Remember this from a year ago?
Oh, I still do. I can still remember the emotions when I watched that game a year ago (when this posts): I can still feel how I was wracked with anxiety, willing the Spaniards to overcome that whole “no team has ever won a World Cup when they lost their first group game” statistic and win against the Netherlands. And then Andres Iniesta scored and it was amazing and wonderful and Iker Casillas started to cry in happiness.
And then this happened yesterday:
This was a quarterfinal game, yet it was treated like a semi-final or a final: the number-one-ranked team in the world versus the number-one-ranked player in the world (that would be Marta), and it was rife with controversy thanks to some really bad calls from the ref and some childish behavior from the Brazilians during the extra time in order to run out the clock. But then a (literally) last-minute goal thanks to the combined powers of Megan Rapione and Abby Wambach tied up the game at 120 minutes of play, and then the team dominated the penalty kicks. It was an American triumph at its cheesy-80s-sports-movie-best, and dammit, it was amazing. That it fell on the 12th anniversary of the women’s team WC win in 1999 in Pasadena was the icing on the cake.
That we made some delicious food seems almost secondary, but it’s the last home-cooked food I’ll have until Thursday (as I’m off to Chicago) so we reached, we shot, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
We started out with simple Majorcan Toasts (we’ve made them before), and seriously–bread smeared with soft pork product and then topped with tomatoes is the thing to serve if you want to impress people but don’t put in a ton of work. Because the main work you need to do is to source the sobrasada–I can get it at Despana of course, but you might have to factor in shipping time to get it from a shop like Tienda.com. A dash of sugar with olive oil works here–it gives tomatoes that aren’t at their absolute best a boost of sweetness and really good olive oil makes it all work so damn well. It’s like the traditional Italian tomato topping for bruschetta…but made better with the addition of pork.
Michael suggested making a tortilla, so he pulled out what veggies we had on hand and chopped them up and turned them into a tortilla. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing tortilla as part of it fell apart when he took it out of the pan, but it worked. And now Michael has a good two days of tortilla sandwiches ahead of him and I have none. This makes me super-sad and completely green with envy.
The last dish was one that I found in Catalan Cuisine and was…interesting to say the least: the ingredient list is relatively short, but there is some effort that goes into the dish; namely, the picada. You grind together pine nuts (pistachios in our case as Fairway doesn’t carry pine nuts in the bulk section), minced garlic and parsley in order to make a paste, and then you add a little cooking liquid to make it all come together neatly and then put it into a pan of seafood stock, garlic-flavored oil and cayenne pepper before you add the shrimp to simmer. It’s unexpected, to say the least, but it’s delicious and messy and summer-like and wonderful. This is a dish for this time of year, and it’s unexpected and gloriously Catalan and you should try it when you’re craving something new and different for shrimp.
All-i-Pebre de Llagostins
Adapted from Catalan Cuisine
serves 2 as part of a tapa spread for dinner; could easily serve 3 or 4 with a bigger spread.
- 1 head garlic: 4 cloves peeled and minced and the rest unpeeled and scored lengthwise
- 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for frying
- 2 cups seafood stock
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Sea salt
- A small bunch of parsley leaves, minced
- 1 cup pine nuts or pistachios, lightly toasted
- 2 slices fried French baguette
- 1 lb shrimp, shells on.