SMALL PLATES: THE ANSWER TO FAMILY EATING

So my husband requested tapas last week (See the post for “Big Plan” – I can’t seem to get the link to work). For those of you who don’t know, tapas is the Spanish term for small plates. It seems that every culture has a version of this – sort of. The Indian version is Thali. Japanese have Bento. Even the American buffet is reminiscient of this theme, although we have gotten away from the idea that it was supposed to be a little bit of many different things. Not a lot of a ton of things! For me, it is a great way to get a variety of things in our diet and have a meal where there is something for everyone. Who doesn’t like having options?! Serve it all up with some nice red wine and life is good.

The Spanish version of “small plates” is my favorite. I love that it typically has a mix of meat, seafood and chacuterie. I love the cheeses, even though they don’t love me and make my eczema flare up. I love the spice. It is some damn good stuff. For my version, I was trying to use what I had in my larder and added only a couple of items to it to round out the menu. I had the crackers and the fruit spreads, so I picked up some good Spanish cheeses. Sadly, I forgot to write down the name of the the softer cheese. My kids love Manchego, so that was a given. I keep quince paste on hand for cheese plates, so I pulled that out of the fridge. I honestly don’t love quince paste, so I pulled out my apricot preserves as well. This rocked! I loved that on cheese. I am very motivated to can WAY more of this next season.

I had some leftover prosciutto from a pizza we made last week and decided to wrap that around the asparagus I bought. Felt like we needed a veggie, but then I wrapped it in meat – LOL! Pretty sure that negated the veggie. I did leave half of it plain, which is always really delicious. I should have bought two bunches as this went quickly and the kids were asking for more.

I also had a dozen or more small potatoes on hand and decided to roast them. I had planned to smash them and then fry them after they were roasted, but at the last minute when I was tossing them with oil decided to add some habanero chile powder and make this a single step cooking process, rather than 3. These were definitely spicy, but very edible.

I had a can of chickpeas in the cupboard. I drained and rinsed them and then added some heirloom tomato that I needed to use up, plus some lime juice (about 1/2 a lime), some chopped cilantro and salt and pepper. I liked this, but I think I may have been the only one.

I bought a pound and a half of cleaned medium prawns. I coated them with paprika, salt and pepper and then did a quick saute in butter in a castiron skillet.

While buying cheese, I also bought some mixed olives. This upscale market I used to live near sells probably a dozen different kinds of olives in bulk and I just took a little scoop of whatever suited my fancy and made my own blend. Couldn’t really tell you what was in it – LOL!

I had made a batch of hardboiled eggs and had thought about doing an egg salad originally, but then tapas night rolled around and I thought deviled eggs would be a better use for them. The Spanish typically add chopped shrimp to theirs, but I knew that wouldn’t fly so mine were made with mayo, mustard, cayenne chile, and chopped green olives, with pimento. I like to have more yolk to work with than whites so that I can stuff them nice and full. This works out well, because my youngest prefers to eat just the whites with a little salt and salsa.

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