You might be saying, "Whatever happened to the Napkin part of this blog? You know, the part where you talk about restaurants?" Yes, I do know the part to which you refer. Rest assured, it's coming. You see that list over on the left of the site called "Restaurants I'd Like to Try?" One of those is getting crossed off the list this Friday when Edan and I go there to celebrate her birthday. I won't tell you which one, but trust me when I say I will have a full write up on it in the days after.
Now about last night. Edan had to teach a class last night and wouldn't be home until 9pm. I went with her to the class and read in a coffee shop until she was finished. This meant we wouldn't be eating until late. Potentially very late. So we decided to make it a tapas night. We figured, hell the Spanish eat at ten, eleven o'clock, why not do the same?
Edan threw together an impromptu cheese plate of whatever we had in the house (it wasn't terribly "Spanish" in nature, as it included Roquefort and Cotswold, but whatever). I had some Medjool dates leftover from Christmas (I had used them in a muffin recipe) and decided to make bacon-wrapped dates. This was a favorite of ours from Devotay, a restaurant we used to frequent in our Iowa City days. It's a simple recipe (the one I used is from Tapas, but I imagine they're all variations on the same basic ingredients):
Cut a few rashers of bacon in half. Pit some dates. Wrap the pieces of bacon around the dates and secure with a toothpick. Peal two cloves of garlic. Heat some olive oil and the two cloves of garlic in a pan. Fry the bacon-wrapped dates until they are brown and crispy. Eat the hell out of them.
Along with the dates, Edan roasted some orange and yellow bell peppers, and I made "Potatoes Rioja-style with chorizo" from a terrific cookbook by Jose Andres called Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America. Basically, it's a Spanish stew of potatoes and chorizo with onions, garlic and paprika. It's one of my favorite dishes, so spicy and flavorful, and so delightfully...well, red. We paired it with a Cote du Rhone, as that's all we had in the house. It probably would've been better with a temparinillo, but we don't choose these things, they choose us.In the end, the stew was a little overdone. The potatoes turned into much, making it more of a mashed potatoes with paprika and chorizo than a stew. It was still tasty, but not quite what I set out to make. The date were delicious, but a little greasy, and I felt the meal lacked some greens. Next time we do tapas I think we'll make a zucchini dish and have a simple mixed greens salad with it as well. Oh, and Edan hated the wine (I thought it was nice. Maybe it's a varietal thing. It wasn't big enough for her). Other than the fact that we didn't eat until 10:30 (!), it was a pretty successful meal. Not terribly healthy, maybe, but tasty just the same.