Thursday, June 26, 2014

crow's nest.

Zara top; H&M pants; VAS Spanish answer to 'stocks; Badgley Mischka bag

I have a staring problem, but because I feel so well-intentioned in it, I am hesitant to change my ways.  I stare because I love what you're wearing.  You're killin it today, and now I'm sorry but there is just no minding my own business.  I'm Cam Jansen-ing the shit out of you.  The way you've tied your scarf, your cuffed jeans and flats combination, how you layered those shirts --- the front of my brain is like, "Damn, lady!  Good work!" and the back of my brain is like, "REMEMBER THIS! STEAL THIS!"  I am the girl peering at you across the aisle of the train from over the top of my book because your skirt is so good.  I whip around on the street like a creep when someone awesomely dressed walks by just to snag another look at what they did with their chambray button down.  It's not subtle.  I passionately complement strangers.  "Whoa, your bag is incredible," I say to the lady waiting at the crosswalk.  She's either super flattered or she clutches it to herself tighter for fear that the strange girl talking is gonna snatch it away.  It's whatever.  You have to learn how to dress somewhere, and I've never really been one for magazines.  Pinterest will do in a pinch, and sometimes I let Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman do the work for me, but I am most inspired by fashion when watching real women on the street.

In Madrid, for example, apparently nobody overheats ever, because deep into June's 80 degree days, women are slaying the pants game.  This is an all-pants-all-the-time kind of city, derived probably from Spain's overwhelmingly modest dressing tradish, and I love it.  I am learning so much about pants.  Occasionally my body begs me to be freed into a flowy dress and I comply, but for the most part I am having fun pretending to be things I am usually not, ie: structured and semi-classy.  And then today I was a sailor.  So.

(Side note lemon olive oil cracked pepper Maldon basil pine nuts BYE)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

its been a lite 9 months.

God I love when websites post "definitive rankings" of things.  Cereal.  Disney songs.  Instagram filters.  Its like...who says?  Who decided?  You? Why are you the boss?  I did not vote for you.  You are a Buzzfeed staff writer who lives in Brooklyn!  We probably have very dif--- no yeah the exact same taste I take it back.

So because nobody elected me, and nobody died to make me queen, and the best part of having a blog is that you can post Big Ass Statements on the internet and there ain't nobody around to stop you: BEHOLD.

All of the Spanish Sweets I Have Eaten In Madrid, Definitively Ranked

8. Turrón

Large rectangles of almond nougat popular at Christmas, and probably the only sweet capable of vanquishing me. I tend to have no limits when it comes to candy consumption, but one small piece of turrón knocks me straight out.  Comes in two varieties: duro (aka de Alicante), which features whole almonds and the consistency of honeycomb candy, and blando (aka de Jijona), which is mushy and, as my sister astutely noted, tastes like eating straight almond butter in block form.  Really heavy, all of it.

7. Torrija
I was too busy dying to snap a pic of my torrija, and now that Holy Week is long past they are no where to be found.  I borrowed this picture from a list of the best torrijas in Madrid (fitting, no?)
An Easter-time tradition, which I ate standing up at a counter bakery in Sol with a lot of old people (Spanish breakfast, I will never get over you).  I thought I was going to explode.  This thing is an eggy french toast log stuffed with cream and then doused in cinnamon sugar.  Jesus.  I subtracted probably 4 years from my life consuming this.  I regret it a little bit.

6. Churros

Not your county fair's churros.  Subtract cinnamon sugar, add a CUP OF MOLTEN CHOCOLATE.  Oh man.  This is Spain's answer to doughnuts, if in America we ate doughnuts in the early morning to sop up all of the gin and tonics we'd literally JUST finished drinking.  The more famous churrerias in Madrid are old-timey and quaint, but their goods are always super greasy (big crowds=fried in advance=sitting in pond of own oil=very cute).  The truly crunchy numbers are killer, if hard to find.  These are from Churreria Chocolateria Las Farolas, near Tribunal.

5. Tortas de Aciete

I remember seeing these in Whole Foods, which is weird.  They are essentially big crackers brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with white sugar.  A little floral (whole anise seeds will do that), a little greasy (surprise), and so good.

