Category Archives: Books

Mother’s Day Gifts

MOTHER’S DAY IS SUNDAY MAY 8TH.   Happy Mothers Day to you all!
There are excellent gifts for Mom at The Spanish Table.   Some great items we have in stock are:
Hand made ceramics.    Give Mom a gorgeous, hand painted serving bowl, pitcher or flower vase.  We also have coffee cups, “Vuelve Tortilla” plates used to flip Tortilla Españolas, platters, and deviled egg platters.
 
Cazuelas:  Clay cookware made in Spain is durable and practical.    Available in a huge assortment of colors, shapes and sizes, they can be used on the stovetop, in the oven and in the dishwasher.
Paella kit: Get Mom a starter kit for making paella.   It contains a paella pan, ½ kilo of bomba rice, olive oil, saffron, paprika and Paella cookbook.   Add broth, vegetables and/or protein and get started!
  A selection of high quality extra virgin olive oils make a fantastic gift.   We have oils for salad, smoked and flavored oils for drizzling and intensely flavored oils for dipping.
Spanish Style by Kate Hill – Regularly $49.95, now $19.99.  Is Mom an architect, or thinking of moving to Spain?  This book showcases over 20 Spanish residences, from stylish city apartments, to Modernista seaside homes and country villas.  Featuring wrought iron accents, sumptuous textiles, Spanish tilework… this book is an inspiration to interior design.
Raw Greek Honeys:    Plain or with hazelnuts, Ariadne Pure honeys are raw and contain all of the natural pollen & propolis.   There are no preservatives, additives nor flavorings; the honey has not been heated, processed nor filtered.   The plain raw honey comes mostly from orange blossoms with traces of sage and lavender while the hazelnut honey has a nutty flavor along with the floral notes.   These are some of the most delicious and nutritious honeys available.
MARK YOUR CALENDARPIKE PLACE MARKET FLOWER FESTIVAL: Saturday, May 7 – Sunday, May 8, 2016     9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pick up a gorgeous bouquet for Mom from one of Pike Place Market’s 40 local farmers, on Mother’s Day weekend.  Special tents will line the west side of Pike Place for this event and there will be more fresh flowers than ever.   Grab a bouquet and then purchase a beautiful vase at Spanish Table.
NEW! Pitted Peruvian olives, unpasteurized.  Mild and buttery green Ascolana olives come with a fiery marinade made with spicy Aji Limo & Rocoto Aji peppers and paprika.    Excellent in ceviche, to add heat and depth of flavor.
NOTABLE WINES 
2015 Txomin Etxaniz Rose, Getaria ($20.99)   Salmon berry colored with a slight spritz, Txomin Rosado is beautifully festive in the glass.   Offering notes of wild strawberry and apple, this mouthwatering dry rosé will have you yearning for a plate of fried fish.    Limited availability.
If there a wedding in your future, we have the perfect red wine for the special day!   2014 Flaco Tempranillo is produced with grapes grown in a high elevation vineyard in the mountains outside Madrid.  Aged in large concrete and stainless steel tanks, this is a quaffer that will please everyone.   And at a price of $7.99 per bottle, less 10% for 6 bottles or more (plus tax), the price can’t be beat!   Medium bodied with bright red cherry fruit, it shows notes of spice and a depth of complexity considering the price.   With low tannins, this is a great sipping wine which also pairs well with a variety of foods from poultry, pork, and spicy seafood.   “The red fruit nose shows Pinot-like energy, with white pepper and floral pastille nuances adding complexity. Silky and sweet on the palate, offering intense but edge-free raspberry and spicecake flavors. A wine of noteworthy elegance, especially for the money. Finishes sappy, floral and long, with lingering red fruit character and just a hint of tannins.”   90 points Stephen Tanzer/Vinous

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Filed under Basque, Books, Ceramics, crockery, Food, Red Wine, Rose, Spain, Tempranillo

