Posts in Spain
Pre-Season Testing - Tapas y Rioja

After week two of testing, I am more excited than ever for the upcoming season. I’m off to a slow start just given how busy life is these days, but I was inspired by a co-worker to get back on the blog bandwagon and get ya’ll some content! Shout out to you Mike!

So here goes… We had a tapas night to celebrate the start of Pre-Season Testing. Rachel Brooks from SkySports signed off night one with “We’re off to go have some tapas and rioja!” and lo and behold, that was what graced our table too! Always nice to know we are in good company.

I delved into two new cookbooks for this tapas menu. Cooking Spanish by John Newton, where I found a quick and simple Clams in White Wine sauce, I also found a recipe for mushroom croquettes which sounds amazing, but not quite as quick or simple. That is something to look forward to for next time! The other two recipes are from Pintxos by Gerad Hirigoyen; White Bean Salad with Apple, Manchego, and Avocado, so bright, more complex than the ingredients appear, and a great foil to the next item on the list: sausage and pepper pintxo (mini skewers). While reading this lovely little volume I discovered the author/chefs have two restaurants in San Francisco! We will definitely be checking them out sometime soon.

This spread came together pretty quickly and hit all the right buttons for a little bit of finger food, a little bit of crusty bread to sop up some saucy stuff, and some veggies strewn throughout. A nice glass of Spanish Rioja topped off the evening perfectly.

With week two of testing done and dusted it is only two more weeks of waiting and then F1 is back!!

Tapas y Rioja

Chili Marinated Olives

Spanish Marinated Olives

Adapted from Cooking Spanish by John Newton
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cured black olives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, move to sterile mason jar. Seal and let marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Serve at room temperature.  

Clams with White Wine

Clams with White Wine

Adapted from Cooking Spanish by John Newton

 Serves 4

2 lbs clams
2 large tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 teaspoons chopped parsley
a pinch of nutmeg
salt & pepper
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup dry white wine

 Country bread, for serving


Soak the clams in slated water for 1 hour to release any grit. Rinse under running water and discard any open clams.

 Cut tomatoes in half, de-seed, then chop finely. Heat oil in a large pan and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, Add the parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup water.

 Add the clams and cook, covered, over low hear untul they open (discard any that do not open). Add the wine and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens, gently moving the pan back and forth a few times, do not stir, so as to keep clams in tact.

 Serve immediately with bread.


Sausage and Pepper Skewers

Adapted from Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, Gerad Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss

 Makes 4 skewers

4 pearl onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
4 slices Spanish sausage or 4 cocktail sausages (recommended: cantimpalitos)
4 whole pickled peppers such as pepperoncini (recommended: guindila)
4 small bamboo skewers

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 slices baguette, lightly toasted

To prepare onions:
Have ready a small bowl of ice water. Bring a small saucepan filled with water ro a boil over high heat, add onions, and boil for 1 minute. Drain and plunge into the ice water until cool. Cut off the root ends and slip off the skins.

Rinse the saucepan and return the onions to it along with the butter, sugar, and ½ cup water .Place the pan over medium-high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Uncover and boil until the water evaporates. The onions will begin to sizzle in the butter remaining in the pan. Continue to cook, turning the onions as needed, for about 5 minutes, until browned all over. Remove from the heat and keep onions warm.

To prepare sausage:
In the same saucepan over medium heat, sauté the sausages for about 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and fully cooked.

To serve:
Thread 1 sausage slice, 1 onion, and 1 pepper onto each skewer.

Spread a little mayonnaise on each slice of baguette and place skewer on baguette slice. Serve warm.

Sausage, Manchego, and Cherry Pepper Skewers

Pintxo pepper and cheese

4 slices Spanish sausage or 4 cocktail sausages (recommended: cantimpalitos)
4 whole sweet pickled cherry peppers
4 cubes manchego cheese
4 small bamboo skewers

To serve:
Thread 1 sausage slice, 1 cube of cheese, and 1 pepper onto each skewer.

White bean salad

White Bean Salad with Manchego, Avocado, Apple, and Meyer Lemon

From Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition, Gerad Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss

 Serves 4-6 as a side 

1 large avocado, diced
1 large tart apple, diced
1 ½ cups cooked small white beans (canned cannellini beans work well)
3 ounces manchego cheese, diced small
¼ cup basil, chiffonade
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
¼ cup lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the avocado, apple, beans, cheese, basil, and pine nuts and toss gently with the beans until combined. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and toss with bean mixture.

