SPRING FINDS US FULL OF WINTER’S SLOW-ROASTED MEATS, HEARTY
chicken stews and creamy pasta dinners. We no longer crave comfort. We want sensation, color, and freshness. We found our desires fully satisfied in our simple supper of Spanish tastes.
Thyme Scented Green Olives
Spanish Peasant Soup
Spicy Sausage and Queso Manchego
Gluten–Free Cinnamon Rolls and Hot Tea
Our meal begins with a plate of savory green olives that have been marinated in thyme, garlic, and olive oil. This little dish assembles in less than five minutes and marinates for two days, but it can be enjoyed throughout the weeks to come, a gem of an appetizer to serve with a glass of chilled Fino sherry just before you bring out our colorful Spanish Peasant Soup.
A beautiful blend of garbanzo beans and fresh vegetables accented with paprika, turmeric, basil, cinnamon, and cayenne, the soup can be prepared in less than 45 minutes start to finish. Additionally, just one large bowl full will supply your body with three recommended daily servings of vegetables and one large recommended daily serving of beans. What more could you ask for? It is a nutritional powerhouse in an Impressionist landscape.
We round out our meal with slices of a spicy store-bought chorizo sausage, a chunk of Spanish Manchego cheese (available in the cheese section of most supermarkets), and crusty bread that can be used for dipping into the soup. Pour a sturdy bottle of Rioja and sit back to enjoy your food.
End the meal on a sweet note with fresh homemade cinnamon rolls and hot tea. Spanish cuisine makes abundant use of cinnamon, and we've put it to good use in our rolls. We enhanced a simple sweet dough with spice and an old- fashioned sugar glaze to create a special dessert that will bring smiles.
THYME-SCENTED GREEN OLIVES
Prepare several days in advance
7 ounces large, green Spanish olives
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon lemon rind
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Crush the olives lightly with the flat side of a broad knife.
- Combine all the ingredients in a plastic or glass container. Cover tightly and shake to mix. Keep at room temperature for 24 hours. Then refrigerate for at least two days.
- To serve, bring olives to room temperature.
©2006 Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts
SPANISH PEASANT SOUP
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 cups sweet potatoes*, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
½ cup diced celery
1 cup diced tomatoes**
1 cup diced yellow peppers
1½ cups cooked chickpeas
3 cups of stock or water
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, and celery. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add seasonings and stock.
- Simmer, covered, for fifteen minutes. Add remaining vegetables and chickpeas. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Cook's note: One 15-ounce can of beans equals 1½ cups of cooked beans. One cup of dry beans yields 3 cups cooked. One pound of dry beans yields 6 cups cooked.
*Carrots or butternut squash can be substituted for sweet potatoes.
**We recommend Muir Glen® Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes.
©2006 Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts
Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free
Makes 8 rolls
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
7 tablespoons skim or 2% milk (110°F)
1 tablespoon dry yeast granules (not quick rise)
¼ cup sweet rice flour, separated
¼ cup sugar, separated
1¾ cups brown rice flour mix
1¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (room temperature is best)
2 tablespoons Canola oil
Rice flour (about 2 tablespoons, used to flour board)
1 tablespoon melted butter
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk or half-and-half
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine warm milk (110°F), yeast, 1 tablespoon of the sweet rice flour, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a measuring cup; stir until well blended. Cover with a towel and set aside to proof for 5 to 10 minutes (mixture should become foamy).
Mix eggs and Canola oil together in a small bowl and set aside.
Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.
- Mix brown rice flour mix, xanthan gum, salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons sweet rice four and 3 tablespoons sugar in large bowl of electric mixer. Add warm milk/yeast mixture, egg, and oil to the bowl; mix until just blended. Scrape bowl and beaters, and then beat at high speed for 3 minutes.
Liberally spread rice flour over surface of a wooden board and lightly flour hands. Use a spatula to move dough out onto the wooden board in a ball shape. Dough will be sticky. Roll dough around in the rice flour until it is lightly covered. Gently press into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle with your hands.
Lightly brush melted butter over top of rolled dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Starting with 8-inch side, carefully roll dough jelly-roll fashion. Do not roll dough tightly; the individual rolls will rise better if they are more loosely rolled.
Use a small, sharp knife to cut 8-inch roll of dough into 8 1-inch slices. (Don't worry if slices seem loosely rolled). Coat knife with rice flour if dough is sticking to it.
- Carefully arrange slices in prepared cake pan so that they do not touch (put six around the outside of the pan and two in the middle). Cover with a light dishtowel and let rise in a warm place until rolls have doubled or more in size and have filled pan (80°F is ideal and almost essential for this very heavy dough to rise in 1 to 1½ hours).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Position rack in center of oven. Place rolls in center of oven and bake about 20 minutes, until light golden and cooked though.
Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Spoon over top of rolls. Serve warm.
Dry ingredients can be mixed ahead and stored in plastic containers for future use. But do not add yeast until just ready to bake rolls.
Rolls can be prepared in advance: Bake according to directions. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan on a rack. Store in a tightly sealed plastic container in refrigerator for up to three days. Wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil to store in freezer for up to three weeks. Wrap in foil and rewarm in 350°F preheated oven.
©2006 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts