Every Wednesday we make it a Brazilian or Hispanic night, I cook a meal and we speak the language on the table, no English, we have so much fun and I will start documenting our summer ones to post here on the blog. I asked our guest blogger Vanessa to send us some ideas for a family night and I hope you enjoy her ideas as much as I have!
Schools almost out and as a working mom of 2 I am always trying to come up with ideas for family nights. During the summer months we love visiting our local farmers markets and picking up all the fresh produce to cook with. Our lives revolve a lot around food, both my kids love “helping” in the kitchen.
In attempt to also educate my children while trying to make it “fun” we incorporate different sorts of foods into our diet. Latin food is going to be our attempt this week. After many days of thinking about it I decide what better food not only for the kids to help with but also Latin inspired, what better then Tapas!!!
If you are attempting to incorporate teaching children a different language what better way then with food!
Tapas can be practically anything from a chunk of tuna, cocktail onion and an olive skewered on a long toothpick, to piping hot meat with sauce served in a miniature clay dish – or anything in between. Tapas are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain. So much a part of the culture and social scene that the Spanish people invented the verb tapear which means to go and eat tapas!
Here are some of our favorite Tapas recipes!
Spanish Chorizo and Serrano Ham Pizza
Pizza is very popular all over the world, including Spain. As in Italy, pizza served in Spain has thin crust and is not overloaded with toppings. Our tapa version of this pizza includes Spanish chorizo sausage and Serrano ham, which gives it a distinctly Spanish flavor. Optionally, spicy Spanish pork chunks also make a great topping. Serve 6-8 as a tapa, or 4 as a main course.
- 2 lb pizza dough
- 15 oz tomato pizza sauce or sofrito
- 1 can (15 oz/443 ml) artichoke hearts, drained (without oil and seasonings)
- 1 jar (12 oz/354 ml) roasted red peppers, drained
- 4-6 oz dry cured Spanish chorizo
- 2-3 oz thinly sliced Serrano ham
- 8-10 oz (226-283 gr) grated mozzarella cheese
- 8-10 oz (226-283 gr) grated provolone cheese
- 20 fresh basil leaves
- Other suggested optional toppings:
- sliced, pitted black olives
- thinly sliced red onion
- fresh cheese, such as feta cheese
- cooked picadillo, spicy pork chunks
- cooked pinchos morunos, pork kabobs
Preparation Time Note: If preparing the dough from scratch, allow an hour for mixing and rising. If preparing the tomato sofrito sauce from scratch, allow 15-20 minutes cooking time.
Prepare pizza dough, or purchase pre-made dough. Cook the tomato sofrito sauce, or use prepared pizza sauce. Heat oven or grill to 400F (200C) degrees.
Divide pizza dough into 8-10 pieces and roll out on a floured board (approximately 6-inch rounds). Transfer to pizza stones or cookie sheets.
Slice roasted peppers into long strips. Slice the Spanish chorizo sausage into thin rounds. Cut slices of Serrano ham into pieces no larger than 2-inch squares
Using a spoon, spread out the tomato sauce evenly over the small pizzas. Sprinkle the cheese, Serrano ham, chorizo sausage and other toppings on the pizzas.
Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling. Remove and cut into quarters. Serve warm.
Easy Fried Peppers, Garlic and Chorizo Recipe – Pimientos, Ajo y Chorizo Frito (my personal favorite)
This typical Spanish tapa is simple, quick and easy. Green and yellow peppers fried with Spanish chorizo sausage and garlic make a colorful addition to the table. Served on a platter in the center of the table, and mound the mixture on slices of fresh rustic bread. It is also a great first course or accompaniment to scrambled eggs.
- 2 long green peppers
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2 fresh chorizo sausages (1/2 lb or 1/4 kg)
- Spanish olive oil for frying
- salt to taste
This Fried Peppers, Garlic and Chorizo recipe makes 4 servings as a tapa. If making as a first course, add another pepper.
Important Note re Spanish Chorizo: This sausage is very different than Mexican or Caribbean chorizo. Spanish chorizo is a firm, drier sausage where most Mexican chorizo is fresh and soft, not cured. It also has different spices than Spanish Chorizo, so it is not a good substitute for this recipe. If you need a substitute, use Portuguese Linguica sausage, which is very similar to Spanish Chorizo and should be easy to find in your local supermarket.
Rinse peppers, then remove stems, seeds and membranes. Cut in slices lengthwise, about 1/3-inch wide. Peel and finely chop garlic Cut chorizo into 1-inch lengths.
Pour 4-5 Tbsp olive oil into a heavy bottom frying pan and heat. When oil is hot, fry chorizo pieces and pepper strips, stirring often. When peppers are browned and almost cooked, add minced garlic and continue to fry. When chorizo and peppers are cooked, serve on platter with rustic bread.