blue-eyed German ski instructors and Grandma's incredible pretzel jello.
Well and maybe dogs, and horses, and Lidnt dark chocolate with sea salt, but that's beyond the point.

Grandma Ronnie takes care of my addiction to her fantastic jello; I've requested it enough times (at every Madden family gathering for years) that it has now become a reunion dinner staple. Thank God.

Pretzel crust adds saltiness and the Cool-Whip & cream cheese middle is fluffy and sweet and the raspberry jello is just tart enough. Seriously delicious. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Who are we kidding, I do eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make it, you'll understand.

Grandma's Raspberry Pretzel Jello
Pretzel Layer
2 cups crushed pretzels (about 5 cups mini pretzels, not crushed)
3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
3 teaspoons sugar
Whipped layer
1 Cool Whip tub, defrosted
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
Jello layer
2 cups boiling water
1 (6oz) package raspberry jello
1 (10 oz) bag frozen, unsweetened raspberries


  1. Pretzel Layer: Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine pretzels, butter, and 3 teaspoons sugar.
  2. In a 13" x 9" glass pan**, press the butter/pretzel mixture down evenly. Bake 8 minutes.
  3. Set in refrigerator to cool. (I'll often make this the night before so it's completely cool when I add the other layers--you do not want to add the middle layer while the pretzel is still warm or it will become runny.)
  4. Whipped Layer: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cream cheese, Cool Whip, and 1 cup sugar with a hand mixer. Increase the speed gradually until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. Spread the Cool Whip mixture over the pretzel base.
  6. Jello Layer: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the raspberry gelatin, stirring so that is dissolves completely. 
  7. Immediately add the frozen raspberries and place in the fridge for 10 -15 minutes.
  8. Now that it's semi-set, pour the raspberry jello over the whipped layer. Gently shake the glass pan so that it spreads evenly. 
  9. Cool until set and serve! 
**Note: My favorite layer is the pretzel layer, so I sometimes make this in an 8"x8" glass pan. Add a minute or two to the cooking time and halve the whipped layer so that everything still fits in the pan. Use the extra whip as fruit dip or dip for pretzels!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sugared Cranberries

Cranberry fanatic.
Dried cranberries, cranberry juice, cranberry and leftover turkey sandwiches, cranberry pork, and now I've discovered my new cran-addiction: Sugared cranberries.

Seriously, this is Nature's sweet tart. Tart and sweet and (literally) burst-in-your-mouth flavor. Candy. Great in pancakes (yes, I'm that obsessed). Cool cupcake topper.

Yum. in. my. Tum.
Sugared Cranberries

Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 (8.5 oz) bag fresh cranberries
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups sugar

1. Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring so that the sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Add cranberries, making sure everybody gets dunked. (They will float.) Immediately remove from heat, placing in the fridge for at least 8 hours; I did it overnight.
3. Drain cranberries, and dry on cookie sheet lined with a paper towel. Remove any rotten or exploded ones.
4. Once dry, sprinkle liberally with extra sugar. Pop 'em in and enjoy!

Again, photos taken with an iPhone, sorry the quality stinks!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Hello, my dear friends!

My apologies for the nearly month-long and completely unintentional hiatus. After a crazy semester full of group meetings, job recruiting, and email-happy professors, I spent my break almost entirely computer-free.  (If only I didn't have a smart phone, then I really would have had a break!) Thankfully, my break was not cooking free, and I have a million and one recipes to share with you. 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Sugared Cranberries - Nature's Sweet Tart
Chicken Parmesan
Lemon Basil Roasted Broccoli
The Spice Cookie Cook-Off!
Mom's Egg Bake
California Egg Bake (Gluten-free version)

There were also a few duds, like my Shallot and Mint Sauteed Peas, which will never, ever be repeated. Ever.

Unfortunately, anticipating being able to use my parent's camera, I left my baby in Bloomington. Mom's camera is currently moody and refuses to be focused manually or automatically. Therefore, any pictures I took during break came from an iPhone, so the quality is a little rough. If any of these sound good and you're in Bloomington, let me know so I can recreate them, snap some shots, and then dig in!

This soup is delicious; The spiciness of the curry is offset by the sweeting of the apples.
Lots of fall flavors to complement our autumn-ish winter weather.
I served it with roast pork loin and it was a perfect side. 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Ina Garten's Parties! Cookbook

Prep Time: 45 minutes (lots of chopping, but you can do this ahead of time)
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: a ton! I'd recommend halving the recipe, or making it and freezing a bunch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons EVOO
3 large yellow (sweet) onions, finely diced
2 tablespoons of mild curry powder

2 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups of water
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups of apple cider
Fresh thyme (optional)

Post-mash, and pre-puree.
Note: I love butternut squash. Love it. I absolutely despise preparing it. It takes forever and toys with my temper. I came away with bloody knuckles. If anyone knows an easy way to peel them, I'm begging for the secret.

1. Prep time--Peel, chop, dice, and measure everything out. I'd do this ahead of time.
2. In a large stock pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-low heat. Cook onions and curry powder uncovered until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom for the amazing caramelized part.
3. Add butternut squash, apple, and 2 cups of water to the stockpot. Stir thoroughly. When I made this, the water did not completely cover the squash. Don't worry.
4. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and allow to simmer 35-40 minutes covered, occasionally stirring.
5. Add salt and pepper. Mash squash and apples in pot, until it is all a weird solid-liquid mixture. 
6. In a food processor (or Ninja Blender!), finely puree the mixture. Put it back in the stockpot.
7. Stir the cider into the mixture, and allow it to heat through. 
8. Serve with fresh sprigs of thyme, mmmm, delicious!

The lovely mess I left myself. Please note the squash guts on the Coke, the cookbook, the broom on the floor for sweeping spewed seeds, and the general mayhem that defines my cooking style.