Serve within 30 minutes of mixing to prevent apples and avocado from oxidizing.

Mediterranean Sauco Cocktail
Mediterranean Suaco

Modern Spanish drinking culture seems particularly keen on a few liquors in particular, those of Vermouth and Gin. And not necessarily together, though that sounds like a drink I know... 

Vermouth seems to instead be a stand alone day drinkers friend, perfect for sipping alongside some tapas and a group of friends. In fact one of my favorite articles is entitled How to Day Drink Like a Spaniard in Saveur magazine, all about Vermouth drinking culture. I have a super simple vermouth cocktail recipe up on the blog, if you want to experiment! 

For today's addition, we went for the other favorite: Gin. 

This recipe is adapted to what we could find in the States. The original recipe calls for Sauco which appears to be a liqueur made from the elderberry. However, we could not find anything resembling that here. So we went for elderflower liqueur, in this case St. Germaine, with lovely results. 


Mediterranean Sauco

Adapted from TheDailyMeal

2 oz gin
½ oz elderflower liqueur
1 ½ oz cava (or to fill glass)

In a cocktail mixer over ice combine gin and elderflower liqueur, stir to combine until well chilled. Pour into coupe glass, top with cava.

Calamari and Tapas Platter
Calamari and sides

Freshly fried calamari with tangy cucumber and slightly spicy smoky dip might be my new favorite thing. I mean, I've always loved calamari, but I never knew how easy it was to make at home! I was concerned at first because it feels like a bit of a splurge if you might not get it right, but it turns out to be simple and easily comes out delicious the first time around! 

Try it with the quick pickled cucumbers and smoked paprika dip and you'll be sold too. 


Calamari with Tangy Cucumbers and Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise

Adapted from Delicious Magazine

For the Calamari
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain cornmeal
salt and pepper
1 lb fresh squid, cleaned (ask your fishmonger to do this), body sliced into rings

For the Quick pickled cucumbers
½ cup white wine vinegar
½  tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp caster sugar to taste
5 small or 3 medium cucumbers, cut into wedges
Handful fresh dill, roughly chopped

For the Smoked Paprika mayonnaise

1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika

1. To make the quick pickled cucumbers, combine the vinegar, sea salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the cucumber and dill, then cover with cling film and chill for at least 3 hours or until crunchy and tangy

2. For the smoked paprika mayonnaise, whisk all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste.

3. To fry the calamari, heat about 3-4 inches oil in a large pan until it reaches 375F.

4. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a large bowl and season well. Drop in the squid a handful at a time and coat with the flour.

5. Fry, in batches so as not to crowd the pan, for 2-3 minutes until pale golden, then drain briefly on paper towels.

6.Serve with the pickled beans and mayonnaise for dipping.

Tapas Platter

A Spanish dinner party is never completed without an all out tapas platter. Bites to savor while drinking and talking with friends. I made the Smoked Paprika Almonds I discovered during Pre-Season Testing, and includes the necessaries: jamon iberico and manchego. In addition we had some fresh fruit, marinated olives, goats cheese, and tangy sweety drop pickled peppers! 

Where there are tapas... there must also be drinks. Try a super simple 5 ingredient Sangria, or a Vermouth Cocktail, or if you're feeling adventurous check out this year's addition to the repertoire a Mediterranean Sauco Cocktail. And, in the end, if you're not feeling adventurous at all, you are welcome to stick with the classics and have a nice glass of Tempranillo or Verdejo. 

2018 Spanish GP: Paella with Guest Chef: Rob!

The Spanish Grand Prix is a lovely spectacle and a great excuse to eat tapas and drink sangria.

It's always fun rooting for drivers at their home races. Swaths of yellow Sainz hats, and an abundance of Alonso flags filled the audience. Alonso as usual, out drove his car and made his way into the points in 8th to the pleasure of the crowds, but his Spanish compatriot Carlos Sainz showed him up to reach 7th place. 

Hamilton and Mercedes managed to outpace the whole field and came home with a resounding 1, 2. Ferrari seemed a little perplexed about Hamilton's new pace and maybe even a little worried about what's to come. Hopefully we continue to see competition at the front, it's definitely too early in the season to see a dominant team run away with the championship. All in all a fun race despite Romaine Grosjean taking out Hulk, Gasly, and himself in the first lap. It was great to see Leclerc earn his first points and the two Spainards being up there for their  home race gave the crowds a lot to cheer for. 

