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Christmas food from Spain


Chocolate a la Espanola

(Spanish-style hot chocolate)

1/2 lb sweet baker's chocolate

1 quart milk

2 tsp. cornstarch

Break chocolate into small pieces. Place in saucepan with liquid. Heat slowly, stirring with a whisk, until just before the boiling point. Dissolve cornstarch in a few tablespoons of cold water. Add dissolved cornstarch to chocolate mixture and stir constantly until the liquid thickens. Serve hot in warmed cups.

Makes six small cups.


(almond cookies)

2 cups blanched almonds, finely chopped

2 egg whites, room temperature

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly toast almonds; set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add sugar, beating constantly. After sugar is added, beat 5-8 minutes. Fold almonds and vanilla. Place by spoonfuls or shape into rings on greased cookie sheet. Bake 17-20 minutes or until cookies just begin to color.

Makes 3 dozen

Judias Verdes con Salsa de Tomate

(green beans in tomato sauce)

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 lb. (5 cups) green beans, cut into 1inch lengths

1 1/2 lb. canned tomatoes (chopped) and juice

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

salt and pepper

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp. pine nuts

1 Tbsp. lemon juiceSaut‚ garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes, stirring. Add beans and cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes with liquid from can and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to low and simmer 25-30 minutes. Remove an discard bay leaf. Serve at once.

Makes 6 servings.

Medias Lunas de Nueces

(nut crescents)

1 2/3 cups flour

1/2 lb. unsalted butter

1 cup ground walnuts

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

pinch of salt

Mix the flour and butter together until they form crumbs. Add walnuts, vanilla, salt, and sugar and mix well. If necessary, chill dough about 1/2 hour or until dough is workable. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut dough into walnut-size pieces and roll each piece to about 3 inches in length. Shape each piece crescent by pulling it into a semicircle.

Place crescents 1/2 an inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Dust with powdered sugar while warm.

Makes about 20 crescents.

Compota de Peras (pear compote)

2 lb. pears

1/2 lb sugar

2 cups water

1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)

grated zest of 1/2 lemonPeel and core the pears. Place in pot with remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook 10-15 minutes, until the pears are very soft but still hold their shape. Serve warm or at room temperature with some of the cooking syrup.

Makes 4-6 servings .

Ensalada de Arroz

(Andalusian rice salad)

This cold rice salad is a modem variation on traditional Spanish ingredients. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and rice; cover and cook slowly 20 minutes or until rice is just tender. While the rice is cooking, make vinaigrette sauce by combining the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

1 cup converted rice

1 tsp. salt

8 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. wine vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

salt and pepper

1 4-oz. jar whole pimentos

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

green and black olives for garnish

Drain the pimentos. Cut 6 narrow strips and set them aside. Finely chop the remaining pimentos. Cool the rice slightly. Add the vinaigrette sauce, chopped pimento and parsley. Toss gently

Spoon rice into serving bowl. When cool, cover and chill thoroughly. Decorate the top with the reserved pimento strips and olives.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Pastel de Navidad

(Christmas nut cups)

Pastry sufficient for 1 pie shell

5 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

5 Tbsp. butter, melted

pinch of salt

I tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll pastry thin and cut into 4inch circles. Fit each round into muffin cup and press in gently. Beat eggs until they are light; add sugar and mix well. Add butter, salt, and vanilla; mix well. Combine walnuts and raisins and fill each cup 1/2 full. Add egg mixture to fill each cup three-quarters. Bake filled cups 20-25 minutes.

Makes 8-12 nut cups.


3 cups whole almonds, blanched and ground

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

3-4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Let it boil steadily without stirring the temperature reaches 230-234 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and beat until mixture turns slightly cloudy. Stir in ground almonds, egg whites, and vanilla. Cook over gentle heat for 2-3 minutes or until mixture pulls away from sides of pan. Turn mixture onto a surface that has been sprinkled with some of the powdered sugar. Knead the mixture until smooth, working in the rest of the powdered sugar. Pull off pieces and roll into balls or olive-shaped pieces. Wrap in foil or wax paper and store in airtight container.

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