Tasting Menu: Tapas

Tapas cooking class follow-up

Pulpo a la Gallega

Pulpo a la Gallega

Pulpo a la Gallega

RECIPE

Empanada Gallega

Empanada Gallega

Empanada Gallega

RECIPE

Pinchos Morunos

Pinchos Morunos

RECIPE

Artichoke Flower Salad

Baby Artichoke Flower Salad

Baby Artichoke Flower Salad

My clients were looking for the recipe of artichoke flower they loved when visiting Madrid. I tried different cooking methods with locally available artichokes and couldn’t come close to the soft texture they described. Using low-acidity marinated artichoke hearts became the best solution for now. We sprayed them with olive oil and broiled for a few minutes to caramelize the tops. Look for Fancy Whole Artichoke Hearts by Native Forest, product of Peru at Central Market and Whole Foods.

Gilda | Anchovy, Olive, and Pepper Skewers

Tapas: Gildas

Tapas: Gildas

The idea is to combine these three ingredients the way they all work together without overpowering each other and the wine they are served with. We tasted many different olives and used two milder varieties: Castelvetrano (darker green, pitted) and Picholine (lighter, stuffed with sweet peppers). These olives are available at Central Market.

We found commonly used for this tapa Fefferoni peppers overwhelmingly hot and added only tiny strips of them for piquant notes. Roasted Piquillo peppers took their place.

Butterflied white marinated anchovies, Boquerones by Martel are available at Central Market. Ask for them in deli meats and seafood section, they are sold in bulk and you can get the exact amount you need to serve.

pa amb tomàquet | Pan Con Tomate | Grilled Bread with Tomato

Tapa: Pan Con Tomate

Tapa: Pan Con Tomate

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

This Catalonian dish is often referred as the simplest tapa to recreate. The truth is the opposite: you need the right kind of these down-to-earth ingredients to make it truly exciting. Connoisseurs of Pa amb tomàquet tapa only make them with a special variety of tomatoes — Tomates de Colgar, sweet and meaty. Grilled slice of white crusty bread is used a grating tool. First, add garlic flavor, and then grate halved tomato. Soaked with thick tomato pure slice of bread is then seasoned and sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil. It is simple when you have ripe and delicious tomatoes handy. We learned how to manipulate tomato flavor with what we have available — fresh organic heirloom and canned Manzano varieties. One of the ingredients we used for seasoning was sun-dried tomato powder available at Savory Spice Shop.

Angulas | Baby Eel

Tapa: Angulas | Baby Eel

Tapa: Angulas | Baby Eel

Baby eels are part of traditional Basque cuisine. There are canned angulas available at Specs (headquarters, Brodie Lane). All my guests were adventurous and open minded to appreciate this tapa with very delicate flavor and amusing firm texture. Pairs well with rounded and balanced Tempranillo.

Queso con Membrillo | Cheese and Quince Paste

Tapas: Spanish Cheese and Quince Paste | Queso con Membrillo

Tapas: Spanish Cheese and Quince Paste | Queso con Membrillo

Tapas: Spanish Cheese and Quince Paste

Tapas: Spanish Cheese and Quince Paste

Spanish cheese I served is available at Central Market, Whole Foods, and partially at Specs (headquarters, Brodie Lane). Curled Petit Basque was part of the artichoke flower salad. At the end of the dinner, we paid respect to other three great kinds of cheese, traditionally paired with a quince paste called membrillo: 2 month aged Tronchon, 4 month aged (by Don Juan) Manchego, and 3 month aged Majorero.

Spanish Cheese: Petit Basque

Spanish Cheese: Petit Basque

Spanish Cheese: Petit Basque

Spanish Cheese: Petit Basque

Rumbledethumps | Potato and Cabbage Casserole

Rumbledethumbs

Rumbledethumps is a traditional dish from the Scottish Borders. The main ingredients are potato, cabbage, and onion. Mashed potatoes are mixed with lightly sautéed shredded onions and cabbage, seasoned, topped with grated cheddar, and baked until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

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Experimenting with Kvass in Texas

Kvass Tasting Party

“What’s more absurd than a novel about salmon fishing in Yemen?”

Kvass Madness 2016

It’s time to summarize my 2016 kvass quest. Last Sunday, my kvass-craving guests came to Lyukum Cooking Lab to celebrate kvass! I had 5+ batches of kvass and three traditional Russian cold kvass-based summer kinds of soup to taste. Everybody was asked for honest opinions so we could identify the recipe everyone liked the best. The result was somewhat unpredictable. Or, somewhat predictable, because tastes differ. Four recipes out of five found their respective fans.

Kvass Tasting Party

Kvass Tasting Party


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Basting Sauce for Japanese Grill

Pseudo Tare for Yakitori

Tare (垂れ?, “tar-eh”) is a general term in Japanese cuisine for basting sauces used for grilling. Mannen Tare (10,000 year old sauce) is and old school tare created by continuous use in traditional yakitori joints, where skewers are partially grilled, dipped into the tare, and then grilled to doneness. Every dipped skewer brings some drippings of dissolved proteins and fats into the sauce, which makes its flavor more complex and concentrated. At home, we can make a pseudo version of tare adjusted to our taste.

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Ode to Texas Peaches: Peach & Pecan Churchkhella

Peach and Pecan Cowboy Leather

The idea of Cowboy Peach & Pecan Leather comes from my childhood delicacy. It’s a natural fruit-n-nut snack popular in Georgia (ჩურჩხელა — Churchkhella). The main idea is to use what is locally plentiful and in season. In Central Texas, they are pecans and peaches. Unlike grape juice, 1 gallon of peach puree needs only 4 tablespoon of corn starch and 2-3 minutes of boiling to become thick enough for dipping.

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Badambura, Almond Puff Pastry

Badambura

Badambura means almond (badam) pie (bura). It belongs to Azerbaijani cuisine, one of the cuisines of the Caucasus. This multylayered pastry is filled with almonds meal, sugar, and ground cardamom. Badambura is usually prepared for the spring holiday Novruz, but can be enjoyed all throughout the year.

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