Cinco de Mayo Wines & Foods

CINCO DE MAYO WINES & FOODS
Next Thursday May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) is a day that commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  Oddly enough, it is more widely celebrated in the U.S. than in Mexico, as it’s a great excuse to enjoy Mexican fare.
Sayulita Mexico is a laid-back surfing town about 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.  Surprisingly, the town has several wine shops with an unimaginable selection of Mexican wines.    Most wines are produced in the Valle de Guadalupe region of Baja Mexico, and are typically blends containing Cabernet Sauvignon.   We tried numerous bottles during our recent stay.  Many were excellent, and paired well with the spicy cuisine.
We’ve got two Mexican wines from Valle de Guadalupe in the shop.
Try one on Cinco de Mayo!
2009 Jubileo Meritage, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico ($18.99) 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc.  Aromas of bing cherry, plum, espresso, wild herbs and vanilla fill the glass.  More red fruit comes through on the palate, with plenty of acidity to keeps things in balance.  Finishes long, with supple tannins.   400 cases produced.
 
2009 Villa Montefiori Cabernet-Sangiovese, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja Mexico ($24.99) 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Sangiovese, aged 15 months in French oak.  Paolo Paoloni was formerly an enologist at Perugia University in Italy until he moved his family to Mexico and planted vineyards.   Structured and vibrant with excellent balance.   Full-bodied with spicy notes, it offers up silky tannins.
PARA COMER – MEXICAN FOODS FOR CINCO DE MAYO

Mole sauces:  Making a mole sauce from scratch is rewarding but time consuming.   Buying pre-made mole sauce simplifies everything, and by purchasing one of the  scrumptious Mexican-made sauces we stock, it taste as good as homemade.   We  stock many styles of mole sauces, including Negro, Rojo, Coloradito and  Poblano.  Chicken Mole on Cinco de Mayo, anyone?


Santa Fe Ole sauces:   When in New Mexico I order “Christmas” style entrees to get equal parts red and green chile sauce.  The roasted pepper flavors in these chile sauces are sublime with everything.    Santa Fe Ole sauces are the best jarred chile sauces we’ve found.    Try the red or green chile sauce (mild or medium hot), Green Chile Salsa or Ancho Salsa.
 

Miss Marjorie’s Plantain chips:  These are phenomenal with guacamole!  A creation of Marjorie Restaurant in Seattle, these plantain chips and guacamole are their signature appetizer.
 
Amor y Tacos by Deborah Schneider  SALE!  $9.99 (regular price $18.95) A cookbook inspired by roadside stands in Mexico, it contains recipes for appetizers, salsas, drinks, and loads of taco recipes.   Comes with mouth-watering photos.
 
 
PADRON PEPPER PLANT UPDATE:   We’ve got about 3 dozen plants for sale now, and when the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens, we’ll have more plants available (hopefully around May 13).

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Filed under Books, Chile, Red Wine, Travel, Wine

A tribute to Penelope Casas

Penelope Casas & Steve Winston at The Spanish Table

Penelope Casas & Steve Winston at The Spanish Table

When Penelope Casas passed away earlier this month it marked the end of an era. She and I were almost the same age and shared an enthusiasm for Spanish cooking, then almost unknown. Before The Spanish Table was even a year old, before we had any customers, Penelope published her fourth book, ¡Delicioso! and came to our store one evening for a signing. She was gracious, lovely and enthusiastic about our new business. For us it was an exciting night that recharged our entrepreneurial batteries. We miss her. ~ Steve Winston, Founder, The Spanish Table

Penelope’s first cookbook The Foods & Wines of Spain completely transformed the way we cook.   Her recipes were authentic, coming from Spain’s local cooks and restaurants, revealing the secrets behind  Spain’s dazzling cuisine.    This book was also a great travel guide, as naturally Casas credited each restaurant for their recipes.  We compiled a list of “Penelope” restaurants and always sought them out on our travels, often driving miles out of our way to eat at these establishments.  ~ Sharon Baden

We have three books in stock by Penelope Casas:

