Fruity

Enter grosella and níspero, spring market fruits here in Madrid. Originally I thought they were completely new to me (not to mention incredibly sour) before realizing first what they were in English and later that I had only ever had them in dried form. Turns out both are pretty tasty with a chunk of bread and idiazabal 🙂

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Tortilla!

My friend Antonio invited me to learn how to make the classic tortilla espanola at his bar one Friday afternoon. I like torilla so its “no cuajada” in the center, really creamy and rich so he taught me a few tips and tricks.

Tortilla Española: (a small one)
7 eggs
2 big potatoes
oil
salt
ham or whatever else you want to throw in it

1. Peel the potatoes and slice them into rings or whatever even shapes you want, cook them in a little bit of oil over medium heat until they’re soft.
Once both potatoes are cooked, set them aside and clean out the pan.

2. Crack all your eggs into a dish and whisk with a fork aggressively, add the potatoes when they’re warm but not hot. “Mash” ingredients together to make a kind of masa, or paste consistency. Now is when you add whatever extras you want, ham or bacon are classics.

3. Crank the heat up to medium high and add a splash of oil (not a lot) and pour the batter into the pan, give the tortilla 20 seconds or so to sizzle and then turn the heat down to medium low. Its important to move the pan at this point in quick circles so the tortilla doesn’t stick.

4. Once you notice the sides of the tortilla starting to harden and the center is still a bit wet, sprinkle with a little salt and put a plate over the top of the pan, quickly and carefully invert the pan to flip the wet side of the tortilla onto the plate and return to heat so it can cook on the other side.

*If you like your eggs fully fully cooked, just leave it here on this side for another 8 minutes or so. If you want the center to be creamy, keep flipping the tortilla every 2 mins or so within a 10 minute period (or when you push on the tortilla lightly it has a springy but not hard texture).

5. Let the tortilla sit a little bit to keep cooking and then serve!

Tortilla!

Ruby Slippers

The dress code here is a few levels up from what I’m used to…although wearing sweatpants and sandals isn’t exactly a high bar to begin with. Almost everything I own is neutral somehow, a lot of grey and black so I can mix and match for work but I’ve been trying to branch out lately with the seasons changing and more importantly, a steady income.

I saw these in the window of a store on a street I lovingly refer to as break-the-bank-lane given its address between Hortaleza and Mercado de San Anton, two of the city’s swankiest see and be seen locales. Usually I might turn something like these down but the heat of the afternoon sun overcame me! (Also they were only 26)

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The 6-year-olds I hang out with most days loved them by the way!

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Teach Me How to Chotis

This past weekend Madrid celebrated San Isidro, the annual festival brought to you by a cannonized couple and some angles who plowed the fields while Isidro could do his prayers. Nowadays, people dress up, even the kids at school in the traditional chulapo/a and dance the chotis but for most its just a great excuse to go party (as usual, I did my part there).

Mostly I get excited about the doughnuts which are common to eat during this holiday, and really they were hard to escape. My favorites (not the most traditional) are coated in sugar and are laced with fennel seeds…

My lease is up very soon and that means homelessness..a renewal on this place would mean another year of freezing my ass off, ant infestations and loud neighbors. I was journaling about the situation and doodled a little map of the city with pros and cons of each potential hood (drawn with extreme artistic license and not to scale whatsoever). Thought you guys might get a kick out of it..sorry for the poor quality I just snapped it with my phone

Semana Santa + Lonliness = Torrijas

This semana santa I had a job interview for a summer camp so I wasn’t able to travel much. My house was empty when I got back and everything was closed, except of course for the chino downstairs and a bakery down the corner selling bread to make torrijas. Everyone recommends trying them when in Madrid for Easter – I recommend making them 🙂

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If you’ve ever made the American classic french toast then you’re ahead of the curve. First things first you need old bread or bread that’s just denser or sweeter than normal (really this is where you can throw in your personal fav). Brioche would be great, pain de mie, challah. Honestly anything will workimage

Slice the bread nice and thick then soak it in milk and throw some cinnamon on top {{this is the part that makes torrijas a cut-above french toast, its also acceptable to soak them in wine instead of milk for torrijas de vino}}

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Some people let these bad boys soak over night, I just left mine for 30mins until there was really no milk left in the dish. Next step is to heat up some olive oil (about a liter) in a pan…obviously I didn’t have a liter of oil on hand since everything was closed and thought a little butter might do the trick.

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Quickly give each piece a toss in a whipped egg and throw it right in the hot pan to cook. When done, give each piece a quick toss in sugar+cinnamon+lemon zest mixture and serve!

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The Mediterranean Diet at work:

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What you end up with is a crispy sweet exterior and an insanely moist and soft interior. Real yummy. Try them out and tell me how it goes!