freestyle friday

tapas de estilo americano
tapas american-style

©from maggie's farm 2011
"i love tapas. they're like appetizers for a meal that never comes." –marge simpson

©from maggie's farm 2011
tapas-- snacks, canapés, finger foods, and 'small plates'--are spanish in origin. they come in many different forms, and often differ from region to region.  they can be as simple as a skewer of a chunk of tuna, cocktail onion and olive, or they can be as elaborate as a small casserole.  they are served every day, all day in every bar and café in spain.  tapas keep the spanish fueled for their 'pub crawls', and are intended to facilitate leisurely conversation over wine or cocktails, more so than an elaborate dinner.  in the last decade this spanish style of grazing has gained in popularity among american bar-goers, or simply as an alternative to the traditional evening meal. 
the tapa, meaning cover, has origins as varied as tapas themselves.  various legends have it that the tapa, or plate of tapas, were used to cover one's wine glass to discourage fruit flies, thus the name.

up here, from maggie's farm, tapas appeal to us for many reasons.  we love these little bites of delicious;  maybe a small plate in the early evening to stave off hunger, before returning to the gardens in the cooler time of the day, or a way to indulge ourselves in foods that are either pricey, or how do we say it, caloric without compromising our time, money, and dietary budgets.  they're great for picnics, cocktail parties, and for you, if you're like us, wanting just a little bit of everything.  variety, as they say, is the spice of life.
  ©from maggie's farm 2011
we've pulled together some of our favorite and easiest tapas, american style, here. (because who wants to spend the afternoon in the kitchen in these hot, hot days of summer?) and we've developed these recipes to include a variety of superfoods that help you make even healthier choices. perhaps you'll try some for an evening dining al fresco, a late afternoon picnic for one with your only guest, an engrossing summer read,  or over cocktails and dinner with friends.  however you enjoy them,  buen appetito!

  •  pesto-topped broiled oysters
  •   chipotle lime roasted shrimp
  •   bruschetta with sundried tomato pesto and toasted onion and dill chevre
  •   prosciutto-wrapped figs with rosemary lemon chevre
  •   smoky tomato ceviche
  •   kiwi and mango gazpacho shooters
  •  sesame toasted edamame

©from maggie's farm 2011

pesto-topped broiled oysters
top freshly-shucked oysters with from maggie's farm traditional pesto to cover.  broil until pesto begins to melt, which usually takes as long as the aroma does to getcha, and you succumb.  muster all of the willpower you have, and allow to cool a bit so you don't burn your lips on a piping hot oyster.

©from maggie's farm 2011
chipotle lime roasted shrimp
toss medium to large shrimp with lime juice and allow to marinate for twenty minutes.  drain and spread on a single layer on silpat or foil-lined baking sheet.  season sparingly with chipotle chili powder, sea salt and the zest of a lime.  roast in a 400°oven just until shrimp begin to 'pinken', about 3-5 minutes. remove and turn shrimp, seasoning the opposite side.  return to oven for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until pink and cooked through.

©from maggie's farm 2011
bruschetta with sundried tomato pesto and toasted onion and dill chevre
thinly slice one loaf from maggie's farm parmesan-herbes de provence foccacia, and halve the longest slices.  lay on silpat or foil-lined baking sheet.  drizzle lightly with olive oil.   place under broiler to toast, turning midway. remove.  while toasts are warm, insert a fork into a large, peeled clove of garlic and rub the surface of each slice. top several slices with either, or both, from maggie's farm sundried tomato pesto, and from maggie's farm toasted onion and dill chevre, and serve each alongside remaining slices for diners to serve themselves. (this will keep the remaining slices from getting soggy as you leisurely converse)

©from maggie's farm 2011
prosciutto-wrapped figs with rosemary lemon chevre
slice a cross in the top of figs, ¾ through, separating the top into fourths that remain connected. spoon from maggie's farm rosemary lemon chevre into cavity, then wrap with a slice of prosciutto, around the base of the fig, overlapping. drizzle lightly with honey. broil until prosciutto has crisped, and chevre begins to brown.  let cool before serving.

