Monday, February 13, 2012

Creative Cooking

Outside of California and Mexico and some Asian countries, spicy food is practically non-existant; in some cases, hatred is the best word to describe how some people feel towards that burning sensation. Well, haters gonna hate but I lurrrrv the feeling of fire in my mouth. I remember my host dad in Buenos Aires once told me that black pepper, yes, black pepper, is too spicy for him... seriously?

Luckily, a spicy ingredient exists here in Madrid: cayenne pepper. Yeah, I put that sh*t on everything; literally. It's cheaper than buying imported "luxuries" such as Sriracha or Valentina and you only need about one tiny little dried pepper to set your food on fiyaaaa. If you wanna burn it down, I permit you to use two. Look for it in any grocery store and it'll be waiting patiently for you to lovingly save it from abandonment by the Spaniards. 

Anyway, like I said, I put it on everything and since I don't have my beloved and most loyal BFF a.k.a. Trader Joe's to help me out with my meals, I've been getting very creative with my cooking. And on the bright side, it tastes pretty darn good. A favorite dish of mine that I've "invented" is something I like to call Flamin' Pasta - okay, I don't really call it that. I don't really know what to call it to be honest so you can call it whatever you want. It's a simple pasta dish with fried garlic, sausges, freshly grated parmesan, tomatoes, and yes, the golden ingredient: CAYENNE PEPPA! 

 I prefer using whole grain spaghetti, but of course any kind of pasta works

 Very essential garnishings as this is what makes the "sauce"

 This is where the heavens part, and Handel's Hallelujah starts playing. Two of these small peppers will give you that joyous nose running-mouth watering-fire burning sensation. These dried peppers can be added to dishes whole, or in flake form by simply crushing them with your hands.

Tadaa! It's a very simple dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make and tastes amazingggg. The crunchiness of the fried garlic is a nice juxtaposition to the soft and fresh diced tomatoes. 

It's not avant-garde cooking but I'm not gonna lie, I feel like an Iron Chef in my Spanish kitchen with crappy knives and pretty much crappy everything else. I would probably have a foodgasm if I could get my hands on some Hebrew National kosher sausages, but sadly, for now I will settle on some random Spanish brand. The Spanish do love their pig meat after all so, it can't be that bad.

Flamin' Pasta
Makes 1 serving (for those loners like me... no judgment)

2 oz whole grain spaghetti 
1 sausage thinly sliced
1/2 tomato diced
1/4 medium onion thinly sliced
Freshly grated parmesan
2 cloves garlic
Sea salt & pepper
Hierbas provenzales (herbes de Provence)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cayenne peppers ground


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and then add the spaghetti. Read the cooking time instructions on the package because times will differ with whole grain vs. regular pasta.

Mince the garlic and fry them with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of sea salt until golden brown.  On a separate pan, fry the sausage and the  onion.

When everything is perfectly golden and fried, drain the pasta and mix with the fried ingredients. Toss in the diced tomatoes and parmesan. Drizzle the olive oil on top and season with salt & pepper, hierbas provenzales, and of course the star ingredient: the cayenne pepper. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. Hi miss Hannah :) I check on you every once in a while here and I'm glad to see a new post :D

    Miss you!

    p.s. I'm of fan of the spicy too, so maybe I'll give this a try :)