A Change in Plans . . . .

For all you ocd  folks (formerly known in Freudian-literate circles as “anal”) reading this blog, this may be deeply disturbing to you, and I apologize ahead of time, but by unanimous consent, and as a result of outright rebellion on the part of my family, I have abandoned my carefully laid plans and jumped south to ESPANA because none of us can face another meal from northern Europe.  At least for the time being.  We will probably venture back to Russia and Germany for a brief sojourn in the near distant future, but I’m not making any promises.

And just like all those northerners who have been traveling south to sunny Spain to get free of those freezing cold winters — not to mention bland food — for hundreds of years, we have found a virtual gustatory paradise.  We may never leave.

(Just a side note: did you know that northern Europeans, aka the British, used to disparagingly call people from southern Europe “garlic eaters” as though that were something to be ashamed of?!!!  I don’t want to get on my soapbox here, but give me a break — a little garlic could have made a serious difference in the potatoes-peas-and roast beef set up there in foggy old England.)

Back to Spain:  Here’s a simple Spanish chicken and wine dish that I’ve been cooking for years called “Pollo a la Barcelona,” from Elena Zelayeta’s out-of-print cookbook, Secrets of Mexican Cooking. ( I know, but her mom lived in Spain and this is her recipe).

  • One frying chicken cut in pieces
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 3 Tbs. non wheat flour (rice 0r. . . )
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup burgundy or claret or other rich red wine
  • 1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. minced onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the chicken in mixture of butter and oil. Remove from pan and set aside.  Add flour to the drippings and blend well.  Pour in the broth and wine and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens.  Add olives, mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper.  Return chicken to sauce, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender, basting occasionally.  Serves 4.

The next two recipes are probably copyright protected but since I’m not making any money off of this blog, and I’m changing the recipes slightly, and because I’m giving this cookbook credit, I’m going to post  them here and hope you check out this incredible cookbook: A Mediterranean Feast, by Clifford A. Wright. (Actually this is more like a cross between a history, a cultural ethnography, and a cookbook — not for light-weights)

The following recipe is incredibly delicious and not very difficult.  It is a specialty of the El Caballo Rojo restaurant in Cordoba.

Salmon Fillets with Orange Sauce from Andalucia

  • 4 Valencia juice oranges
  • 2 medium onions, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Gluten-free flour ( I used a gf baking mix)
  • One 2 1/2 lb. salmon fillet, skin removed if desired, cut into 8 strips
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fish broth
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste

1) Use a zester and remove the outer peel of the oranges. (You can also julienne the orange part of the skin, but it’s more work). Squeeze the oranges and set aside. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.

2) Put the onions and olive oil in a large skillet and over medium heat, cook until yellow, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

3) Lightly flour the salmon strips, tapping off any excess, and cook them with the onions until they turn color, 4-5 minutes, shaking the skillet occasionally.

4) Add the orange juice, sugar, vinegar, and fish broth and cook for 8 minutes over medium heat.  Add the orange peel and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is syrupy and the fish tender, about 12 minutes, shaking once in a while.  Season with salt and pepper and serve. Makes 6 servings for white people, as my husband says, and four for Mexicans. Just joking.

My whole family loved this dish — a whole new way to think about salmon.

The other recipe is a lovely beet and tuna salad for tomorrow — super simple and super delicious.

¡Hasta Mañana!


    About tamisrenteria

    Tamis Renteria, author and anthropologist, writes novels and short stories about people struggling with different religious, spiritual, and cultural traditions. She lives with her husband and youngest son in Tucson, Arizona where she types on a Mac, cooks ethnic food, and gardens among the sahuaros.
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    One Response to A Change in Plans . . . .

    1. Mercedes says:

      It’s your blog so can change the rules. But, you have to maintain some integrity. I’m glad you made the move. And I can’t believe I have “Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking” in paperback. I must’ve picked it up at a used bookstore. On the inside cover it has the former owner’s name and ” …with our compliments for your dining pleasure from your friends at Southern California Savings safe and sound since 1887″ , but somehow gone since 1973, which is when the book was publish. I’m sure giving away all those cookbooks doomed that bank to failure, and Mexican cookbooks no less. I’m going to see “Inside Job” tomorrow with a few girlfriends, that’ll clear things up.
      I cooked both of the recipes, but not with the GF adjustments because we don’t have the requirement here so no sense in stocking up on the special flours here.
      I made the chicken (2 of ’em) for a crowd and they loved it and it was even better the next day. I cooked the salmon but only 1& 3/4 lbs and that was plenty for 2 adults and 2 teenage salmon loving girls. My husband loved it so much that he suggested that I do all the cooking from now on since his cooking is so everyday. Well you know how that conversation ended.
      Google LA Times Food Section and you’ll see an article there this past Thursday on another woman who also blogs about a gluten free diet.
      Your blog is better.
      And this past Tuesday the LA Times ran an article about a guy who lends books from a bookstore in East LA named “Libros Schmibros”
      and he uses the same World Press website you use to blog on as his “website” for his bookstore. The LA Times story was much more insightful than his blog site except for one comment there that did a nice job of describing the Jewish presence historically in East LA. Check out the article online. Actually it’s Boyle Heights.
      BTW, I have a miniature pomegranate tree and I’m sprinkling pomegranate arils on everything right now, and it just dresses everything up so nicely. The chicken dish although full of flavor, it’s overall color was not so inviting and the pomegranates fixed that without intruding too much. They are just ridiculously expensive at the store and as a tree they are humongous, but our “miniature” one is just the right size and we get plenty of fruit from it.
      I’m sure everybody’s happy that you’ve moved onto Spain, but you should still do raclette whenever it gets cold where you are.

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