One of the first courses we had at the One Star Michelin Restaurant, Alejandro, just outside of Almeria (in the quiet town of Roquetas de Mar) was a wonderful Gazpacho Sorbet. During our Paella Lesson in Madrid, we discovered that Gazpacho is a staple in most Spanish households. They make a few batches each week, drinking a cup-full when peckish or feeling down. It makes total sense, as it’s packed with raw vegetables and full of vitamins. I, too, have begun to keep a litre or so in the fridge, particularly now, with the seasons changing, and it’s so easy to catch a cold.
This is the original Gazpacho Sorbet at Alejandro’s in Spain. I didn’t care for the odd presentation in the glass so mine was more freestyle. It was garnished with a candied lemon slice.
You may use any old Gazpacho recipe, I used the one we made during our Paella Cooking Lesson at Cooking Point
. The main difference is that the Spaniards add a slice of bread (for body) and a significant amount of olive oil to balance the acidity. The New York Times published a beautiful description of a good Gazpacho (see original article here
), “The texture is always smooth and light, with a mouth feel similar to that of whole milk. It is not the watered-down salsa or grainy sludge often served in the United States under the name of gazpacho, but an emulsion of fat (olive oil) in liquid (vegetable juice and vinegar) that is light and fluffy on the tongue and a fantastic conductor of flavor, just like vinaigrette or hollandaise.”
The recipe below is perfectly balanced, I wouldn’t change a thing. There is just a hint of onion and garlic, you don’t want this to be too oniony or garlicky. And while I would normally shudder at the volume of olive oil in this recipe, you really need it to balance out the acidity and it adds that silky mouthfeel Eric Asimov of the New York Times described above. Turning it into Sorbet is a surprising, yet satisfying dish. Definitely bookmark for the warmer weather.
Authentic Spanish Gazpacho
- 500 g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 50 g green pepper (about 1/2 an ordinary sized pepper)
- 40 g cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped (English is fine)
- 30 g onion, roughly chopped
- 20 g bread, crust removed
- 1/2 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 15 mL sherry or red wine vinegar
- 5 mL cumin
- salt, to taste
- 60 mL EVOO
- Add all of the ingredients but the Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a blender or a large measuring cup. Blend or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
- Pass the liquid through a fine sieve. Return the liquid to the blender or large measuring cup and blend in the Olive Oil in a slow, steady stream to emulsify. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Pour the soup into the bowl of your chilled ice cream maker and turn it on until it has thickened and frozen like sorbet. Serve immediately or store in an airtight freezer container in the freezer for no more than one hour, it will freeze solid.
- Garnish with herbs, or finely chopped vegetables. Alejandro served it with a slice of candied lemon.
Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Recipes, Spanish Food, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged Appetizer, Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, delicious, healthy, Michelin Star, onion, restaurant food, Soup, Spanish, tangy, tasty, tomato, Vegetarian | 6 Comments »
During our Epic European Vacation this past September, JT booked us into a One Star Michelin Restaurant, Alejandro, just outside of Almeria in the quiet town of Roquetas de Mar. We decided to do lunch because it was a little far to drive for dinner and we were already in Almeria, dropping off our dear friends Paul and T at the airport. Plus, lunch is more reasonable and probably less crowded. As it turned out, we were the only ones in the small restaurant for the majority of our meal, the entire kitchen team (I saw three chefs) and front of the house (two people) focussed on serving us, talk about service! The luncheon degustation tasting menu (nine courses) was only 50 Euros each, including a 10% tip (10% is the norm)! There were a few outstanding courses that I will attempt to recreate, tipping my hat to my new friend, David Crichton of Fine Dining at Home who consistently creates restaurant-quality meals in his humble home kitchen. Dave, I think you’d like this.
