When I was traveling with NEA, I was able to discover some pretty interesting restaurants in different cities around the country. A few friends and I stumbled into a tapas bar in San Diego and we've been hooked ever since. (And the peach sangria in the tapas restaurant on 7th Ave in Washington DC is REALLY good!!)
Two or three times a year, I will take a Sunday afternoon and make up a bunch of tapas and then graze on them ALL week. That is one of the perks of living alone - spend one cooking session and you're stuck with that food for DAYS!! (But dinner for the next several nights is done!)
They really are easy and a family could have a great time putting a few of these recipes together for a "Tapas Night". You could round out the menu with some rice and a salad, if you want to balance things out. Throw some fruit in white grape juice and a little club soda for a kid-friendly sangria. And if you make real sangria for the big people, beware of the fruit at the bottom of the pitcher - it absorbs the alcohol!! It's really good. Really, REALLY good! But lethal. (Especially when the hotel is about 12 blocks away.)
Tapas are supposed to be a lot of variety in many different "little bites". You'll notice there are some cold, some at room temp, some warm, and some hot. The idea is to mix it up. Have fun with these.
TAPAS - Teach's Favorites
Melon Pintxos (easy for kids to make)
Skewer a melon cube with a slice of ham on a chunk of crusty bread rubbed with a little oil. Or skip the bread entirely - up to you.
Stuffed dates (my favorite!!)
Cut a sliver in a pitted date. Fill with bleu cheese or goat cheese. Wrap with a short strip of pre-cooked bacon and secure that with a toothpick. Heat in the oven until the bacon is crispy.
Olives - many of them, both salty and mild (kids can dish them out)
Pickles or hot peppers.
Chunks or slices of different cheeses (kids can handle this with a cheese slicer)
Marinated mushrooms (these, too!)
Small meatballs in sauce (older kids who can handle the stove can do these)
I just use frozen minis and jarred sauce - which I then serve along with the tortilla
Shrimp in garlic sauce Each 3 shrimp you cook deserve 1 clove of garlic. (I talked a cook out of this recipe by guessing how much garlic he used):
Cook shrimp in about a half inch of water with a few whole cloves thrown in and some salt. Simmer until the water is reduced to about 1/4 inch. Strain the cooking liquid (don't throw out).
Saute the garlic slices in olive oil with some crushed chili pepper. Add the shrimp and the cooking liquid that you saved and simmer a few minutes.
(note: an easy way to peel an entire bulb of garlic: Break off the cloves. Slice off the ends of each clove. Drop them all in a jar. Screw on the lid and shake the living daylights out of them. The skins will slip right off.)
Hard-cooked eggs - cut in half and top with a caper, a piece of anchovy or tuna, or a slice of pimiento (One of the easiest ways to peel an egg is to place cooked eggs and some water, right after flash-cooling the eggs in ice cold water, back into the pan. Cover with a lid and shake them gently. The shells will peel off easily. And cook the eggs with a T of baking soda in the water - that helps get rid of those pesky shells, too!)
Spanish tortilla (potato and egg pie (this is basic pub food)
1 pound of potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin (I use a mandoline or my food processor to speed things up)
i onion, sliced thin (ditto)
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 T olive oil
In a skillet heat the oil, and saute the potatoes, onions, garlic, S/P for about 15 min. Give them a good stir now and then - you want them golden, not burned.
Place the potato/onion mixture into a colander over a bowl to drain excess oil.
Mix the eggs and milk with S/P in a large bowl. Add the potato mixture and let rest for a minute.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet and press the potato/egg mixture into the pan, flattening out any potato slices that are sticking up. Cook a minute on medium heat, then turn the heat to low. Watch for the egg mixture at the top to get done - it may take up to 20 minutes depending on how much you cooled the potatoes down after the first cooking. You can cover the pan to speed things up a bit.
Slide the mixture onto a plate and flip it back into the skillet. Let the top (which is now the bottom) brown for a few minutes.
Flip the tortilla back onto a serving plate. Let it cool down, cut it into wedges, and serve. (This is just as good cold as it is warm - great lunchbox food - in fact, filling a Japanese Bento box with Spanish tapas is inspired!!)