The Foods & Wines of Spain ($37.50)
The first, and one of the very best around, ever. Some would say it’s all you need.
Paella! Spectacular Rice Dishes from Spain ($35.00)
Some of these recipes are not traditional paellas, but every dish  I’ve tried has been fantastic!  One of our absolute go-to’s.
Tapas: Revised Edition ($30.00)
The original 1985 version of this book was one of our first tapas cookbooks. Our tattered, stained and crumpled copy has delighted many part guests at our house.  It’s the ultimate book for making small plates – many recipes only have a few ingredients.
Black Fire Rice
Arroz negro al fuego

Inspired by a recipe in Penelope Casas’ paella cookbook, here is our take on her arroz negro. A superb and striking paella, black as midnight and infused with deep sea flavors, arroz negro gets its pitch black color and wonderful depth of flavor from squid ink. Spiked with red chili peppers and spicy pimentón, this version has a kick to it, lifting the marine flavors to new heights. The spectacle of a dish of black rice creeping with tentacles is exciting and mildly alarming, making it the perfect Halloween or Day of the Dead feast.  Serve with aioli.

Ingredients:
2 oz black cod or halibut
¼ to ½ lb cleaned squid, tubes and tentacles
2 large shrimp
sea salt
olive oil, enough to coat pan
1 cup clam juice
5 threads saffron
¼ onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
¼ bell pepper, finely chopped
½ red chili pepper, finely chopped
½ small tomato
a splash of Madeira
½ cup Valencia or ⅓ cup Bomba rice
1 tsp spicy pimentón
1 x 4 gram packet squid ink
1 artichoke heart, quartered
1 piquillo pepper, sliced, to garnish
1 tsp chopped parsley, to garnish
a lemon wedge, to serve

Cut the black cod or halibut into bite sized chunks. Slice the squid tubes into ½ inch rings, leave tentacles whole. Sprinkle all the seafood with a little salt.  Heat your paella pan over medium high and coat lightly with olive oil. Sauté the seafood for a minute or two until they release some juice. Dump contents of pan into a bowl and reserve.

Pour clam juice into a pot and bring to a quick boil. Lower heat to keep warm. In a skillet briefly toast the saffron until aromatic, a minute or two. Then crumble into clam juice. Keep warm and covered.

Place paella pan over medium-low heat and coat generously with olive oil. Add your sofrito (onions, garlic, bell peppers, and chili peppers) and sweat gently until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Grate in the tomato halves over the pan and discard skin; this is easy as it will naturally remain in your hand as you grate. Stir well and cook down the mixture until almost jammy, about 10 minutes.

Add a splash of Madeira and stir until evaporated. Add rice and stir well to coat. Add pimentón and stir. Add clam juice and squid ink; stir for a minute or two. Return seafood to pan along with artichoke hearts and distribute evenly. Cook paella for about 15 minutes , without stirring, and then test rice for doneness. Cook a few minutes more if necessary, erring on the side of underdone rice. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then serve or return the pan to the heat for five minutes or so to make the crust (socarrat) . Garnish with piquillo pepper strips and parsley; serve with lemon wedges and aioli. ~ Rachel Adams

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Filed under Books, Paella, Pinchos, Spain, tapas, Travel, Uncategorized

Bean Stew & New Great Wines


Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                          January 26, 2012 

ONE HOUR PARKING VALIDATION:   Park in the Public Market Parking Garage at 1531 Western Avenue and receive one hour free parking validation when you spend a minimum of $35.00 at The Spanish Table.January CD sale!   Buy three and receive the least expensive one free!

KitchenspSpain is justifiably proud of its incredible variety of beans, peas and lentils which are used in stews, soups, and even paella. When the weather outside is blustery, I like to get a big pot of beans simmering with some ham hocks and chorizo, and savor the mouth watering aromas filling the house. Put on a movie and serve the bean stew with a glass of Rioja. That’s not a half bad way to spend a winter evening!

