Monday, May 26, 2008

Spanish Date Night

I know I've only been married for about a year and a half, but I think I'm ready to give out my first piece of married person wisdom. Marry someone who shares your interests. Seems obvious, but I know a lot of opposite type couples out there, and I just don't think it can be as much fun that way. Last night was a perfect example of this theory. We stayed home, cooked an amazing meal, watched a cute movie, and just relaxed. Doesn't sound like the most exciting night ever, but for us it was perfect. We shared our love of food, travel, indie films, and music, and this casual date night ended up being more fun than a lot of our fancy nights out.

Joe and I both love to travel, and as a result enjoy trying food from different parts of the world. Spanish tapas are one of my favorite types of food to eat at a restaurant, but we'd never tried to recreate Spanish dishes at home. This 3 day weekend was the chance that we needed, so Sunday night we made a date for homemade tapas and sangria.

It was a few hours of hands-on cooking, but we managed to time the parts of the meal to all be ready at the same time. It was a lot of work to make these dishes all in one night, but since Joe and I were in the kitchen together the whole time, it just made the cooking part of our fun date night. We only had one flop (saffron aioli, waaaay too much raw garlic), and it seemed to be due to a bad recipe, rather than our solid cooking skills. We did a half recipe for the goat cheese, tortilla, and croquettes, and still had lots leftover. The two recipes below are from The Wooden Spoon cooking classes, at the kitchen store where I work. The meal was delicious, the sangria even better, and the company was the best part of it all.
Chicken and Ham Croquettes
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups minced roasted chicken
1/2 cup prosciutto (I bought one large slice and diced it)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dredging
3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying

1. In a large skillet, melt butter in the olive oil. Add the chicken, ham, nutmeg and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the flour, then gradually whisk in 3/4 cup on the milk. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape the croquette mixture into a bowl; let cool. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

2. Divide the croquette mixture into 16 equal portions. Using wet hands, roll each portion into an oval shape.

3. Preheat the oven to 325. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the remaining 2 Tbsp of milk. Spread the breadcrumbs and flour into two other shallow bowls. Dredge each croquette first in the flour, then dip in the egg. Next coat the croquette with bread crumbs and transfer to a platter. Repeat with all 16 croquettes.

4. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Fry croquettes 4 at a time, turning twice, until golden brown; about 3 mins. Transfer croquettes to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while frying the rest.

Baked Goat Cheese in Spicy Tomato Sauce

8 ounce log of goat cheese
3 ounces olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, finely diced
1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 pint tomato puree
salt & pepper
pinch of paprika
pinch of sugar

1. Preheat broiler. In a large saucepot, heat oil and lightly brown garlic with red pepper flakes. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the tomatoes and tomato puree. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with s & p, paprika, and sugar. Remove from heat.

2. Pour tomato sauce into small oven safe bowl or baking dish. Slice goat cheese into 1/2" rounds and place on top of tomato sauce. Broil until sauce is bubbly and cheese has browned.

Serve with toasted bread slices.

I'm going to put the sangria recipe in a separate post, but let me just tell you that it was in fact as tasty as it looks!

These shrimp were really easy. The marinade was a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, s & p, garlic, and some dried herbs. We cooked them under the broiler for about 8 minutes, turning once.
This perfect tortilla recipe was from Epicurious.
We followed the recipe exactly, and the result was just like the tortilla we've had at Spanish restaurants.

After all that food Joe had to sit back and relax!


Elly said...

it all looks and sounds great! i love tapas, too. i make a similar goat cheese/tomato sauce thing often and it's one of my favorite things ever.

Nicole said...

You are very lucky you have so much in common and have fun together! Your night sounds so fun! Totally something I would love to do but haven't had a friend like that in years and years! My husband and I are the opposites you mention and you're smart. It is probably more fun the other way.

needle in the haley said...

how cute are you with your date night?! adorable. that tortilla looks to die for.