Archive for July 2010

Cucumber? What Cucumber?

July 29th, 2010 — 9:28am


Sour Cream and Dill Cucumbers

Much like the double bass in the orchestra, the bass guitar in a rock band, or the backup singer on a recording the cucumber is often there but largely unseen. The production would not be the same without it. But it is often hard to say exactly what it contributes. In a modern cook book you would be hard pressed to find but one or two recipes for the cucumber. In Victorian times they would have been eaten in soups, salads, sandwiches and sauces. Alliteration aside, they used to be considered a mainstay of the summer diet.

Granted the grocery store variety of the cucumber is nothing to get excited about. Hybridized for ease of transportation and longevity in the bins, they are little more than a water bladder wrapped in a green coat. Which coat has probably been altered with some wax to make them even more appealing to the eye. I actually came across a recipe that called for leaving the skins on waxed cucumbers to enhance the flavor. Oh USDA, wither do you lead us?

Luckily we planted a few of the vines in the backyard garden. Once again our composting miracle has led to an abundance of the green missiles. So many that a large number have gone directly back into the compost pile as we have not been able to keep up with them. As for me I like them just fine with a bit of tomato, some onion and some basil in a little vinaigrette. Will, with a nod to Queen Victoria, likes them in cucumber sandwiches. Although, horrors, he leaves the crust on the bread.

Greek Salad

The fresh, garden variety tastes more like a melon than a watery cucumber. The skin is also quite mild and very edible. This means for me, as a mostly lazy cook, I do not always have to peel them for use. I have found that recipes range from the mostly Nordic to the mostly Mediterranean. In addition to my daily tomato cucumber salad I also like them in a Greek Salad and in a sour cream dill sauce.  Even though they may not be the star of the culinary show, they certainly perform well as an extra.  Thus endeth my paean to the cucumber.

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Which Wei? ↓

July 27th, 2010 — 10:19am

Yesterday I spent a bit more than an hour wasting time on trying to cash in on a coupon that was sent to me via e-mail by the local Pei Wei restaurant. Normally I would not do such a thing to get about $4 in savings on two meals that usually cost about $14. But I had shown Will the coupon, and he really likes Pei Wei, so I thought I had to follow through. Now lately when restaurants and other retail establishments want to celebrate their birthdays, in this case year number 10 for Pei Wei, they say you can use this coupon for one day only. It used to be that they would celebrate their birthdays for a full month so the patrons could use the coupon at their leisure. With only one day of celebration, the restaurants know that with limited capacity, they can only handle so many birthday celebrants. So the vast majority of these coupons go unused because most people like me will give up in frustration.

I should have tossed the coupon before I even told Will about it in the first place. A couple of weeks ago I went to a Pei Wei in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The ambiance was identical to the restaurants I had visited before. But the menu had changed. It no longer carried the “Blazing Noodles,” which was the only reason in my mind for going to Pei Wei in the first place. And although the restaurant was relatively quiet most of the tables were covered in plates and detritus from previous users leaving us to clear our own table. The food was also much saltier than I had ever encountered at their restaurants. Salt is cheap if you want to control your food costs. I chalked it all up to being in New Jersey. (In fact I blame everything on New Jersey!)

With this new knowledge I should have given up on my coupon redemption plan early. But it got even better. When I tried to log on to the Pei Wei site and place my order, the server processing orders had crashed. When I phoned to place an order I was put on hold three times and eventually rudely hung up on by the frazzled girl answering the phone, tension clearly audible in her voice. Not wanting to disappoint Will, and being the good trooper that I am, I climbed in the car to drive to the store to place my order. The usual five minute trip took me a full fifteen minutes. When I arrived the parking lot was full, there were lines out the door, and the wait on take out orders was 45 minutes!

These are not good signs for the future of Pei Wei. When the going gets tough I think people lose their minds and turn to ridiculous measures to ameliorate bad conditions. Instead of focusing on what they do best and trying to do it better most companies turn to cutting costs, cutting corners, and relying on a belief that a really cool web site is going to improve the bottom line. In Pei Wei’s case I sensed desperation when through my e-mail subscription I was invited to attend an on-line cooking class with their executive chef. (As if The Busy Gourmand does not know how to chop vegetables, boil some noodles, and glop some canned sauce all over the top of it.) And since most of the people visiting Pei Wei regularly are a bunch of cash strapped, self-absorbed twenty something’s who do not have enough attention span to read a tweet, an on-line cooking class is not going to save them.