Spain’s most famous bean dish is the wonderful fabada, but there’s more in the Spanish bean pot than just fabes. In the Basque country you’ll find many local beans such as deep red Tolosanas. White beans from Leon have a fine and consistent texture; popular in stews, they are principally cooked with potatoes, chorizo sausages, bacon and blood sausage. The recipe below is adapted from “My Kitchen in Spain“, by Janet Mendel (Harper Collins 202, $16.99). It’s not a glamorous, photo-filled book, but for unfussy home-style Spanish cooking it’s one of the best. (I like her blog, too. Check it out.)

NEW PRODUCTS AND ITEMS BACK IN STOCKChocolove bars are back! Choose from Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate, Coffee Crunch in Dark Chocolate, Ginger in Dark Chocolate or new flavors Salted Peanut in Milk Chocolate, and Peach & Pecan in Milk Chocolate.

Spicy Tunisian Olives – Find these in our deli cooler. Medium hot, buttery and meaty green olives warmed by a touch of heat.

Busha Browne’s Spicy Pepper Sherry ($7.99/5 oz). Sherry spiced with scotch bonnet peppers, made in Jamaica.   Add to soups, casseroles or even Bloody Mary’s.

Agnus EVOO  ($24.00/500 ml) A blend of Arbequina and Hojiblanca, this extra virgin olive oil is fruity with a touch of spice. It comes in a terrific Pyramid shaped bottle.  Ask to sample it.

EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL ORDER WINES ARRIVED TODAY FROM SPAIN.   Quantities limited and available only at The Spanish Table.torremor2009 El Halcon, Ribera del Duero ($16.99) Bodegas Torremoron is located in tiny Quintanamanvigo (pop. 94). We met many of the town’s residents during last May’s visit, as the winery employs nearly everyone in town. 2009 El Halcon is 100% Tempranillo, sourced from 75 year old vines grown in the highest elevation vineyard in Ribera del Duero. Vega Sicilia buys 20% of their fruit, and the best of the rest is used to make the 4500 cases of El Halcon. Aged 8 months in 3 year old French barrels, it is extremely aromatic. Notes of berry, vanilla, and coffee are balanced and well integrated. “.. it sports a fragrant nose of cedar, Asian spices, incense, lavender, and black fruits. Dense, rich, and round, it is a great value for drinking over the next 5-6 years.” 90 points Wine Advocate

2009 Dargo by Raul Perez, Vino de Mesa Mencia ($16.99) Ripe strawberry and cherry aromas up front give way to dark black fruit and minerals.   Think finesse, precision and elegance, a trademark of winemaker Raul Pérez.   Dargo is his value expression; he produced 1000 cases of it, a huge quantity for him.   We received one case. “The 2009 Dargo Mencia (100%) was 30% whole cluster fermented and aged for 7 months in 5000-liter foudres. Black cherry, cassis, mineral, and spice notes inform the nose of this surprisingly elegant red. Succulent, nicely balanced, and lengthy, this outstanding value will provide enjoyment over the next 5 years.  The Geografia Liquida wines are made by Raul Perez. 90 points Wine Advocate, 90 points Stephen Tanzer

2009 Pinyolet Selección, Montsant ($19.99) Made from old-vine Garnacha and Cariñena, 2009 Pinyolet Selección displays black fruit aromas with notes of crushed rock. Laced with minerals, it shows bright fruit and dark velvety elements, layered with notes of chocolate and road dust. Full-bodied and expressive, this has the stuffing to age for several years — if it lasts that long.   ” The 2009 Pinyolet Selección is made up of 80% Garnacha planted in 1945 and 20% Carinena planted in 1928 aged for 8 months in two-year-old French oak. Asian spices, incense, mineral, and a confiture of black fruits inform the nose of this juicy, incipiently complex red. Plush, friendly, and nicely proportioned, it can be enjoyed over the next 6 years. It is an outstanding value in pleasure-bent Montsant.” 91 points Wine Advocate

FINALLY BACK IN STOCK

2006 Kripta Cava Brut Nature ($78.00)   Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this cult cava comes in a handmade, amphora-shaped bottle and is now back on the shelf!   The grapes come from vineyards over 50 years old and it is aged on the lees for 4 years. Pronounced better than most Champagnes by an influential French wine critic, this exceptional cava continues to develop in the glass, revealing layers of buttered brioche, citrus peel, dried white fruit and mineral. Only 20% of this producer’s wine is exported.

