Tag Archives: Spanish

Homemade Tamales with Black Beans and Spanish Rice


For the best tamales, you should use your abuela’s recipe.  In my case, not having an abuela of my own, I borrowed the recipe from Stephanie’s abuela — Marie E. Salazar.

At first, I thought that making tamales would be difficult and agonized over the proper ingredients and procedure. I wondered whether the effort would pay off and whether the tamales would taste like those tamales we once had from a street vendor in Santa Fe. And most of all, I wondered whether I had the energy to embark on a two-day adventure of stewing, cooking, folding, and steaming, all by myself.

In her write-up, Continue reading



There is, apparently, a right way and a wrong way to eat dessert.

When I lived in France, one of my favorite things to get at the Franprix was the flan four-pack.  After a hot afternoon, jammed in a metro, one small satisfaction was getting home, pulling back the plastic top, and sinking my spoon into the cool caramel center.  Whatever fleeting frustrations I had, melted away.  You had to love a country whose grocery stores carried a fifty-cent flan.

Week after week, I enjoyed my flan.  Break off a container, pull back the top, sink the spoon in, and enjoy.  I might get lost in certain arrondissements.  I might not understand the jokes in the movies.  I might get frustrated with certain french customs.  But I knew my flan.  Or so I thought.

One night, I was at a small party, when Continue reading

Pumpkin Flan

After making a plain flan, I decided to try a seasonal adaptation.  The pumpkin layers a little bit, but otherwise, this pumpkin flan Continue reading

Ajo Blanco – White Gazpacho

White Gazpacho

Gazpacho requires a descriptor.  As I’ve noted previously, asking for plain, old “gazpacho” just won’t cut it.

There can be tomato gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, or mango gazpacho, the cold soup characterized by its underlying fruit.  But there can also be green gazpacho and white gazpacho, the latter often referred to as ajo blanco.  Ajo blanco is made from ground almonds, combined with what makes gazpacho, gazpacho: bread, garlic, and vinegar.  Once prepared, ajo blanco is traditionally served with green grapes.

White Gazpacho

While ajo blanco remains incredibly popular in southern Spain, its tangy flavor may Continue reading

Tomato Gazpacho

Tomato Gazpacho

Tomato gazpacho is not redundant.

Gazpacho got its start in Andalusia, the southern-most province of Spain, sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries – long before the tomato arrived on European soil.  Owing to its origins and its meaning – gazpacho comes from an Arabic word meaning “soaked bread” – some food historians believe the Moors brought the dish to Spain as a sophisticated field ration.

Tomato Gazpacho

Other food historians trace the dish to the early Romans, who soaked their stale bread Continue reading

Almond Butter, Banana, and Membrillo Sandwich


The PB&J Sandwich needs no introduction.  Its ingredients and structure are tried and true.  Add slices of banana, and the PBB&J Sandwich might merit a fleeting handshake.  But the ABB&M Sandwich is all but unknown – a foreign dignitary of sorts, whose presence deserves a formal introduction.

Membrillo is Spanish for quince, a lumpy, yellow-green fruit that resembles a cross between an apple and a pear.  The quince, born in the Caucasus, dates back to man’s earliest conquests and temptations.  The quince started the Trojan War, after Paris awarded the fruit to Aphrodite for the hand of Helen of Troy.  The quince is also said to be the apple that tempted Adam and Eve. Which may have been somewhat disappointing for Eve, since the quince is a hard and bitter fruit.  Only a few varieties can be eaten raw.

ABBM Sandwich

In its modern form, membrillo usually refers to Continue reading