Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I have been away from Spain for 2 years now. I think about it often though. Very often.
I had lunch today, here in Manhattan, with an old friend from my life back in Palma de Mallorca. We played catch up for hours, filling in all the missing gaps in our 2-year hiatus from one another. Sitting face to face in an über healthy, hippy, vegan café in Union Square. We sipped kombuchas, barefoot, at a large communal wood table. Our bodies still zinging with juicy post-yoga vibes. Quite American of us indeed, and very far from our old Spanish ways. Our conversation danced from life as of late to life way back when. From albondigas and paella, to tofu and quinoa. Remembering tasty moments of croquetas de bacaloa, tortilla Espanola, gambas al ajillo, café con leches, and jamon, jamon, jamon….
I would have paid BIG money at that moment to have one of those hemp-wearing, new age, crystal worshiping employees change the Om-Jaya-Shiva-Yaya music to European Techno, and to have my macrobiotic bowl doused in a boat-load of garlicky aioli. Ah, to be back in Spain….
Much has changed in life since leaving the island of Mallorca, for both of us. Our tight group of friends have all scattered themselves across the globe, and our favorite little café where we would congregate to spill our lives out in tales over a cappuccino, has since shut it’s doors for good. Life is a trip, and the cards it deals you can be so captivating and yet so paralyzing at the same time.
My dear friend reminded me of how precious this life of ours really is- the past, the present, and the future that it holds. How living in the moment is the only time we have, and it really can be the best part of our lives. To expect the unexpected, and to always find the time to relive the memories that still make us smile. I don’t take enough time to do that because I’m just “too busy” for appreciation all the time- Gotta change that.
Almost 2 years to the date, we’ve gone from toasting glasses of vino tinto around my dining room table, to clinking glasses of fermented hippy tea around a large wood table on a different continent. The table allows an outlet to pour out joy, sorrow, advice, concern, laughter, and nourishment of all forms, from one part of the world to the next. And the table -la mesa- hosted us on a sweet trip down memory lane. A trip all the way over to España.
-Tortilla Española -
(what I always make when my Spanish meter is running low)
1 1/2 cups oil
2 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon coarse salt
10 large eggs
Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and add potatoes, onion, and half of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender but not colored, about 45 minutes. Drain vegetables in a large colander set over a bowl and cool 5 minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Gently stir in vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
Return 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and add mixture, pressing potatoes flush with eggs. Cook over low heat, covered, 12 to 15 minutes, or until almost set. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is set on bottom and not sticking to skillet. Invert tortilla onto a large flat plate and slide back into skillet, bottom side up. (Alternatively, especially if top is still loose at this point, slide tortilla onto plate first. Cover it with skillet and invert tortilla back into skillet.) Round edge with a rubber spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 15 minutes more, or until set. Slide tortilla onto a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is best enjoyed with a long lost friend, a cold beer, and doused in a boat-load of garlicky aioli.