For this race, we had a guest chef! Talk about something to cheer for :) 

For over a year now, our friend's Liz and Rob have been inviting us over for Paella. Life and work and god knows what else always seemed to get in the way. And believe me there must have been good reasons because I rarely say no to someone offering me food and even more rarely would I say no to Paella. But whatever the circumstances were, we could never make it happen... until now! Sometimes things just work out for the best. This was the perfect opportunity to have my first Guest Chef post, and honestly it was fabulous. I worked all day on Friday and Saturday at a work function, and to have someone step in and make me a fantastic Paella which was passed on from father to son, was beyond amazing. 

Rob learned to make Paella from his father who in his army days was stationed for a time in Morocco. It was great hearing stories about food, travel, and family tradition. Rob now uses the Paella Mixta recipe from Saveur as a base recipe, as it is the closest he has found to his father's take on Paella. 

Hope you enjoy it! 



Paella Mixta

Adapted from Rob’s fathers time in Morocco and Saveur

10 threads saffron, crushed
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 dried bay leaves
3 medium tomatoes, minced
1 small onion, minced
7 cups chicken broth
2 1⁄2 cups short-grain rice, preferably Valencia or bomba
8 oz. fresh or frozen peas
3 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
12 mussels, cleaned and debearded (optional)
1 (9-oz.) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

1. Soak saffron threads in ¼ cup hot water, let sit while preparing chicken and shrimp.

2. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat ½ cup extra virgin olive oil in paella pan over medium heat. Add chicken and shrimp, cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove shrimp and set aside.

3. Add smoked paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes and onions to pan, stirring often cook until onions are softened about 6 minutes. Add saffron mixture and broth, do not add more broth than almost reaches the top of the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat.

4. Add rice by sprinkling over pan to distribute evenly. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid. This will take 10-12 minutes. Rotate on burner every 2-5 minutes, if pan is larger than your burner.

5. Add shrimp back to pan, and top with mussels. Nestle mussels gently into the paella and cook until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the remainder of the liquid. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Vermouth and Sherry: Spain's Aperitif Culture
sherry aperitif
This ritual of tomar un vermut—literally, “taking a vermouth”—is to Spain what grabbing an espresso is to Italy. It’s a social activity undertaken pretty much whenever over the course of daylight hours, preferably with a friend or three.
— Kyle Chayka, Saveur

I am inspired by the tapas and aperitif culture of Spain for a few primary reasons: culturally acceptable day drinking, abundant bite sized deliciousness, and the social gatherings that seem so full of laughter and love. Granted, I am basing this mostly on episodes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and other TV depictions, so I am likely over-simplifying things. But, I stand by my adoration of gathering friends, eating lovely things, and drinking fortified wines.

Both sherry and vermouth are new discoveries to me (one of the many reasons this blog is the best hobby ever!) These drinks turn out to be positively lovely! Catalonians seem to have a particular penchant for vermouth, and sherry is more imbibed in Southwest Spain in the so-called sherry-triangle where the grapes are mostly grown. Are you a geek like me and want to know more? The Spruce has a fun article on discovering fortified wine, which I highly recommend if you are a novice like me. If you just want to know the basics... try serving sherry chilled as an aperitif or digestif (before or after dinner drinks, respectively) and try vermouth the same or in the simple cocktail recipe below. 

vermouth cocktail


Vermouth Cocktail

Inspired by Punch

1 1/2 ounce vermouth
splash (to taste) of soda water
orange slice

In a collins glass, or whatever glass you have lying around, add a large ice cube. Top with vermouth, splash of soda water, and an orange slice. Perfect for an aperitif before dinner, with tapas in the afternoon, or as an after dinner drink to wind down the evening. 

Majorcan Almond Cake with Almond Ice Cream
whole majorcan almond cake


All Recipes from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea

Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for preparing pan (if aiming to make this dairy and glluten free, can use earth balance and gluten free flour for this step)
8 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely ground blanched almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shake off any excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.

3. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.