Unfortunately my employer has been following the Pei Wei model. My job is likely to follow the Pei Wei coupon into the trash. I am resigned to this fate although being dumped in the trash was not of my doing. Customers have flocked away from my company, after my company invested untold sums into really cool web sites and public relations gurus. What they did not focus on was the fact that their product has not been updated in several years. And most of what they are providing can be obtained at a much higher quality at a much lower cost somewhere else. So the trip to Pei Wei was useful in one respect. I found out that I can make better “Blazing Noodles” at half the cost and enjoy them in my own home. So if your boss asks which way he or she should go. Tell them, “not the Pei Wei!”

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Success on Two Fronts!

July 23rd, 2010 — 8:00am

Chicken in Mustard Sauce

Maybe it is the fact that I am a bit of a lazy cook. Or maybe it is because one of the cats lost their balance on the back of my chair last night and landed, legs akimbo, on the top of my head. Last night I was able to prepare a reasonable approximation of the rabbit with mustard sauce using dark meat chicken. In the process I discovered an additional recipe for oven roasted mashed potatoes. Both were delicious.

I decided to roast chicken leg quarters in the oven on a bed of onions, celery, carrots and a bit of lemon. I knew this would be a mix of braising and roasting as the vegetables would give off a bit of steam while the chicken roasted on top. I also knew that I was going to serve the chicken with some mashed potatoes. But who wants to cook a separate pot of potatoes and work out the timing just right to go with the chicken? Not me. So I peeled the potatoes, cut them in large chunks and put them in the bottom of the roasting pan with the other vegetables and placed the chicken on top. Call me crazy.

The chicken cooked with the roasting, steaming process was done in about an hour. The potatoes were not quite done so I raised the temperature in the oven and cooked them for an additional thirty minutes. In the mean time I deboned the chicken, which turned out juicy and flavorful taking on all the flavor from the vegetables and the lemon. When the potatoes were done I drained all the juices from the roasting pan, added the juice from the resting chicken, added all the liquid to a sauté pan and prepared the mustard sauce. I then mashed the roasted potatoes, including just a bit of the roasted vegetables, with some half-and-half, and a dab of butter. NO SALT WAS ADDED in this part of the process because the roasting process and the juice from the lemon gave everything a nice flavor.

I put a scoop of the mashed potatoes on the plate. I then covered the potatoes with the chicken in the mustard sauce. I garnished it with some rosemary, copying the original presentation, and we sat down for a taste. Yum! The chicken was juicy, flavorful and nicely complemented by the mustard sauce. The potatoes, all I can say is “wow,” took on the complexity of all the flavors from the vegetables and had a nice firm consistency due to the roasting process. They were not smooth and creamy like other potatoes. But I was not looking so much for smooth and creamy but more chunky in the mouth type of feel. OK, so it still does not taste like rabbit. But I think this chicken in mustard sauce with pan roasted mashed potatoes is a great substitute. And I am sure you can find a way to make yours prettier as well. It is supposed to look like the picture below.

Rabbit in Dijon Mustard Sauce

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

July 21st, 2010 — 9:07am

Vanilla Panna Cotta

It has been a little quiet on the posting front.  I have been working through a few food experiments.  Some have been more successful than others.  The reduced fat panna cotta was tasty if a bit light in the mouth.  Will was not really excited about it, but I felt it was a perfectly acceptable alternative to the heavy cream version.  I think we are all used to lighter food tasting, well, a bit lighter.

Rabbit in Dijon Mustard Sauce

My experimentation with substituting chicken legs and thighs to replicate the rabbit recipe I had in Buenos Aires continues.  I am not really all that close yet.  I am going to give it one more try tonight.  Instead of poaching or braising the chicken I am going to roast it with some vegetables to see if the vegetables can give it a bit more flavor.  It may just be that you cannot substitute dark meat chicken for rabbit.  If this is the case I am just going to have to find a source for rabbit in Dallas.

