Tuesday, July 15, 2014

GINGER BERRY CHIA PUDDING


I like to have this pudding at room temperature not refrigerated. In Ayurveda, refrigerated foods are considered counter-productive to digestive fire, especially cold breakfast foods since that is the first - and most important - meal of the day after an hours-long fast. Even before I delved into Ayurveda beyond the normal day-to-day that's incorporated into life in India, I was never a fan of ice-cold food and beverages. Instead of cooling me down, they shocked my system and they still do. I have always preferred room temperature water, and even in the summer, I don't care for the chill of the AC. My meals are either warm or at room temperature, never cold. Smoothies and juices included.

This chia pudding is perfectly flavoured with ginger without it being overpowering, and is a refreshing start to the day. Sometimes I have it at dinner and it's equally refreshing and satisfying. As always, use any combination of seasonal fruits you like. Since berries are never as sweet as bananas, mangoes, figs, etc. I like to add maple syrup or raw honey to the oats blend. Because otherwise you'll have a flavourless chia gel that you'll definitely be able to eat, but it won't really be as well-rounded in flavour as when you add a bit of maple syrup or raw honey. I know food should be thy medicine, but it doesn't need to taste like medicine!

Ginger Berry Chia Pudding
makes: 1 serving

- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup raspberries, halved
- 1/2 cup cherries, pitted and quartered
- 1/8 cup oats
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp. Grade B maple syrup or raw honey
- 3 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 1 roasted tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  1. Blend the oats and 1/2 cup water into a smooth "milk". Add the maple syrup or honey if using, and the other 1/2 cup water and blend to mix.
  2. Put the chia seeds in a medium bowl and mix in the oat "milk" and grated ginger. Set aside for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any chia lumps. If the mixture is too gelatinous, mix in a couple of tbsp. of water.
  3. In a serving container, layer as follows: blueberries, 1/2 of the ginger chia mixture, raspberries, remaining chia mixture, cherries, pumpkin seeds.
  4. Serve immediately or leave overnight (this doesn't need to be refrigerated since there's no milk in it).

Monday, July 14, 2014

CULTURED CASHEW SPREAD OR "CHEESE"


This was my first attempt at a cashew "cheese". It seems like it takes a while, but it really doesn't. Most of the time it takes is passive - waiting time - soaking the cashews, culturing  and draining the blended cashews, letting the drained mix mature in the fridge before eating, etc. I think it's totally worth it and I don't mind planning ahead a little. In fact, I will add this to my standby dips and spreads that usually I have at hand in the fridge or freezer: sprouted lentil dip, hummus, roasted red pepper dip, roasted aubergine dip (baba ghanouj/mutabbal), and avocado carrot dip. All of these freeze really well and are terrific when you want a bit of a snack before dinner - or as dinner. I also have any one of these in the office fridge when I know I'll be in office for a few days in a row.

Although this cashew "cheese" makes a great addition to a cheese plate, and was all gone by the end of the evening, I am not sure I'd call it cheese... feels a bit gimmicky. I think perhaps cultured cashew spread or paté is more appropriate. Regardless, I'll be making this much more often, with a couple of changes to make it more firm textured.

Mine had more of a spread-like consistency, probably because I used cashew halves, which absorb more water compared to whole cashews. Also likely because of that, I didn't need to use much water during blending. Taste-wise it was a winner though... next time I'll be sure to hang it to drain rather than setting it over paper towels in a bowl. Use glass containers, not plastic, because plastic absorbs odours and is more prone to fungus - that's going to waste all the effort you've put into making this!