I won’t do a full review of the restaurant because they did not speak English, although, they had one English menu that they pointed to as they explained the dish in Spanish. #lostintranslation I should have used google translate! Notwithstanding, it was an exceptional meal and for the price, I would definitely recommend a visit if you are in or near Almeria (it’s only about a 30 minute drive from Almeria).
I won’t lie, this recipe is not quick, nor is it an easy recipe but if you make the mousse in advance, the rest comes together rather quickly. The mousse freezes well so I can see freezing 60 mL or 1/4 cup portions for future dinner parties.
The first layer, obscured by mushroom crumbs, is a mushroom mousse. The mushroom crumb is made from mushroom powder with toasted panko, seaweed and sea salt; it provides textural balance to the ultra-creamy mousse. The whole wild mushrooms are coated with Mycryo® and roasted in a super hot oven to coax out their subtle sweetness and temper their earthiness (the mushroom mousse and crumb brings all the earthiness needed for this dish). I used a variety of wild and cultivated mushrooms, sadly, not nearly as interesting as the dish below, but equally as tasty. I’m excited to make this dish for our next dinner guests!
The original dish: Roasted wild mushrooms, sitting a top of mushroom crumbs which was covering a smooth as silk mushroom mousse. An incredible combination of flavours and textures. Fortunately for photography, the restaurant was brightly lit.
Roasted Wild Mushrooms on Mushroom and Chestnut Mousse with Mushroom Crumbs
A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe inspired by the One Star Michelin Chefs at Alejandro, Spain.
Makes 6 appetizer servings
Ingredients for the mushroom mousse:
Makes about 300 mL (1.25 cups) Mousse
- 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 50 g shallots, roughly chopped
- 35 g garlic
- 60 mL (1/4 cup) EVOO
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) Mycryo®
- 200 g mix of wild mushrooms,roughly chopped
- 100 g peeled, roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) mushroom stock
- Remove outer layer of garlic skins but leave the inner layer intact. Place garlic bulb into a heatproof ramekin and cover partially with olive oil. Roast in a 175° C (350° F) oven until soft. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a dutch oven, add shallots and cook until caramelized.
- Dust the mushrooms in Mycryo® and add to shallots, stir and add the roasted chestnuts. Cook mushrooms and chestnuts until they are well seared and very soft, add roasted garlic.
- Purée with an immersion blender with the mushroom stock (adding a little at a time until desired consistency for mousse is achieved). Press the mousse through a fine sieve. Set aside and keep warm until plating.
This is the mushroom mousse, so smooth and creamy.
Ingredients for the roasted mushrooms:
- 240 g wild mushrooms, mixed (choose smaller ones for the presentation)
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 ° C (425° F). Coat the clean and dry mushrooms with Mycryo®. Spread in a large cast iron frying pan, leaving plenty of space around each mushroom (do not crowd, you don’t want them to steam, you want them to roast).
- Place cast iron pan in the hot oven. Turn mushrooms often for about 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms have browned and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm until plating.
Ingredients for the mushroom crumbs:
- 60 g (1/2 cups) panko
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 15 g (1/4 cup) mushroom powder
- 10 g Seaweed Bouchées (like this), crumbled
- sea salt
- Pinch of smoked paprika
- Melt butter in a frying pan, add panko and toast until golden. Remove from heat, add the mushroom powder, salt, smoked paprika and seaweed bouchées, stir well. Spinkle onto a clean piece of parchment and cool.
This is the mushroom crumb, an earthy flavour with a good crunch.
- On warms plates, smear about 50 mL (1/4 cup) of the warm mushroom mousse. Sprinkle with the mushroom crumbs covering the mousse entirely and top with a variety of roasted mushrooms.
The finished dish. It was met with a lot of mmmmmm.
- To make mushroom powder, take a variety of dried mushrooms, pulse in a coffee grinder dedicated to spices until it is a fine powder. Press through a fine sieve to catch any sand bits. Reserve in a clean jar for future use.
