(Originally Posted 1/5/2015) This Christmas, my mother gave gifts of homemade membrillo – or quince paste – the thick spread that comes with Manchego cheese and Marcona almonds when you’re trying to set a Spanish sort of mood.
I believe the recipe for the membrillo came from Kevin West and Saving the Season. Here is West’s “Quince Primer” and a short membrillo recipe from his blog and a longer discourse with recipe. He has a lot to say about quince.
So, of course, we needed to have a Spanish dinner party. One product does not a whole dinner menu make. . . even if you add in the concept of Sangrias. But then we received a damaged copy of 1,000 Spanish Recipes by Penelope Casas at the bookstore and I had my menu.
As Eater.com put it in this post after Casas passed away in 2013, she was to Spain what Marcella Hazen was to Italy, Madhur Jaffrey is to India, or Diana Kennedy to Mexico. (By the way, if any damaged and non-returnable copies of books by any of those authors want to arrive at the store, I welcome them).
I put together a menu (below). One note: this is non-representative of the cookbook in that it doesn’t include seafood. It’s Vermont. I’m in Montpelier, that’s not even on Lake Champlain – the closest we come to a seashore (which isn’t very close). We faked it for the Portuguese dinner but there were so many non-seafood-containing recipes among the 1,000 that I felt like I didn’t need to for Spain.
Another note – because I took these all from a cookbook, I can’t really link to an online source and give notes on what I changed like I usually add to the menus. To make up for it, I’ve linked to some interesting asides, with recipes.
- Membrillo & Cheese & Flatbreads
- Chorizo Lollipops – The AARP actually reproduced this recipe here (I didn’t used the loaf of bread, I put them on a well oiled serving plate)
- Chorizo (not lollipopped) and Creamed Blue Cheese with Brandy
- 3 Color Paella with Cheese & Almonds
- Pork & Pomegranate Paella – Okay, maybe I didn’t follow every recipe, for this one I used pomegranate molasses I had onhand (instead of making it) and added a whole bunch of fresh pomegranate seeds on top at the end. Also, I used radicchio for the greens (it’s purple and it looked pretty).
- An aside on paellas – Penelope Casas would undoubtedly be horrified, but I love this PIttsburgh Post-Gazette article on Paella Fest with a Pizza Paella recipe. Pittsburgh seems to be an endless source of news articles reviewing the food at wedding rehearsal dinners.
- Chicken in Pureed Onion and Wine Sauce – I ended up with a lot more people arriving than I expected, so I also used this sauce to dress a chick pea and corn warm salad.
- Aranda Bread Tortes – Again with the not following recipes exactly, we have a sourdough starter going and so I used that in flavoring the bread because when you have a sourdough starter, you look for those kinds of excuses.
- Moorish-Style Green Salad with Cumin & Paprika
- 16th Century Cheesecake and Candied Oranges – Also, candied oranges on vanilla ice cream. And the syrup from the oranges tastes really good mixed with Frangelico to make an additional ice cream sauce.
- The crust for the cheesecake had a lot in common with the Campfire Baklava recipe from food historian Paula Marcoux’s Cooking With Fire. I felt very smart knowing that. Here’s a story on the baklava (which Paula demo’d for us in Montpelier, too).