Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Slice of Sunny Spain

 Pablo, with Vanilla


    Earlier this month,  Allison invited her friend Pablo,an exchange student from Spain to stay with us for a few days.  The semester was over and Pablo's plane ticket wasn't until the next Monday, so Allison thought he might enjoy seeing what average American family life was like.  Of course we were all charmed by him and even Vanilla gave Pablo his heart!  It was so interesting to hear from him about Spanish eating habits.  We learned that breakfast in Spain was almost nothing - just a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of toast at most.  Lunch, the main meal, is no earlier than 1:30.  Dinner is served at 9:00, but can often be even later.  Pablo, however, was very gracious and fit right into our three square meals a day schedule.  While he was staying with us, I didn't attempt to serve him anything "Spanish" - I knew I would fall far short of the real thing! Although after he left, I couldn't resist cooking up some "Spanish" dishes our family has enjoyed in the past.  The olive recipe is fabulous as part of a tapas spread and just delicious with some warm, crusty bread to soak up the olive marinade sauce.  The salad is a bright and light side dish that would compliment any meat, but goes especially well with the chicken recipe given below.
Marinated Olives - Refrigerated, this will keep for a week - serve at room temperature

Mix all the ingredients together - very yummy!

1 can whole pitted black olives, drained and rinsed
1 small jar Spanish style green olives, drained
2 cloves of garlic, put through a press
2 teaspoons dried rosemary                                                                        
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup olive oil

             Sunny Salad                                                                              
Peel and slice the oranges
2 to 3 oranges

2 avocados
2 to 3 tomatoes
½ cup whole pitted black olives, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, sliced
Seed and chop tomatoes, avocados
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons
 olive oil

Mix everything together - Yum!
Chicken with Paprika and Peppers
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Spanish style paprika
2 cloves garlic, put through a press
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine the paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper to make a paste and rub it onto both sides of the chicken breasts.  Put the chicken breasts in an oven safe pan and arrange the pieces of the sweet red peppers around them.  Shake a little bit of paprika, salt, and pepper over the red peppers.  Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chicken and peppers and drizzle a bit of olive oil over it as well.  Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Serve by putting some of the baked red peppers over each chicken breast.  It is really good with a dollop of Greek yogurt or low fat sour cream on the side.

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