Agua de Valencia

November 22nd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Makes 1 Drink

This Cava cocktail, straight out of the Valencia region of Spain, showcases the fresh sweet oranges of the region and makes a terrific addition to any Sunday brunch.


3 ounces cava (super cold)
2 ounces Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon white sugar


Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, and shake lightly. Strain, and serve in a champagne glass.

Empanadas de Pulpo (Octopus Pie Pocket)

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 10-12 Empanadas

In Spain, canned and jarred octopus is a luxury. To use it in empanadas is a delicious way to enjoy the delicacies of the Valencian waters, even from afar. Empanada dough is slightly sweet and thick in texture and does a brilliant job of absorbing the sauces form the inside without becoming soaked.


For the empanada dough

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into pieces
2 egg yolks
¾ cup water (ice cold)

For the empanada filling

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans of pulpo (in oil), chopped
3 medium plum or Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Butter or oil
Flake sea salt


In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly with crumbles about the size of peas. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and water. Add the liquid a little bit at a time to the flour-butter mixture, mix it up with your hands or a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms, a few more tablespoons of ice cold water may be needed. Form the dough into a flat disc shape about the size of a small salad plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Divide the dough in half, and roll out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll into a large rectangular shape. Cut the dough into 4 5-inch squares. Place a dollop of the filling in the center of each square. Fold over the dough around the filling, and moisten borders with wet inger tips. Roll the edges of the border from one side of the empanada to the other in a crescent, making sure just to roll the very outer edge of the border. Place each empanada on a greased baking sheet. Poke one or two holes, using the tip of a knife, in each empanada to aerate them. Sprinkle with flake sea salt.

Bake empanadas for about 15 minutes, take out of the oven, and brush with a little olive oil or butter. Bake again for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Hongos y Ajo (Mushrooms & Garlic)

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4

Garlicky mushrooms make a simple yet elegant appetizer.


1 pound crimini mushrooms, dirt brushed off
5 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
5 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
½ cup white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread for serving


Brush the mushrooms clean, trim off long stems, and cut mushrooms in half if any of them are too big. In a large, heavy bottom sauté pan, heat the oil and chili flakes on medium high heat, add the garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Next, add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat for about 5 minutes, making sure to stir the entire time. Add the parsley, wine, and lemon juice, and stir. Lower heat to simmer, and cook uncovered stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve over crusty warm bread.

Paella Valenciana

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 1 large Paella, Serves 8

Paella Valenciana is essentially the mother to all other forms of paella. Authentic Paella Valenciana is hard to find, but, when you do, you will find it to be as exquisite as paella gets. You can omit the snails in this recipe, but the paella will not be authentic. You can find the snails in cans at most specialty grocery stores.


20 snails
Coarse salt
Spanish olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
3 cups Bomba rice (short grain white rice)
A few threads of saffron
2 cups white beans (lima), canned or cooked
Salt and pepper


Place the snails in a bowl, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Let rest for about 10 minutes. In a paella pan, heat the oil on a medium heat. Add garlic and onions, and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken, and sauté until chicken is just about cooked through. Add tomatoes, making sure to crush them between your fingers so they break apart, and add paprika. Stir. Add green beans, fresh herbs, chicken broth, and water. Add rice and saffron. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the paella is brought to a boil, reduce to low heat, and cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and snails, and cook another 15 minutes, stirring gently every 5 minutes. Make sure the burner is on low heat and that the liquid is simmering gently. Once the rice is cooked, take off heat and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tarta de Naranja (Orange Tart)

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 15 Tarts

This sweet, simple tart highlights the region’s most prized fruit- oranges! Just a taste of these delicate tarts will make you feel like a Valencian!


1 package frozen puff pastry
½ cup water
1 cup light brown sugar
6 large Valencia oranges, sliced round with rinds removed
1 vanilla bean, split open
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
Flake sea salt


Pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Place puff pastry on a greased baking sheet, and poke holes throughout to aerate. In a medium sauce pan, add water and sugar, and stir. Add oranges and vanilla bean, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until liquid reduces by about one third. In another sauce pan, mix honey, cream, and marmalade. Heat enough to warm, and mix until smooth. Strain the oranges from sugar syrup. (An aside: reserve liquid for another purpose, for example, a sweetener for tea!) Arrange oranges on the puff pastry all over. Glaze the pastry with the honey crème marmalade mixture. Sprinkle with a little bit of flake sea salt. Place in the oven, and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut into 3 4-inch squares, and serve.

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