Pretty and Pretty Bland Stuffed Eggplant

We are happily into the height of the eggplant season.  I have been dreaming up a few ideas to use them a little bit more artfully than in the usual ways; ratatouille, stir fry or eggplant parmesan.  I decided to grill an eggplant, stuff it with some couscous and other goodies and finish it in the oven with a bit of cheese on top.  It was a great concept.  The stuffing tasted great before it went in.  Unfortunately the result was pretty bland.  I like the concept but we will have to keep working on this one.

Grilled Lamb Chops

The one total success was trying to copy the lamb chops that Will had in Buenos Aires.  I liked them because they had the distinct flavors of lemon, garlic, and rosemary among all the grilled goodness.  I developed my recipe yesterday.  And after the shock of seeing how much lamb chops cost ($13.00 per pound) I marinated and grilled my versions of the Buenos Aires dish.  They were very nice, with just a subtle hint of the lemon, garlic, and rosemary.  It is all about the marinade and a very hot grill.  You may want to try my take on grilled lamb chops with some Middle Eastern couscous.

Chocolate Beauty Pepper

There is one experiment over which I had very little influence, except perhaps watering.  We harvested our first “Chocolate Beauty” pepper yesterday.  It is a smallish bell pepper with an interesting sweet and sour taste at the same time.  It seems like it would be a very versatile pepper.  I can see it going in a stir fry just as easily as a salad.  It is a shame they are kind of small and the plant is not especially prolific.  I will save the seeds for planting more next year.

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Where There’s A Will…

July 17th, 2010 — 8:00am


Blueberry Peach Cake

I like to get feedback on my blog posts. Yesterday Will told me that he really liked the post. But I failed to tell everyone that he actually rolled out the dough for the grilled pizzas. A small, albeit very important, omission for him. So I stand corrected. Not only did he roll out the pizza dough he actually told me that the thin crust would turn out a lot better before we actually grilled the two versions of the dough.

Will does a lot for the blog. Yesterday he asked me to see if I could make a “fat free” version of the panna cotta for people who might be watching their fat intake. This is kind of a running joke with us. He will ask me to buy fat-free sour cream and I will usually reply, “What’s the point?” The point of course being that he probably wants to make some dietary changes to live longer. As for me I would rather live in a more tasty moment. So before I left, I did indeed make him a fat-free panna cotta, which he will have to report on to you directly because by the time I get home from this current trip I am on, I am sure it will be all gone. I also decided that I would try a soy milk panna cotta for those who are lactose intolerant. I might as well go all the way if I am going to have to be good.

Will, as I have said in many earlier posts, is the baker in the house. This week I found my favorite combination of fresh blueberries and fresh peaches, all of which were locally grown. So I asked him to make my favorite dessert, the blueberry and peach cake, which I had earlier talked about after we found some frozen peaches in the freezer in the middle of winter. The fresh version is way better. If you want to make this dessert strike while the spring form pan is hot.

Blueberry Peach Cake

I hope I have set the record straight. I do not write this blog in a vacuum. I actually listen to many people when I go about expressing my opinions. More often than not poor Will has to taste all the mishaps you never hear about. The old trials and errors we all would prefer never happened in the first place. And if you want some advice on baking or pizza making, he is your go-to guy.

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Grilled Pizza

July 15th, 2010 — 9:27am

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza

For weeks I have been planning to experiment with making pizzas on the grill. It is not such an unusual idea. I like a bit of char on my pizza. And the intense heat from the grill makes the process move along very quickly. Unfortunately the past two weeks have been a bit rainy. While I hate cooking in a hot kitchen, I hate grilling in the rain even more.

Grilled Pizza Marghuerita

My internet searches pulled up a variety of pizza dough made specifically for grilling. There was not a great deal of variation. The one constant was making sure to include some olive oil. About half the recipes called for adding some sugar as well. I left that step out as I am not really excited about sweet dough.

Grilled Feta and Olive Pizza

The only other decisions to make were the thickness of the crust and of course what to put on top of the pizza. We decided to try a very thin crust on two pizzas and a somewhat thicker crust on two other pizzas. After four pizzas we were going to be out of dough. As for toppings we tried the traditional margherita pizza, one topped with olives, capers, oregano and feta cheese, one topped with pepperoni and the rest of the usual suspects, and one topped with just a sprinkling of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Grilled Cheese Pizza

The clear favorites were the two very thin crust pizzas. The edges had a nice char and a bit of a cracker-like texture. The centers were still a bit pliable. This crust won out on taste and texture. The thin crust pizza with just a sprinkling of cheese made a great hors d’oeuvre. It was gone in a matter of five minutes while we waited for the other pizzas to cool. The slightly larger crusts were good. But they had more of a pita bread quality. We both commented that if you were going to make crusts ahead and freeze them this would be the way to go. The thinner crusts were too delicate for the freezer. The pizza dough, thick or thin, worked out very well on the grill.