Cultured Cashew Spread, or "Cheese"
makes: two 3 in. x 1-1/2 in. rounds

- 1 cup cashew halves, soaked for 8 - 12 hours
- 1-1/2 tsp. probiotics (I used Yogo non-dairy yogurt starter)
- 1-1/2 tsp. salt
- 1-2 tbsp. water
- fresh or dried herbs/spices (I used fresh cilantro on one round and crushed peppercorns, dried rosemary, and thyme on the other)
  1. Blend the soaked cashews with probiotics until very smooth... like buttercream frosting. If needed during blending, add water 1 tbsp. at a time but try to blend using minimum water. The soaked cashew halves should have absorbed plenty of water already.
  2. Transfer to a glass bowl lined with 3 - 4 layers of paper towels and let it culture in a warm draft-free place for 24 hours (I put it in the oven - while it's off, of course!).
  3. After it's cultured, line 2 ramekins with plastic wrap and arrange your herbs on the bottom. Divide the cultured cashew mix between the ramekins and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let it mature in the fridge for at least 24 hours, and up to 2 weeks, before serving.
  4. To serve: lift the plastic with the cheese from the ramekin and invert onto a plate or cheese tray and discard the plastic. Serve with fresh fruit and crackers or crostini.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CHERRY CHIA PUDDING


Reality check on chia (and other food fads): you're not going to get thinner, more gorgeous, at peace, glowing skin, supple feet, or whatever else product marketers have been telling you by over-dosing on any one or two foods. The only way to achieve any of the above goals (and more) is to work hard to get where you want to be. That means being active but more importantly, eating a large variety of foods, not excluding foods on a whim (gluten-free is another trend but unless you're truly gluten-sensitive or have celiac, you're doing yourself a disservice by eating the guar gum, xanthan gum and whatever else is in gluten-free goods). All grains are good in moderation - they're heavy on the stomach so instead of cutting out an entire group of grains to feel light, simply reduce the frequency with which you consume grains. That way you'll feel light and satisfied. And satisfaction from meals is important to happiness and mental well-being.

Additionally, calm down. Before you start going on a quinoa binge because someone told you it's a complete protein etc. etc., check your facts. Know what a complete protein is really. Rice and beans have been an ancient combination that makes a complete protein. Way before quinoa arrived. It's fine to eat it but there's no need to go nuts and start replacing everything with quinoa. I don't like quinoa and I don't care how great it is, I'll find something else I like. Like millet. Which even now is a part of many cultures world-wide, including Indian. But even so, I know heaps of Indian people who wouldn't dream about eating millet but they worship quinoa. It's silly. No one will give anyone a prize for going overboard on food trends! Eat normally.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is so devoid of nutrition and has resulted in such an unhealthy population that food fads with tall claims work in the US. People are so eager to get their health back that they will spend a lot of money on so-called superfoods to get the same benefits they could get from eating readily available natural and whole foods. Because there's no commonplace system to educate people on how to care for themselves through their diet and lifestyle. It's a trend that is slowly being reversed, but in a somewhat dishonest way. I thank my stars every day that I am from a culture and family that still eats seasonal fresh foods and minimal processed foods.

Moral of the story: make informed decisions, examine food habits of your own culture and adapt to suit your circumstances, examine the source of your information, and educate yourself on how nutrition needs have been met for centuries in ancient cultures. And eat food because you like it, not just because you read somewhere that it's a "superfood". Whatever that means. Satisfying your taste buds matters!!

All that being said, this nut- and dairy-free chia pudding is excellent for adding variety to your breakfast or tea-time snack! It's filling and light, both.

Chia seeds, native to the Americas, are from a plant in the mint family. And while they don't make an excellent herb like mint does, they are a good source of essential fats and minerals like calcium and phosphorous. In fact the nutritional profile of chia is very similar to that of our good old sesame seeds... which are terrific ground into tahini and spread on toast with jam or honey. Or mixed into hummus, which is protein-packed and low-fat.

So chia is native to the Americas, and Native American tribes, Aztecs, and Mesoamerican people ate chia because it's what grew here! Not because they imported it from somewhere so they could eat a superfood and become hot and hip. Those folks definitely ate local!

Tukmaria is another seed that hydrates, swells, and gelatinizes similarly to chia, but the two aren't related. Tukmaria are seeds of the sweet basil plant whereas chia is from the mint family. Sweet basil is the same basil commonly known as Thai basil. Like all seeds, tukmaria seeds also are nutrient-dense and are a bit lower in calories than chia. They can be used the same way as chia, and this pudding would be excellent with tukmaria seeds!

