Food & Drink

Casas’ legacy preserved in cookbook of Spanish recipes

The late Penelope Casas introduced many Americans to Spanish cooking, long before you could buy cilantro and chorizo in the grocery store, before Serrano ham and Manchego cheese were sought after, before we knew the meaning of tapas.

Her legacy is captured in the new “1,000 Spanish Recipes” ($35, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). It is a comprehensive (50 paellas, 20 types of flan) and captivating result of the five decades she spent cooking and researching. Casas found her passion for the cuisine while a foreign exchange student: “I was immediately enchanted by the culture and lifestyle. ... As they say in Spain, they live to eat (vivir para comer) as opposed to eat to live.”

While browsing through the book I came across this simple dish for Potatoes with Chorizo and was inspired to use it to repurpose mashed potatoes. It works smashingly!

1 tablespoon olive oil

10 thin slices (about 1/8 inch) chorizo sausage

3 thin slices bacon, coarsely chopped

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces, or 12 small new potatoes, peeled and quartered (or 4 patties made from leftover mashed potatoes)

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and bacon and cook, stirring, until they begin to give off their oils. Add the potatoes and season with salt. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook until the potatoes are golden and tender. Sprinkle with the parsley and garlic. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are browned, about 5 minutes more. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Leftover mashed potatoes variation: Follow the recipe, but substitute 4 oval patties, about 1/2-inch thick, for the fresh potatoes. Slip into the chorizo and bacon fats, increase heat to medium-high, and cook about 2 minutes, or until golden on the underside. Sprinkle with the parsley and garlic, flip and cook about 3 minutes more, or until browned and crisp.

Per serving: 307 calories (39 percent from fat), 13.6 g fat (3.8 g saturated, 3.5 g monounsaturated), 25 mg cholesterol, 12.6 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 686 mg sodium.

Source: Penelope Casa’s “1000 Spanish Recipes.”


If you use pumpkin pie spice, odds are you don’t use it often, and by next Thanksgiving Day the punch will have faded.

So I’m passing along this method from Gevalia Coffee to get your oh-so-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte any time you want, even if it is out of season!

Another benefit? I figure it will cost about 30 cents a cup. If you don’t buy pumpkin pie spice already blended, make your own: For each teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Some add a pinch of cloves as well, but I find cloves too often overwhelm.

1/2 cup rich ground coffee

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup sugar

4 cups water

Whipped cream, optional

Place coffee and spices in filter in the brew basket of coffee maker. Microwave the milk for 30 seconds in a heat-proof measure, or until warm as desired. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Pour into the empty coffee carafe. Add the water to coffee maker and brew. When brewing is complete, stir until blended. Divide into 4 cups and topped with whipped cream and an additional sprinkling of nutmeg if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 112 calories (17 percent from fat), 2.2 g fat (1.3 g saturated, 0.5 g monounsaturated), 6.1 mg cholesterol, 2.6 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 0.2 g fiber, 28 mg sodium.

Source: Gevalia Coffee.


Turkey Latkes with Black-Pepper Gravy are a fun fusion of Jewish and Southern cooking and are perfect for Hanukkah if you want to freeze roast turkey to use for the holiday.


3 large potatoes

Oil for frying

1 large onion, grated

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup matzo meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

Kosher salt

White pepper

1/4 pound roast turkey, shredded


3 tablespoons margarine

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups turkey broth

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Peel potatoes, and as you finish each, place in cold water to prevent browning. Pour oil about1/4 way up the side of a large skillet and heat over medium.

Grate potatoes on the large hole side of a box grater. Alternatively, cut potatoes lengthwise into halves or quarters so they fit into food processor feed tube. Process potatoes using the blade that creates thin, shoestring-like strips and transfer to a large bowl. Add onions, egg, matzo meal, baking powder and salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Add shredded turkey and mix well until combined.

Drop heaping tablespoons of mixture into hot oil. Using the back of a spoon, pat down each latke to flatten it. Put as many as you can in the skillet without crowding. (Putting them too close together will make them soggy). Fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden and crisp around the edges; repeat procedure until finished with all the batter. Drain on paper towel lined baking sheets.

For the gravy: In a small saute pan, whisk together margarine and flour over medium heat until melted and beginning to turn light brown. Slowly add broth while whisking constantly. Increase heat to medium high and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add wine and continue to cook until desired thickness is reached. If too thick, thin with a little more broth. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Garnish with additional fresh pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 184 calories (29 percent from fat), 5.9 g fat (1.3 g saturated, 2.6 g monounsaturated), 34.6 mg cholesterol, 9.2 g protein, 21 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 526 mg sodium.

Source: Jamie Geller, Joy of Kosher, for Manischewitz.


The Gardner’s Market on 57th Avenue in South Miami has been closed for a couple of years. They made the best pecan pie. They called it Plentiful Pecan Pie for good reason. It was chock full of pecans and thankfully no goopy corn syrup muck. Does anyone have their recipe? Here’s hoping! -- Maria Planas

Several years ago Joy Philbin was co-hosting a show with Regis and she gave her recipe for Seafood Risotto, which had shrimp and scallops in it. I have misplaced the recipe and would love to make it again. I am hoping one of your readers might have that recipe. -- Phyllis W.

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