Sketches Of Spain

When the long and balmy days of Summer arrive,

it's a matter of moments before I daydream of my favorite Lady,

Spain.

Her sun baked earth,

passionate dancer's feet,

mysterious passages,

Gaudí breathing from a balcony to a cathedral,

wine and olives

with my dear old friends, the Goyas...

I visit her whenever possible,

as she always makes me smile,

and sigh...

Madrid at dusk.

Madrid at dusk.

She brings me back.

and I am the Girl,

twirling along the Costa Brava, endless sunflowers dancing in the breeze,

stopping to stand in awe of Dalí and his works, with a tiptoe down to the secret place where his grave lies, whispering love songs to his ghost.

Wandering strange corridors in a nearly vacant medieval Basque village, where doors are windows and windows are doors,

to buy a shawl from a witch,

for the sea air is cool and salty,

and to silently ascend, barefoot, the grand staircase of the castle,

that I have known before

the stone welcoming me back,

if only for a while...

The Castle

I offer you, my Beloved Ones,

a classic taste of Catalan cuisine,

(originally from the Moors of Andalucía...)

the Ajo Blanco,

with a Vixen's twist.

A white gazpacho, served chilled...

creamy, cool, sweet and spiced.

Raw.

It is outrageously good.

Amorous Ajo Blanco

  • 1 large garlic clove, or 2 small (keep the skins on-it's where all the flavored oil lives)
  • 2 1/2 large seedless cucumbers (skins on!), chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups whole organic green grapes, plus a few for garnish
  • 3/4 cup raw organic unsalted almonds, soaked 8-12 hours, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup packed dark greens, chopped (I like watercress or spinach)
  • 1/2 cup cold pure water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider  vinegar
  • Spanish paprika, ground
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Dry/floral white Spanish wine (maybe a Verdejo or Airen?)

First, blast the almonds (save a few for garnish!) in a food processor or high-power blender, until they're super fine. Now add in everything but the spices and the wine, and give it a good whirl, until everything is mingled and creamy.

Pour it all into a glass container or ceramic bowl, add in a good pinch and grind of Celt salt and pepper, a pinch of the paprika, and a splash of the wine (optional, of course, but sublime), and stir it gently.

Cover, and chill a bit in the fridge.

When you're hungry, take it out, ladle into bowls, and garnish with chopped almonds and sliced grapes.

I love to serve this with a light Catalan salad: Fresh baby greens, grapefruit, and sliced fennel, with a drizzle of a gorgeous olive oil and citrus, sea salt, pepper, and maybe a handful of olives. 

Exquisito!

Do you feel it too?

Do you feel it too?

Carry her passion in your heart, always...

A su salud y felicidad!

xxx Alise

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