Cherry Chia Pudding
Makes: 1 serving

- 3 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1/8 cup rolled oats
- 1 tbsp. desiccated unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1 tbsp. Grade B maple syrup (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1-1/2 cups red cherries
- 1/4 cup blueberries (or any other fruit)
  1. Blend until smooth the oats, water, and coconut and maple syrup if using.
  2. Put the chia seeds in a bowl and mix well with the blended oats mixture. Set aside for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up any chia lumps.
  3. Pit and quarter the cherries.
  4. In a jar, breakfast bowl, or any other container, add the blueberries. Add about half of the chia mixture, then add half of the cherries. Add the remaining chia mixture and top with the remaining cherries.
  5. Enjoy immediately, or leave overnight on the countertop or in the fridge for breakfast.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

TACOS: CACTUS AND ROASTED POBLANO CHILES (NOPALES Y RAJAS POBLANAS)


Rajas poblanas (RRAa-has poblanas) are strips of roasted chile poblano (photo below), which range from mild to spicy. I love having the smoky flavour of the roasted chile and the surprise spice in a random bite of a taco! They're a classic in tacos but equally fantastic mixed in with beans, added to soups, as a filling for enchiladas/enfrijoladas/enguacatadas, on salads, nachos, on the side with eggs, in an omelette, or in sandwiches.


Fresh unripe poblanos are a deep gorgeous green, and turn into a fiery red when they ripen. Dried poblanos are called chile ancho, and are ubiquitous in most Mexican moles. Rajas poblanas is also a Mexican dish made with chile poblano rajas mixed with crema (Mexican sour cream), onions, and sometimes chicken. It's slightly rich, but one of my favourite Mexican dishes. In addition to tinga, posole, chile colorado, alambres, and all my other Mexican favourites!


Nopales, or cactus, is a very common ingredient in Mexican cuisine. In any good Mexican market you'll find either whole cactus paddles with thorns that you take home and clean and trim yourself, or bags of cleaned, trimmed, and diced cactus ready to cook. I usually get the cleaned and diced cactus because it's a time saver. Cactus can be cooked diced or  the whole cleaned and trimmed paddle can be roasted/grilled. And along with whole roasted jalapeños and spring onions, it's an excellent accompaniment to steak!



Tacos: Cactus and Roasted Poblano Chiles (Nopales y Rajas Poblanas)
makes: 6 tacos

- 1/2 cup salsa: salsa verde (recipe here and here) or roasted tomato salsa
- 2 cups cleaned and diced cactus
- 1 chile poblano, washed
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 12 small corn tortillas (ask the store for tortillas for tacos, which are smaller)
- 8-10 sprigs cilantro (1/4 cup coarsely chopped)
- 1/4 cup finely shredded purple cabbage (or red or green cabbage)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges

Optional garnishes: finely shredded carrots, sliced avocado, onions, jalapeno, pickled vegetables "en escabeche"

  1. Cook the cactus: Bring water to a rolling boil in a large pan. Add the cactus and boil for about 15 minutes, or till the cactus is soft. Don't overcook the cactus till its mushy or you'll have a panful of slimy green pieces! Drain the cooked cactus and set aside. 
  2. While the cactus is boiling, roast the chile poblano over an open flame or in a cast-iron pan until its charred on all sides. Remove from the heat and put it in a covered bowl for 15 minutes. Remove the charred and softened skin, rinsing off any residue. Cut the chile into half and discard the seeds. Cut the roasted chile into strips - "rajas" in Spanish. 
  3. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent then add the cooked cactus and salt. Sauté for a few minutes till heated through. 
  4. Transfer the chile poblano strips (rajas) and cactus into serving bowls. Arrange the cabbage, cilantro, and any optional garnishes in a platter. Warm the tortillas. 
  5. Assemble the tacos: divide the tortillas among plates, stacking 2 per taco. Top with the rajas and cactus, cilantro, and cabbage. Drizzle 1 tbsp. each of the chipotle cashew cream sauce and salsa on each taco. 
  6. Serve immediately with a wedge of lime, additional salsa, cashew cream sauce, and optional garnishes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

TACOS: ZUCCHINI FLOWERS AND FIDDLEHEAD FERNS


Zucchini flowers are most commonly served stuffed and fried. They're delicious that way, but the beautiful colours of the flowers are hidden under the batter and for me, food is about taste and looks. Not fake gimmicky presentations but just the natural good looks of fresh seasonal ingredients. Like the pretty zucchini flowers and ferns in these tacos!