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The Salt Conundrum

July 13th, 2010 — 10:33am

I was watching one of my favorite chefs on the Food Network yesterday. I usually do not pay much attention to the measurements provided for the recipes on the show, mostly because I rarely follow someone else’s recipe completely, unless it involves baked goods. For some reason I was paying attention to the amount of salt added to what was billed as a “quick dinner for two.” Following the amounts of salt actually measured, and not including all the “pinches” of salt used to finish the dish, I counted four teaspoons of salt added to the meal. With all the “pinches” of salt it was probably closer to five teaspoons, or about one and two-thirds of a tablespoon of salt. I was astounded.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, a publication provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, the maximum intake of sodium should be about 2,300 mg per day, or the equivalent of how much sodium is contained in a teaspoon of salt. According to my calculations, the chef on the Food Network was providing her guest with about twice the daily limit of sodium in one meal. I am sure the food tasted great. I wonder how the guest felt a couple of hours after eating the meal.

This summer I have been experimenting with the use of salt. Some of these experiments have been inadvertent as I forgot, on at least two occasions, to add any salt to the meal at all. (It is hard to remember things while you are drinking wine and running back and forth to the grill.) I can honestly say that this really has not affected the taste of the food much, if at all. I realize that two things have been at play here; fresh vegetables, which we eat from the garden every day, already contain a fair amount of sodium, and I have been using an abundance of fresh herbs to add flavor to my dishes. In the cases when I made an entire meat loaf and a large number of meatballs without adding any salt, the meats involved already had plenty of sodium in them, and the herbs I added were delicious, but also confusing to the palate. My taste buds were too busy figuring out all the other ingredients to miss the salt.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Your taste for salt is acquired, so you can learn to enjoy less.” As we add more and more salt to our diet our taste buds crave more and more salt. This leads to a perfect example of a feedback loop, and a deadly one at that. Cutting back on salt gradually will actually reduce your craving for it. If you add more fresh vegetables to your diet and remember that many processed meats already have plenty of sodium in them (think bacon), then you will realize that adding all the extra salt really is not necessary.

I am going to present a very controversial opinion here; using an abundance of salt to enhance flavor is a total cop out. All these chefs on television, the chefs in all these five star restaurants, and anybody else who portrays themselves as a real “chef” while using gobs of salt to trick the palate are really not all that good at cooking. I realize that some salt is necessary. But following the McDonald’s, Denny’s and Red Lobster School of cooking by using a lot of salt does not become these so called chefs.

In my recipes I almost never quote an amount of salt or pepper, although I suggest they be used. Sure a little pinch here and there is necessary. But before you reach for the salt try these tricks first:

  • The use of lemon juice or lemon zest can trick the palate into thinking that you are using salt. I always thought this. If you read some of the science in Molecular Gastronomy you do not have to take my word for it. And the lemons do not contain a lot of sodium.
  • When using herbs increase the amount when cooking or add most of them at the end of the cooking process. The essential oils in herbs cook out very quickly. When you add them closer to the end of the cooking process you get more bang for your buck. Your palate gets overwhelmed with the herbs and does not miss the salt very much.
  • Add some heat to the food. I find that spicing up the food with a little heat tricks the palate. A few red pepper flakes, a bit of chopped jalapeno, or a dash of cumin or curry can really confuse the palate.

And remember your food already contains sodium:

  • You know the “trinity” of cooking? The onion, carrot and celery you add to the pot contain 5mg, 40mg, and 126mg of sodium respectively. Before you add the salt you are already close to 10% of your daily sodium requirement.
  • If you cook with cheese, which I do almost daily, you are adding a lot of hidden sodium. If you top your pasta with 1 oz of parmigiano reggiano, you are adding 532mg of sodium to your diet. No need for any salt in the pasta sauce.
  • When using prepared meats you are adding a lot of sodium to your diet. Bacon, Italian sausage, and any other prepared meats are loaded with sodium. For most of these items 3.5oz contain at least 1,000mg of sodium or a bit less than half your daily requirement. I am not going to stop eating them. I am just not going to add more salt.
  • Prepared foods such as mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, capers, olives and just about everything else contain all the sodium you really need. A tablespoon of mustard can contain 360mg of sodium. When you add a tablespoon of capers to the sauce you are adding 315mg of sodium. This is why I sometimes switch to prepared horseradish with just 60mg of sodium in a tablespoon.