4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the cake for about 45-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and holding the pan about 6 inches above the counter, drop the pan onto the counter. This simple dropping action “shocks” the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan

5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cake onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with Almond Ice Cream, if desired.


cake and ice cream


1/2 pound blanched almonds
4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick

1. In a food processor, very finely grind the almonds. Use the pulse function and watch carefully. You do not want the nuts to release too much oil (otherwise they turn into nut butter). 

2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, and half of the almonds. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Decrease high heat to medium and add the rest of the almonds, continuing to stir. As soon as the mixture boils again, remove from the heat and let cool completely. To cool quickly place mixture in a bowl, in a larger bowl add a few cups of ice and some water, place mixture filled bowl inside ice bowl and lightly spin mixture bowl. The ice water in contact with the bowl will quickly cool the mixture down. 

3. Transfer the cooled mixture to an ice-cream maker, process and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. 

4. When ready to serve, remove from freezer about 20 minutes in advance to allow to soften slightly. 

2018 Pre-Testing - Catalonian Rice with Caramelized Onions
rice with caramelized onion

Pre-Season testing is an opportunity for teams to properly get out on track and assess reliability and performance of their updated cars. It is also a chance for teams to show off all the new liveries, rookie drivers get to head out on track for the first time, and fans get to see their favorite teams and drivers back in action. 

This year in the first week of testing it was bitterly cold, and... it snowed. F1 cars do not do snow. Teams quickly adapted and built snowmen, messed around on social media, and prepared for week two. 

Too bad they weren't here with me, because these dishes would warm anyone's bones. Both of Catalonian origin, the rice dish is emblematic of a common Catalonian cooking style where they freely mix meat and seafood, apparently this even has a name: mar y montaña (sea and mountain). And the greens were a perfect complement, though an "everyday first course" they added a special element to the meal. Followed up by a Vermouth Cocktail, this was a great foil to any poor weather. 

arroz con cebolla


All Recipes from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea

½ pound Manila or small littleneck clams
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ cup olive oil
½ small chicken, about 1 ½ pounds, cut into large bite size pieces with skin on
2 yellow onions, grated (I highly recommend you do this in a food processor with a garter attachment - to save your cryin' eyes!)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup sweet vermouth
1½  cups water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
4 cups Fish Stock
2 tomatoes, halved crosswise, grated on the large holes of a handheld grater,skins discarded
1 teaspoon sweet pimentón or paprika
Pinch of saffron threads dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
¼ pound squid, about 7 inches long, cleaned and with bodies cut into rings and tentacles halved if large
2 cups Spanish rice
½ pound medium shrimp 

1. Scrub the clams under cold running water, discarding any that fail to close to the touch. In a large bowl, combine the clams, coarse salt, and water to cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours so that the clams release any sand trapped in their shells.

2. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes, or until golden on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.

3. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, vermouth, water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated (can take up to 30 minutes). Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes longer, or until the onions are caramelized.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 ° F. In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer.

5. When the onions are ready, add the tomatoes, pimentón (paprika), and saffron to the pan and mix well. Add the squid, decrease the heat to medium, and stir briefly to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a large (about 15-inch) cazuela (I'm planning to use a dutch oven), place over high heat, add the chicken pieces and rice, and stir to combine. Pour in the hot stock and cook for 5 minutes without stirring.

6. Drain the clams. Place the clams and the shrimp on top of the rice, and place the cazuela (dutch oven) in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. After 15-20 minutes the liquid will be absorbed, the rice will be tender, the clams will have opened, and the shrimp will turn pink.

7. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or a kitchen towel, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Discard any clams that failed to open and serve.


swiss chard


2 cups water
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 pounds Swiss chard (2-3 bunches), stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (or almost any nut or seed, I used pepitas)
¼ cup raisins, soaked in hot water to cover for 1 hour to soften, and drained

1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and Swiss chard, cover, and cook at a high simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the chard in a colander, pressing on it firmly to remove any excess liquid.

2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the pine nuts, stir well, add the Swiss chard and raisins, mix well. Cook briefly, stirring, until all ingredients are heated through.

3. Serve immediately, or remove from heat, set aside, and reheat when ready to eat.




Spanish Tapas - Pre-Season Testing

Tapas are well loved in Spain. And really, why not? Late afternoon or late evening with a glass of wine or sherry, these make the perfect accompaniment to good friends, a good drink, and a good time. In addition to the recipes below we added some olives, jamon iberico, and some hard and soft cheeses to the spread. Oh, and a few bottles of Spanish wine to wash it all down! 

