Menu del Dia: (Hardcover) by Daft, Rohan
Hardcover; Published 9/16/2008; 192 Pages; ISBN 9781416542865
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The menú del día is Spain's equivalent of the prix fixe menu of the bistros of France. On it are good, no-nonsense dishes that are as long on flavor and tradition as they are short on pretension and fuss. Influenced by a unique blend of culinary and cultural influences -- wine from the Romans; rice, cinnamon, saffron, and cumin from the Moors; slow-cooked stews from the Jews; tomatoes, peppers, chocolate, and chilies from the New World -- these are the tastes that have made Spanish cooking as vibrant as it is today. To start, there might be Gazpachuelo, the mayonnaise-enriched shrimp and monkfish soup straight from Mediterranean Málaga, followed by a main course of Fabada, the gloriously sticky stew of pork and white beans from mountainous Asturias, and Bienmesabe ("Tastes good to me!"), the almond, cinnamon, honey, and lemon cream so beloved by the people of Canary Islands. A menú in northerly Navarra, which borders France, might begin with Menestra Riojana, a delicate dish of spring vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, and continue with Pichón Estofado, a robust dish of pigeon stewed with red wine. Arroz con Leche, creamy rice pudding with a burnt-sugar crust, makes a sweet ending.
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Here's an easy tip for being green: collect a few canvas bags and use them when you grocery shop instead of taking the store's plastic bags (do they really have to triple-bag everything?) Some stores will even give you a discount for bringing your own bags, too. You can also reuse the thin plastic bags found in the produce section- either keep them for your next shopping trip, or hang on to them for food storage or for use as gloves when handling chiles.