At our last meeting, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans decided on a date and theme for our next get-together: it would be Spain at Emily's house on August 26. At the time, the summer was just beginning, I'd just completed my first week of camp, my tan had yet to develop, and school was the farthest thing from my mind.
Nine weeks of sun later, August 26 rolled around, my first week of school was nearly complete, and the time had come for the Sisterhood to meet again!
Spain is near and dear to my heart, as it was the first (and only) European travel experience I've ever had, and well, being a Spanish teacher, the rest is obvious. I love the language, the culture, and of course, the food.
After work on Thursday (I've had some blog uploading issues, hence the late post), I met my mom at her house and we carpooled to our meeting place. The car smelled delicious on our way there with both of our dishes sitting in the back seat.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Murphy, Emily's adorable Shih-Tzu/Tibetan Terrier mix. I wanted to just cuddle her!
There was also, of course, Spanish wine to enjoy. I'd recommend either of these!
The wine was flowing, as was the conversation, while everyone put the finishing touches on their dishes. It was so great to catch up with everyone after so many weeks! Emily's son Luca came in to say hi to everyone too!
Ok, I'll just get to the food already. We had a variety of tapas-style dishes, including croquetas made with (you really should sit down for this ingredient list) butter, cream, flour, ham, chicken, and then they were rolled in breadcrumbs and pan fried. Croquetas are among the most popular tapas dishes, and they're found on most tapas menus across Spain.
Liz had hit the jackpot at Green City Market earlier in the week and purchased shishito and padron peppers, which she flash fried in oil and then we dipped in a salbixada sauce. This was a dish that hailed from the Cataluña region of Spain, where Barcelona is. Let's just say, these were phenomenal! They were dusted with sea salt, and then devoured faster than Liz could fry them!
Sue (you know her as Eo) brought a marinated orange salad with nuts and red onions, as well as a phenomenal cooked mushroom, olive, and tomato salad that I could've eaten by the bucketful.
Amy got to work setting up all of her gazpacho toppings. The recipe can be found on her blog, WorldPlates, and I kid you not, it was the best gazpacho I've had in a long time, if not ever. She brought a multitude of toppings, including the traditional "pan frito" or fried bread, cucumber, and then some non-traditional ones: egg, crab, avocado, and an herb that I can't remember the name of.
At this point, we sat down at the beautifully set table to begin enjoying all of our other dishes. I couldn't wait to dig in!
First, we enjoyed a cool bowl of Amy's amazing gazpacho. I topped it with a little of everything. I'll be making it soon for sure!
Then, we brought our plates into the kitchen to serve ourselves some of the other main courses. Emily made Pisto Manchengo, a stew-like dish full of vegetables and Spanish chorizo. I somehow managed to not take a picture of it?! I'm mad at myself... sorry Emily!
Beth made a remarkable paella with chicken and chorizo and the perfect amount of crispy saffron rice. I could eat paella every day... no, really, I could.
You're all wondering what I made, aren't you? Well, being the Spanish teacher nerd that I am, I had to choose a dish that was not only delicious but fun to say in Spanish as well. So, I made Albóndigas con Salsa de Azafrán y Almendras. In English? Meatballs with Saffron-Almond sauce. The recipe can be found on Andalucía.com and (gasp!) I followed the recipe to a T!
I served myself a portion of everything, and just when I thought I couldn't eat any more, out came my mom's dish: an almond-orange flan! She had quite an adventure making it (guest post, perhaps?) but it was absolutely fantastic! Delicately flavored, decadent, and beautiful...
I believe this next photo sums up the night perfectly. Granted, I stole the idea from Liz, but I loved it!
I was bummed that I had to leave early since I had work in the morning, and my 5:15 a.m. alarm always comes way too soon... but I know that before I can blink, our October meeting will be upon us!
Thank you again, Sisterhood, for ¡una noche fantástica con comida perfecta! (A fantastic night with perfect food). I'm truly grateful to be a part of such a fabulous group of women!