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Happy Canary Day! Time for some Mojo!

The 30th of May is a special day ’round these parts….it’s “El Dí­a de Canarias,” “Canary Island Day.”  We are celebrating with, what else?  Food!  And so I can get bizzy celebrating, I’m going to leave you with *thee* most popular Canary recipe ever….papas arrugadas con mojo (which, translated, means ‘wrinkled potatoes with mojo’).  Mojo…where to even begin?  There are as many varieties as chefs….the particular version I’m posting here is called “Mojo Picón,” or “Spicy Mojo.” (btw….it’s pronounced MO-ho, rhymes with Soho, though it’s got some mo-joe goin’ on too. ;) hehe).  I’ll do a step by step for the potatoes, for clarity more than anything.  Have a happy Canary day everyone!!


Papas Arrugadas


2 pounds (1 kilo) tiny potatoes
a generous amount of sea salt (more than you think you’d need, like a handful)
2 thin lemon slices
water for potatoes (to come halfway up the potatoes, not to cover them)



Bring potatoes to boil over strong heat.
Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel.


Reduce heat to medium-low, and allow to cook until done (this will depend on the size of your potatoes, but about 20-30 minutes).
Add more water if necessary.
When potatoes are cooked through and begin to “wrinkle,” they’re done.  Like this, see? :)


While the potatoes are cooking, make the Mojo Picón…or if you can, make it the day before…it gets better with time.


5-7 cloves garlic
sea salt to taste
2 mini cayenne peppers (dried)
1 generous teaspoon cumin seeds
1 generous teaspoon smokey paprika
bread crumbs to taste (optional, for gluten free, do not use, or sub with gf bread crumbs)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
water to thin (optional)


Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic, salt, cumin and cayennes to a paste.
Add paprika and mash to combine.
Add bread crumbs (if using) and mash to combine.
Add olive oil and continue mashing.
Add vinegar little by little, mashing constantly to avoid separation (though if it does separate, it’s no big deal…just not as pretty…shake before serving in this case).
Serve sauce with papas arrugadas or Canary cheeses…..oh heck, a quick pimp:

Fresh Cheese from San Mateo, Gran Canaria….a cow’s milk cheese, very soft and mild, just a hint salty:

queso san mateo

Semi-cured Artisan Cheese from Fuerteventura, with a paprika rind (this one is made from goat’s milk, and has a wonderful tang):

queso artesano

And lastly, Aged Artisan Cheese from Fuerteventura (made with goat’s milk and pleasantly sharp):

queso duro

Foodie Blogroll!

Hey everyone!  Jenn over at www.leftoverqueen.com has posted a great sidebar addition for all of us food bloggers!  Whether you actually blog about food, or are just looking for great new sites for cooking and recipe ideas, this is the place to look.  To join, just click the link on my sidebar….I think this is a fabulous way to discover new sites, as well as promote your own…I’ve been a clickin’ fool! ;)

Grana Padano Crusted Fillets with “Risotto”

Grana Padano is basically the same thing as Parmeggiano-Reggiano, it’s just made in a different region of Italy.  If you have trouble finding it, Parmeggiano or Romano or Asiago are all good substitutes.  The other day, Elly posted a recipe for Pork Tenderloin Milanese, with Pecorino Orzo and Tomato topping….I had been craving it ever since she posted, so yesterday I made a similar meal.  So I whole heartedly give credit to Elly for the recipe….I can’t follow a recipe to save my life, though….so I will post my version here too. ;)

grana padano fillet and risotto

For the fillets….I just bought regular pork fillets, loin works well for this.



2 pounds (1 kilo) pork fillets
1/2 cup freshly grated grana padano cheese
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
salt and pepper to taste


First, season fillets with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine grated cheese and bread crumbs on a deep plate and set aside.
Beat eggs until frothy, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
First dredge the fillets in egg, then in bread crumbs, shaking off any excess.
Reserve fillets on a plate.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a deep pan.
Fry fillets until golden, depending on thickness, this should take about 3-4 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towels.

Now for the “risotto.” I have that in quotes, because I actually made this with orzo instead of rice, but the preparation was similar to that of risotto.



10 ounces (250 grams) orzo
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
1 double boullion cube (I used chicken flavor)
cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated grana padano
1/2 cup chopped parsley


In a large sautee pan with a lid, melt butter.
Sautee garlic and onion until translucent, then add orzo, and season with pepper.
Stir around a bit, until orzo begins to slightly brown.
Add wine and stir constantly until mostly absorbed.
Add water 1 cup at a time and stir constantly until absorbed after each addition.
Remove from heat, stir in cheese and parsley.

