I remember being a kid and revering Halloween like it was the holiest possible day of the year. Sure the pumpkins and hay bales and fallen leaves were charming, but let’s get to it and bring on the candy, yo! Nothing says fall to a fourth-grader like the hazy sugar-coma afterglow of a well-guarded trick-or-treat haul (there’s just no WAY anyone will find this under my bed).
I also remember the 90 minutes or so before trick-or-treating commenced: complete pandemonium. Mom’s just getting home from work. Costumes need last-minute tailoring. Those darling but equally annoying toddlers dressed as insects or vegetables are getting the jump on the crowd with a 4:57pm door knock, and we know we’re supposed to have dinner but are just too freakin’ excited to get on with the candy hauling. Enter the old soup-and-sandwich standby. It’s simple, satisfying and lets everyone in the house just get on with what’s really important about October 31st: knocking on strangers’ doors and demanding free sugar.
Of course, growing up in Northern New York, it was mostly for naught anyway. I can count on two fingers the number of Halloween evenings that weren’t blanketed with snow. The impact and mystique of being a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger (the red one, duh) is somehow lost underneath a winter jacket so thick that you can’t put your arms down.
Spanish-Style Grilled Cheese with Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup
Continue Reading Dinner Rush! Spanish-Style Grilled Cheese with Fire-Roasted Tomato Soup
From Valencia: Bell peppers stuffed with saffron-flavored rice are baked in homemade tomato sauce.
Years ago, I spent a few months in Madrid working as a culinary intern in an upscale restaurant. I intended to learn as much as I could about Spanish food and cooking, but of course spent most of my time chopping and peeling, observing and eating. I didn’t end up coming home with a single recorded recipe.
Flipping through The Food of Spain, I was transported back to that hectic Madrid kitchen — chopping garlic, roasting and peeling peppers, blanching and peeling tomatoes, cleaning shrimp. And now, finally, in this cookbook I found the key to re-creating all the familiar dishes I encountered there, from potato omelets and paella to more obscure finds I can’t wait to try, all delivered with invaluable context.
The Food of Spain is for food lovers who appreciate a cookbook that’s equally as valuable on the nightstand for curling up with a good read, as it is in the kitchen when you’re ready to get cooking. James Beard Award-winning author Claudia Roden, best known for the classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food, is a master at putting food into cultural and historical context. The first 121 pages of The Food of Spain delve into the country’s food history, focusing on ingredients, dishes and regions. Recipe subheads and headnotes contribute a wealth of information about the region of Spain the dishes are from as well as Claudia’s personal experiences discovering and cooking them.
Start cooking from with these favorites from the book:
Continue Reading By the Book: The Food of Spain