What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

What to Feed Your April Fool? How About Dinner for Breakfast?

There are so many savory breakfast classics that seem better suited to dinner, am I right? Steak and eggs, Quiche Lorraine, a mound of white grits that could be your April Fool’s Day mashed potatoes in the right light….

I wasn’t sure how to usher in the first Monday of this month. To help me brain storm, I got out my bullet journal. Bullet journals are trending lately. It differs from keeping a regular old diary, in that you just make lists and outline your goals in fun colors, adding little drawings in the margins.

Ideal bullet journal entries are grocery lists and recipes. When I embarked on note taking for Jorj.com’s Monday offering, I drew a Spanish sun first. Light was streaming through my kitchen window, warming my skin. I thought of the chapters in my new cookbook that were inspired by mine and my co-author, Sue Fazio’s trips to Spain.

I then decided that a perfect, savory dinner for breakfast is the Tortilla Espanola. In Spain, it’s just a tapa, but on April Fool’s Day in my house, it’s dinner!

You can make it in a cast iron skillet – any skillet – but be warned. It’s HOT!!! There are a lot of fiery bites on tapas plates. I guess the thought is the more blazing your taste buds, the more you require a swallow of chilled aperitif to put out the flames.

SANGRIA, anyone? Oh, and April Fool’s Day Tip – maybe make one side of the tortilla extra spicy and tell people to take their chances, wink, wink…

And remember – all days of the year, not just 4/1/19, this is a terrific dish for a pot luck. It’s good old-fashioned comfort food!

Tortilla Espanola

(Potato Torte)

serves a crowd

40 minute cuisine

5 to 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Vegetable oil for frying

2 large yellow onions, diced, about 3 cups

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 3 tablespoons

6 large eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Chopped, fresh parsley

Use a mandolin or very sharp knife to slice the potatoes into thin rounds. Place the potatoes into a colander and toss with salt. Pour enough oil to come halfway up the side of a deep skillet. Heat the oil over medium high heat. You will know that the oil is ready when you place the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and you see bubbles. Fry the potatoes in the oil until they are tender in the middle and just beginning to brown on the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes. You can do this in batches so that you don’t crowd too many slices into the pan. Use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to transfer the potatoes onto a paper lined baking sheet.

Carefully add the onions and garlic to the oil. Lower the temperature to medium low and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to transfer to the baking sheet holding the potatoes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully pour all but 2 tablespoons of the oil into heat resistant bowl. (When cooled, you can strain and re-use the oil for another recipe.)

Place the eggs into a large bowl using a fork to blend.  Gently slide the potatoes, onions and garlic into the bowl. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and gently blend trying not to break the potato slices.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Pour in the potato and eggs using a spatula to spread evenly in the pan. Cook for 30 seconds to brown the (soon to be top) of the torte. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the center is set, about 5 to 8 minutes. Use the spatula to gently loosen the edges from the pan as it cooks. Shake the skillet to make sure the center is setting. Turn off the heat. Take a plate, that is large than the skillet and place it upside down over the skillet. With one hand on the plate and the other on the skillet handle, invert the pan so that the torte comes out and onto the plate. There might be a little loose egg around the edges. Use your spatula to scrape any bits back into the torte. Gently slide the inverted torte back into the pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook until a tester inserted into the center of the torte comes out clean, about 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer the torte to a clean platter and keep warm. The torte can be served warm or at room temperature.

Chilled Strawberry Soup for Hot Days

Chilled Strawberry Soup for Hot Days

I got the idea for this recipe on a trip to Spain, and think of it a lot in the dog days of summer. For something so easy to make, the result is an extremely nuanced bowl of flavor, good to the last slurp. I mean who’d have thought strawberries, tomatoes, basil and fresh garlic would be so happy in a blender together?

Prepare to be surprised!

This savory-sweet gazpacho is ideal for using up farmer’s market finds before it’s too late. I want to make this soup every time I pass big mounds of fragrant strawberries at the Watauga here in North Carolina. Though strawberry season in the southeast runs from December through March, they still taste wonderful and overflow at famer’s markets this time of year.

It surprises me how versatile strawberries are. I’ve found they taste excellent with a little pepper sprinkled on them, and in this treatment they get blended into a classic savory gazpacho. The recipe is so refreshing (emphasis on the word fresh) that it made it into my upcoming cookbook CANVAS & CUISINE – a travel diary of food and art. This cookbook loves to linger in the cobblestone streets of old Europe, and features many a Mediterranean and Spanish dish – so if you like tapas, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter to learn more about my new cookbook’s release later this year.

This chilled soup comes from the heart of Madrid. I was on a Tapas Pub Crawl, visiting local taverns and sampling their bar cuisine. One item that appeared time and again on those menus were chilled shot glasses full of spicy vegetable soup called Gazpacho. My home version adds farm-fresh sweet strawberries to the mix. The flavor combo is so good, you might just break into a flamenco dance!

Gazpacho with Strawberries and Basil

Serves 4 to 6

20 Minute Cuisine plus chilling 

2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, about 6

½ English cucumber, diced, about 1 cup

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced, about 1 cup

1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced, about ½ cup

1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed and halved, about 2 cups

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 slice white bread, soaked in water

1 cup homemade vegetable broth, or prepared low sodium vegetable broth

½ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 to 4 drops hot pepper sauce

Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove top. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cut an “x” with a sharp knife at one end of each tomato. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skin begins to wrinkle and split at the “x”, about 45 to 50 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes from the pot and place into the ice water. Peel the skin from the tomatoes. Cut each tomato in half and squeeze gently to remove most of the seeds. Place the tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cucumber, red pepper and onion. Pulse to combine. Pour the veggies into a bowl.

Place the strawberries into the food processor and pulse until chopped. Stir the strawberries into the veggies. Reserve 1 cup of the strawberries and veggies. Pour the rest back into the bowl of the food processor. Add the garlic and basil. Squeeze the excess water from the bread and add to the bowl. Pulse until the mixture is pureed.

Pour back into the bowl. Stir in the stock, olive oil and vinegar. Stir in the reserved 1 cup strawberries and veggies. Season with salt and hot pepper sauce. Place the soup into the fridge and chill for several hours. Serve the soup with a garnish of fresh basil and a slice of strawberry.

Cook’s Tip

I’ve made this gazpacho both ways – sometimes I de-seed the tomatoes and sometimes I don’t. If you want to skip that step and let the ingredients marry in a pot first, then simply blend them together, you’ll still have a great batch of gazpacho!