Fiddlehead ferns are the unopened tips of Ostrich ferns that would turn into fronds when they open. They have a very short season in the Spring and don't last too long in the fridge so it's best to get some when you see them in the market (or in the wild if you know how to forage for the right kind of fern), and enjoy them right away, in a day or so at most. Fiddleheads upset some peoples' stomachs but they don't bother me at all. I don't like boiling them because that takes away the texture and taste. So I roast them and they're just perfect!



Zucchini flowers and fiddleheads are quite simple to clean. Zucchini flowers: Remove the pistil and stem from each zucchini flower and gently rinse each flower inside and out. Put the washed flowers on a large dry kitchen towel to soak up water.

Fiddlehead ferns: Remove the outer chaff - brown papery skin - from the ferns and rinse thoroughly. During rinsing remove any remaining chaff and put the washed ferns in a large dry kitchen towel to soak up water. 



These tacos are full of spring flavours and colours! And they go with virtually any salsa, including salsa verde with chiles de arbol, avocado and roasted tomatillo salsa, spicy roasted tomato salsa, guacamole, or even just sliced serranos, avocado, onion, and lime juice.




Tacos: Zucchini Flowers and Fiddlehead Ferns
makes: 6 tacos

- 1/2 cup salsa: salsa verde (recipe here and here) or roasted tomato salsa
- 1 cup fiddlehead ferns, cleaned and washed
- 10 - 12 zucchini flowers, pistils removed and wiped cleaned with a damp towel
- 1 small zucchini, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano (Italian or Greek will do if you don't have Mexican)
- 12 small corn tortillas (ask the store for tortillas for tacos, which are smaller)
- 8-10 sprigs cilantro (1/4 cup coarsely chopped)
- 1/4 cup finely shredded purple cabbage (or red or green cabbage)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges

Optional garnishes: finely shredded carrots, sliced avocado, onions, jalapeno, pickled vegetables "en escabeche"
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C. Lightly grease a baking tray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the cleaned fern heads with 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and paprika. Transfer to the prepared baking tray and roast for 15 min., turning once midway. Remove from the oven.
  3. In a pan, heat the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent then add the zucchini, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook till the zucchini is slightly soft and add the zucchini flowers. Stir the flowers in, and sauté for a minute. Turn the heat off.
  4. Prep the tacos: Transfer the roasted fern heads and sautéed zucchini and flowers into serving bowls. Arrange the cabbage, cilantro, and any optional garnishes on a platter. Warm the tortillas.
  5. Assemble the tacos: Divide the tortillas among plates, stacking 2 per taco. Top with the roasted fern heads and sautéed vegetables, cilantro, and cabbage. Drizzle 1 tbsp. each of the chipotle cashew cream sauce and salsa on each taco.
  6. Serve immediately with a wedge of lime, additional salsa, cashew cream sauce, and optional garnishes.

AVOCADO AND CARROT DIP


This dip comes together in a snap, and freezes really well, so it's a great way to use ripe avocados before they lose it! I'm not sure how I thought of adding carrots to my guacamole but I did, and loved it. So that's how I make it now... but technically it's not guacamole so I call it avocado and carrot dip instead. Regardless, it's totally delicious, refreshing, healthy, and tastes great no matter what you serve it with. I like it with tacos or a few different salsas and chips, or in warm tortillas like a taco, or with roasted vegetables. I very often use it in place of salad dressing - a large dollop of this dip is excellent on a salad.

Hope you all like it as much as I do!


