Posts tagged Snacks & Sides
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.


The dressing and fresh herbs are the real stars of this dish. Simple ingredients are taken to new places with the addition of sumac, pomegranate molasses, and crunchy bits of pita.

You will not regret the trek to your local Middle Eastern market to find the pomegranate molasses. I want it on every salad from now on, and I’m excited to try it with fish, chicken dishes, or even just with a little lemon on some chickpeas or white beans, I’m pretty sure the possibilities will be endless.



Adapted from Bon Apetit

4 teaspoons ground sumac, soaked in 4 teaspoons warm water for 15 minutes
3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons (or more) pomegranate molasses
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons (or more) white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
2 8-inch-diameter pita breads, halved, toasted until golden brown, broken into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped, or 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 pound Persian cucumbers, or one 1-pound English hothouse cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Little Gem or baby romaine lettuces, or 1 small head romaine lettuce, trimmed, cut crosswise
into 3/4-inch strips
2 cups (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 cups purslane leaves or additional 3/4-inch-strips romaine lettuce
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Ground sumac (optional)

1. Combine sumac with soaking liquid, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses, garlic, 2 tsp. vinegar, and dried mint in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly, until well blended. Season with salt; add more lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, and vinegar to taste, if desired.

2. Place pita pieces in a medium bowl; pour oil over and toss to coat. Season pita to taste with salt.

3. Mix tomatoes and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 3/4 of dressing; toss to coat, adding more dressing by tablespoonfuls as needed. Season with salt. Add pita; toss once. Sprinkle sumac over, if desired.



Brazilian side dishes: Hearts of Palm Salad, Deep-Fried Polenta, and Shredded Greens
Brazil dinner

This meal had so many flavors, textures, different tasty elements, it was hard to pick a favorite. I think if I was pressed to choose though, it would be the Hearts of Palm Salad, I loved the tangy palm hearts, crunchy onion, fresh tomatoes, bitter watercress, and just a slight drizzle of olive oil. Delicious, particularly as a side to rich steak and fried polenta!

Heart of Palm Salad

Palm Heart Salad

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

1 can heart of palm stalks, sliced into large diagonal slices
2 ripe tomatoes or 1 cup cherry or plum tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings, use only the middle perfect rings
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ - 1 cup watercress or arugula
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Arrange the tomatoes and hearts of palm in a serving bowl, top with rings of onion and watercress. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Deep-fried Polenta

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

 4 ¼ cups water
3 ¼ cups polenta
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp plain flour
vegetable oil for deep frying

1. Add water, polenta, stock and oil to a large pot. Slowly bring to a boil, then simmer until it becomes a think puree, about 20 minutes. The mixture is ready when the bottom of the pot begins to show when you stir the polenta. Sprinkle in the plan flour and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Pour mixture into an oiled 11x11in pan, using a spatula spread into an even layer. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until set.

3. Turn the chilled block of polenta out onto an oiled cutting board. Wet the blade of a long knife and cut into approximately 3/4in x 3/4in x 3 ½ in sticks.

4. Half-fill a deep pot with oil, heat to 375° F. Preheat oven to 200° F. Add about 5 pieces at a time and fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper-towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt.  Keep warm in a 200° F oven.

5. Fry remaining pieces. Serve right away or keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Fried Polenta
Shredded Greens

Brazilian-style shredded greens

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

1 bunch collard greens or other dark green
3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Clean and trim collard greens, removing the thick part of the stalk. Thinly slice by rolling a stack of leaves and slicing in narrow strips across the width of the leaves.

2. Heat olive oil in a large pan, add garlic and let fry for just a moment, then add shredded greens. Cook 3-5 minutes until wilted and softened but still slightly al dente. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.

 I always forget how much greens cook down. I ran out of small bowls, so these greens looked so sad in the big serving bowl. But they made up for their lack of picture-perfectness in punchy flavor. We threw them in the cast-iron after cooking the steak for some extra rich meaty goodness, but if you prefer them vegetarian or don’t want all that au jus in your greens feel free to follow the recipe as is.

Pastel de feira de carne (Brazilian pastel pastries with meat filling)

We first had these on a beach in Hawaii from a Brazilian food truck in Haliewa. It is hard to beat that experience, but knowing we can make them in our own kitchen is getting pretty close.

I highly recommend making both these and the Deep-Fried Polenta since you will already have a nice hot pot of oil, may as well make the most of it!

