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Posts Tagged ‘Don Quixote’

Bread Dinner of La Mancha

Written on May 15th, 2010 by no shouts

Do you remember the movie, “Man of La Mancha”? It was written by Miguel de Cervantes and filmed in 1972 and was about the hero, Don Quixote and his beautiful wench, who fell in love and lived “happily ever after”. Peter O’Toole played Don Quixote and a very famous Italian siren played the wench. Do you remember who played her part?

This is one of the displays I designed for the new Conway Department Store in David, based upon Don Quixote and my paella recipe. The recipe cards were available for shoppers to the housewares department on the third floor.

Castilla La Mancha is a large province south, west and east of of Madrid, Spain, and Toledo is the capitol. David and I visited La Mancha last year and we love it very much. I snapped this photo of some of La Mancha’s windmills from our fast-moving car. Remember “tilting at windmills”? It’s a lovely part of Spain, where Manchego cheese is produced, one of the finest cheeses in the world.

While there, I picked up a cookbook full of popular Spanish recipes. The shiny-paged book included maps, famous wines and typical dishes from every province, and it is full of beautiful, full-color photos of every recipe. One recipe caught my eye, MIGAS MANCHEGO or “Fried Breadcrumbs from La Mancha”. The author of the book gave this recipe 2 complete pages and claimed it was made practically all over Spain, with slight variations. For some reason, I just couldn’t see Don Quixote and his wench eating such a dinner. So, I made it myself, and it was really surprisingly delicious, once I got over the health issues.

MIGAS MANCHEGO

10 slices dried bread, or equivilant
1 cup chorizo, salami, ham, serrano, bologna, or solid fish
6 slices bacon, cut into squares
1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and left in cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
salt water
salt

Place bread in large bowl and sprinkle with salted water. Cover and leave in refrigerator overnight. I used it as as soon as the bread got mushy and it worked fine. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry the chopped bacon and meat until it begins to turn light brown. Remove, drain and put aside. Place the garlic cloves in the skillet and fry until golden brown. Add the bread and stir until it is soaked in fat. Yes, soaked in fat!

Cut up the bread by beating it with a spoon or whisk. When the bread is completely broken into small pieces, return the meat and bacon and continue beating. Add salt to taste and when the dish is ready, leave it in the pan without stirring to allow the bread to rest and a nice crust to form. Garnish with grapes, grated Manchego cheese, Spanish green olives, fresh parsley, rosemary and serve in slices.

Now, I can see how Don Quixote would love this dish, think of all the calories, cholesterol, energy, protein, fat, flavor and fullness he must have achieved eating this very popular dish from La Mancha. Try it in your own variation, it’s really very good, extremely economical and a bit weird! I’m sure Sophia Loren enjoyed it also.
Viva Espana!
Cora

For Kitchenware, Try the New Conway

Written on May 11th, 2010 by one shout

It was a huge surprise to open this month’s Bajareque Times and see a photo and article about the 4 displays in the housewares department at the new Conway store in David. Thanks to the Bajareque Tiimes for including a visit to the Conway store in their quest for interesting and unique events to cover for the newspaper. The exhibits were part of the “Gourmet Tour of David”, that happened last month.

The display the Bajareque Times chose to feature in their article was the Asian-themed Sukiyaki exhibit. Complimentary recipe cards were displayed, along with items from the 3rd floor departments, including linens, bath, silver and glassware, furniture, accessories and home decor. The plan to arrange these displays was presented to the floor manager, Mr. Taylor, and it was approved immediately. Language was no barrier to his decision, we both practiced our “Spanlish” and the details were easily worked out.

The day of set-up came a couple weeks later and I was given free access to any items on the floor from which to make the displays. An assistant, Roberto, helped find many of the display items and the 4 tableaux were soon constructed.


In addition to the Asian, Sukiyaki display with a white stone mat and bonsai tree, there was the Italian Chef’s exhibit showcasing Eggplant Parmesan. The place-setting featured Venetian blue and gold hand-blown, glass dinnerware and a huge mirror-studded wine goblet. This display was especially fun to do as it had 3 shelves and lots of room for unique Italian pieces to come together, including a painting from the Vatican!

The French table was the one closest to the entrance of the housewares department and the largest of the displays. A huge table was cleared of white dinnerware, covered with a lush moss-green cloth and set for an afternoon “French bread, wine and cheese” get-together.

The French kitchen rooster was the center of attention, never missed in any French kitchen. The take-home recipe was for French bread, and if the baker needs just the right baking pan for making bread, Conway has it. Notice the bread board and beautiful bread knife, just awaiting a piping loaf of fresh bread. The cutlery selection at Conway is excellent, the quality is high, and the prices are reasonable.

Finally, I knew immediately how I wanted to create the Spanish table, it had to be centered around my legendary hero, Don Quixote. The model of Don is gorgeous and I couldn’t resist making him the center of attention, along with his side-kick Sancho Panza. The duo brought attention to the Paella recipe and just the perfect pan needed to make this famous Spanish dish. The red Spanish motif on the striking dinnerware reminds me of the bright, festive atmosphere that often surrounds a really good Paella.

Shortly after the displays were completed, a large group of folks from Boquete visited Conway as part of Boquete’s “Gourmet Tour of David”. The participants gathered the recipe cards as mementos of their visit. On the back of each card, they found suggestions of wines that would make excellent pairings to each dish.

I’m hoping that many customers enjoyed the exhibits, collected the recipes and savored the dishes with a favorite glass of wine. If anyone needs kitchen equipment, serving dishes or table linens, they will be sure to find them in the new Conway housewares department, just down the road from Boquete about 45 minutes.
Happy cooking!
Cora

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