Saturday, August 29, 2009

a spanish feast, kitchen fired!

Although my pictures might suggest otherwise, helpXing at La Casa del Viento has been a lot of hard work..  Getting up at 7:30 in the morning (on a good day; usually it's just around 7:45) to start my 8am watering, gardening and pool cleaning duties before the sun does its torture, followed by a coffee break and then other jobs that need to be done for the afternoon. On Thursday, after typical morning responsibilities, Ann gave me the day off, and relaxing was it not--rather I took a roundtrip sick-to-my-stomach bus ride through the Andalucían mountains to the "white villages" and with an old travel guide hiked from one village to another, Pampanería to Búbion.
What was supposed to be a twenty minute walk ended up in an hour of isolation, steep trek full of hills, weeds, rocks and unpredicted rattling. There were occasions when I thought to myself, if I got hurt or collapsed, no one would hear me, and who knows what would happen, and oh.. Generally, I don't like to have such troubling thoughts, and so I remained optimistic--thinking to myself, this is all part of the character building process of traveling, and through the backroads mountainous forests, made it to my destination sweaty, scratched and sunburnt (not to mention, bug bitten). Then I started chatting up a fellow Spanish traveler, who gave me a ride back to town so that I could catch the bus in time for dinner in Lanjarón, and that car ride was only five-minutes, just around the time I spent in my much sought after destination of Búbion. The things we do for adventure.

 In the distance you can see Pampanerîa, the village I had hiked from to the point of where I took the picture. I know, I can't even believe it. AND I wasn't even close to my end destination. That's why I was still happy and taking photos.

It's now Saturday and I've still got the blisters to remind me of what a trek that was.

In any case, today was just as eventful--with lots of cooking, all day really! Ann's daughter and son-in-law are here for their first anniversary, and I had the pleasurable honor to cook the family a Spanish dinner inspired my employment at Jaleo, Jose Andrés' tapas restaurant in DC. And just thinking about my mom, I am reminded that cooking is labor intensive, and yet a simple pleasure in life. Oh, and what a feast it is to share!

for starters, Don something's bottled sangria..yes, bottled. cheap and convenient, and oh, so tasty. (note: artistan jug not included)
three sides: apple, manchego cheese and almond salad (this was a first for me, and it was one to savor over!); the famous apple cider, red peppers quinoa salad (this time with white beans and pomegranates picked from Ann's tree) and of course, no Spanish meal is complete without patatas bravas (and my very own homemade, spicy romesco dipping sauce).
and oh, the crowd pleaser of the evening-- paella! i have to say, i'm quite proud of myself. the only other time i had made paella was after moving into my apartment during my first week at cal, and for friends i had just made the day before.  i suppose this is a celebration of the new and old!
and for dessert, something i've been drooling over just thinking about..the flan from jaleo. so light and airy and sweet and savory. this was my attempt, and thankfully, it was a success. russ licked every little bit off. you can find the recipe by googling jaleo flan.
and leftover luxury brownies (not so spanish unless you consider the home grown almonds, hand-picked and cracked) i had made the night before as a welcoming treat for rachel and russ. this was my first attempt at tamami from coco and me's recipe. i have been a longtime follower of her blog and you can imagine how excited my tastebuds were when i got to visit her stall, live in action, at london's happenin' broadway market on the east end.
and that is it for the night. according to my spanish time, it is now my best friend from high school, fiona's birthday! happy birthday fe!

buenas noches, amores!


Sarah Ray said...

oh my goodness your food looks INCREDIBLE. How long will you be in Spain? If you can...stay until May because I get to go back for the summer!!!

Nuori said...

Finally.. I saw your paella: it looks GREAT!!! Congratulations ;)