Avocado and Carrot Dip
makes: 3 cups

- 3 ripe avocados
- 1 large carrot (or 2 small ones), cut into chunks
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 white onion, cut into 3-4 large chunks
- 15-20 cilantro sprigs
- 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
- 1 roma tomato, finely chopped (optional)
  1. In a food processor, process the carrot, garlic, onion, and cilantro to a medium dice.
  2. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop out the flesh.
  3. Add the avocado flesh, salt, lime juice, and serranos to the food processor with the other diced vegetables. Process to a chunky-ish consistency till the avocado is mixed in, but don't make a paste! Stir in the chopped tomatoes if using. Taste and adjust the salt and lime.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve with tacos, chips, tortillas, crudités, crackers, or roasted vegetables. Store leftovers in the fridge up to 3-4 days, or freeze.

CHIPOTLE CASHEW CREAM SAUCE: CAN'T EAT DAIRY, NO PROBLEM!



Roasting brings out the nutty flavour in cashews, but raw cashew nuts are mild and take flavours so well that they create the most creamy and delicious dairy-substitutes I've had! Whether it's cultured cashew cheese, cinnamon and nutmeg laced cream to top your fruits, or this delicious and smoky chipotle sauce that goes with oven-baked "fries", stirred into soups, and with Mexican food like tacos.


Chipotle Cashew Cream Sauce
makes: 16 oz.

- 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (~3/4 cup raw whole cashews)
- 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. chipotle powder
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup water
  1. Soak the cashews for 30 min. - 8 hrs. in enough water to fully submerge them.
  2. Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a blender jar in the order they are listed above.
  4. Blend into a creamy sauce, adding more water if needed to get a sauc-y consistency.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SPICY ROASTED TOMATO AND CHILE SALSA: SALSA QUEMADA



Burnt (roasted) salsa. Or salsa quemada (kay-maada), in Spanish.

If you know me, you know my vast love for Mexican food. It's endless and untiring. Combined with my equally endless and untiring love for spicy sauces and condiments it means you're sure to find a slew of dips, sauces, salsas, and pestos in my fridge at any time! I love making salsas because they're so flavourful and versatile - they go with everything. I usually have a couple of different types in the fridge - they're great when I want to put together a quick rice and bean bowl with roasted vegetables for lunch or a couple of tacos for dinner when I'm famished. 



This salsa, like most salsas, is very easy to make and tastes better the longer it sits. It's great with chips, tacos, on a bowl of beans and rice, roasted vegetables, eggs, steak, chicken, with hot fresh corn tortillas, empanadas, pretty much anything... so dig in!



Spicy Roasted Tomato and Chile Salsa: Salsa Quemada
makes: ~ 2 cups

- 8 chiles de arbol
- 2 chiles guajillos
- 4 - 5 ripe Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1/4 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup hot water
  1. Toast the chiles briefly in a a cast-iron or other skillet over medium-low heat until they're aromatic and slightly change colour. This should only take a minute or less... try not to blacken them — burnt chiles add an unpleasant bitterness to the salsa. Transfer the toasted chiles into a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them sit while you roast the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and put the tomatoes, garlic, and onion (cut side down) into the skillet. Turn the vegetables every few minutes to roast them evenly.
  3. Remove the garlic when it has a few brown spots. Remove the onion when it's nicely charred on the cut side, and slightly softened. Let the tomatoes roast until they're soft and blackened in spots. The skin will start to peel and the tomatoes may crack slightly and release some juices. It's ok.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the tomatoes cool. Remove any loose or blackened skin - it should come off easily. Peel the garlic, cut the onion into 2 - 3 chunks. Drain the water from the chiles.
  5. Add the chiles, tomatoes, garlic, onion, cilantro, salt, and lime juice to a blender and pulse until smooth. Adjust salt to taste before serving.
  6. Serve at room temperature or store in the fridge for a week. If it lasts that long!

MEXICAN BEANS: FRIJOLES DE OLLA


Frijoles de olla: free-HOLays de Oyya

An olla is a clay pot used for cooking soups, stews, and beans in Mexico. For these beans you can use a regular deep stockpot or Dutch oven or the faster way that I use: a pressure cooker. Traditionally, beans are also cooked with lard but I never have lard at home and I don't want to buy some just for the beans. So I cook them in oil and they're just fine. If I were using bacon for something, I'd render fat from bacon and use that and the beans would have a mind-blowing lard-y flavour. If you have good real lard in your kitchen, definitely use that to cook these beans!



