Recipes Tapas Party in a Jar

One of the great things about serving tapas is that it’s just good, simple food. Score a cheap rioja and a Spanish cheese, slice a sausage, make a nice salad and open a bunch of jars. In Spain, they actually put tasty things in jars. I have a favorite Spanish salad recipe that’s made up of bacalao , oranges, tomatoes and green olives. This might sound strange if you’re not accustomed to sweet and savory salads, but this kind of flavor combination is very ordinary in the Mediterranean.

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Quick Bites: Barcelona

A friend of mine recently journeyed to Barcelona. Having loved the place so much when I went, I was somehow certain she would encounter wonders on every corner. Sadly, she returned with an appreciation for the architecture and the climate, but little love for the food. Though aghast, I blame myself. I didn’t offer up any advice at all on the favorite spots I’d visited… and it’s so easy to go astray when a traveler doesn’t know the territory.

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Barcelona, the Land of Luscious

I believe that in my personal vocabulary, I will make “Barcelona” synonymous with succulent fresh fruit. I’ve just finished my week there, and have been consistently agog with the flavor power in the ubiquitous glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice, the sweet perfume floating up off the flats of strawberries in the Market de Boqueria and the luscious tropical gush in the local peaches. The oranges, of course, are well-known here. Valencia, just down the road, lends its name and reputation to them.

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Film v. Digital… the tradeoff for convenience

I take a lot of photos, and as anyone who eats with me can attest, 80 percent of those photos are food shots done with my stealthy little Canon PowerShot SD400 Digital Elph. I love it because it’s about as small and heavy as a deck of cards, which makes it fantastic for quick little things like this: Lunch at Iposa in Barcelona. (BTW: The salmon was fair, the pork was very nice and the lunch menu price was simply super: 6 EU for an entrée, beverage and coffee.

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The Barcelona Mystery Green

Anybody know this vegetable? It’s crisp, watery, slightly salty and covered in a bumpy, translucent skin that looks like perma-dew. We discovered it first in our fresh mesclun mix from the big Barcelona Boqueria. Later, we found a vendor who sold them alongside sea beans and arugula. She said it was a local Spanish plant with a very long name. It’s tasty and fascinating, but we haven’t used it in anything other than fresh salads.

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May, and the crisper goes mad with spring fever

J left on Sunday for sunny Spain, and it’s been cold and gray here in New York ever since. (Check the weather reports and you’ll see this statement is not simply the skewed view of a pining girlfriend.) While I labor in the industrial zone in Queens, he sends me notes that go like this: I made a picture of today’s picnic lunch for you, but my internet connection isn’t good enough to upload it.

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Witches' Brew: Salvation in a Teacup

MC — while poking around the Catalan witchcraft files at Wikipedia — uncovered this luscious recipe for deliverance: On the peak of Pedraforca, witches were said to gather and to sing: Alfàbrega i valeriana, menta i ruda salven tota criatura Ruda i valeriana menta i alfàbrega, tot ho cura i tot ho salva. Menta i alfàbrega, ruda i valeriana salven tota persona nada. Ruda i Valeriana, alfàbrega i sàlvia

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Gazpacho redemption
Recipes Gazpacho redemption

Sadly, one of my favorite local joints recently charged me $6 for the pleasure of a cup of really poorly made gazpacho… gazpacho with far too much raw onion and nearly no spice or salt. The worst part was, it just tasted so flat and lifeless. It needed a shot of acid. It came with a little sprinkle of chives, but no cracker, no toast tip. Alas! I knew I would have been better off making it myself.

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Horchata = Cold Comfort
Recipes Horchata = Cold Comfort

The cool, damp spring screeches to a sudden halt with a day so muggy it’s like walking around in someone’s mouth. And of course the air conditioner is out of service. Under these circumstances, I can’t think, I can’t focus and I feel so sweaty and gritty I want to peel my skin off. But a cool, sweet liquid hovers in my mind with a shimmering promise of sweet refreshment. Ahh, Horchata.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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