March 25, 2016
Easter, or Pascuas, is a major holiday in Catholic Spain. The week before Easter is Semana Santa (Holy Week), when many towns close down and hold religious processions throughout the streets. The arrival of Pascuas ends the fasting of Lent, and special sweets such as torrijas (similar to French toast) are widely enjoyed.
For Easter brunch or other meals, using hearty Spanish ingredients will enhance any recipe. For example, using roasted Piquillo Peppers from a jar, scrambling or baking them with eggs and chorizo makes an easy and crowd-pleasing brunch dish. Or make a Tortilla Espanola in advance, and grill a side dish ofchistorra (breakfast sausage). Accompany these dishes with our Easter Brunch Bread (recipe below), which delights with Spanish flavors of orange blossom honey, orange zest and pine nuts (ingredients are available at The Spanish Table).
A timely shipment of cured meats arrived yesterday, including favorite chorizos for paella, the semi-cured Bilbao and Riojana.
New: Despana chorizo – a semi-cured sausage, with smoky and mild flavors of garlic and spices.
Dacsa Valencian paella rice is back in stock, again available in 1 kg and 5 kg bags.
Customer favorite Miguel and Valentino Arbequina extra virgin olive oil arrived this week. Fruity, buttery and flavorful!
New cut: The uncured, raw Iberico Bellota meats are melt-in-the-mouth tender. In addition to the Solomillo (tenderloin) cut, we now have a limited supply of Carrilleras (cheeks).
Easter basket treats:
From Portugal, pastel colored, sugar coated, egg shaped almonds.
Spanish hot chocolate mix. Extra thick style to cling to churros or anything sweet that is dipped into it.
We’ve got churro mix and churreras (extruders for making churros), too.
WHAT TO DRINK WITH THIS FABULOUS MEAL?
ROSÉ SANGRIA is refreshing and gorgeous, and perfect at Easter brunch.
INGREDIENTS: (substitute frozen fruit if necessary)
2 cups blueberries
2 cups blackberries
2 cups hulled strawberries
2 cups mixed red and golden raspberries
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
5 ounces Framboise or Cassis
1 bottle chilled Abadia de la Oliva rose wine
1 1/3 cups white cranberry juice
In a pitcher, combine fruit. Stir in sugar. Add Framboise; let sit at least 1 hour. Stir in wine and juice. Serve chilled.
EASTER BRUNCH BREAD
Bread is relatively inexpensive and there are many great bakeries, so why bother? Because making bread is a chance to participate in the almost mystical experience that occurs as the yeast springs to life and loaves of bread puff up, rising before your eyes. So once in a while, I make some off-beat bread that is not like store bought bread at all. This is one, a fluffy loaf with a sprinkling of flavors I associate with Spain. Steve Winston
½ cup Flour
½ cup Warm water
1 package Dry yeast
1 tablespoon Orange blossom honey
1 cup Milk, room temperature
¼ pound Butter, melted (we recommend using French butter, available at Paris Grocery)
½ teaspoon Salt
2 large eggs
1/8 c cup minced orange zest
1/8 c cup Poppy seeds
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
3½ cups all-purpose flour
Sponge: Combine first four ingredients and proof for 30 minutes until bubbles form.
Dough: Mix in the remaining ingredients, adding flour ½ cup at a time.
Turn out onto a board and knead until elastic, 15-20 minutes. The dough will be quite wet so keep your hand floured and work the dough with a pastry scraper. Oil a large bowl and turn the dough into it, turning it over so the oiled side is up. Let rise until doubled in volume.
Preheat oven to 350º
Form into a loaf. It is very flexible. I make a U shape and twist the two arms over each other. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise again, 40 minutes. Bake for 40 minutes.