The beans are not only a side dish, but can be used for so many other dishes: enfrijoladas, borracho or "drunken" beans, ranch-style beans, refried beans, bean soup, and on top of rice or nachos.


In the north and central parts of the country, pinto beans are popular, whereas black beans are more commonly served in the south. I had a bit of both, so I mixed them and I love the outcome.



Mexican Beans: Frijoles de Olla

makes: 8 - 10 servings


- 2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained 
- 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped 
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped 
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 2 sprigs epazote (optional) 
- enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch 
- salt to taste

Garnishes: chopped onions, crumbled cotija cheese, sliced jalapeños, serranos, or chiles de arbol, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, chopped cabbage
  1. Place the beans in the pressure cooker with the onion, garlic, oil, epazote and water. Do not add salt until the beans have finished cooking. Cover and pressure cook until done. Add salt to taste.
  2. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl. Set out the garnishes on the table so each person can garnish to taste.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

SPANISH OMELETTE: TORTILLA DE PATATAS (TORTILLA ESPANOLA)


Eggs, potatoes, onions: what's not to love?! I love this easy-to-make and easy-to-eat Spanish omelette. It's a classic tapas dish, served at room temperature and cut into batons, bite-sized pieces, or wedges. It's also terrific for brunch, breakfast, or a snack. Or any time you want, really.

If you look online, you'll find a ton of information on the nuances of this omelette, including the use of mad amounts of oil to crisp up the potatoes and etc. etc. Well, it's really unnecessary to glorify what is really just simple pub grub made with simple ingredients. I had a boyfriend from Zamora, Spain, and he made this often for us - minus any fuss or needless snoot.


This omelette or potato "cake" is not related at all to the Mexican corn tortilla. And why not? Well, the explanation is quite simple really. Torta in Spanish means cake. Tortilla is the diminutive of that, and means small cake. So anything that sort of resembles a small cake is a tortilla. Although they're all called tortillas, handmade corn tortillas are considerably thicker than the thin machine-made ones we buy in stores, and can easily be thought of as small cakes.



I made this with purple potatoes because I love the colour, but any potato that's not too starchy will do. I like adding a bit of garlic and some kind of pepper to this omelette: toasted black pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, finely chopped jalapeños or other green chiles. They all work really well with the other ingredients. Sometimes I stir in a couple of tablespoons of finely minced parsley as well. You can add a bit of chopped ham or sausage too.

Two things I do to develop a nice texture and flavour, and to keep the eggs from sticking  to the pan are:

  • Add the cooled potatoes and onions to the eggs and let everything soak for 15 min. or so before adding to the hot pan. This is optional, but it develops the texture and flavour really nicely.
  • Add the egg, potato, onion mixture to a hot pan, then turn the heat down after a minute or so of cooking. This prevents the eggs from getting stuck to the pan.


Spanish Omelette: Tortilla de patatas (Tortilla española)
Makes: 1 12 in. omelette

- 6 eggs
- 3 potatoes, sliced or cubed (any waxy kind, not starchy like Russet)
- 1/2 large onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chiles de arbol or 1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil on medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the potatoes and sauté for a few minutes, add 3-4 tbsp. water and cover. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, chiles, and cooled potatoes and onions. Add the chopped herbs if using. Gently fold everything together to mix and let it soak for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil on high heat in an omelette pan or skillet that has 1 - 2 in. tall sides. Pour in the egg mixture and quickly even it out if the potatoes are mounding in the centre. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until the omelette is almost set and the sides somewhat shrink away from the pan. Shake the pan to loosen the omelette - if the omelette doesn't move freely in the pan, slide a spatula under the omelette and loosen it. 
  4. Put a plate, eating side down, over the pan. Invert the pan so the tortilla flips on to the plate. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and top off with any uncooked egg mixture in the plate. Cook for about 5 minutes but not much longer or it will overcook.
  5. In the same way as step 4 above, flip the omelette back on to a serving plate or cutting board.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature by itself, over a salad, with bread, a bit of ham or Spanish chorizo.