Monday, February 14, 2011

Tapas Challenge

One of our favorite traditions to celebrate the New Year is to ring it in with a 2-3 hour long dinner at one of our favorite Spanish restaurants - Cafe Ba Ba Reeba. We enjoy sharing tapas with friends and catching up right until the midnight, when we celebrate further with a very loud round of Auld Lang Syne. So now that all the recipes for our holiday dinners have been posted and we've declared our resolutions for the upcoming year, it's now time to celebrate the new year by eating tapas!

Of course, I'm being a bit facetious; anyone trying to celebrate the New Year right about now needs a new calendar ;-) But we did spend New Year's Eve ringing in 2011 at Ba Ba Reeba. Around mid-January, we decided our first challenge of the New Year would be to re-create some of our favorite tapas dishes! So although it's now mid-February, I'm posting the results of our first Tapas Challenge!

Below are the dishes we prepared. Recipes for each individual dish will be posted shortly. We weren't able to do all of our favorites, so we're planning on doing another tapas challenge soon... both to try out the rest of the recipes we wanted to do, and also to try to fix some of the issues we encountered this time around.

Happy Eating, and Happy Valentine's Day :)

Endive and Membrillo Salad
I love this salad! On New Year's Eve, this was seriously all I was eating all night! The soft sweetness of the membrillo, combined with the pungent bleu cheese, and the crispness of the endive all work together in harmony in you mouth. The best part is that this salad is just so easy to make. The hardest step is finding all the ingredients!

Tortilla Espanola with Garlic Aioli
We knocked this one out of the park! This was one of the few dishes we've made that we didn't try to veganize. However, we did vegetarianize a meaty version of this dish, and it turned out really delicious! For a future Tapas challenge, we would definitely try to make a vegan version of this dish and see if the recipe holds up!

Papas Bravas with Tomato Aioli
This dish ended up with good flavors, but the way the recipe worked caused our potatoes to be a bit soggy. At Ba Ba Reeba, they're nice and crisp, which these most decidedly were not. Not to be deterred, we're definitely already coming up with solutions for the next challenge in order to improve upon this result!

The paella turned out well. We referenced two separate recipes--neither of which were vegetarian--when coming up with ours. In general, I'm not a fan of white rice since it's nutritionally void of anything useful, so to improve up this recipe, I'd like to make another version using quinoa as the base. Knowing how our recipe turned out, I'm certain the flavors will work!

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
Honestly, this may have been one of the most delicious cakes I've ever tasted! The only problem was that, although we DID use three milks, it didn't end up being a tres leches cake! I think we used too much cocoa, and the cake was so dense that the milk didn't seep in. Also, the ganache we used as a frosting was too rich. So although we succeeded in making a very successful rich decandent chocolate cake, we failed in making a chocolate tres leches cake :( We'll definitely keep this recipe for the future when we want to make a good chocolate cake, but for the next challenge, we'll work on lightening up the cake and getting the milk to soak in!

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