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Category Archives: spanish/tapas

Cantaloupe & Arugula Salad with Spanish Jamon & Cheese

Per each salad layer the following on a serving plate:

5 bite size pieces of cantaloupe

A small handful of arugula that has been tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 or 2 small thin slices of Spanish jamon

1 or 2 thin slices, shaved with a vegetable peeler, of Spanish cheese such as Cabra de Murcia

Drizzle with ½ teaspoon honey (you can also mix the honey with equal parts olive oil)

Sprinkle entire salad with ground black pepper

Nutrition Notes: Arugula is one of the dark green leafy vegetables very rich in many antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe is an orange colored food also rich in these nutrients. The more color, the more the nutrients! The jamon and cheese is high in salt, but the quantity used is very small. No other salt is added here. Jamon is a dry cured ham, similar to proscuitto. This is a small portion that can be used as a tapas. Increase as desirserving size ed for a side salad or entree.

Variantes: Spicy Marinated Olives with Pickled Vegetables and Garlic

This bar-top snack is commonly served in Barcelona with a midday apertif. It is very high in sodium, so balance this with other low salt foods through the day.

12 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1/3 pound carrots, peeled & cut in bite size pieces (may use beets, green beans or other firm colorful vegetable)

24  mixed olives

12 cocktail onions in vinegar, drained

12 baby gherkins, drained

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of hot chile powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Generous teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

2 stalks of fresh thyme about 3 inches in length

  • Bring a small saucepan 3/4 filled with water to a boil. Add the garlic and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Add the carrot and boil 2 minutes; Drain.
  • Place carrot and garlic in a bowl of cold water; Drain.
  • Place in another bowl of cold water; Drain again. Peel garlic.
  • Transfer carrot and garlic to a medium bowl
  • Add olives, onions, and gherkins and mix well.
  • Add olive oil, vinegar, chile powder, paprika and thyme.
  • Stir gently and evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Mix once or twice.
  • Serve in a small glass bowl with toothpicks.

Pan con Tomate or Pa amb Tomaquet or Tomato Rubbed Bread

This Catalan dish has Mediterranean links to Italian bruschetta. Pan con Tomate lies close to the heart of the Catalan way of life. They have a passion for this simple food which is unrivaled. It is often the first thing brought to the table and is a classic served with ham, cheeses and pickles or with barbecued foods.  Famous Catalan chefs have made their own versions from Carles Gaig’s fresh tomato pulp in a cone of crispy bread to Ferran Adria’s tomato ice cream with a wafer-thin bubble of pastry. I served this with a toothpick of serrano jamon, manchego cheese & a grape tomato!

1/2 lb. ciabatta or coarse country white bread, preferably sourdough

4 cloves garlic, halved, optional

4 small ripe tomatoes, about 1/3 lb

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Salt, optional or used flaked sea salt

  • Preheat grill or broiler to high
  • Slice the bread on an angle about 1/2 inch thick or less
  • Grill or broil the bread on a baking sheet on both sides until light golden brown
  • While warm, rub one side of the bread with the garlic, if using.
  • Cut each tomato in half. Rub the cut sides of the tomato on top of the toasts until only the skins are left. Discard skins.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.
  • Pile the toasts on a serving platter and serve

Nutrition Note: Tomato contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene which helps prevent gastrointestinal cancers. When finishing, use flaked sea salt because you can visualize & limit it more easily.

Easy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or with a stick emersion blender in a medium bowl. Process until smooth. Serve warm as a sauce over pasta or quinoa and cold as a condiment as you would use ketchup. Quinoa is a seed which is similar to couscous. Cook as you would rice. Rinse well before cooking to remove any bitter taste. It is pronounced Keen-wah and originates in South America.  Yield: 2 cups

1 -12 oz jar or 1 1/2 cups bottled roasted & peeled red peppers, drained (packed without oil)

1/2 cup tomato juice

1 Tablespoon aged thick and flavorful balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic

Nutrition Notes: Red peppers and tomatoes are rich in the antioxidants Vitamins C and A, other carotenoids and other antioxidants which help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals which attack healthy cells. Weakened cells are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Quinoa is rich in fiber and gluten free.


Curry Dip

A recipe from Strongbow’s Turkey Inn, where I worked in the buffet and catering kitchen during my college years at Valparaiso University. This veggie dip has a beautiful brilliant yellow color! Thank you Chuggie!

2 cups mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice or lemosa from the bar

Whisk together and serve with fresh veggies! You can substitute light mayonnaise and Greek style yogurt for the mayo and sour cream. I prefer a 50:50 ratio. I also like the Madras style curry powder.

Goat Cheese with Lemon and Rosemary

This is an appetizer I have made 50 times and everyone always loves it! You can think of it as a contemporary type of cheeseball! Serve it with a salad and you have lunch!  Thank you to Deb Kammer for the inspiration!

Combine olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add the chopped rosemary and pepper to the marinade or sprinkle them over the cheese and marinade at the very last

Place the goat cheese on a platter with a little asked edge

Pour the marinade over the goat cheese 

Dip your crusty bread into the marinade and then spread some goat cheese on!

  • On a round glass platter about 11 inches across place:

1-3 ounce  log of goat cheese

  • In a small bowl combine:

 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil 

1 teaspoon Kosher salt or sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper or more

 1/4 cup fresh chopped rosemary (try to use the tender new growth). Alternatively, you can add the rosemary after the marinade is poured on the cheese

  • Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper or rosemary to taste.
  • Pour over the cheese
  • Voila! Perfecto!
  • Decorate the platter with lemon slices and a large stem of rosemary if you like. 
  • Serve with

Sliced French bread or a whole grain crusty bread


Have your guests dip one side of the bread in the marinade and then spread on the goat cheese with a small knife. You can easily double the recipe using the same size platter. To make it easier for your guests, dip and spread the cheese for them and place the bruschetta on a platter for them to enjoy!

Lemon and Fennel Marinated Lamb

I found this recipe in Food and Wine magazine. We ( Dave)  marinated it in a large Ziploc bag and then grilled it on a Weber style charcoal grill.  For the ground fennel we used an old coffee grinder to grind up dried fennel seeds. And yes, use the entire lemon ground up in a food processor for the marinade.

I also used the Creamy Polenta recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated which you can find in my website.