Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A blog so good you want to eat it ;)

Recently, Joseba and I received a very special box - one that contained a touching present.  A cookbook.  But not just any cookbook - no siree - a personalized cookbook from many family members, sharing thier favorite recipes with Joseba and I as we start our journey as a married couple.

After a bit of a hassle to just get the box (wrong post office, wrong hours, etc), we finally brought it home and anxiously opened it.  Carefully wrapped with beautiful twine and topped off with small flowers, the box itself smelled delicious and that should have given us a clue as to what was to come.  First was a gorgeous set of silver measuring spoons - each adorably engraved with flowers, hearts and a little dragonfly.Each spoon has a different flower but all are equally cute. I unwrapped the present and saw the cover of a cookbook with words in Italian - formaggi, ravioli, pere, etc.  With Tuscan colors the watercolor painting on the front of the book is a beautiful Italian table bursting with tasty treats.  And then I opened the book...and immediately started crying.

I saw hand-written recipes from my great-auntie Shirl, my Grammy, my cousins Vicki and Jacki and of course my cousin, Cathy.  At first, Joseba didn't understand what it was nor why I was crying.  Only after he really took a good look at the book and the individual recipe cards (each person with a different set), did he realize how special the present was.  From soups and salads to desserts and seafood, the book is filled with amazing recipes from special women in my family.  Some I have tried - Cathy's Spinach & Roasted Potato Salad.  Some I enjoyed growing up - Grammy's Ginger Snaps.  Some come highly recommened by Cathy's little notes on the other people's cards - Auntie Shirl's Chicken Wings.  And some I have never tried but make my mouth water just reading the note cards - Vicki's Thai Chicken Wraps and Jacki's Honey Mustard Chicken.  We have recipes for days and also more recipe cards for us to add our own favorites to the book.

Joseba was pretty shocked at the gift.  The amount of work and love that went into it sort of blew his mind.  These types of gifts aren't really given much here, so he was very surprised to see how much planning and care went into this little book.  Not having ever been to the USA or having dated an American, I was happy to show him how an American family is, at its best.  A very heart-felt present, I can't truly express how much it means to me.  Being away from home for so so long, this present made my family feel like they were almost here.  Maybe it was recipes I grew up with, or seeing everyone's handwriting, I don't know, but I couldn't control the tears as they got in the way of my eyes as I tried to read each and every recipe.

On that note, I thought I would share a little recipe with you all that is very common in our home - the Spanish omelette.  It's quite simple (a bit time consuming) and very tasty.  When made correctly it comes out like a round 1/2 inch thick 'cake' of fried potatoes, onions and eggs.  Filling and yummy, we make it for dinner, for going to the mountain (a little tortilla sandwich), for the beach (easy to put in tupperware) and sometimes we even eat it at a bar (it's ubiquitous).  And, to try and make it seem more authentic, I'll throw in the Basque version too, because we just learned how to do recipes last week.  So here goes:

Spanish Omelette (Tortila)
Ingredients (Osagariak)
 - 1 cup virgen olive oil (edalontzi 1 olio)
 - 4 potatoes - peeled and diced (4 patata - zurituta eta kubotxotan)
 - pinch of salt (pixkat gatz)
 - 1 onion thinly sliced (tipula 1 - xerratuta)
 - 4 large eggs (4 arrautza handi)

Preperation (Prestaketa)
In a 9-inch skillet, cook potatoes and onions slowly until tender.  Do not fry!  After cooking, drain potatoes and onions of thier oil and add the 4 eggs (already beaten and salted to taste) to the pan.  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes without putting it on the stove.  Lower the stove to medium-high heat and start cooking the mixture.  Shake the pan to prevent sticking (very important).  When the potatoes start to brown, put a place on top of the pan and flip the pan.  Transfer the mixture back to the pan with the uncooked side down.  Brown the other side.  Normally served in pie-shaped servings with a bit of bread.  Enjoy!

Zartaginean, patatak eta tipula sukaldu sumar daudenean arte.  Ez frijitu!  Sukalduaren ondoren nahasturari olio kendu eta arrautzak (moldatu eta gatzekin) gehitu zartaginera.  Nahastura utzi batzuk minutuak sutegian gabe.  Tenperatura gutxitu medium-gora eta hasi nahastura sukaldu.  Zartagina irabaiki patataks ez eranstea (oso garrantzitsua).  Patatak beltzarandu dutenean, platera bat zartaginaren gainean ipini eta zartagina bestealdea itzuli.  Nahastura zartaginera aldatu.  Sukaldu beste alde.  Normalean, zerbizatzen du pasteleko itxtura eta ogirekin.  Gozatu eta on egin!

While it's not as amazing as your own cookbook with special family recipes, I hope that one day you try it out - its quite tasty.  Here you can find it with everything mixed in- ham, sausage, mushrooms, you name it.  There is a bar by my house that even puts cheese and toppings on it like a pizza.  I added some pics from a long time ago (me my first month here and my friend making us lunch two years ago) so you can 1) see what it looks like (or what it should look like) and how to do the all-important flip!  

The main thing is that I want to do share something from my table with you - albeit from across the ocean.  Another thank you to those who took the time and heart to send us such a special gift that we will cherish for years to come and have already started adding to!


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