Photo by Friederike Paetzold 

beansJudiones con Chorizo y Jamon1 lb Spanish Alubia Judión (large white beans), rinsed but not presoaked

1 ham bone or hock

1 large carrot cut into chunks

2 bay leaves

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 leek, white & tender green parts, chopped

1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

1 tablespoon salt

1 Palacios chorizo (7.9 oz), sliced

1/2 red onion, slicesd and sauteed

Put the beans in a soup pot w/ 6 cups water. Add the ham bone,bay leaves, green pepper, and onion. Bring the water to a boil and add the oil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour.

Add 1 cup cold water. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

Add another cup of cold water. Add the leek, potatoes, salt, and chorizo. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for another 30-60 minutes, until the beans are tender. Remove the bay leaves.

Serve the beans accompanied by sautéed onions and a glass of red wine . Serves 4.

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Filed under Books, Cava, crockery, Red Wine, Spain

Keep It Simple on the 4th of July

Iberian Embutidos     

Spanish Table Seattle Newsletter                                                              June 30, 2011 

Millions of people will serve perritos calientes (hot dogs) on the 4th of July. Why not take your dogs up a notch by serving an assortment of grilled embutidos? Our favorite Iberian style sausages include Despana brand Chorizo, La Española Butifarra, and Barcelos Linguiça. All told we offer 16 different grilling sausages between The Spanish Table and our Paris Grocery store, just two doors away. An excellent side dish with perritos calientes is my own “Spanglished” Potato Salad (see recipe below).

BEVERAGES FOR THE 4TH   

I simply can’t get enough fresh rosé in the summer and that’s what I’ll be sipping on the 4th of July. Admittedly, I’ve gone a bit crazy ordering them because each one tastes better than the last!  Here at Spanish Table, we’ve got 17 different dry rosados to choose from and two doors away at Paris Grocery, there are (gasp!) an astounding 34 French rosésVisit us to pick up the pink stuff!      

If beer is your beverage of choice, we’ve got the best selection of Portuguese and Spanish cervezas in the city, especially since a few new brands came on the market. From Spain, we currently stock Estrella Damm, Estrella Daura (gluten free beer), Estrella Galicia, Estrella Inedit, Alhambra Lager, Alhambra Negra, Ambar (NEW). We also carry Sagres and Sagres Bohemia, Mikate Lager and Tagus (NEW) from Portugal, Casa Beer from Morocco, Jerome Beer from Argentina, and Laziza non alcoholic beer

NEW ON THE BOOKSHELF: 

Plancha, 150 Great Recipes for Spanish-Style Grilling by Liliane Otal  ($21.00) This is simple cooking at its best, with grilled vegetable and seafood recipes that take only 5 to 10 minutes to prepare.

The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden ($39.99) 588 pages of pictures, vignettes and recipes, both classics and little-known dishes.   My next must-try recipe is the pork loin cooked in milk with caramel. 

Turkish Bakery Delight by Deniz Göktürk Akçakanat ($24.95)  The food in Turkey is all-around magnificent and the savory baked goods such as Filo rolls filled with Spinach and Feta  made an excellent breakfast. The assortment of sweet cakes and breads filled with nuts, fruit and honey were not bad either.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices by Lisa Abend ($26.00) details Ferran Adriá’s unique system of running the kitchen at elBulli using apprentice chefs who sometimes camp on the doorstep until they are hired. 

