Kitchen Liberation Organization's
2003 Valentine's Dinner

Spanish Tapas

Fried Almonds

Warm the oil in a non-stick frying pan. When hot, saute the almonds until golden brown. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve 4.

Fried Plantains

Choose green, under-ripe plantains for this recipe. To peel, make several lengthwise cuts the full length of the plantains. Cut off each end and pull the peel off.

Shave strips off with a vegetable peeler, trying to make them as long as possible. Make the strips as thin as possible. Fry the strips in batches in hot oil until crisp. Drain and place on paper towels. Add salt to taste.

Fried Calamare

Remove the calamares' heads, tentacles, ink bags, fins and skin. Wash them thoroughly under running water, drain them and slice them into rings. Salt them, dredge them in the flour and shake them one by one to remove excess flour. Fry them in plenty of hot oil until they begin to turn golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot. Serve 4.

Tuna & Olive Crostini

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl, toss the bread slices with olive oil, coating each side completely. Season the bread with salt and pepper. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake until crispy and slightly golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the croutons from the oven and place on a large plate.

Season the tuna steak with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the tuna on a hot grill and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor and puree for 15 seconds or until the mixture is smooth. Slice the tuna into 12 equal slices and place one slice on top of each crouton. Dab a spoonful of the Tapenade on top of each tuna slice. Garnish with chopped chives. Yield: 1 dozen crostinis.

Spanish Salad

Prepare vinaigrette. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle with vinaigrette and serve.

Sherry Saffron Vinaigrette: In a bowl whisk together the sugar, the saffron, the vinegar, the olive, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Saffron Rice

We cheated and used a commercial mix ...

However, the presentation was great -- Jay had some heart shaped molds. He greased the molds and put some cilantro into them, roughly in a heart shape, and then pressed rice on top. Thanks to PAM the rice came out on the plates nicely!

Grilled Portobellos with Hazelnut Gremolata

Brush mushrooms on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until just cooked through. Serve each person a mushroom cap and sprinkle with the gremolata.

Gremolata: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Croquettes

Mince the chicken very finely. Saute it in a frying pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil.

Dilute the flour in a little milk, stirring with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer.

Heat the rest of the milk in a sauce pan. When it's about to boil, add the milk with the diluted flour, and keep stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent the formation of lumps. Cook at low heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture turns into a thick but silky cream. Salt and add the nutmeg to taste, add the chicken and stir for 3 to 5 minutes more, always at low heat. Spread the cream on a large, flat dish, and wait for it to cool down.

Form small oval balls using two spoons or your hands. Dredge in the flour, dip in the egg letting the excess drip off, and coat with bread crumbs. Fry them until golden brown with plenty of olive oil which must be quite hot.

Leave on paper towels to drain before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Cazón en Adobo (Marinated Fried Fish)

While this is usually made with dogfish, a kind of shark, any solid-fleshed fish, such as monkfish, is good.

Cut the fish into 1-1/2" cubes, discarding any skin and bone. Put it in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix together the oil, vinegar, water, garlic, paprika, oregano, pepper and salt. Pour over the fish and mix well. Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Drain the fish well. Dredge it in flour and fry the pieces a few at a time in hot oil until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towelling and serve hot. Makes about 45 pieces.

Spanish Orange Tart

Beat the eggs with the sugar until they turn white. Add the milk, olive oil, and the minced orange zest. Lastly, add bit by bit and stirring constantly, the sifted flour and yeast. Brush an 8" round baking pan with olive oil and dust with sugar and flour. Fill it with the batter. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for one hour. Remove from the oven, unmold and let cool thoroughly.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges, being careful to get only the colored part of the skin. Cut away and discard any bitter white pith from the oranges. Peel the oranges and cut the zest into julienne strips. Place the orange juice in a saucepan with the julienned peel and the sugar. Cook for 1/2 hour until a thick syrup forms. Strain and reserve part of the julienned strips and 1/2 cup of the syrup, for later glazing the tart. Slowly pour the rest of the syrup over the cake, so that it soaks through. Place on a serving dish.

To finish the tart, reduce the saved 1/2 cup syrup to 3 Tbsp and with a spatula spread the glaze on the cake. Arrange the julienned strips into a little hill in the middle, surrounded by a crown of whole sections of the two oranges.

Vanilla Flan with Raspberries

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Caramel: Combine sugar and water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until sugar caramelizes, occasionally swirling pan and brushing sides with wet pastry brush. Immediately pour caramel into two 9" glass pie dishes (4-cup capacity each), dividing as evenly as possible. Carefully turn dishes to coat bottoms and sides.

Flan: Whisk eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Add whipping cream, milk, and sugar; stir gently until sugar dissolves. Divide custard between caramel-lined dishes. Place in heavy large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dishes. Bake until knife inserted into center of custards comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Remove custards from water and cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead).

To serve: Turn casserole out onto platter. Sprinkle with raspberries and serve.