Albondigas and Tapas Recipes

This is an updated post. Long ago in the days before the Get Stuffed! blog there was a monthly newsletter that had the elements of randomness and good recipes that Get Stuffed! has come to represent.

This is an updated version of on recipe from the Tapas newsletter of so long ago.

From the original Get Stuffed! Tapas Issue:

When I was young we avoided Spain like the plague, mostly because the British had darn near colonized the Southern part of Spain and turned it into a much warmer version of Black pool on Sea, complete with chip shops, pubs, more chip shops and balding middle aged men walking up and down the beach with handkerchiefs on their heads knotted into a hat. (And the British complain about baseball caps? Really? I mean I would much rather see a man in a baseball cap rather than a wadded up bit of cloth that he just wiped his nose on.).

As I got older however I rejected my parent’s view of Spain as the playground of the British working class. I found a desire to go to see the great Cathedrals, the Castles of Aragon, Granada and the Alhambra, and Barcelona with the architectural fantasies of Antonio Gaudi. Well so far I have had to settle for the Travel Channel and hitting the Tapas bars around town.

In recent years the number of tapas bars in the US seems to have tripled in the number. It would appear that the demand for tapas is going up? Maybe? If for no other reason than the people (And you all know at least one) who ten years ago said “Let’s all go for Sushi”, and four years ago said “Let’s all go get Thai food.” Now are saying “Let’s all go get tapas”. Maybe it is my skewed deep downer view of the world, but trends come and go, and perhaps the tapas bars will fade into the distance like the long forgotten Automats, soda fountains and more recently Bento. I hope it is not too soon!

Tapas are the original cocktail food, perfect for a small party or a large gathering, and can be almost infinite in scope. From simple smoked ham or mussels, to slices of bread topped with crenellations of blue cheese buttressed by slivers of truffles soaked in sherry.

I have selected some of the most recognizable and simple tapas, a small collection of recipes that can be built upon through invention and innovation. As usual, I hope that you have as much fun making them as I did.

Tons of “stuff” has happened, and well lets just roll into this week:

There is nothing like coming home after a week of family insanity to relax and realize that; the garbage hasn’t been taken out, the laundry has developed a life of its own and because of the nature of evolution (If one believes that we are all retarded monkey fish) the boxer shorts have set up a kingdom that allows trousers and dress shirts, but that shuns the socks and undershirts that have built a very lumpy and unorganized shanty town outside of the hamper, ties being the snobby silk remnants of the lace cravats of the 17th century, which were the descendents of some Croatian throat rag, have colonized the dining chairs and even the backs of the chairs in the living room and study.

The tap in the kitchen has been dripping constantly on a baking dish that was “Put in to soak”, there is an entire acre of virgin rain forest transformed by magic and chemical dyes into junk mail ad’s for tire changes and supermarket coupons, the plants are sad and drooping, the light has been left on in the spare room (that’s going to cost me), there are six notices on the frontdoor from UPS, indicating that they tried to deliver two packages three times and now if I want them I have to travel to Swan Island (During work hours) to collect them.

Yay! Adventure.

Oh and realizing that the fridge needs to be cleansed because the bacon has evolved into a superior life form and is grazing on the lettuce, but shunning the acorn squash which is glowing and giving off small musical signals a la “Encounters of the Third Kind”.

I don’t want to touch the eggs I can hear them moving in the carton…they are saying things about me…I know this! They are bad eggs, pardon the pun.

Maybe I could try my grandfather’s technique and drop half a lit stick of dynamite in and run like he!!

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate adventures?

Hate ‘em.

Haven’t got a bit of use for them.

Maybe I’m getting old. My idea of a good time is a cup of milky tea, a flannel dressing gown and a warm spot in front of the fire by 6pm. Yup, that’s it I’m officially old. It used to be a pint of vodka while ironing my clothes, then off to one chain smoking ear drum bursting bar after another. Until I a) had to go back to work b) passed out in the back seat of a patrol car or c) threw up on Courtney Love…oh like anyone would notice the difference.

Back to tapas!

The best kind of balls MEATBALLS, these are so delectable, I could just eat these balls all day!

Ingredients:

1 Pound of ground beef

1 Onion finely chopped

4-5 minced garlic cloves

1/2 Cup of dried mashed potato flakes or cooked rice

1 Tbs of parsley Minced

1 Egg

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

3 Tbs olive oil

1/2 Cup of beef stock

1/2 Cup of white wine

1 bay leaf

How you do this? Though my heart is breaking, I tell you now:

Mix beef, onion parsley, garlic, mashed potato or rice, egg, salt and pepper together in a bowl Set in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up , form into 1 inch balls. Heat the oil in a large skillet and Brown the meat balls for 1-2 minutes in batches if necessary, set aside, add wine to pan, scrape up any bits that have stuck,add beef stock the bay leaf and the meat balls cook covered 15 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes till liquid is evaporated. Serves 4-6

Wine? Well I would recommend a Spanish red, however the likelihood of finding a good one here on the North West Coast is about as likely as enjoying a movie with Will Farrell. Go with a robust burgundy or pinot noir.

The photograph with the multiple dishes is from the original Tapas issue. Thanks have to go to the Dollar Tree stores for providing the mini baking dishes, Ross “Dress for Less” for the small round ramekins, and the Dollar Tree again for the bread basket in the background. Thanks also to IKEA for the table, and Fred Meyer for the stain and varnish on said table. Considering that this was pre-tripods and professional photographer lighting it’s a pretty darn good pic. Especially as all items were made the night they were photographed after a medical conference in Portland, Oregon.

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