Given that Pre-Season testing lasts two weeks I thought you might like a few more recipes to round out the menu. And perhaps an excuse to eat some tapas!

The first week of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya looked mighty cold, it even snowed on track on the last day! Mercedes made a snowman, people made lots of Iceman jokes at Kimi's expense, and reporters shivered while trying to interview reserve-driver and celebrity du jour Robert Kubica. We enjoyed getting back into the nitty gritty with Ted Kravitz and his eponymous "Notebook". IMHO, he really is the best commentator out there because he gets his nose in everyone's business and notices all the tiny details that make the sport so interesting. His Development Corner at the end of week one highlights many of the changes coming this year and gives you little deep dive into the sport! (note: if the videos don't work in your part of the world, you can check out his twitter feed @tedkravitz) 

tomato bread


6 slices white country-style bread
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tomatoes, halved cross-wise

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5-8 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with olive oil on both sides.
3. Rub each slice with the cut side of the tomato half, pressing to squeeze some of the pulp and seeds on the bread. Sprinkle the tomato with salt. Serve while the bread is still warm and crisp. 


Smoked Paprika Almonds

Adapted from Devour Blog

This recipe is easy to double or triple so I am providing the measurements per 1 cup almonds, you can decide how much you need depending on the size of your crowd!

1 cup raw almonds
1/3  tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked Parpika
1/3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the almonds onto an ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almonds are golden brown and giving off a toasted aroma. Watch carefully because they can burn quickly.

2. While the nuts are toasting, combine the sea salt and the smoked paprika in a small bowl.

3. Once the almonds are out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Add extra oil if not all the nuts are coated. Sprinkle with the salt and paprika mixture and stir again. Allow to cool. Transfer to serving bowl and serve at room temperature.


Baked Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika Dipping Sauce

Inspired by Food & Wine 

For the Patatas Bravas
3 medium yellow potatoes, sliced into wedges
1 Tblsp olive oil

For the Smoked Paprika Dipping Sauce
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1-2 Tblsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a pot, cover the potatoes with water. Generously season with kosher salt and bring to a boil. Simmer the potatoes until nearly tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let the potatoes dry on paper or kitchen towels.
3. Lay potatoes out on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, toss potatoes until lightly covered with olive oil. Sprinkle salt on potatoes. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping once or twice, until nicely browned.
4. Meanwhile make the dipping sauce. Add mayonnaise and spices to a small bowl and whip with a fork until combined. Add lemon juice slowly until you reach desired consistency/ tanginess.

fennel salad


 Adapted from Genius Kitchen

2-3 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into thin wedges
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 large orange, peeled and cut into segments (supremed)
1 Tblsp white wine vinegar
¼ red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
6  black  or kalamata olives
4 cups lettuce, romaine or green leaf, torn into bite size pieces (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
1 Tblsp fresh mint, roughly chopped (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. Place fennel on a well-oiled baking tray, drizzle with ½ Tblsp olive oil, roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender and charred on the edges. Turn them once or twice during cooking. Allow to cool.
3. Whisk the remaining oil with white wine vinegar.
4.  In a large bowl mix lettuce with ½ the dressing. Remove and place into serving bowl.
5. In same large bowl, gently mix fennel with orange slices, onion, olives and add remaining dressing. Add ½ the mint, salt and pepper, and stir once more.
6. Add fennel mixture on top of lettuce in the serving bowl. Top with remaining mint, and optional fennel fronds for garnish.

Spanish GP - Chicken in Bravas Sauce and Sangria

Part of the fun of cooking new recipes from around the world is discovering new flavors. Often I lean toward quintessential dishes. Sometimes even "the dish" of a country. And sometimes I just want to be inspired by the flavors, the scents, the look, or feel of a place and its food. 


For the Spanish GP I wanted something easy, tasty, and full of smoked paprika. This recipe did not disappoint.

Full disclaimer, as the original author of this recipe fully admits this is not actually an authentic Spanish dish, but more of a Spanish-ish dish with lots of Spanish inspired ingredients. I am all for experimentation and smoky paprika, also this was tasty, so thanks to Julia for playing around with Spanish flavors and creating this deliciousness.


