Le Souk Tabarka Serving Bowl in Elle Decor

The July edition of Elle Decor Magazine features this beautiful serving bowl. Made in Tunisia, lead free, hand-painted. Makes an excellent salad bowl or imagine it filled with a colorful couscous salad for a party! $32 at The Spanish Table.

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Lunch at the Office

Now that’s a good salad when I add Cole’s Smoked Lemon Cracked Pepper Trout atop some mixed salad greens with sunflower seeds, celery, green beans, and dried cranberries. The simple vinaigrette with smoked chardonnay fleur de sel, Nektar extra virgin olive oil, and Miguel y Valentino Cava Vinegar was light and did not compete with the light texture and intriguing flavors of the trout.

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Rabitos and Chocohigos!!!

Most of you have fallen in love with our Rabitos by now. These figs have been soaked in brandy, are stuffed with a chocolate truffle, and then are smothered in dark chocolate. Individually wrapped, 99 cents each.

Well now we have a competitor! Chocohigos are also individually wrapped but they are a pressed fig paste with a little orange zest that is then smothered in dark chocolate. I know! Right? I keep going back to both of them because I can’t make up my mind which I like more.

If you have an opinion about either of these or both, don’t be shy!

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Mustapha’s Moroccan harissa and lemons are back in stock!

It’s terrible when you fall in love with a product and then it disappears. That’s what happened to me with Mustapha’s Moroccan food line. They have amazing preserved lemons and fantastic harissa. These were things that had worked their way into my usual food repertoire when I suddenly found myself without. Well, goodbye clouds and hello bright sunny day because Mustapha’s Moroccan products are back in stock!

Harissa from Morocco
Harissa is a condiment and an ingredient. The recipe varies from chef to chef. In a nutshell, it is a spicy chili sauce. You can marinate olives in it or add it to a carrot salad. Try it as an after thought for a chicken with preserved lemon tagine. Adds pizzazz to couscous. It is made from hot peppers, bell pepper, preserved lemons, tomatoes, garlic, spices, vegetable oil, and salt. Now you see why I love it so? Mustapha’s Harissa, 10 oz. $9.99

Preserved Lemons from Morocco
We have customers who are completely aware that they can make their own preserved lemons, but that doesn’t help them with the recipe they need to make today. That’s where these preserved lemons enter. A lot of recipes call for using an entire lemon but you can cut these as you wish. I made a sauce using preserved lemons, coriander, cumin, purple olives, and onion for a fish tagine once. Incredible!
Mustapha’s Preserved Lemons, 5.6 oz. $9.99



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Paella Cooked Over a Ringed Burner

Make cooking paella outdoors look professional by using a ringed burner connected to a propane tank from The Spanish Table! The paella pan used in this video is a 50 serving carbon steel paella pan that has been seasoned with oil. The burner is a Model 700 Ringed Burner, plus an adapter hose and red leg set.

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Cooking ribs in a Cazuela

Better late than never.  When I was originally drafting this post the weather was cold and the following recipe suited that climate.  My post here unfortunately ran into a snag and it never got past the draft phase.  The focus of the story was not the food as much as it was cooking in a cazuela.  Long story short, we ran out of the lidded cazuelas that could take on the task of cooking the following recipe, so the post got shelved for a while.  The weather in Santa Fe is literally freezing right now and we are fully stocked with cazuelas in the store.  I decided to leave the post as it was originally written and did not feel obligated to update it beyond this opening paragraph.  With no further ado, please enjoy.

Now that the holidays have finally retreated I can have some me time.  My type of “me time” usually involves lots of cooking.  I am not sure how it happened, but for this holiday season my stove was rather dormant.  In all honesty, I found the lack of cooking totally boring.  Not to say I did not cook at all, just nothing was memorable.  The only breakthrough culinary wise during the whole holiday melee was my new found love for making spiked punch.  Now I own a big glass punch bowl and a dozen small punch glasses.  The punch project was fun but it really did not scratch that cooking itch.

With the dull days of winter truly kicking in, my cooking itch has received some scratching as of late.  The biggest development in my kitchen this month pairs two of my favorite things, clay pot cooking & ribs.  I have been slicing up a whole large sweet onion, seasoning it with olive oil, salt, & pepper and covering the bottom of my lidded eleven-inch cazuela with the slices.  Next, I cut up two pounds of pork ribs or lamb breast, which is a cut of lamb mostly made of ribs into four equal parts and placing them on top of the onions.  Of course, I season the ribs with a spice mixture before putting them in the pot. Then I will add about one cup of liquid to the mix, choose whatever liquid you want: white wine, stock, water, or beer… they will all work just the same.

