Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Spanish Feast for Father's Day

Tonight we had my mom and dad over for dinner and I got to cook up all sorts of good stuff. Inspired by our trip, I decided on a Spanish theme for dinner.

For appetizers and snacks, I made some pizzas and set out a bowl of some nice green olives. There were delicious green olives on every table in Spain! For the pizzas, I copied the two I had tried in Barcelona (featured in my previous post). One had olive oil, zucchini (from our garden!), white spring onion, and black and green olives. Looking back at the picture from our trip, I realized I had forgotten the green bell pepper... Oh well, it was still delicious! The other pizza had tomato sauce, roasted eggplant strips, and roasted bell peppers. They were both great, but this one was super great! (recipes below)

Of course I made Sangria. Mmmm. Fruity and yummy. recipe below

Then, the first course was a lovely gazpacho. I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman's book "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian." I've never made gazpacho before, but I'll definitely make it again. This was really, really good. Plus our super-duper Vitamix blender really blended that soup into a beautiful puree. I think you can see from the picture that it was almost frothy. It's basically like a smooth, liquid salad... and we all loved it. Here are the changes I made to Bittman's recpe: I didn't add any water, I did add about 1/4 of a fresh white onion from the farmer's market, and also about 1/3 cup of blanched almond slivers. Oh, and I halved the olive oil.

By the way, check out the totally cute dishes that my mom found on the street in someone's "free pile." A nearly complete set of 4 big plates, 5 bowls, 3 salad plates, & two big coffee cups! Score!

Main course was Almond-Chickpea-Veggie Veggieballs with Garden Veggie Sauce served over a simple Quinoa Pilaf. I mentioned in my blog post the other day that we had been to a great veggie restaurant in Madrid called YerbaBuena. While looking up the site to make a link, I noticed they had a recipe section in Spanish... including a recipe for albondigas (aka meatballs)! In Spain, Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats had some Albondigas ala Jardinera (aka. meatballs) at a few different places, and absolutely loved them... I was determined to try to veganize them - and once I saw this recipe, I realized someone had already done all the work for me!

The only problem was that the recipe was all in Spanish, which I don't speak So, I copied the text, ran it through a Spanish->English online translator, and started de-puzzling from there. I needed a little help from my friends at the PPK to translate one final ingredient (debittered brewer's yeast), and then I was good to go. This was a really delicious and hearty entree and was a big hit with all of us. Such a nice combination of flavors and textures. I'll include the recipe below, though it was definitely a project... not a throw-it-together weeknight kind of dinner!

Here are my meatballs after being baked, and before being added to the tomato-veggie broth. Cute!

Finally, for dessert, Key Lime Pie. No, it's not Spanish. But it is my dad's favorite, and it's Father's Day, so there. Although, my dad did point out that the Spanish were in the Florida Keys for quite a while! I used Isa's wonderful recipe and it was just great as always.

There you have it... we had a wonderful feast and everyone had a happy, nourished belly!


Spanish Pizza Dough
makes enough for 2 long rectangle pizzas

Whisk together:
400 g flour
1 T yeast
1 t salt
1 T sugar

Whisk together:
250 ml warm water
3 T olive oil

Pour wet into dry, and mix well. Knead 5 minutes. Set in an oiled bowl in a warm place, covered with saran wrap or a dish towel until doubled in size. (I got a crazy great rise - check it out!) Punch it down and divide in two. On a floured surface, roll each half out into a long, thin rectangle and transfer to a big cooking sheet.

Spanish Pizza Topping #1
2 japanese eggplants
5-6 small garlic cloves (optional)
2 roasted red bell peppers, torn into strips (I used jarred)
1/4 c tomato sauce
1-2 T olive oil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil

(Roasting the eggplant - this can be done well ahead of time)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut a few slits in your eggplants and stuff some small garlic cloves into the slits. Roast for about 40 minutes, then set aside to cool completely. Once cool, remove the garlic cloves. (I used mine on some toast) Then gently peel the skin off the eggplant. A little skin is okay, but it should come off easily. Tear the eggplant into small strips.

Now, brush your rolled out pizza dough with good olive oil. Then lightly brush on the tomato sauce. Sprinkle on the oregano and basil. It should just be a light sprinkle. Carefully arrange a few strips of eggplant, then a few strips of bell pepper... alternating for good effect. Sprinkle on a little bit of salt, and a little bit of sugar.

Bake at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes.


Spanish Pizza Topping #2
olive oil
1 small zucchini, cut into very thin rounds
1/2 medium white onion, cut into slivers
1 green bell pepper, diced
5-6 green olives
5-6 black olives
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil

Brush your rolled out pizza dough with good olive oil. Then arrange the zuke slices on the dough, just gently overlapping at the edges. Arrange a scattering of onion slivers and bell pepper dices. Sprinkle on the oregano and basil and salt. Then artfully place on the olives.

