Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tapas....... Vegetarian Tapas Recipes

A friend of mine has inspired me to do some research on Tapas. Thank you Angela for inspiring me to do this story!

Tapas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtapas]) are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot (such as chopitos, which are batteredfried baby squids). In select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In Spain, patrons of tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal. In some Central American countries, such snacks are known asbocas. In Mexico, similar dishes are called "botanas."

The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them.[citation needed] Also, in some countries it is customary for diners to stand and move about while eating tapas.[citation needed]

The word "tapas" is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, "to cover".
According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry (see below for more explanations). The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales.[1] The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.
Tapas have evolved through Spanish history by incorporating ingredients and influences from many different cultures and countries. Most of the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Romans, who introduced the olive[citation needed] and irrigation methods. The invasion of the North African Moors in the 8th century brought almonds, citrus fruits and fragrant spices. The influence of their 700-year presence remains today, especially in Andalusia. The discovery of the New World brought the introduction of tomatoessweet and chili peppers,maize (corn) and potatoes. These were readily accepted and easily grown in Spain's microclimates.
There are many tapas competitions throughout Spain. There is only one National Tapas competition,[2] which is celebrated every year in November. Since 2008, the City of Valladolid and the International School of Culinary Arts[3] have celebrated the International Tapas Competition for Culinary Schools.[4] Various schools from around the world come to Spain annually to compete for the best tapa concept.

Goat Cheese Lavender Honey and Hazelnuts on Toasted Baguette Slices:
The amount of ingredients is based on the number of servings.

Here's what you'll need:
Goat Cheese (break it up with a spoon)
Lavender Honey
Hazelnuts (roughly chopped)
Green Onions (sliced into small strips)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Here's how to prepare it:
Brush both sides of Baguette slices with some Olive Oil and grill them in a skillet until both sides are golden brown, remove and set aside.

In a bowl:
Goat Cheese
Drizzle with some Olive Oil
Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste
Roughly mix this together.

Place individual servings on a slice of toasted baguette and drizzle with honey to serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Goat Cheese with Paprika, Garlic, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Capers:

4 - 5 cloves of Garlic. Roasted un peeled on a sheet pan drizzled with Olive Oil at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, cool completely.
2 TBS Olive Oil
4 - 6oz. of Goat Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 C Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil
2 - 3 TBS of Capers, drained
Baguette Slices

In a small bowl:
Goat Cheese
Mix well

Squeeze Roasted Garlic into the Cheese.
Add 1 TBS of Olive Oil and mix well.
Spread mixture onto Bread Slices.
Top with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Capers.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Black Olive and Fig Tapenade:
This is another recipe from Provence.

1C (5oz.) finely chopped Dried Black Mission Figs
3/4 C (5oz.) Pitted Cured Black Olives
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C Capers, rinsed and drained
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a Food Processor and pulse to combine well.
Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate at least 1 week before serving.
Serving ideas:

On slices of toasted Baguette
On a variety of Crackers
On Deviled Eggs
In a Gruyere Cheese Omelette
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
On Celery with Cream Cheese
In Pasta Salad
On Potato Pancakes

Peace in the Kitchen!

Herbed Olives:

1/4 C Olive Oil
Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
2 TBS Herbes de Provence
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced. At least 1 TBS
2 C Brine Cured Black and Green Olives

In a large covered bowl, whisk together:
Lemon Juice and Zest
Herbes de Provence
Add Olives
Toss to coat well.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Stirring occasionally.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Here's another great Olive recipe. We first had Dry Cured Black Olives in Provence while staying with friends. We spend most of our vacations in France. Our friends serve and afternoon Tapas snack around 4pm. We typically have Cheese, Pastis , Black Olives, Sausage and Bread. It sounds like a lot, but we just snack on it. Here's a Best of the Best Recipe:

Dry Cured Black Olives with Rosemary and Orange:
I believe that this adaptation comes from Saveur Magazine.

1 Orange
1 pound of Cured Black Olives
Roughly Chopped Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Use a vegetable peeler to zest the orange, roughly chop it.
Transfer to a medium bowl.
Juice the orange and add it to the bowl along with the olives, rosemary and black pepper.

Let it rest to marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Spiced Almonds:

4 tsp Olive Oil
1 1/4 Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2 C Whole Blanched Almonds
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a saucepan, heat oil on low heat.
Stir for 1 minute.

Remove from heat when mixture begins to bubble.
Transfer to a bowl and add the Almonds.
Bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.
Transfer the sheep pan to a wire rack and cool completely for at least 2 hours.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Cheese Tortellini with Spicy Dressing:

1 (9oz.) package of refrigerated Cheese Filled Tortellini.
1 (16oz.) bottle of Peppercorn Ranch Dressing. Or, 1 (16oz.) bottle of Ranch Dressing with 1/2 tsp of Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

2 Large Eggs
2 C Fine Breadcrumbs
3/4 C Chunky Salsa (your choice)
1/4 C fresh chopped Cilantro
2 C Grape Seed Oil for Deep Frying

Cook Tortellini according to package directions, drain and set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk:
1 C of Dressing
Mix well
Add Tortellini, toss to coat well and let stand for 10 minutes.
Drain and Dredge in the Breadcrumbs.
Place on a sheet pan and chill for 1 hour.

In a small bowl:
Remaining Dressing
Mix well.

Place oil in a Dutch Oven on the stove and heat to 375 degrees.
Deep Fry the Tortellini in batches until golden brown.
Drain on Paper Towels.

Serve with the Dip.
They can be made ahead of time and warmed in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes:

Here's what you'll need:
Buy a prepared Provencal or Spanish Olive Tapenade
Cherry Tomatoes

Slice off the tops of the Tomatoes.
Carefully scoop out the seeds and juice.
Spoon the Tapenade into the Tomatoes.
Transfer to a Serving Platter.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip:

I've been looking for a good Roasted Red Pepper Dip.
I haven't had much success finding something that impresses me.
I decided to create my own, based on several that I researched.

Here's my recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Dip:

3 medium eggplants, cut in half long ways
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 TBS olive oil, divided
1 C Roasted Red Peppers, (you can purchase them in a jar)
1 TBS chopped fresh oregano
2 TBS lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Arrange the eggplant, cut side up on a baking sheet pan
Make slits in the eggplant and insert pieces of garlic
Drizzle the eggplant with 2 TBS of olive oil
sprinkle with salt
Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour

Remove the eggplant from the oven , cool completely, scoop out the interior and add to a food processor.
red pepper
1 TBS olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Puree until smooth.

Serve with pita chips, toasted baguette slices...... etc!

Peace in the Kitchen!

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