One of the key characteristics of a modern gentlemen is knowing how to please your lady in the kitchen. Yes I am talking oral pleasure but not about the kind you are currently imagining... Now get your mind out of the gutter and focus. What we are discussing right now is the ability to cook like a champ using cost effective, healthy, and locally sourced ingredients. So sit back, take notes, and get prepared to become a top chef in your personal kitchen!
Spain has produced a number or world renowned male chefs such as José Ramón Andrés Puerta and Ferran Adrià. You should admire these gentlemen as both are recognized for their ground breaking, creative, and innovative recreations of Spanish cuisine. Spanish gastronomy is very rich and complex but one of the simpler staples of Spanish cooking are Tapas. Tapas are essentially small appetizers or snacks which are eaten typically before a main course or consumed in mass for a meal.
The creativity and far reaching variety of Tapas has launched these tasty dishes onto the world map of gastronomic fame. Tapas can be served either hot or cold and vary from vegan all the way to pure meat based dishes. Furthermore, this flexibility makes Tapas a pleasure to serve at any group function, local gathering, or even a romantic in-home dinner date. So without further delay here are 5 tasty, fresh, and simple recipes for Tapas you can easily prepare in your kitchen:
1/4 ciabatta (about 150 g)
1 tbsp. garlic oil
1 red delicious apple, cored and cut into 16 wedges
50 g mancheo cheese, cut into 8 cubes
1 tbsp. snipped fresh chives
1. Cut the ciabatta into eight cubes, trimming the edges so the cubes sit straight on a board.
2. Heat a griddle pan until really hot. Brush the ciabatta cubes with the garlic oil and griddle for two to three minutes, turning until lightly charred all over. Remove and put onto a board.
3. Add the apple wedges to the griddle pan and cook for two to three minutes, turning halfway until lightly charred.
4. To assemble, top each cube of bread with two slices of apple, a cube of cheese and a sprinkle of chives. Secure with a cocktail stick and serve.
1/3 cup olive oil
50 grams elephant garlic, roughly chopped (1.75 ounces)
1 teaspoon paprika
450 grams shrimp, peeled and deveined (1 pound)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced parsley to garnish
1. Put your oven rack in the middle position and heat to 400 degrees F (200 C).
2. Add the oil and garlic to a cast iron pan and heat over medium high heat. Fry the garlic until it just starts to turn brown around the edges. Add the paprika, and stir to combine.
3. Add the shrimp in a single layer, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the pan in the oven and cook until the shrimp is pink and opaque all the way through (about 2-3 minutes).
4. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley. Toss the shrimp to coat with the oil and serve with bread.
Ingredients – for the Potatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
Ingredients – for the Sauce
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut
2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
200 gr tomato cubes (from a can)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp paprika powder
1 pinch of chili powder
1 pinch of sugar
Chopped parsley (for garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C
2. Finely dice the onion and fry slowly in a frying pan with a bit of oil until translucent.
3. Add the chopped garlic, tomato paste, tomato cubes and some salt. Bring this to the boil
4. Add the chili powder, paprika powder and sugar
5. Stir through and then leave to simmer for about ten minutes until everything is soft.
6. Remove from the fire and set aside
7. About ten minutes before serving, put the sauce on a low heat to warm through. Peel the potatoes and cut them in dice of about 2 x 2 cm.
8. Pat them dry with kitchen paper.
9. Equally divide them across a baking tine and pour olive oil over it.
10. Add pepper and salt and mix it all well. Adding a few twigs of rosemary is also a good idea if you have any lying around.
11. Put the baking tray in the oven and bake the potatoes for about 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Check every 20 minutes if they're still ok. And shake them around a bit when checking too.
12. Put the baked potatoes in cute little bowls and add the heated tomato sauce on top. As mentioned; don't put all the sauce on at once. It can be a little overpowering.
13. Add some of the chopped parsley and serve with little forks.
Ingredients - for the Meatballs
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Ingredients - for the Sauce
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can whole tomatoes, including juice
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1. In a 9-inch heavy well-seasoned skillet (preferably cast-iron) cook onion and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Cool mixture.
2. In a large bowl combine well onion mixture, ground meat, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, and parsley. Form level tablespoons of mixture into balls (about 90).
3. In skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown meatballs in batches (about 16 at a time), shaking skillet frequently so that meatballs maintain their shape and adding remaining 3 tablespoons oil as necessary. Transfer meatballs with a slotted spoon as browned to a bowl.
4. In a heavy kettle (at least 6 quarts) cook garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice and oregano and simmer, breaking up tomatoes.
5. Add meatballs and simmer, covered, gently stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until meatballs are tender and sauce is thickened slightly. Transfer meatballs with slotted spoon to heated serving dish. If sauce seems thin, boil gently, stirring frequently, until thickened to desired consistency.
6. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over meatballs. Meatballs and sauce may be made 2 days ahead. Let it cool uncovered and chill covered. Reheat meatballs before serving.
Ingredients – for the Churros
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp. butter, diced
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Ingredients - for Cinnamon Sugar Coating
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat to 360 degrees (Keep a close eye on the temp while you prepare the churro dough, you don't want it to become too hot, so you may have to reduce the temp or remove the pot from the burner for a moment).
2. In a medium saucepan combine milk, water, butter, 2 tsp sugar, and salt and bring mixture just to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and flour. Stir mixture with a silicone spatula while running dough along bottom of saucepan to smooth any lumps and stir until mixture comes together and is smooth.
3. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip and carefully pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of dough out over oil and using clean scissors, cut dough at top to allow dough to drop into oil (to make it faster I'd pipe about 2 - 3 inches out at time and would cut 2 at once then pipe more and repeat).
4. Work in fairly small batches being careful not to overcrowd (which will reduce oil temperature too much. You want the oil to remain close to 350 degrees). Allow churros to fry until golden brown (stirring occasionally near the beginning of frying will help keep them from sticking to each other) and remove with a wire skimmer and drain on a plate or baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels.
5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Toss warm, drained churros into sugar mixture to evenly coat. For best results serve warm with chocolate sauce if desired.
Fellas, enjoy your date night and do not forget to serve your favorite bottle of delicious Spanish wine to complement the Tapas. Trust me, this is a win-win situation and your lady will be surely pleased with your efforts. You can thank me now or later in the comments section below.
Craig M. Chavis Jr is a creator, self-starter, and Urban Renaissance man who is dedicated to continuous self-improvement, world travel, and living life to the fullest. Craig began his travels at a young age, has essentially moved every 3-4 years, and he considers these previous experiences to be the catalysts for his current insatiable wanderlust. He desires to be a living breathing example for young black men who aspire to take control of their lives, travel the world, and make something of themselves. He is currently living and working in Peru.
“I do not like labels and prefer to redefine my reality and not fall for the categorized, standardized, and cliché stereotypes the world has bestowed upon me. To be exceptionally cultured, well rounded, and quite unique - is my cup of tea”