All posts filed under: Spain

Monday Meal Review: Spain

The more I need to laugh, the more I hole myself up in solitude. Does that make me an introvert? This week I holed up… major. I watched my paella turn canary yellow while my husband and daughter played in the yard. The trees were budding. The birds were singing. But I stood in my windowless kitchen. I stared into the paella as it plumped up. I wondered if I could drink in the steam coming off the rice, and whether or not it would conjure up the most honest sort of happiness. Can food do that? Because, if it can, I want to eat it. Surely Spanish food can. The truth is, I was so scared I’d mess up the paella, when my neighbors said they were too busy to join us, I decided not to invite anyone else over to try our Spanish Global Table. It just seemed easier to live a bit in the shadows. You see, I’ve been working on my book to be published by National Geographic in 2014… writing …

Read More

Churros with Cinnamon Sugar

Much to my husband’s dismay, I am not well acquainted with deep-fried desserts. There is one exception: the apple cider doughnuts mom made when I was little.  She’d set up a giant pot of bubbling oil and we’d cut and drop discs of cider dough into the shimmering oil, waiting with glee until tiny donuts bobbed up to the surface, golden brown and irresistible. Then we rolled the puffy rounds in cinnamon sugar. But then… this week… Spain introduced me to Churros… and the words “deep fried” and “cinnamon sugar” popped back into my life… delighting me, Keith, and Ava in equal measure. Churros can be found in Portugal, Spain, Mexico, and even right here in the United States… yet I’d never had them until this week (is that a crime?). The fun bit? Churros can be straight, knotted, twisty, or curly. Or, as with mine, they can take on a life of their own. (Doesn’t wiggly, wobby, imperfect fried dough taste the best?) These strips of eggy dough are piped through a star tip into hot oil …

Read More


About five years ago Sangria was my go-to drink. A sweet, chilled glass served as my weekend wind-down and my mid-week pick-me-up. I sipped the ruby red goodness with friends… and it brought us joy, whether we were laughing or crying. Sangria became such a standby, I even served it at our engagement party in 2007. P.S. Look how glamorous (and eerie) our engagement photo was (Thanks to my amazing friend Rebekah Shannon!) … this feels like a lifetime ago… and I suppose it is, because it’s pre-Ava’s lifetime. But, back to the Sangria. Despite my initial flush of excitement with this Spanish drink, I eventually fell out of love with Sangria; the flavor grew to seem one-dimensional and way too sweet. I suppose the drink felt rather like dating a pretty boy. The fling was nice for a while, but without mutual interests – something deeper – the romance fizzled all too quickly. Then I made a batch of Sangria from scratch. That changed everything. Let’s just say I fell back in love. I made one major change: …

Read More


Making Paella is quite the trick. Making authentic paella is even harder. My mission this week was to make a simple, yet flavorful paella for our Spanish Global Table. Something easy enough for a Monday, but special enough for a Friday. One that would be rather… well… business in front, party in the back. Or maybe not. Friends, I did my research. In fact, I spent a lot of time reading mediocre online reviews of what should have been amazing paella recipes. These recipes were crafted by chefs and superstars yet, without fail, half of the commenters complained of the paellas being bland, while the other half loved the bold flavors. I was mystified, until I happened upon this comment: “If you’re going to use saffron, then use it.” The recipe had, like so many, called for a “pinch” of saffron. After speaking with friends, we agreed that a “pinch” of saffron might lead someone to add three meager strands of saffron.. whereas another might grab a hefty pinch more equitable to a teaspoon (think of Emeril Lagasse’s “BAM” style). …

Read More

Menu: Spain

This is such an exciting week at the Global Table. We’re finally cooking Spain. Let me tell you what… she’s sweet, crunchy, saffron-loaded, and blooming with smoked paprika. And she’s also… well… a little off. You see, I made a teeny weeny mistake on this menu (see Very Important Note #2, below). With humble apologies, I’d like to share this Spanish proverb and hope that we can be… One who draws water from stones. Saca agua de las pierdras.* i.e. Let’s be resourceful and make use out of everything that happens to us, good or bad. i.e. With the right attitude, there are no mistakes in life. Very Important Note #1: Thanks to all of you all who voted on our Facebook Page. You helped determine this fun, relatively simple menu with Paella. Yay! I couldn’t do it without you. Cheers! Very Important Note #2: I got the memo too late on the “Spaniards don’t put chorizo in their Paella.”  Yikes. For more authenticity, feel free to leave it out… this will give you a simple, coastal …

Read More
La Barona avui forma parrt de l'hotel Don Jaime by PCB75

About the food of Spain

Here we are. Spain. No pressure. (bonkers pressure!) When I started this lil’ ol’ Global Table Adventure, I honestly wasn’t sure we’d make it this far. That was more than three years ago. I had a six month-old cooing in my arms. And cooking 162 countries (let alone 195 – now 196 with the addition of South Sudan) seemed all but a fairy tale. But I plugged on. One dish per week. And so, here we are. We made it to the 163rd country! Spain. A rocky land, with a giant dry plateau called Meseta, and scrubby plains. Life is quite different from when we started all those years ago. Now, I have a three and a half year old who only rushes into my arms for brief, sweet respite. The rest of the time, she’s in this world, fully and completely. So, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine her in Spain. I can see her loving it as much as I did. I was there in December of 1998. I swam in …

Read More