Bake at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes.


Amey's Sangria:
1 bottle cheap dry red wine
1 bottle sparkly water
1/2 cup simple syrup
Splash of brandy
Juice from one orange
1 orange with all pith cut off, seeded, and chopped into small bite-size chunks
1 peach or nectarine chopped into small bite-size chunks
1 apple chopped into small bite-size chunks

Combine. Drink. Make your mom sleepy by giving her sangria!


Chickpea-Almond-Veggie Meatballs
recipe from YerbaBuena restaurant
serves 6

For Meatballs:
400 g cooked chickpeas
1 onion, diced small
1 branch celery, diced small
1 leek, white / light green part, washed and diced
2 tsp dried ginger
3 T chopped fresh parsley
3 T chopped fresh cilantro
100 g blanched almond slivers (or pine nuts if you aren't afraid of pine nuts)
1/4 c brewers yeast
1/2 cup hydrated TVP (I used SoyCurls, chopped up in the food processor)
1/2 cup of oatmeal (I figured out that this meant the oatmeal already cooked with water, not just the dry grain. I used quick oats and it was very fast)
1/4 c corn flour (I used Masa Harina)
Salt to taste

For the Quinoa:
1 1/2 c quinoa
3 c water
1 tsp garlic powder (my addition, not in the original recipe)
2 bay leaves
salt to taste

For the Jardinera Sauce:
1 onion, 1/4 inch dice
1 branch celery, 1/4 inch dice
1 red bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 radish, 1/4 inch dice
2 carrots, 1/4 inch dice
3/4 tsp thyme
2 tsp turmeric
1 - 1 1/2 c tomato sauce (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but it wasn't enough)
plus extra water as needed

In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm a little olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and leek, and cook until softening (about 7 minutes). Add in the fresh parsley & cilantro, ginger and almonds and cook another 5 minutes or so. Then turn off the heat and set aside. Once it's cooled off a little, transfer the veggie mix to a food processor, add the chickpeas, and pulse a few times until the chickpeas and almonds are all chopped up, but it's still chunky. Scrape out into a big mixing bowl.

Into the mixing bowl, add the brewer's yeast, hydrated TVP/SoyCurl bits, oatmeal, and corn flour. Stir it all up well, making sure the whole mix is well integrated. Set aside for about 20 minutes.

After the batter has rested, heat the oven to 400 F. Form the batter into ping pong ball sized veggieballs and arrange them on a greased or floured baking sheet. They won't expand or anything, but it's still nice to leave a little space. Next, I used my oil spritzer to spray them lightly with olive oil. Bake 20 minutes, remove from oven - but leave the oven on. Using a good metal spatula, loosen the veggieballs from the baking sheet, roll them over a little, and pop them back in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove and let cool a little. Or a lot, if you are making them ahead of time.

When you are about ready to eat, the meal will come together pretty quickly... during the time it takes to cook your quinoa:

Rinse the quinoa, and add it to a medium-sized pot. Heat over medium-high heat until some of the moisture evaporates - about 1-2 minutes - stirring often. Add the bay leaves, garlic powder, and salt (if desired - I used about 1/4 tsp). Add the water, bring to a boil, and then simmer - uncovered - for about 15-20 minutes until the water is all absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add a splash of olive oil, and the diced veggies for the Jardinera sauce: onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, radish, & carrots. Cook over medium-high heat until soft - about 7 minutes. Add in the thyme, turmeric and cook another few minutes. Add in the tomato sauce, and water if you want it a bit thinner, and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Now, add in the veggie balls and cook for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to stir or agitate the veggieballs too vigorously, so that they don't break up.

Serve the Veggieballs in Jardinera Sauce over the quinoa, and you are all good to go!!! It's a lot of work, but it's a fun special-occasion meal and very much worth it: great flavors, great nutrition, great texture... a real hit. I hope you enjoy it!


  1. This is such a wonderfully inspiring & colorful post! I'm stoked to try the pizza dough!

  2. Anonymous4:18 AM

    Thanks for posting recipes--I know it takes a lot of time to type those out.


  3. Wow! Thank you for all of these recipes, they look AMAZING! I adore Spanish food. I just wish we could get decent olives around here.

  4. fantastic and so desirable...excellent job.

  5. Oooh! All yummy! We will be making and baking and eating Amey Massi's pizza tonight! Thanks for the delicious inspiration!

  6. I would like that pizza NAO plz! :D

  7. Lovely meal, as always. The meatballs sound fantastic@

  8. Looks like you had a fabulous spread - you are quite creative in the kitchen. I mean Spanish food isn't easy to veganize! :)

  9. Anonymous5:32 PM

    What an amazing meal! I can't wait to try the meatball recipe.

  10. The veggie meatballs look awesome! Thanks for doing all the translating for us ;)


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