Sneak Peek at Spain and a Reminder to Process the Summer Bounty

It has been way too long since I’ve written a post here. I’m hoping to really get back into it…and I’ve got a lot to share!

Matt and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Southern Spain at the beginning of January. Below is a sneak peek at some of our photographs. I plan to put together a few blog posts about Spain, but let me just say…it was a wonderful country to visit. We would hop a flight and head back tomorrow. Nice people, beautiful walking cities, exceptional food, and lovely wine and beer. In fact, we are currently planning our next trip and Northern Spain is in our top 3 choices.

The walkway to our B&B in Malaga, Spain. El Riad was wonderful.

The walkway to our B&B in Malaga, Spain. El Riad was wonderful.

I also want to touch on something I repeat over and over during the harvest season. Take advantage of the bounty, eating some of it fresh but also processing some for winter. And, really think about what you’re eating and how you can make the most out of it.

First espresso in Spain. Every cup of coffee was fabulous. And, fresh squeezed orange juice every morning.

First espresso in Spain. Every cup of coffee was fabulous. And, fresh squeezed orange juice every morning.

One of the first meals I cooked when we got back from our vacation was chili. I had some local ground beef, frozen tomatoes (seriously, just washed them whole and froze them on a sheet tray, then transferred them to a freezer bag), some of the last of our dried beans, peppers and onions (chopped and frozen in smaller packages together for easy use), our garlic, home-brew beer, and a few other things made this one of the best batches of chili I’ve ever made.

Shadow in Sevilla.

Sevilla, Spain

Shortly after the oh-so-yummy chili, I had some puff pastry to use. I ended up making these tasty puffs for dinner. I used our own frozen spinach and some Swiss chard. It made for a great meal.

I love, love, love how this turned out. This store window had a Christmas tree with shoes for ornaments (a tree after my own heart). But when combined with the reflection of the building across the street, it's really something wonderful.

I love, love, love how this turned out. This store window had a Christmas tree with shoes for ornaments (a tree after my own heart). But when combined with the reflection of the building across the street, it’s really something special.

We had one frozen Haka chicken left, so we roasted it for dinner a couple weeks ago. Not to let a wonderful carcass go to waste, we roasted the bones to make chicken stock. Something we’ve been doing recently when we’re using carrots, celery, and onions is to keep the ends, which we would compost, in small bags in the freezer. Then, when we want to throw a stock together, we just toss in the scraps from the freezer. It’s a great way to make your veggies go a little bit farther and we now have some wonderful chicken stock in the freezer.

This photo makes Sevilla look really cramped, but it didn't feel that way at all. I do, however, love how compact the city appears.

This photo makes Sevilla look really cramped, but it didn’t feel that way at all. I do, however, love how compact the city appears, like you could jump rooftop to rooftop.

The other night, Matt threw together some rice and beans for dinner. As a side, we also had some of our spinach, simply sautéed. It tasted just like it was straight from the garden. And then, of course, we started talking about the garden for 2013 and what we want to plant.

Boats in Cadiz

Boats in Cadiz

After ordering most of our seeds today, Matt is now preparing a gumbo for dinner. Although the shrimp, chicken thighs, and smoked ham hock aren’t local, we are using our own garlic, frozen peppers, frozen onions, frozen okra, canned tomatoes, and frozen chicken stock. After a meal using so many local ingredients, we just feel good. Most of it traveled less than 30 miles to our table, and for us…that’s something pretty incredible. Something we treasure and try to share with others.

View of the cathedral from our hotel, The Patagonia, in Cadiz.

View of the cathedral from our hotel, The Patagonia, in Cadiz.

Although we won’t be at market every Saturday this year, we will try to make it when we can. Regardless, there are some excellent vendors (old and new) where you can experience the same thing I’m talking about. Local food at its peak, and then processed for later. You will thank me.

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