Pastel de feira de carne

(Pastel Pastries with meat filling)

Adapted from ‘The Food and Cooking of Brazil’ by Fernando Farah

Makes 6 large Pastel, or you can size them smaller for more

2 ¾ cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp lard, chilled or extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cachaça or vodka
1 tbsp white vinegar
½ cup warm water
Vegetable oil for deep frying (vegetable or peanut oil)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ onion
10 ounces ground beef
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup green olives, sliced
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp green onions, sliced
ground black pepper

1. Pour the flour and salt in a bowl, mix. Rub in the lard with your fingertips until mixture forms crumbles.

2. Make a well in the center and pour in cachaça, vinegar, and water. Mix the ingredients well.

2. On a clean surface, dust some flour and work the dough vigorously for 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, stirring for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the garlic and ground beef, breaking the meat with a wooden spoon. Keep frying for a few minutes until the meat is cooked through. Stir in the olives, parsley and green onions, cook for a further minute. Transfer to a bowl, cover and place in the fridge until required.

4. Using a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll the dough flat until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter cut the pastry into rectangles 4 inches by 8 inches.

5. Pour some water into a small bowl. Place 1 ½ tbsp of the meat mixture on one half of the pastry rectangle. Using a pastry brush or your fingertip, brush the edges of the pastry with a little bit of water. Press the edges of the pastry together and then press down the edges with a fork to ensure it will not open while is being fried. Repeat the process with the remaining pastries.

7. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan to 375° F. Fry the pastries, one at a time, for 1 minute on each side or until slightly golden and crispy. Place each fried pastel on the a paper towel-lined plate. They can be served hot (in which case you can keep them warm in a 200° F oven) or cold.

Pastel with meat filling



Paprika Potatoes and Green Peas
Hungary meal
Library Cookbooks

Cookbooks might be my secret passion. My Amazon wishlist is 90% cookbooks and 10% obligatory items like scarves, cooking utensils, and earrings. I'm not sure what I love more, owning them or finding gems in the stacks at the library. As for my books, I will never relinquish my copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, PLENTY, my late grandmother-in-law's Belgian cookbook collection, Flour Water Salt Yeast, or Williams Sonoma Weeknight Cook. As a matter of fact we recently went through a whole house purge and I think I got rid of one cookbook, and it was for how to cook for an Atkins diet. Clearly that should be given to someone who does not currently have a pasta machine in their Amazon shopping cart. 

All in all, I love cookbooks in all shapes and sizes. 1960s aspic filled cookbooks, vegan hipster quinoa kale salad books, bread making, cheese making, Nigella, Ottolenghi, Smitten Kitchen, Good Eats, you name it, I will love it. I hope you do too. 

Hungary Dishes

For Hungary I perused a number of books, but Flavors of Hungary by Charlotte Slovak Biro was the clear winner. I found a lot of little gems in this cookbook. Including lovely recipes for Chicken, Potatoes, and Peas. A perfect trifecta in my world. 

Paprika Potatoes

Paprika Potatoes (Paprikas Krumpli)

Adapted from Flavors of Hungary by Charlotte Slovak Biro

1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
6 medium sized potatoes, washed and chopped
½ green bell pepper, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
salt to taste
1 cup water

Sauté the onion in butter, until transparent. Add paprika, potatoes, green pepper, tomato, salt, and water. Simmer 30-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender; don’t stir, but shake pan occasionally.


Green Peas (Zold Borso Fozelek)

Adapted from Flavors of Hungary by Charlotte Slovak Biro

10 ounces frozen peas
¼ cup hot water
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth

Boil peas 10 minutes in a covered saucepan with water, salt, and sugar. Add parsley and butter and simmer slowly until peas are tender. Sprinkle with flour and add chicken broth. Stir constantly until thick.

Mixed Greens with Horseradish Dressing

This recipe intrigued me as not only it sounded like a great foil to the richness of sausages and potatoes, but also as a great reason to buy fresh horseradish for the first time! I was surprised at not just the complexity of flavor in this dressing, but how versatile it felt. It was admittedly a bit of work grating fresh horseradish, I have my husband to thank for that tough bit of the job. But after that its as easy as shake, mix, eat. 

Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Mixed Green Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Adapted from Saveur

For the Dressing
1⁄2 cup freshly grated horseradish
1⁄3 cup canola oil
2 1⁄2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Salad
6 cups mixed salad greens
3⁄4 cup radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
1 avocado, peeled and cubed

1. Whisk together oil, juice, parsley, shallot, mustard, and salt and pepper. Add in horseradish in stages, start with half and combine well, taste. Add more as your taste allows. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.

2. Place salad greens in a large bowl, add dressing and toss gently to combine. Top with radishes, cucumber, and avocado.

German meal