- To make mushroom stock, take xx g (1/4 cup) of a variety of dried mushrooms and place in a microwave-safe container and cover with water. Microwave on high until mushrooms have reconstituted. Pour mushroom liquid through a fine gold coffee filter to capture all the sandy bits. Reserve 125 mL or 1/2 cup and freeze the rest for some other recipes (great in mushroom risotto).
- This recipe is my impression of what we had in Spain. JT said it was pretty good according to memory.
Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Gluten Free, Kitcheninspirations Original Recipe, Recipes, Spanish Food, Vegetable Sides, Vegetarian | Tagged Appetizer, Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, delicious, hors d'oeuvres, Michelin Star, restaurant food, Spain, Spanish, tasty, Vegetarian | 19 Comments »
With the holidays fast approaching, I thought I would post a few favourites. I created a “king mushroom ‘scallop'” recipe last year (here) but the pic was awful and I wanted to try the recipe again using Mycryo®, the powdered cocoa butter that sears and seals in flavour. The mushroom ‘scallops’ seared beautifully, just like a real scallop and as I mentioned before, they have an uncanny textural resemblance to real scallops, without the price tag!
Scallops, these days, are outrageously priced and I don’t know why. Costco has a bag of extra large frozen scallops that used to go for about $17 but over the years have snuck up to almost $30 which works out to just less than $3 each! Even though this recipe uses a vegetarian mushroom, you won’t miss real scallops. These tasty little morsels are sitting on a pillow of creamy avocado paste and then drizzled with caramelized shallots, deglazed with a hint of champagne vinegar. The flavours are sophisticated and the presentation is easily eaten by hand, good enough for any upcoming cocktail party, or before a dinner party and they are vegetarian. If you can’t get your hands on Mycryo®, use ghee, or if you wish to make them vegan, use a good quality oil with a high smoke point.
King Oyster Mushroom “Scallops” on Crostini
A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe
Makes 5-6 pieces
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 60 mL (1/4 cup) champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar works too)
- 2 relatively thick stemmed King Oyster Mushrooms, cut into 2 cm (0.5 inch) thickness (tops removed and reserved for another recipe)
- 2 tbsp Mycryo®
- 2 tbsp avocado paste (recipe here) or pesto
- 5-6 crostini
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the shallots and cook until caramelized. Deglaze pan with the champagne vinegar. Scrape into a small bowl and set aside.
- Coat the king oyster mushroom slices generously with Mycryo®. Heat the same frying pan until very hot, add the mushroom ‘scallops’ and sear each side until golden and heated through. Remove from heat.
- Return the caramelized shallots with vinegar to the pan with the seared mushrooms and coat mushrooms well.
- Prepare each crostini with a good smear of avocado paste or pesto, add one mushroom ‘scallop’ to each toast and spoon caramelized shallots with deglazing sauce over the crostini. Garnish with tiny basil leaves. Serve warm.
- White wine vinegar is a good substitute for champagne vinegar.
- Fry a little pancetta before melting the butter for added flavour (not vegetarian).
- Substitute real scallops for the mushrooms (not vegan).
- Try to get King Oyster mushrooms that are about the same thickness as a good-sized scallop.
Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Kitcheninspirations Original Recipe, Mycryo®, Recipes, Snacks, Tapas, Vegetarian | Tagged Appetizer, Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, delicious, hors d'oeuvres, Vegetarian | 23 Comments »
On a recent trip to Europe, our dear friends Paul and T met us in Almeria to spend a few days together at my cousin Lucy’s flat in San José, Spain.
We stayed one night in Almeria because the flat was already booked. We stumbled upon Joseba Anorga Taberna quite by accident and had one of our most memorable meals in Spain (not counting the one star Michelin, but that’s another story). The Tapas were excellent and beautifully presented. It was a ridiculously hot and humid evening in Almeria so we didn’t want a heavy meal to weigh us down so sharing tapas was the perfect solution.
