Sunday, July 22, 2012

P is for: Potaje, Pan con Tomate & Plato's Olive Oil {giveaway}

First of all, I know what you're thinking. Yes, I've been a little M.I.A. on the blog this over the last 7 days or so. For some reason, I haven't been cooking as much this week. And even though I had a four-day weekend, I spent much of it trying to catch up with people I haven't seen in awhile, which meant lots of dinners out.

However, to make it up to all of you, today I'm going to share TWO of my very favorite Spanish recipes *and* I'm giving away a bottle of a delicious olive oil for one of my lucky readers! More on that in a minute, but first, let's habla.

As I've mentioned in the past, I spent three wonderful months living in Barcelona during my senior year in college. This is where I met my dear friend Kasey, who I've mentioned several times before on the blog. We were randomly selected to live together in a host home, and our "mom" for 12 weeks was a fantastic lady by the name of Dolores Berga. Whenever I think of Dolores, I smile. She was as warm and welcoming as you could ever hope a host mom to be when you're living in a foreign country. I fondly remember our dinners with Dolores, practicing our Spanish (because she did not speak any English), and sampling some of her home cooking.


Dolores was by no means a gourmet chef. She definitely had some interesting offerings at times (I remember one night her trying to serve us spaghetti noodles with mayonnaise. No joke). However, she had a few signature dishes that we adored. We loved her tortilla espanola, which is similar to a frittata. But probably our most favorite Dolores Berga special was her potaje. The best way I can describe potaje is equating it to a Spanish version of stew. It's for this reason you can't really find a standard recipe for potaje if you search it on the internet. Sort of like how everyone has their own way of making stew or chili here in the States.



Dolores' version was extremely simple, using just a handful of ingredients and veggies. Her "secret ingredient," so to speak, was pine nuts and she started by sautéing them in a little olive oil. Her recipes were all in her head, so as she was dictating, I wrote down things like "3 handfuls of pine nuts." To help with measuring purposes, I actually grabbed 3 handfuls and measured it out. I estimate this to be around a third of a cup. :)



She then added about a tablespoon of paprika. For authenticity, I would recommend a Spanish paprika if you have it available. I used a smoked paprika, and loved the complex, woodsy flavor it added. After that, you toss in the onions and garlic, and then the zucchini and potatoes and a little water or broth and cook it all up. Season with salt and let it sit overnight in the fridge.



Like many soups and chilis, potaje is best when made one day in advance. Or as Dolores said "mucho mas sabroso." No, it's not the most photogenic dish I've ever shared on the blog, but it sure is tasty! 




Dolores would often serve dinner with a simply prepared Pan con Tomate. Now, even if you know minimal Spanish, you probably figured out this means "bread with tomato." Pan con Tomate is very typical in Catalonia, the area where Barcelona is located. It's so incredibly simple, yet so delicious at the same time. All you do is toast up some bread, rub it with the cut side of a tomato, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a little olive oil. The trick, or "truco" as Dolores told us, is to make it immediately before serving. 



Now, you can totally just use normal extra virgin olive oil. However, I was recently treated to some of this habanero-infused olive oil from Plato's. If you like spice, then you will absolutely LOVE this olive oil. I wasn't quite sure what to expect or how strong the heat would be, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out it has some serious kick. I first tasted it with some plain bread, and initially you just taste olive oil, but then the habanero kicks in on the finish. I'm excited to try it out on fish and chicken.

I would love to give away a bottle of this to one of my lucky readers. To enter, please head over to my Facebook page, hit "like" and then also leave a comment here on the blog on THIS post below once you have, while telling me your favorite trip you've ever taken. (Don't worry, the answer won't have any bearing on your chances to win, and if you're already a Facebook fan, just leave a comment). I'll randomly pick a winner on Friday, so please have your entries in by midnight PST on Thursday. Good luck and in the meantime I hope you enjoy some tasty Spanish cuisine!


