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Spain

Salvador Dali in Barcelona

If you are lucky enough to visit Barcelona this spring or summer (2011), you should not miss the Salvador Dali show. In the center of the Barri Gotic sits the magnificent Barcelona Cathedral. The Dali show is in the plaza surrounding the Cathedral.

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Dali is the essential Catalan artist. His whimsy and surrealism captures Catalonian spirit. Perhaps he created it. This exhibit displays paintings, sketches, and sculptures by the artist as well as photographs of the artist. It’s a comprehensive show that is enlightening, fun, puzzling, and entertaining. Just like Dali himself. Mostly known for his wild mustache and his painting The Persistance of Memory, there is a great deal more to be learned here about this complex artist. He started life with the name of his dead older brother. If that’s not enough to make you loopy, his mother died when he was sixteen. He dabbled in films, set design, and was the first artist to experiment with holography. He married the great love of his life and when she died, it is said that he lost his mind and his will to live.

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If you don’t have time for a side trip to Figueres where the artist lived and the Dali museum is, you should not miss this show.

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Posted by teethetrav 07:28 Archived in Spain Tagged art barcelona catalonia salvador_dali barri_gotic barcelona_cathedral Comments (0)

Return to Barcelona

First Stop: La Boqueria

Returning to Barcelona means a return to La Boqueria right in the middle of La Rambla, the most famous boulevard in the city. 326.jpg My favorite market in Europe, La Boqueria is the perfect first stop in Barcelona to have a snack of tapas DSC02900.jpg and shop for a picnic. Before I leave I’ll load up on goodies to bring home. But as soon as I arrive, I need to have tapas. DSC02899.jpg The classic tapas place is Bar Pinotxo, run by Juan and his family since forever. Belly up to the bar and grab a stool if you can find one. If not, wait because it is so worth it. Try anything. It’s all good. If it’s early in the day, try an empanda or an ensaimada with a cup of coffee. Or, try a bowl of Juan’s indescribable chickpeas. Hearty and full of flavor, this dish alone makes me come back to Barcelona.
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Now that you have a full belly, wander the aisles and you’ll find fresh produce, fish, spices, and an overwhelming array of cheese and meat counters. This is a great place to buy fixings to take with you when you go sightseeing. We bought bread, jamon, and machego cheese at Aroma Iberic and we were set for the day as we went in search of all things Gaudi. We nibbled as we went. NOTHING in this world is tastier than iberico jamon on a piece of fresh bread, topped with a slice of cheese. For dessert, load up on chocolate treats at Vidal Pons. I’m definitely going back. Soon.
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Posted by teethetrav 15:47 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona travel spain jamon la_boqueria bar_pinotxo manchego_cheese Comments (0)

Spanish Food: Favorite Chicken and Rice Recipe

Arroz con Pollo

Arroz con Pollo
Chicken with Rice (Spanish Style)

When I was travelling in Spain, I was struck by the quality and variety of ingredients there. There is a nearly endless array of Spanish foods. Many people don’t realize there is a wide variety of Spanish cooking. Mexican food is quite different than Puerto Rican cooking. Different South American cuisines are and ingredients are vastly different, too. Within Spain itself, there are numerous regional favorites and scores of ways to prepare food. Five favorite ingredients all over Spain are: onions, smoked paprika (not regular…smoked), chorizo sausage, chicken, and the staple in every kitchen, rice. Here is my favorite chicken with rice recipe.
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Serves 4
Extra virgin olive oil
6 chicken thighs or 3 breasts cut in halves
1 large sweet or Spanish onion, diced roughly
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 oz. of chorizo, diced (hot or mild depending on your taste)
4 oz. of diced pancetta (prosciutto will do if you can’t find pancetta)
1 cup rice
1 large can chopped tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Use enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet or casserole dish. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Fry until brown on all sides. Remove from pan and put on a plate.
Add the onion to the pan, making sure there is enough olive oil. Cook 8-10 minutes until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the diced chorizo and pancetta pieces. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the olive oil is turning red. Stir often.
Add the rice and stir. Let the rice cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, seasonings, bay leaves and stir. Let the rice cook for 10 minutes on a low heat. Add the chicken back in and continue to cook, covered over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the rice is still crunchy but not hard and the chicken is no longer pink inside. Garnish with parsley, remove the bay leaves, and serve.

Side Dish Suggestion
Zucchini with parmesan cheese. Slice and grill or bake for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and parmesan cheese before cooking.