Joseba Anorga Taberna is a contemporary restaurant rated as one of the top ten in Almeria, what luck we had finding it! These are just a few of the tapas we enjoyed our first night in Spain. Buen Apetito.
Just before we left for Europe, I found the last of the Ontario strawberries at my local grocer and they weren’t even overpriced! I bought a few pints and decided to make strawberry jam out of them to enjoy over the winter. I used a pectin-free recipe using a 3:1 ratio, three parts fruit to one part sugar. The jelling will take longer than a full-sugar version but it’s worth it. It’s not a sickly sweet jam, which is just fine by me!
The jam is rich with strawberry flavour, just like Mom’s!
Yield: 500 mL or 2 cups
- 936 g strawberries, washed and hulled
- 309 g sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, about 1 good size lemon
- zest of 1 lemon
- Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your 10-cup food processor. Plus until desired consistency is achieved (see notes).
- Pour content into a non-reactive, heavy bottom pan (I used my Le Creuset). Slowly heat until the sugar is dissolved and bring very slowly to a boil. Remove foam as it appears (see notes).
- Boil until the jam reaches 105° C (220° F) and has thickened up and reached the jellied stage (test a small amount on an ice cold plate and if you can wrinkle the jam, it’s done!)
We like this jam a lot.
- I reduced the sugar according to this website (see last paragraph). To get to the jelly stage will take a little longer than the full sugar version, but it’s worth it.
- I do not have a potato masher, instead of pulsing you may mash the berries with said masher, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Apparently, foam contains a lot more air than the actual jam so leaving it may reduce the shelf-life of your jam (source here).
Posted in Breakfast/Brunch, Condiments, Gluten Free, Jam, Recipes, Vegetarian | Tagged Berries, Breakfast, comfort food, delicious, fall, Gluten Free, low sugar, Ontario, Produce, Sauce, Vegetarian | 23 Comments »
Recently, JT and I spent three wonderful weeks touring through London, Almeria, San José, Granada, Sevilla, Madrid and finally Paris. It was awesome. I will recount some wonderful meals and memories in future posts but I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe to make pomegranate syrup because my dear friend Sissi (With A Glass) recently posted a beautiful salad which included pomegranate seeds and the dressing was created with pomegranate molasses, a slightly sweet and sour syrup.
Sissi’s post went live around the time we had just spent the day in Granada, a large, historical city in the south of Spain. We did a wonderful walking tour of the city with Panchotours with Registered Tour Guide, Veronica and at one point she mentioned that the word Granada in Spanish means pomegranate! What a coincidence! The name is appropriate because the streets are lined with gorgeous pomegranate trees. Yes, you could just reach up and grab a fresh pomegranate, how cool is that? Sadly, they were not quite ripe enough, otherwise, you know I would have!
Our lovely tour guide, Veronica.
Several weeks prior to our departure, we purchased something and for some unknown reason were given a 473 mL bottle of Pom Pomegranate Cherry Juice
for free. We don’t normally drink juice as it is far better to eat your fruit than drink it so it sat in the refrigerator until now! Making the syrup is so easy, I won’t even list it as a recipe
. Simply pour the entire content of the bottle into a non-reactive pan and boil it on medium-high for about 30 -40 minutes or until it reduces to about 100 mL. I didn’t want an overly thick syrup (the viscosity is about the same as maple syrup) so you could boil it down even more — but be very careful, after a very short time, it can burn very easily! Allow to cool and pour into a sterilized bottle. Store in a cool, dark location.
It’s a thick, sweet and slightly sour syrup. that is delicious on chunks of Parmesan.
The view of the Alhambra.
Panoramic View of Granada.
Posted in Condiments, Europe 2016, Gluten Free, Kitcheninspirations Original Recipe, Sauces, Vacation Photos, Vegan | Tagged Appetizer, delicious, Gluten Free, low fat, molasses, pomegranate, syrup, Vegetarian | 15 Comments »