Spanish-ish Chicken in Bravas Sauce

From Julia Frey of Vikalinka

For the bravas sauce

Olive Oil- 1 tbs.
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red chili, minced
1 carrot, diced
Fresh or dried thyme- 2-3 sprigs (1 tsp)
1- 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

For the chicken

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 bone-in chicken thighs
1tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 red pepper, sliced
1 – 14 oz can butter beans or any other white beans
½ cup green olives, any kind
salt and pepper

  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped onion, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add sliced garlic, minced chili, chopped carrot, and thyme (leaves only) and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in canned chopped tomatoes (including liquid), vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper, turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes until thick.
  4. When you are satisfied with the thickness of the sauce take it off the heat, pour it in a food processor or a blender and blend until smooth and set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Sprinkle chicken thighs with Spanish paprika and salt on both sides and brown in a skillet until golden but not cooked all the way through. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding. Set aside and drain fat from the skillet.
  7. Add bravas sauce to the same skillet, put chicken on top and scatter butter beans, olives, and sliced red pepper all over.
  8. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.
  9. Serve over rice.

5 Ingredient Sangria

From the Minimalist Baker

1/2 pineapple, chopped
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds and then halved
/2 pear or stone fruit, cubed
750 ml bottle red Spanish wine (or Spanish style like a tempranillo or granacha)
1 cup (240 ml) fresh orange juice

  1. Slice fruit and drop into a large pitcher.
  2. Add orange juice and wine and stir.
  3. Refrigerate until serving, at least 4 hours, up to 2 days.

And, for a little bit more aesthetic enjoyment, here are the, again, absolutely amazing Spanish GP posters from Ferrari, Williams, and Renault:

Copy of img_5183-2.jpg

I have lived in wine country all my life. There are photos of me at five years old drinking from the wine press as we prepared to barrel our homemade wine. I appreciate good wine, red wine, white wine, cheap wine, sparkling wine, and of course a nice wine cocktail. I am not generally hard to please, but I also know something good when I have it. 

This is my favorite go-to Sangria recipe because it is simple, quick, and it still tastes like the base wine and the tangy fruit it is composed of. As perfect for a summer day as it is for a drink along with light Spanish tapas, or heavy Spanish stews. Just try it already! 

5 Ingredient Sangria

From the Minimalist Baker

1/2 fresh pineapple, chopped
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds and then halved
1 pear or stone fruit, cubed
750 ml bottle red Spanish wine (or Spanish style like a tempranillo or granacha)
1 cup  fresh orange juice

  1. Slice fruit and drop into a large pitcher.
  2. Add orange juice and wine and stir.
  3. Refrigerate until serving, at least 4 hours, up to 2 days.


Spanish Grand Prix - Paella

This race is all about the food and drink, though for me they all are. Paella and Sangria are like a match made in heaven. Easiest Sangria recipe ever, plus Paella covered in all the yummiest things: shrimp, clams, and mussels. And tapas to start off this food love affair.


5 Ingredient Sangria

from the Minimalist Baker

1 750 ml bottle red wine
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 pineapple, chopped
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds and then halved
1 pear, cubed

Slice fruit and drop into a large pitcher.
Add orange juice and wine and stir.
Refrigerate until serving - 4-6 hours would be ideal.

Our paella pan gets a lot of use in our kitchen because it sears perfectly, has enough space not to crowd mushrooms, and it reminds me of big meals that serve friends, family, and everyone in between. It is definitely a joy to get to use it for its true purpose though.

Traditional Spanish Paella

adapted from

1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half (skin on optional)
2 links Spanish chorizo sausage, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
½ lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined with just tails remaining
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen green peas
8 mussels, scrubbed
8 clams, scrubbed

  1. To prepare the herb blend, combine the first 4 ingredients, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes on each side. (If you chose to leave skin on, sear skin for 2 more minutes to crisp up and cook fat layer). Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add sausage; saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside with chicken.
  5. Add shrimp, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Set aside in separate dish.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes.
  8. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  9. Stir in herb blend, broth, chicken, and sausage.
  10. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  11. Add peas and clams to pan, nestling them into rice mixture. Cook 5 minutes.
  12. Add mussels to pan, cook 5 minutes more until shells open, discard any clams or mussels with unopened shells. Arrange shrimp in rice mixture, and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done.
  13. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.
  14. Enjoy!

If possible, eat this outdoors on a gorgeous May night.

And just ignore what the kitchen looks like...