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September 03, 2014

Piquant Cocktail Meatballs

These versatile meatballs can be made with ground pork, veal, turkey, chicken, lamb or beef or try combining them to deepen the flavor profile. They are served with piquillo peppers, tiny sweet peppers from northern Spain. Use any roasted pimiento if you can't find piquillos. Oh and in case you aren't up on your Spanish, pimiento is the Spanish word for pepper.

Makes 60 bite size meatballs


  • 2 pounds ground pork butt
  • 21/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sweet pimenton
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet pimenton
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • About 1/4 cup all purpose flour for dredging
  • About 1/2 cup olive oil for frying
  • 10 piquillo peppers, if using canned, drain and pat dry


    Place the pork in a bowl. Add the garlic, onion, and parsley.

    In a small bowl, combine the salt and the next 7 ingredients. Add the vinegar and stir to make a smooth paste. Sprinkle the spice mixture into the meat and mix thoroughly to distribute the seasoning evenly.

    Allow the meat to stand at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

    Form the mixture into 1 inch balls. Dredge the meatballs in flour, patting off the excess- to prevent splattering while frying. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large heavy skillet. Fry the meatballs over medium heat in 2 batches, turning to brown them on all sides, un cooked through. Transfer the meatballs to paper towels to drain.

    Cut each piquillo pepper into 6 strips. Fold a strip into thirds, spear it with a toothpick and add a meatball. Place on a serving platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

    Posted by terri at 01:52 AM | Comments (0)

    September 02, 2014

    Manchego, Membrillo and Chorizo Grilled Sandwiches

    These Spanish Tapas have 3 traditional Spanish ingredients,each delicious on their own but when paired together the result is 3 times as good. Manchego cheese, from sheep's milk is made in the La Mancha region of Spain. When aged for 3 months it's fruity with a slight tangy note, if aged longer it becomes more sweet. Membrillo is quince paste. Quince is a hard fruit that looks like a cross between an apple and a pear. They aren't eaten raw but cooked until wonderfully sweet. And last but not least is chorizo, a highly seasoned ground pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices. Use the fresh Mexican chorizo for this recipe. The Spanish version uses smoked pork so it doesn't grill as well.

    Serves 4-6


  • 8 slices Italian bread
  • 4 tablespoons membrillo quince paste
  • 6 ounces manchego cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 8 ounces Rioja wine
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Fresh ground black pepper and Kosher salt to taste


    Prick the sausages all over and place into a dish.

    Combine the bay leaves, peppercorns and wine and pour over the sausage. Cover and marinade for 4 hours up to 24 hours.

    Drain the sausage and cook them on a medium heat grill, we used charcoal. Remove when done and cool for 10 minutes. Slice thinly.

    Spread 4 slices of bread with the quince paste.

    Add the slices of Manchego cheese and chorizo.

    Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread to make a sandwich.

    Brush the melted butter over both sides of the sandwiches and season with salt and pepper.

    Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium heat.

    Fry the sandwiches on both sides until the bread is golden brown and cheese has melted.

    Slice in half for appetizer serving or serve whole for full meal.

    Posted by terri at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)