4. Violetas

Only widely available in Madrid, these hard candies are considered a delicacy, and are definitely not for people after something...normal tasting.  I'm all for floral-flavored stuff (rose gelato oh my god, lavender shortbread kill me now), so I dig them, though I believe if you were to eat an aromatherapy candle the experience would be similar.  I don't know how to tell you that they somehow manage to be the tiniest bit medicinal and also so addictive without making you think they are drugs, but that's what's up.

3. Rosquilles de San Isidro

Something Spain does so well is assigning sweets to specific parts of the year.  Bakeries only produce them for a limited time, so you HAVE to go get them before they're gone.  Brilliant marketing scheme slash a great way to tie religious holidays to personal gluttony, Carbs 4 Jesus, etc etc.  In Madrid, rosaquilles are little crumbly biscuits inexplicably associated with San Isidro, the patron saint of the city who is celebrated for two weeks every May.  They come in two varieties: clara (aka egg white, and so is topped with meringue) or tonta (which means dumb, because thats what you are for ordering an unfrosted anise-flavored biscuit).  Elsewhere in Spain, rosquilles are deep-fried sugar-rolled anise-spiked doughnuts.  I ate them hot in Barcelona out of a huge paper sack, and they were amazing.

2. Naranjines

Somehow crunchy and melt in your mouth at the same time, and so SO good with coffee, these orange extract cookies are one of the specialties of the Monjas Carboneras, from the Monasterio del Corpus Christi in Madrid.  They're a cloistered order of nuns, so they literally cannot deal with you in person because you are a member of the outside world, which means that in a spy-like turn of events, you have to wander down back hallways of the convent and then pass notes to each other through a spinny window in a wall.  Not joking.  It's crazytown.  And they sell baked goods, and they are GREAT.  Near-top billing for not only being delicious, but an adventure to procure as well.

1. Batido de Horchata

Theres just no going back from this milkshake.  This beaut was from Horchateria Alboraya, which is billed as the best horchateria in Madrid, and who are we to argue with such a bizarre website.  OR THIS MILKSHAKE HONESTLY I MEAN COME ON.  Horchata gelato + actual horchata, all milkshook together in glory.  The sooner you give yourself over to this the better.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

lock it up.

Ugh.  All hail tahini.  I am such a disciple.  Catch me in the kitchen singing hymns in its name.  If you haven't bought a (big) jar for yourself yet just to see what's up, I honestly can't yell at you loud enough.  Recipes call for only a tablespoon here and there for added creamy nuttiness, but the results are so addictive you'll be making them UH LAWT.  Examples: this dressing has made me crave leftover salad for breakfast on more than one occasion.  And halva spread on apples (Molly says 4:1 tahini to honey, but I go closer to 2:1 because I have a sugar problem) is currently sitting pretty in the top spot of my afternoon snack hierarchy.  Mediterranean dips and spreads are tahini's most common uses, and the following, while not being hummus, is as good a sesame paste gateway drug as any.  Do you wanna be cool or not?!!!?1

(Note: this is totally baba ghanoush, but for some reason the recipe I found and followed did not call it that, so in case I'm missing something **vital** I am going to try to refrain from using its much more fun to say name alternative.

Damn.  Can't find a good Wedding Crashers clip anywhere.  You and I both know what I mean though so let's pretend I linked it.  Cool.)

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Charred Eggplant and Tahini Spread
Makes 2 mains, 4 sides

Assemble spread according to this recipe.  Make sure your oven is generally cleanish first because if there's a weird piece of something in there, at 475 degrees it WILL catch fire and smoke like an SOB and you will have to open all of the windows and gag for a bit.  Moving on. 

for tabbouleh:
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
juice of half lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped (or 1 container cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley 
salt and pepper

Bring quinoa and two cups water to a boil, then reduce heat a little and let simmer until grains are cooked and water is evaporated.  Fluff with a fork.

Stir together lemon juice and olive oil, mashing in the minced garlic.  Pour over quinoa, tossing to coat.  Add veggies and parsley, and mix.  Season with salt and pepper  

Top a little mound of tabbouleh with a scoop of (((baba ghanoush))).   Gobble.  Have crackers or something at the ready on which to slather extra spread because that stuff is so wonderful you will not be able to ignore the leftovers.   All of this would ALSO be delicious and portable if stuffed into a pita.