I do not expect you to remove salt from your diet. I do ask that you experiment a little and see if not adding any salt to some dishes really affects the flavor. Remember you can always add some salt after cooking if you do not like the taste. It is impossible to remove the sodium once it is in the dish.

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Mellow Yellow Tomatoes

July 9th, 2010 — 8:00am

Yellow Pear Heirloom Tomatoes

The deluge of tomatoes has long ago abated. We are down to a couple of plants bearing fruit about once per week. Most of the other plants have already been hauled off to the compost pile. We are lucky in North Texas because we actually have two tomato seasons. The first ends about the 4th of July. With some planning we can start getting a new crop of tomatoes around the end of August. To that end we already planted our second, albeit much smaller, crop. We decided that a couple of plum tomato plants and a couple of cherry tomato plants would carry us through the fall months.

One of the heirloom varieties we most enjoyed this summer is the yellow pear tomato. I never really mentioned them because they would produce a couple of small tomatoes per day. They usually just ended up in the salad that night providing a small burst of fruity flavor against the cucumbers and basil. While cleaning up the tomato patch the other day I found a bunch of the yellow pears ready to go, as if in one last gasp of the season they wanted to show off.

I thought about making the cherry tomato and mozzarella sauce I prepared earlier in the season. The yellow pears have a citrus-like flavor to them so I thought they might not be able to produce the sweetness that the sauce requires. I eventually decided to take the lazy man’s approach and served them over some grilled Italian bread, bruschetta style. I topped the grilled bread with some provolone cheese to give it just a bit of an extra something or other.

Bruschetta with Yellow Pear Tomatoes

The result was excellent. I prepared eight smallish bruschettas which we were able to consume in a matter of a few minutes. I tossed the tomatoes with a bit of onion and fresh basil, in a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The crunchiness of the bread with that little bit of subtle cheese flavor really made it very special. So if you ever find yourself with a pint or two of cherry or grape tomatoes, a bruschetta topped with tomatoes is a great way to use them all. And remember, although tempting, you do not have to eat them all by yourself. .

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A Word About Oregano

July 7th, 2010 — 8:00am

Italian Oregano

When I was making my Greek Pasta Salad last week I was struck by how important the herb oregano is to distinguishing this cuisine from others. In the eastern Mediterranean it is more common to mix citrus juice (most commonly lemon), olive oil, and a fresh herb to bring out the flavor of the dish. This contrasts with the eastern Mediterranean where it is more common to use a strong vinegar, mixed with olive oil to add a flavor contrast. The choice of a fresh herb makes each dish just a little bit different. In this case the choice of oregano was important to making the dish at least taste authentic, even if it was something dreamed up to use the leftovers in the refrigerator.

There are literally hundreds of varieties of “oregano” grown throughout the world.  Most of them are classified in the mint family while a small number are actually classified in the verbena family.  We grow three varieties; Greek oregano, Italian oregano, and Mexican oregano.  I primarily use the Greek and Mexican varieties.  The Greek variety is used in anything resembling Mediterranean cuisine, and the Mexican variety is used in anything resembling Latin American cuisine.  The Italian variety (origanum x majoricum) is actually a cross between Greek oregano and marjoram.  It tends more towards the marjoram end of the spectrum having a more subtle, sweet flavor.  When recipes call for marjoram (however rarely) I use this herb instead.  It does make a very beautiful ground cover with small pink blossoms during the hot summer months.  This is why I keep it around at all.

Greek Oregano

The Greek oregano (origanum vulgare hirtum) is essential to use in Mediterranean cooking, especially if you are using the herb in an uncooked form; in salads or a last minute addition to a soup or sauce.  I find that when it is cooked in a sauce most of the flavor disappears during the cooking process, even though this type of oregano carries more of the essential oils than any other type.  This is a similar to what happens more dramatically with basil and cilantro.  I usually add a bit more oregano to a sauce about 15 minutes before it is done cooking to make sure some of the flavor ends up in the final product.  The Greek oregano is also a nice addition to the perennial garden and attracts loads of bees and butterflies.

Mexican Oregano

Mexican oregano actually comes in two varieties, one of which is in the mint family and one is in the verbena family. The variety we grow (labiatae poliomintha longiflora), the mint variety, is native to Texas and is often grown as an accent shrub mostly because deer will not eat it. It has beautiful pink flowers and has a bit milder flavor than the Greek variety. I typically use it as a last minute addition to my Mexican dishes. This variety also attracts a lot of bees and hummingbirds. The other variety of Mexican oregano (verbenaceae lippia graveolens) is the more typical variety from the verbena family used in Mexican cooking. It is also a bit milder than the Greek variety. Due to its ease of cultivation in Texas and New Mexico, this variety often ends up in the store-bought versions of dried oregano. If you want dried Greek oregano make sure it says that on the container. Otherwise you are probably getting the less flavorful Mexican variety.

I find that oreganos of every variety are very easy to grow and tend not to be bothered by bouts of cold weather. Like just about every plant in the mint family they can be very invasive. My biggest problem is keeping them contained in a small area. A bit of ruthless pruning a couple of times per year usually suffices. If you have a perennial bed I highly recommend you put a couple of varieties in if not for the culinary use, then for the blooms during the summer and for the attraction of bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

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Quiche, Frittata, or Pastis?

July 5th, 2010 — 8:00am

Savory Spinach Pastis

Since we returned from Barcelona last November I have been on a quest to replicate one of the items we had for lunch while we were visiting, a “pastis,” or as I referred to it, a quiche without the crust. I talked about it in my homage to quiche and once in my review of the City of Barcelona. An item worth two mentions is certainly an item worth researching. Unfortunately when you rely on the internet, and your Catalan is rather limited, every time you enter “pastis,” which means pie in Catalan, and “Catalan” it usually renders a dessert similar to crème brûlée. My attempts at investigating “Catalan savory pie” were pretty useless leading me to a “coca” or the Catalan equivalent of the Italian pizza.

I hate to admit it but I gave up on my search for awhile. Then on one of my endless trips to some location in the United States you probably would never want to visit, I was reading the June issue of Bon Appétit, and I saw a recipe for a frittata cooked in an unusual way. The ingredients were essentially placed in a square baking dish and cooked in the oven not fried in a pan like most frittatas. The picture was reminiscent of the dish we had in Barcelona but much denser. I also remembered that the dish in Barcelona was denser than a quiche, but not as dense as a frittata. It seemed like amending the baked frittata recipe would yield a promising result.

I have to tell you that when I usually investigate new recipes like this it takes several tries to get it right. The preliminary results are often a bit scary. Usually they are edible but just barely. Maybe I will prepare a post for Halloween which we will call the “Testing Kitchen of Horrors” complete with all the pictures I take to document these disasters. In this case, however, the first result was dead on perfect. I took the frittata recipe which called for one-quarter cup of cream, and amended it by adding one-half cup of heavy cream and one-half cup of half-and-half. This is considerably more than you would use for a frittata but much less than you would use for a quiche, considering we were using eight large eggs in the recipe.

The picture above captures the dish we ate in Barcelona perfectly. It has a beautiful white center, with a bit of yellow on the top. The ingredients, in this case spinach, sausage, and feta cheese, were suspended throughout the “pastis” evenly, ensuring that you tasted bits of all these flavors every time you took a bite. And much like in Barcelona I served it with a bit of marinara. The sauce in Barcelona was a bit thinner than a typical marinara but I liked the marinara better. In Barcelona this would likely be called a “pastis de espinacs,” or a spinach pie. I think I will just call it a Catalan Savory Pastis, so when some other poor soul goes looking for what he ate in Barcelona he will be able to find it.

PS  I have caught a bit of flack lately for the sometimes disorderly presentation of the food in the photos. Most recently it was about the orecchiete spilling out over the edge of the bowl in my Greek Pasta Salad. First of all Greece seems to me to be a very disorderly place. How do we know it is not truly served this way? Secondly I wish I could hire Annie Liebovitz to take all these pictures. Until I can afford her services I will try to do better. How about the picture above?

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