Gazpacho…Refreshing, Light and Delicious!

Apart from paella, I think that gazpacho has got to be one of the most quintessential Spanish foods.  The region of Andalucí­a is best known for this cool and refreshing warm weather treat, though there are as many variations of gazpacho as there are chefs…I give you the basic recipe, as taught to me by a friend’s mother, originally from Jaén (also known for their wonderful olive oil).  The “salpicón” or vegetable relish can include bread cubes or croutons and/or chopped boiled egg.  (This recipe can easily be made gluten free by either substituting gluten free bread, or omitting the bread and adding less water.)



2 pounds (1 kilo) very ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
1 smaller cucumber
1 italian pepper, stemmed and seeded
1 small day old baguette (about 1/2 cup), torn into pieces
sea salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (to taste)
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
water to taste


You’ll need a pretty powerful blender for this, or a food mill in addition to the blender for removing seeds/tomato skins afterwards.
First, mince a bit of tomato, onion, cucumber and pepper.
Toss together for the vegetable relish.
Roughly chop vegetables and add to blender, and pulse a bit to break them up.
Toss in bread pieces.
Season with salt and pour in vinegar and oil.
Process until smooth (if you see that the seeds and skins are still visible, you’ll need to run the gazpacho through a food mill to eliminate these…you want a nice smooth soup).
Add water to taste…normally gazpacho is neither thick nor thin…somewhere in between.
Adjust seasoning, vinegar and oil to taste.
Refrigerate until very cold, or alternatively add ice cubes to chill before serving.
Serve with reserved vegetable relish and, if desired, bread cubes and chopped egg. I like to drizzle each with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. It’s pretty! :)

Curry Chicken

When I was in college, I worked at an Asian restaurant. My boss, Cam, made the best curry chicken for us–this was special, off the menu, employees only stuff…I tried for years to recreate it, and finally, *finally* got it right. Since then, it’s evolved a little. I’ve added my own touches to it, and it has become one of hubs’ favorite foods. Add more vegetables at will. ;)

curry chicken


2 lbs (1 kilo) boneless skinless chicken
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 beef double bouillon cubes (Knorr) (for gluten free, use a gluten free substitute, or just omit)
3 tablespoons curry powder (for gluten free, be sure your curry is certified gluten free)
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 tablespoons peanut butter
a handful of peanuts (about 1/3-1/2 cup)
1 glass white wine (more if the chef wants one ;) )
2 cups water
white pepper
7 ounces (190 grams) coconut milk
cornstarch, and water to thicken (I use 1/4 cup water and 3 tablespoons cornstarch, about)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro


Cut chicken into cubes, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Slice onion in julienne, and mince garlic.
In a large wok, heat oil to just below smoking.
Add garlic and ginger, and stirfry until golden.
Add chicken, and stir fry until cooked through and browned a bit, you’ll want the juices from the chicken to evaporate.
Add onions and toss around a bit.
Pour in wine and reduce to about half.
Add peanut butter, boullion and curry.
Stir to coat well, and until peanut butter has melted.
Add peanuts and water, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until flavors have blended well.
Add coconut milk and heat to just below boiling, then add cornstarch slurry to thicken as desired.
Stir in chopped cilantro.
Serve over steamed rice, with chopped cilantro and peanuts to garnish.
I like it a bit spicy, so I also add chopped chilies, or cayenne while cooking.

Chevre with Turkey and Cassis Mustard Canapés

A while back, a local store was having a European Food Fair.  I couldn’t wait to get there, and spent hours pawning over the interesting food bits from all around Europe…After having spent way more than I should have on various tidbits, I came home with bags full of fun things to try.  One of the things I bought was “Moutarde au Cassis,”  or Cassis Flower Mustard.  Sounds good, doesn’t it? :)   I knew I wanted to do some kind of canapé, to showcase the pretty pink substance that had captured my eye and piqued my interest.  The results were even better than I had hoped….I think maybe I’d put a wee bit less mustard on next time, but all in all….Yum.  :)



6 slices pumpernickel or other dark, dense bread, sliced into 3 rectangles each
1/3 cup chevre cheese
18 very thin slices of smoked turkey (depending on size, you could also get along with 9, sliced in half)
cassis mustard to taste
watercress leaves to garnish


Spread each rectangle of bread with chevre, then top with turkey and mustard.
Garnish with watercress leaves.
Note***I think some thinly sliced cucumber would be great on these as well.


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