,

I’ve had a whirlwind of travel and household guests the last two months, and the blog suffered as a result. But I’m back with renewed energy and ready to continue cooking my way around the world!

One culinary treat I discovered when I moved up to Northern Nevada is Basque food. I did not know a lot about the Basque, who primarily live in Spain and southwestern France, until I got up here and found out there’s a good number of Nevadans who claim Basque ancestry. With that comes no shortage of Basque restaurants, which I associate with several courses of hearty food and complimentary red table wine. (There’s also Picon Punch, which is our state drink, but I *gasp* don’t really care too much for it…) Ask anyone in Northern Nevada what their favorite Basque restaurant is, and you can get any number of answers. Suffice to say, I enjoy something about each of the restaurants I’ve tried up here.

Some of the ingredients for making Basque chicken and chorizo
Some of the ingredients for making Basque chicken and chorizo
There were any number of dishes I could have chosen to make for my Basque feast. Lamb is generally a popular choice because typically many Basque were shepherds. However, I have a particular fondness for Basque chorizo and determined that this dish was the way to go.

Prepping everything to cook up.
Prepping everything to cook up.
I’m not sure how difficult Basque chorizo is to get elsewhere, but up here in Northern Nevada, it’s pretty much at every store. The spices are slightly different than Mexican chorizo, and it usually isn’t as spicy.

Cooking up chicken and chorizo.
Cooking up chicken and chorizo.
I did make one substitution in this recipe. I didn’t have any dry sherry, so I opted for red wine instead. I researched a few versions of this recipe before settling on the one I used, and most of them used red wine, anyway (or even a combination of red and white). Cooking with wine means I have an excuse to enjoy a glass with dinner, which is always a major plus.

Voila!
Voila!
I wasn’t able to pull off the multi-course feast of the Basque restaurants in town, but I did enjoy a warming, hearty platter of chicken and chorizo. Try this out, and I am sure your tastebuds will thank you.

0
Share

I have been wanting to make paella for quite some time for the blog. For a few months now, I envisioned a paella and Spanish tapas dinner fit to wow my friends. A couple weeks ago, my mom bought me a paella pan, and I knew it was a sign I had to put this plan into action as soon as possible.

Chopping up ingredients for the paella.
Chopping up ingredients for the paella.

My boyfriend was visiting, and we had a hike planned with our friends Laxmi and Rukesh. After a full day of hiking, I knew it would be the perfect time to refuel with a huge feast of Spanish goodness. Not to mention, it was extremely helpful to have Laxmi to help out with the preparation!

Laxmi chops potatoes for the Tortilla Espanola
Laxmi chops potatoes for the Tortilla Espanola

Choosing the right dishes proved to be a little challenging. (And, for you vegetarians that read my blog, some of these are veg friendly or can be made that way!) Tapas are quite a bit different in Spain than they are in the fancy restaurants here in the U.S. First off, they aren’t generally enough to fill you up, and they don’t come with a hefty price tag like they do here. Actually, tapas are called “tapas” because they are placed on top of your beer at the bar– and generally, the dish is that small (pint width).

Testing the limits of the paella pan with the ingredients.
Testing the limits of the paella pan with the ingredients.

Additionally, some of the dishes that we have here just aren’t the same. For that, I asked my friend Richard for a little guidance. He recently traveled to Spain, and he offered up his knowledge (as well as that of his new friend, who happened to run a restaurant in Spain) to assist me. That, and he helped me out by bringing back some Jamon Iberico!

Bread, cheeses (from Costco, but marked as being from Spain) and Jamon Imberico that my friend Richard brought back from Spain.
Bread, cheeses (from Costco, but marked as being from Spain) and Jamon Iberico that my friend Richard brought back from Spain.

Jamon Iberico is one of the many types of cured pork that Spain is known for. You can read a little bit more about it on the link provided, but, needless to say, it is awesome and not at all like the prosciutto that is often used as a substitute. I was happy Richard brought back a sample for me to try out and share!

Stirring up the paella
Stirring up the paella

Other than the cheese and jamon plate, I also decided on tortilla espanola and Spanish shrimp to accompany the paella. Richard said tortilla espanola was one of his favorite things to eat in Spain (other than the jamon).

Shrimp getting all happy in the butter and garlic mixture.
Shrimp getting all happy in the butter and garlic mixture.

I was happy to have some assistance in the kitchen. Although I paired the paella, which has a longer simmer time, with the tortilla espanola, which can be made in the time it takes for the paella to boil, and the shrimp, which I made after everything had finished cooking, I didn’t want to be eating at the traditional Spanish dinner time of post-9 p.m. It likely would not have been possible to so effortlessly get everything together without help from friends.

Tortilla espanola, definitely a little more browned than it should be, but still tasty!
Tortilla espanola, definitely a little more browned than it should be, but still tasty!

For the tortilla espanola recipe, one thing to note is it definitely seems more complicated than it ended up being in practice. Flipping with a large plate was not as cumbersome as I imagined, and I advise you to definitely shake the pan as instructed. My pan was a little hot, resulting in a browner tortilla, but I was otherwise quite happy with it. I would make it again for a fantastic and relatively quick brunch.

Post flip. Not as hard as I thought.
Post flip. Not as hard as I thought.

For the paella, the rice did not cook up as instructed in the recipe. While some commenters suggested adding more liquid, I found that simply putting a lid on it did the job. Make sure to monitor it, though, to keep the rice from sticking. There is nothing really to warn you about the shrimp recipe except that it is divine, and make sure you have some bread to sop up the delicious juices after you devour the shrimp.

Paella, tortilla espanola, Spanish shrimp, Jamon Imberico, cheese, bread, and, of course, wine.
Paella, tortilla espanola, Spanish shrimp, Jamon Iberico, cheese, bread, and, of course, wine.

This was the perfect way to end a day of hiking with my boyfriend and friends. Try out your own little paella and tapas party and dream of laughing over wonderful food to the passionate sounds of flamenco.

 

0
Share