Potaje & Pan con Tomate

by Jaymee Sire
Keywords: soup/stew bread Spanish

Ingredients (6 large bowls)
    For the Potaje
    • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/3 cup pine nuts
    • 1 tablespoon Spanish or smoked paprika
    • 2 medium red onions, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1.5 pounds zucchini, chopped (2-3 medium zucchini)
    • 1.5 pounds potatoes, peeled & chopped (2 large potatoes)
    • 1 cup broth or water
    • salt, to taste
    For the Pan con Tomate
    • bread
    • tomato
    • salt
    • extra virgin olive oil
    Instructions
    For the Potaje
    1. One day before you plan to eat the potaje, heat olive oil over medium heat and add pine nuts. Cook until lightly browned, stirring often. Add paprika and stir.
    2. Add onion and garlic and saute until they start to soften. Add zucchini and potatoes and cook a few minutes longer. Add broth or water, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook until vegetables are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt (you will need more than you think). Cool and store in refrigerator overnight and reheat on stove when you are ready to eat.

    For the Pan con Tomate
    1. Thickly slice bread and toast in the broiler or toaster oven. Cut a tomato in half and rub over the toasted bread. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.
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    21 comments:

    1. One of my favorite trips was when I went to see the Giants play at Coors Field. It was my birthday and the Giants beat the Rockies with Robb Nen getting the save.

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    2. My favorite trip was to London and Paris from my honeymoon with Em. I had never been to either city and it was magical. Great food, great sights and a great time with my wife. :)

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    3. i liked you on fb and honestly, my favorite trip was to Alabama to visit my sister and brother in law :)

      katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

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    4. I went to Mexico with my wife and a longtime friend. Great food and friends made it awesome.

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    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    6. I went to Italy with my brother in 2007 - Venice, Florence, and Rome. There's a lot of good food there and our favorite restaurant was Zaza in Firenze. After liking E on fbook, I realized I have another friend on there who also likes you!

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    7. I must say my trip back to my apartment in the Marina today was pretty special! Jaymee was walking by with some friends. It reminded me of how small and special our community is. All of our lives overlap in many small ways.

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      1. Haha...you should have said hello!

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      2. next time I will ;) Eyes are peeled at Fillmore & Bay.

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    8. My favorite trip was 14 months travelling in 2009! 5 months in central america, barcelona, turkey, jordan, egypt, kenya, south africa, and 7 months in asia. best time of my life!

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    9. Great trip driving around England in 90's with my wife. We had a very hard time finding good food there, and survived on shortbread cookies. But loved driving around the country.

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    10. My favorite trip was a family trip to Maui. Amongst all the delicious food we ate, what I still remember as the most delicious was from a small roadside stand. Big chunks of smoked fish wrapped in aluminum foil. And a huge bag of candied toasted coconut. Delicious

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      1. Hey there! The fist person I selected to receive the olive oil never responded, so I re-did the random number generator, and you are the lucky recipient! Please use the "contact me" tab to send me your contact info so I can get it shipped out to you!

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    11. My favorite trip was a cruise starting in Venice through Croatia, Turkey and Greece. Literally every picture I took turned out looking like a post card. I also got to experience fish with grapes in Hvar, Croatia- so delicious! (Although they were disappointed I wouldn't eat the fish eyeball...)

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      1. CONGRATS! You were randomly selected to receive a bottle of the olive oil. Please use the contact form to send me your name, email, and mailing address. If I do not hear from you by Monday, I will need to choose someone else. Cheers! (P.S. I've always wanted to go to Croatia and Turkey!!)

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      2. Hello again...just wanted to again inform you that you were selected to receive the free bottle of olive oil. I need your email!! If I don't hear from you, I'll have to select someone else. :(

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    12. I'd have to say.. Pamplona, Spain. Running of the bulls (not all about the bull fighting though). Great Paella and something I'm seriously scared of trying again, wine and coke. Your doing a great job with all your endeavors.

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    13. Too many to be favorite. I'll just pick one. My only trip through Europe was a trip of reflection. If I recall, I went to Prague, Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest and Venice. Also, it was an opportunity to try European foods I was not aware of. Plus, it made me appreciate European chocolates that much more. Best chocolate in the world. Sorry America.

      - Don Umali

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    14. Canada, beautiful country and great food!

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    15. I'd have to say my favorite trip was last Sept. when my wife and I were finally able to celebrate our 3 year overdue honeymoon/anniversary in Hawaii. It was a first trip there for the both of us. 7 days and nights on the Big Island. From hitting up beaches to canoeing through closed down irrigation canals, stepping on a sea urchin (almost a trip ruiner) and trying new take on food like poke and açai bowls it was worth the wait to celebrate our honeymoon in paradise.

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    I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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