Once my clay pot of goodies is fully arranged I put the lid on and it will go into a 250 degree pre-heated oven.  After four hours of cooking, the ribs are fully tender and have a nice bit of caramelization on them.  The onions get cooked down nicely and yield out a fair amount of liquid.  The onion, liquid combo makes for a perfect sauce to complement your ribs.  Check your ribs about half way through the cooking process to see if you should add a bit more liquid to the cazuela.  Serving the ribs with some polenta and sauteed collard greens has been the perfect mix for me.  I used the following recipe below to marinade my pork ribs.  For whatever reason I cannot remember how I seasoned that lamb breast.

Pork Rib Rub, Marinade

1 Tbls of Lavender Honey
1/2 Tbls  hot pepper flakes, I used Maras pepper flakes from The Spanish Table
1/2 Tsp Fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbls  course Spanish sea salt, I like the Bevia brand
4 whole garlic cloves
1/2 Tbls wild fennel pollen, regular fennel seed will work as well
Extra Virgin Spanish Olive Oil

Put all of the ingredients in a mortar except the oil.  Mash everything together into a thick paste and then add olive oil to thin it out a bit.  I used a little more than a tablespoon of olive oil.  Rub the mixture on the ribs and place them in a covered container for at least four hours before cooking.

Cheers, rob@tst

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Karla Helland writes about blood sausage!

Schism Wurst
Heeding blood sausage’s primal call
Karla Helland

I confess that I have some freaky food interests, but I’m not a “foodie.” That label not only sports an infantile suffix, but is also somehow rich and skinny. For instance, the lovely Gwyneth Paltrow is a foodie. We walk the same earth, but she ate at El Bulli and probably had special appetizers sent out gratis from the chef. Porcini mushroom foams containing the penultimate breath of an endangered species are technically vegan, right?

I first tried blood sausage not with bravado, but in ignorance, as I stood in a commercial kitchen wearing a dirty apron and grimy Danish clogs. The esteemed chef (my boss at the time) who made the dark links watched me consume one and scanned my features for the signs of pleasure before revealing the defining ingredient. You either accept the warm, liquid facts or you don’t: The connotations of eating the drained spirit of another animal are impossible to ignore. 

A little too late, I noticed that the shiny links sliding around the pan looked like blood clots in a test tube. My pleasure receptors were already humming before I could weigh the grim reality.

If blood sausage were music, it would be The Gourds hillbillying up Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” because this food’s look and taste are wholly disconnected. Accessible, soft and sweet, it is by volume largely pork meat. Recipes differ, but usually suggest combining the pork with some kind of grain (such as rice or barley), sweet spices, onions and even grated apple, and then adding blood. The result resembles a sausage-shaped meat pudding. 

The cow’s blood (or pork blood, in Europe) adds the same unctuousness to this food as it does to a medium-rare steak: a vaguely trace-mineral flavor some people call umami. This phantom fifth flavor makes blood sausage really satisfying, and that satisfaction causes moral amnesia—or earnest “mindful carnivore” soliloquies. 

I first tried morcilla de cebolla (Spanish blood sausage with onions) at La Boca in Santa Fe. Completely smitten, I later tracked down packages of it for sale in the refrigerated cases at The Spanish Table retail store on Guadalupe Street. The morcilla it offers is created in southern California (ersatz northern Spain), where, after baking, it spends time drying in a room equipped to replicate the cool, dry mountain air of its Spanish motherland.

This drying process intensifies the flavor and makes this sausage suitable for the hearty stew composed of the holy trifecta of large white Spanish fava beans, morcilla and chorizo: fabada asturiana. It’s the second most popular dish in Spain after the famous seafood paella, according to Spanish Table Manager Karen Squires, the soft-spoken—what? Epicure? Foodist? Table pleasure bunny?

According to sausage manufacturer Alex Montamedi of La Española Meats in Harbor City, Calif., everyone in the neighborhood knows when La Española’s morcilla de cebolla is cooking. He reports that the canine residents of the dog hotel—literally a block away—howl with longing when the airborne meaty molecules flood their sensitive scent receptors. They know they want it.
I should call myself a food dog(g).

La Boca
72 W Marcy St.

The Spanish Table
109 N Guadalupe St.

Karla Helland, a former pastry chef, writes the FILC (Food I Like to Cook) blog on SFReporter.com.


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