Sunday, March 14, 2021

Taste of Travel - Spain: The appetizer

Our amazing local librarian received a grant to run Taste of Travel, a little group free to anyone who signed up. Everyone was to receive a special spice or spice blend for each country and a cookbook, Taste The World. You all know how I feel about cooking and books, right? Despite currently taking a six week intensive Charlotte Mason Bootcamp that has 6 days of homework and participating in two different Bible Studies, I couldn't not do participate. Who said life was slower when you can't go anywhere? At least I don't have to milk until Cocoa gives birth in April!

The group meets via Zoom every two weeks and talk about the books, movies and recipes prepared. Two weeks isn't very long to read a book or try lots of recipes but it does keep me stay on task! Researcher that I am, I promptly requested at least three different cookbooks from the library, along with numerous memoirs (primarily about the Camino de Santiago), and The Way DVD.

I started four books and am hoping to finish at least one by this Wednesday when the group meets: It's Not About the TapasHomage to CataloniaOrdinary Magic (audio via Scribd) and The Pilgrimage. I am most of the way through It's Not About the Tapas, although not necessarily because it is the best. I am looking forward to finishing all of them because on Thursday I will need to move on to Japan.

After starting the books, the movie came in and (if you know me at all), you know I couldn't wait. Hoping it would have beautiful panoramic scenes, watching it on the laptop made me cringe. Thankfully, I am blessed to have friends who don't mind me inviting myself over. And oh, am I so glad that large flat screens exist even if we don't own one. The only drawback is I realized that I might be getting old and sentimental. Feel free to reassure me that I am not the only who laughed and cried many times during The Way. The end left me feeling grateful, contemplative and deep wanderlust. It is not a movie I will probably watch again and yet I know that it is the kind of movie that will stay with me for a long time.

After watching one of the characters try many different foods and countless glasses of wine, I was ready to start cooking. I decided to use Sunday as our feast day so the night before, Little E and I made made our steak marinade and Spanish Toasted Almonds from The Latin Road Home by Jose Garces


He melted the 4 TB of butter in a our skillet until it stopped bubbling (this apparently removes any water from the butter. Who knew?) before tossing his 2 cups of raw, unpasteurized Spanish almonds in. 

Little E stirred the almonds until they made the kitchen smell amazing and the butter turned brown. Then together we dumped the almonds onto a lined baking sheet (paper towels or a cloth) and sprinkled with salt. 

It was hard but we let them mostly cool before demolishing them. Thankfully, I have been spending extra time when our Misfit Market produce box and cutting up the veggies all at once allowing me to be able to throw together a quick meal of toasted almonds, fruit and veggies with homemade soft cheese. The only thing missing was fresh crusty bread with balsamic vinegar to dip in, although that might be too French.

Next time, I think we will try them sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning. Supposedly the almonds will last for a while at room temperature. I doubt we will try it as they taste awfully good fresh. Or the following morning with my morning coffee. The rising sun, a cup in my hands, Spanish almonds and a few minutes dreaming of the Camino was a pretty good way to start the day.

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