 “Spanglished” Potato Salad 

One day we were headed to a party where The Spanish Table’s reputation for producing Spanish flavored foods would be at stake.  I updated Mom’s potato salad recipe by substituting alioli for mayo, pimentón for black pepper and by adding piquillo pepper strips. In a dire emergency, you can actually gussy up store-bought potato salad by mixing in the pinch of pimentón and chopped piquillo peppers.

3 cups Potatoes, boiled and cubed

1 tablespoon Minced sweet onion

½ teaspoon Fine ground Spanish sea salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon Sweet, smoked pimentón

¾ cup Alioli

½ cup Piquillo pepper strips, roughly chopped

½ dozen Caperberries, sliced, for garnish (optional)

Pinch Salt

 Mix ingredients. Taste and adjust ingredients to your personal preference.

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Filed under Books, crockery, Meat, Portugal, Rose, Spain

Cava Tasting and Party Wines

When the Thanksgiving leftovers run out, the holiday party season can’t be far behind.  We have a sensational time noshing on finger foods, experimenting with seasonal beverages and catching up with old friends – it is indeed a special time of year!  And there is absolutely nothing more festive than a glass of bubbly at a party.   Thus our Cava tasting dinner at Harvest Vine could not be more timely.  Join us on Wednesday December 8th, at 6:30 p.m. to taste the cavas of preeminent winemaker Augustí Torelló Mata. Here’s an opportunity to taste the acclaimed Kripta cava which influential French wine critic Michele Bettane described as comparable to the very best champagne.   Click Cava to view the complete menu; the cost is $65.00 per person.  For reservations, please contact Harvest Vine at 206.320.9771. “The Agustí Torelló Mata Cavas rank with the best I have tasted.”  Jay Miller, Wine Advocate

AFFORDABLE AND DELICIOUS PARTY WINES

2008 Ique Malbec, Mendoza ($9.99) Juicy and lush, this 100% Malbec has notes of violet and ripe berry. With firm structure, flavors of coffee and hints of licorice add complexity to the lengthy finish.   This unoaked Malbec is meant to be enjoyed young and is excellent served with pizza or burgers.

2009 Prado Rey Verdejo, Rueda ($11.99) 100% Verdejo, Prado Rey comes from a 75 year old vineyard.  It displays intense citrus aromas with notes of fennel.  A serious white, it is lean and steely, fresh and balanced.   It has a long and polished finish with notes of bitter almonds, characteristic of the Verdejo varietial.  This is excellent with steamed clams or mussels.

2008 Tres Picos Garnacha, Campo de Borja ($15.99) We’ve never been disappointed by Tres Picos. Reliably delicious year after year,  “The 2008 Tres Picos is 100% Garnacha old vines in which 50% was aged in tank and 50% in French oak for 10 months. It gives up a compelling nose of black cherry fruit that jumps from the glass along with earth and mineral notes. Plush on the palate bordering on voluptuous, this pleasure-bent, full-flavored effort will drink well for another 3-4 years although few will be able to resist its charms for that long.”  91 points Wine Advocate

2008 La Planta, Ribera del Duero ($15.99) La Planta is the youngest red produced by Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, whose wines are full-bodied and suave.  2008 La Planta has fresh aromas with high fruity notes of blackcurrant, licorice, and toasty notes from noble woods.  A meaty wine with ripe tannins, it has a fine tuned velvety texture.   The finish is persistent and smooth.

Last chance to pre-order special vintages of Cune Rioja!  Bodegas Cune will be shipping a limited number of old Rioja Reservas and Grand Reservas directly from Spain in February 2011.   Pre-order now to assure availability of a special anniversary or birthday wine!   Pre-orders are due no later than December 8, 2010.   Standout offerings include a 1917 Imperial Gran Reserva, 1964 Viña Real Gran Reserva, and a 1939 Corona, (a cache of this golden-colored Rioja blanco was recently discovered during the winery’s renovation.)  There are over 30 wines available from vintage 1917 through 1995; pre-sell prices range from $68.00 for a 1988 Imperial Reserva to $510.00 for the 1917 Imperial Gran Reserva.   For a complete list and prices, just send a request to seattlewine@spanishtable.com.

