Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Tapas Birthday Dinner, Part One

Last Saturday, we celebrated my mom's birthday with a special tapas dinner. Last year, we had a French-themed meal, and this year we "went" to Spain. My mom and stepdad went to Barcelona a few years ago, and I spent a month in Spain back in 2004, so it was nice to revisit those memories. I put out all of my pictures from Spain, and I even downloaded some Spanish music (titled ironically, "Tapas Bar Music.")

I'm thinking I'll talk about our dinner in two or three posts, because I have lots to tell and recipe links to share. By the way, my sister took all of the photos. I was way too busy cooking and drinking sangria.  :)

Yes, that's a Cordobes hat I put on Henry. I was trying to find a way to "put" the kids in traditional Spanish costumes. This is the best I could do. I used my poor photoshopping skills to dress Nicholas up as a matador. Yes, I know I'm not terribly good at this, but hey, I tried.

This meal was the culmination of weeks of preparations, at least four separate shopping trips, and hours of cleaning/decorating. I also spent a very long time on the menu, which was given to everyone but also served as a birthday card for my mom. It's kind of long, but I'm going to attach it here for you to see. (Click to enlarge) Oh, and by the way, I don't actually speak Spanish, at least not very much. I understand a decent amount, but I can't speak or write well, or at all, really. Google translate worked well, and if it didn't, well then, no one in my family would know any differently. Hopefully I'm not saying anything too naughty in Spanish.

Tapas, if you've never had them before, are basically small appetizer portions of both hot and cold foods.  In Spain, they're often combined to make a meal. I love this way of eating, because you just have a few bites of every food, try many new flavors, and spend hours eating and talking. Tapas meals are supposed to encourage conversation. In Spain, dinner is served late (think, 9 pm. at the earliest) and can easily drag on until midnight.

Greg made a homemade Pomegranate Sangria that was delightful but made everyone kind of drowsy.

My stepdad even fell asleep on the couch in between tapas courses.

So what did we eat, you ask? Well, we didn't sit at the table all night, that's for sure. We ate a little bit, then rested and talked, then ate some more. I served Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Potato Omelet) first. basically, it's a potato and onion omelet, served cold. It is delicious and was quite time-consuming to make. I was impressed, though, at how well it turned out. I loved the flavor of this dish. You can find the recipe here. I followed the directions exactly, except that I added a few more eggs into the mix.

I went to Whole Foods to get fancy Spanish cheeses, along with grapes and apples to serve with them. I think I liked the sheep's milk cheese the best. I also did a baked goat cheese, served with toast made on my homemade baguettes.

Henry, of course, did not get to sample any tapas. But he got plenty of formula and snuggling.

I will write more about our dinner tomorrow. In retrospect, it really was a ton of work. I think my mom enjoyed it, though.

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