Quick comfort food – Spanish Tortilla

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If nothing else, I always have eggs in the fridge, garlic, onions and potatoes in the pantry. So when I’m having a hectic day or week with no time to go to the market or to cook and am just too tired to have any kind of imagination, but I still want to eat well (i.e. not take away or frozen dinners) a tortilla is one of my go to’s. In less than 15 minutes, I’ve got a delicious omelet and to boot my hunger & palate are satisfied!

RECIPE

2-3 eggs, beaten

1 small potato, thinly sliced

1 small shallot or 1/2 of a small onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat enough olive oil to sauté potatoes in a skillet. Add potatoes and cook, occasionally stirring until browned. Add garlic and onion and continue cooking until onion becomes glassy, season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl and season with salt. Add potato mixture just to blend and return to well oiled skillet and lower heat to medium-low. Carefully lift sides with a silicon spatula and lift pan so that runny eggs go underneath. Continue doing so until top of omelet has no more runny egg. Cover and allow to set for 3-4 minutes. Carefully slide omelet on a plate and invert back into skillet to cook other side. Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Plate omelet and allow to cool before serving. Serves 1, enjoy!

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Clam chowder for a blistery winter Sunday

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It’s snowing… I can’t complain so much about the snow, we haven’t gotten that much this winter. But the cold… The cat’s have cabin fever, they regularly pull out new toys from their basket or they mope around. I’m not an emotional eater, however when I’m bored, I suddenly have all sorts of cravings! So I’m constantly searching for dishes that satisfy me deeply and that way I can steer away from the bad stuff!

I have great childhood memories from spending summer vacation in Maine. The ocean, the sun, friends, watching the 4th of July fireworks on the beach, surfing and eating all sorts of stuff we weren’t allowed the rest of the year, i.e. chips, sugary cereals, soda… A rainy day was an excuse to go for day trips to Ogunquit or Kennebunk Port, buy fudge and candy at the candyhouse or go buy some christmas decorations at the christmas shop! And there was always one day we’d walk on the beach to go eat lobster rolls, clam chowder and fried clams from a shack by the beach. Funny how the simplest things make us so happy and give us our most cherished memories 🙂 This chowder is super quick to make and super satisfying, a perfect pairing would be these biscuits, it’s not exactly what I ate as a child, but I love it!

scn_0047Clam chowder

Ingredients

1 can clams

1 large potato, diced and blanched

1 cup corn kernels

2 large slices bacon, diced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Minced chives for garnish

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Instructions

Cook bacon in skillet until browned, add shallot and toss until translucent. Add corn, paprika and toss then add clams in their juice. Transfer into a pan add potatoes and coconut milk. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve and garnish with chives. Enjoy!

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My spanish roots & the queen of all comfort food: My Yaya’s spanish meatballs

If ever I had to choose from all the delicious comfort foods in my repertoire, this would probably be it. It was one of my favourites as a child and I would get really excited when I would see my grandmother preparing them. When my grandparents retired, they would spend winters in Spain and my grandmother would always prepare me a large batch of these in the freezer. They would, sadly, never last that long… I just couldn’t resist! When she passed away, I had one regret, that I still hold to this day, that I didn’t put down in writing all of the family recipes. Most of them I manage by experimenting, memory or with the help of my mom and aunt that have their versions of the recipes as well, but one thing I found out after discussing this specific recipe with my mother, is that we have different versions of the recipe. Clearly, as with all good cooks that experiment and are always trying different things or ‘perfecting’ their recipes, the dish evolves as does the individual that is cooking it. So my recipe is completely different to the one my mother has and neither of us has ever even seen let alone eaten the others version! Funny that, no?scn_0044

So getting back to february being the month for comfort food, here is my version of spanish meatballs! My version uses minced mushrooms instead of the classic breadcrumbs and egg  for the meatballs. I find it lightens it up, adds veggies and depth to the meatballs. You can, of course, revert to the classic. I also use coconut cream instead of milk, but you’re welcome to do the milk version! Boy am I a happy camper to have these ready to eat!!!

 

Spanish meatballs

Ingredients

225 gr. mix of ground beef, pork & veal

1/4 cup finely minced mushrooms

1 Tb pine nuts

1 large onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large potato

2 medium carrots, sliced in 1/4 rounds

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 almonds roughly chopped (or 2 Tb almond butter)

1 Tb olive oil

1/4 tp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions

Heat olive oil in cast iron pan, add 1/2 of the onions and stir until translucent. Add 1/2 of the garlic and stir for a minute or so then add almost and continue until fragrant (2-3 min.). Add paprika and combine well then add carrots. Stir for another minute then add just enough water to cover. Simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until carrots are tender. Meanwhile combine ground meats with remaining garlic & onion, pine nuts and dash of paprika, season with salt and pepper. Roll into golf sized balls, you should have 8 meatballs. Set aside. When carrot mixture is ready, transfer to a blender with coconut milk and blend on high until smooth. Return sauce to pan and add meatballs. Make sure sauce is almost covering the meatballs. If pan is too large, transfer to a smaller pan, cook on medium-low heat to simmer, occasionally stirring. Peel and cut potatoes and place in small pan, cover with water and season with salt. Cook covered for 5 minutes once water comes to a rolling boil. Remove from water and add to meatballs and sauce. Cook for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally making sure elements are covered in sauce and correcting seasoning of necessary.  Serves 2, can be frozen without the potatoes. If you only want one portion and freeze the other, use a small potato. You can freeze the remaining meatballs on their own with enough sauce to cover.  Enjoy!