NEW PRODUCTS

Seasonal Spanish Food Cookbook by José Pizarro ($32.95)  This is not a vegetarian cookbook but it’s loaded with delicious salads, soups and sautés that make you want to rush home and start cooking.   I can’t wait to make Artichoke and Sheep Cheese Salad and Green Asparagus Soup with Romesco Sauce.

New shipment of Churreras!  chur We now have plastic ($19.99) and metal ($45.99).  Fry up some of these bits of dough deliciousness and dunk them into a steaming mug of thick Spanish hot chocolate.   This indeed, is true decadence!  We also carry Blanxart, Amalia and Valor brand hot chocolate mix.

Marcona Almond Butter: A healthy alternative to peanut butter, and a great option for those folks with peanut allergies. Marcona Almond Butter can be substituted in any recipe you would normally use peanut butter. We suggest:  Changing your PB&J into a MAB&J, high-brow take on the quintessential classic, substitute MAB for your Thai peanut sauce or fold into your ice cream. Think of it like liquid Turron!

Armenian Walnuts Steeped in Syrup: They look like black olives, but they are whole walnuts packed green in the Ararat Valley of Armenia and steeped in sugar syrup until they turn lush, sweet, tender and irresistible, a little like marron glaće, only moister. The walnuts are perfect foil for pungent cheeses, pâté or roast duck or game. You can also nibble them after dinner or slice them to decorate your pumpkin pie.

CHEESES OF THE MONTH

Caña de Oveja: This snow-white, fluffy coated, soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese hails from Murcia, a region known for its goat milk. The pale ivory creamy interior is suave, silky tangy and spreadable. Enjoy with a glass of sparkling white wine or cava.   14.99/LB

Queso de Oveja en Aceite de Oliva: From Jumilla in Spain’s southeast, this sharp and herbaceous sheep’s milk cheese is soaked in virgin olive oil and rosemary. Tangy with a bit of harrumph! The flavors are more infused than our Spanish Table customer favorite, Rosemary Manchego!   15.99/LB

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Filed under Books, Cava, Cheese, crockery, Events, Food, Red Wine

Sensational Flavors

As a youngster I grew up eating home-grown vegetables and home-cooked meals. Fortunately my mother, grandmother and sisters were all excellent cooks and my father’s garden was so bountiful that even our neighbors had enough fresh vegetables to stock their freezers. My fascination with flavors and quality ingredients sprang from these roots and even today, I eagerly await every meal!  With travel came discoveries of astonishing new ingredients and my palate began to yearn for more than fried chicken and tuna noodle casserole. Now that our stores have extensive selections of inspiring cookbooks, there’s no reason to cook the same dishes over and over!   (Paella excepted.)

Last night Steve turned to Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook “Saffron Shores” ($12.99) for a sensational Tunisian Fish Ball Tagine. The fish balls were light, delicately flavored and satiating on a chilly night. Give them a try!

JANUARY SALES ON SELECTED PRODUCTS – WHILE THEY LAST!

3 liters El Toro Pure Olive Oil $9.99

Miguel & Valentino brand Guindilla Peppers $.99 

Ferrer Dried Wild Mushrooms $4.99/ 15 gram jar

 Golden Peppadew Peppers $.99/14 oz 

Ferrer White Gazpacho $.99/24 oz

NEW WINES 

2009 Las Colinas del Ebro Garnacha Blanca, Terra Alta ($11.99) This crisp white has notes of chalk and crushed seashell with a zesty citrus finish. “Laid-back aromas of yellow apple, pear, melon and lemon thyme. Silky and modestly concentrated, with fine-grained honeydew and pear flavors and a light kiss of herbs. Tightly wound for the variety, finishing with good bite and lingering herbacity.” 88 points Stephen Tanzer

2000 Bodegas Lopez Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva ($22.99) This spectacular rosé is excellent all year long but perhaps best in the cooler season when its savoriness is a divine match for rich meat or poultry dishes. In yesterday’s New York Times, Eric Asimov describes Viña Tondonia Rosé as “pale, coppery, complex wine that compels you to smack your lips at the tactile pleasure of rolling it around in your mouth. Jamon Iberico please!”