Posted by teethetrav 14:49 Archived in Spain Tagged food Comments (0)

Empanada Recipe with Chorizo Filling

Spanish Pastry

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There nearly are as many recipes for EMPANADAS as there are fans of this doughy, delicious filled pastry dish. Some make one big empanada. Many enjoy small fist-sized empanadas. They are all delicious and worth trying. Here is my favorite (and easiest) recipe.

Large Empanada with Chorizo
½ pound chorizo diced into ¼” pieces
½ pound diced pancetta
1 large or 2 small diced Spanish onions
2 large diced red peppers
olive oil
2 Pillsbury pizza dough

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat the onions in a large pan in olive oil until translucent (about 8 minutes). Add the red peppers. Cook another 6 or 7 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add pancetta and chorizo and let them brown.
Meanwhile, place the first roll of pizza dough on a cookie pan which has been coated with olive oil. You can line the pan with parchment paper or foil. Coat the pizza with olive oil.
When the chorizo mixture is finished, spread it on the pizza dough. Cover with the other pizza dough and pinch the edges closed. Spread the top with olive oil and make two or three slits for steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes or until the entire thing is golden brown.
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Here’s a beef filling:

Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
½ pound bliss or butter potatoes, diced into one inch cubes and boiled until semi-soft
1 large or 2 small Spanish onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¾ cup shredded cheddar or any sharp cheese
Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat the onions in a large pan in olive oil until translucent (about 8 minutes). Add the garlic. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Put the ground beef in and begin to brown. When the beef is cooked through, add the potatoes.

Prepare the dough the same way as for the chorizo filling. When the beef mixture is spread on the dough, sprinkle with the shredded cheese.

Posted by teethetrav 12:45 Archived in Spain Tagged food Comments (0)

In Spain: Dream Desserts

Why Aren't Spaniards Fat?

It’s astonishing how attractive people in Spain are and even more astonishing is the fact that they don’t weigh four hundred pounds each. If I lived there, I’d have a weight problem and I’d certainly develop angina from all the cholesterol I’d consume.

First and foremost, I’d consume pork products daily. Iberian jamon for breakfast, chorizo at least once a day, and I would have to have frequent, large samples of a wide variety of sausages. Moving on, for snacks I’d nibble on Spanish cheeses. I’d offset the cholesterol from the cheese with copious amounts of red wine. The vino tinto would cancel out the cheese because we all know how good red wine is for us, don’t we?
If all that didn’t kill me in a few months time, the desserts definitely would. First, can we talk about churros? Fried dough. Lots of it. On a plate and served with something akin to hot chocolate but it’s really more like thick chocolate pudding. The churro is dipped into the thick chocolate drink and devoured for breakfast or for a snack. That sound you just heard was me sighing with desire and unbuttoning my pants because even the thought of this gooey, wonderful mess makes my waist expand. Churros are made upon request and you can watch the entire process at almost any stand that sells them.
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Another popular and seductive treat is waffles. Waffles served with oozy, drizzly, thick chocolate and—if you’d like even more decadence---ice cream. Like I said, how do these people not explode? Irresistible!
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I’ve saved the best for last. The Spanish island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands seems to be the only place in the world where a pastry called ensaimada is made. I was introduced to this unique taste treat on the PBS show “Spain…On the Road Again” with Mario Batali, Mark Bittman-the New York Times food critic, Gwyneth Paltrow and Claudia Bassols. This series provides great armchair travel through Spain, its best sites and (even better!) its best foods and wines. Mario ferreted out the best ensaimada in all Mallorca. High on my priority list of places to go, its a bit of a challenge to find. Deep in the heart of Palma de Mallorca, a tiny hole-in-the wall place on a tiny side street contains one of the world’s seven wonders. In Ca’n Miguel you can find the lightest most amazing pastry I have ever tasted. Wound into a spiral and baked, this creation melts into your mouth and left me unable to speak. Cooked with no one knows how much pure lard (yes, lard) I would eat it twice a day if I could. The name apparently comes from the Arabic word saïm which means pork lard. You can get ensaimadas filled with cream or plain. Although the cream is delicious, it’s so good on its own that I prefer the plain. Large ensaimadas are the size of a pie and when you leave Mallorca you see people carrying them back to the mainland in pastry boxes handled as carefully as infants. They are every bit as precious.

Posted by teethetrav 11:02 Archived in Spain Tagged food Comments (0)

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