Monday, March 29, 2010

Enjoying TAPAS

I attended a great Spring Gardening Conference this weekend. One of the topics was growing TAPAS in your midwest garden. You could make any of the recipes using ingredients purchased from the grocery store. They are perfect appetizers for enjoying in the summer with Wine. I tried a two of the recipes when I got home.

"TAPAS are small, bite-size morsels of tasty food which are uniquely Spanish. Casas de picar means " little things to nibble" - These are the simplest. Pinchos are more substantial. And are usually speared with toothpicks called banderillas( resembling the darts used in bull fighting. Cazuelas are served with a sauce and are served hot. "

Sweet Mini Chilies:

You can buy the seeds to grow these sweet mini peppers in red, yellow, green and orange. Pick them when they are about 2 inches long. There are few seeds in these peppers and they are at the top of the pepper, which makes them wonderful easy appetizers. Wash well and dry the peppers, leave the stems intact. Make a small slit at the bottom end of the pepper with a sharp knife. I then stuffed MANCHEGO cheese chunks in the peppers. In a deep kettle, add about 3 T of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the peppers all at once, coating with the olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes. The peppers should be intact but soft. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Transfer to a serving platter and generously grind course salt over the peppers. Serve immediately. You may need to show your guests how to eat them. Pick them up by the stem and bite from the bottom.

Roasted Grape Tomatoes:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 2 pints or more of grape tomatoes with 4 sprigs of fresh thyme and or oregano, 2-3 T olive oil and 2-3 Garlic cloves, minced. Season with Course salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes are very soft. Serve with Ciabatta bread, toasted with olive oil or soft to soak up more of the tomato juices.

We enjoyed both of these recipes with red wine.

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