2009 Tapiz Malbec, Mendoza ($11.99) Tapiz has inviting aromas of violets which compliment smoke, raspberry and plum cake notes. Hints of vanilla, menthol and incense give added complexity on the palate. Elegant with a velvety, persistent finish, it is also a terrific value!

2008 El Pecado, Ribera Sacra ($84.00) The 2008 El Pecado is produced by winemaker Raul Perez, who makes some of Spain’s most prized wines in the cool, green D.O. Ribeira Sacra of Galicia. His reds, made from the Mencia grape are reminiscent of top shelf Burgundy. The precision and elegance of these wines is astounding. Prized for their quality as well as their rarity: 115 cases of 2008 El Pecado were produced and only 16 cases were sent to the U.S. “The 2008 El Pecado is 100% Mencia from Ribera Sacra and offers up exotic, kinky aromas of mineral, incense, Asian spices, lavender, boysenberry, cranberry, and black raspberry. On the palate it is satin-textured, intense, complex, and stylish.” 95 points Wine Advocate

2006 Alion, Ribera del Duero ($90.00) The latest release of Vega Sicilia’s Alion has just arrived! “Intensely perfumed, mineral-driven scents of redcurrant, raspberry, spicecake and dried rose, with a smoky overlay. Juicy and precise, offering lively red fruit flavors and a suave floral pastille quality with aeration. Weightier on the finish, where the floral note lingers with authority and persistent spiciness.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer, 94 points Wine Advocate

GREAT MEATS

Zoe Meats Chorizo: A perfect balance of pork, fat and pimenton, it contains no nitrates/nitrites. This überlicious chorizo is a favorite of our Spanish customers. We carry a small 8oz version or you may buy it sliced, but we recommend the larger chorizo for the best value. $25.99/lb

Lomo Embuchado – This domestic lomo is a dry-cured pork loin that is very popular in Spain as part of a traditional tapas course. Always extremely lean, this cured meat is marinated before aging with an array of spices including garlic and paprika bringing out the full flavor of the pork. $34.99/lb

Upcoming Flamenco shows: This Friday and Saturday evening at Taberna del Alabardero: Don’t miss Manolo Leiva. Click here for details.

TUNISIAN FISH BALL TAGINE

In Spain, Sephardic fish balls, (called albondigas) were seasoned simply with parsley and maybe a little cheese, then fried and served with tomato sauce. Tunisian Jewish fish balls are more highly seasoned. To hold the fish together, most cooks use fresh bread crumbs. The fish balls may be fried or poached, then simmered in fish broth flavored with tomato puree, and served with couscous. Some recipes use chopped tomatoes and peppers in the broth.

Serves 6 TO 8

FOR THE FISH BALLS:

1½ lbs mild white fish, such as cod, sole, sn apper or bass

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, finely chopped

½ Teaspoons kosher salt

½ Teaspoon harissa (try the rose petal harissa)

2 Teaspoons ground cumin

4 Slices stale bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry, or 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

Olive oil for frying

TOMATO SAUCE:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, minced

6 Tablespoons tomate frito, or 4 tomatoes, chopped

2 Cups fish broth or water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Couscous for serving

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

To make the fish balls, bone and finely chop the fish. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the fish with all the remaining ingredients except the egg and oil. Mix well, Add the egg and mix until smooth. Dipping a spoon and your fingers in cold water, remove a sample of fish paste and roll into a ball. Fry in a little olive oil and taste and adjust the seasoning. Form the rest of the fish paste into I-inch balls. Either fry now, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat ½ inch oil over medium-high heat and fry a few fish balls at a time until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

To make the tomato sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the fish balls and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over couscous, sprinkled with parsley.

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