©from maggie's farm 2011
smoky tomato ceviche
cut into ½ to ¾"cubes 8 ounces firm-fleshed fresh fish of your choice (we used halibut). toss with the juice of two limes and allow to marinate, occasionally tossing, thirty minutes, or until fish is opaque throughout.  (the acid actually 'cooks' the fish). drain the fish and combine with one jar from maggie's farmtamer version).  serves 4 for individual servings, (or as many as 12 in small cups for a tapas party).
kiwi and mango gazpacho shooters
in a blender pitcher, combine one cup loosely packed cilantro (stems and all), 2 cups fresh or frozen mango chunks, the pulp of two large kiwi, one small pickling cucumber, peeled and chunked, one yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chunked, 2 red chile peppers(or to taste), stemmed (and seeded if desired), ½ t salt, 2tablespoons honey. blend until the desired consistency is reached, (which would be like small minced pieces suspended in some liquid, much like salsa, but not as much blended as a smoothie) serve chilled in shot glasses.

©from maggie's farm 2011
sesame toasted edamame
spread frozen edamame pods in a single layer on silpat or foil-lined sheet. drizzle lightly with sesame oil.  sprinkle with gomashio (the sesame, sea salt, and seaweed condiment popular in asian cuisine).  roast in a 400° oven until beginning to lightly crisp on edges, tossing occasionally to keep moistened. sprinkle with additional coarse sea salt, to taste. (shell edamame by drawing pod between teeth to release).

©from maggie's farm 2011
serve with your favorite sangria, sherry, wine, cava (the 'champagne' of spain), or ice cold spanish beers.  for non-alcoholic choices, enjoy mineral water, or perhaps as we have here, a minty lemonade spritzer.  combine 1 part lemon juice with 3 parts sparkling mineral water, over ice. sweeten with mint-infused simple syrup to taste, and garnish with citrus slices, and a maraschino cherry or two. for an additional treat, splash a little maraschino cherry juice atop.

©from maggie's farm 2011
superfoods we've used
along with the superfoods we've previously discussed, these dishes include

wild fatty and cold water fish
inflammation fighter
wild fatty and cold water fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the eyes, heart, joints, skin, and brain.  populations that eat fish regularly live longer and have less chronic disease than populations that do not. whether this is because fish displaces meat or because it has positive attributes of its own is not clear. certainly, fish provides high-quality protein without the saturated fat present in meat and poultry. aim for four six –ounce servings per week to fight cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory disorders, and mental and emotional problems.

bone builder

like bananas, this fuzzy fruit is high in bone-protecting potassium. they're also rich in vitamin c and lutein, a carotenoid that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. aim to include one or two per week, especially after exercise.

bone builder

shellfish, in general, is an excellent source of zinc, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium. but the creamy flesh of oysters stands apart for its ability to elevate testosterone levels and protect against prostate cancer.  two servings of five oysters per week will help normalize testosterone levels in both men and women.

immunity booster

packed with potassium, manganese, and antioxidants, this fruit also helps support proper ph levels in the body, making it more difficult for pathogens to invade. the fiber in figs can also lower insulin and blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  select four figs with dark skins (they contain more nutrients) per week.

this week from maggie's farm
what we harvested this week: turnips, peas, sweet onions, kale, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, garbanzo beans, hot and bell peppers, wax beans, green beans, kohlrabi, beets, rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, mint, oregano, goat milk, farm fresh hen eggs, duck eggs
what we produced this week:  parmesan-herbes de provence focaccia, sundried tomato and kalamata olive focaccia, whole wheat herb boule, toasted onion and dill chevre. and you might have heard (because i keep popping my buttons with pride over it)--3 blue ribbons and one very special best of show at the county fair. 
what we tackled this week: we prepared chevon for sausage- making and then took a little much-needed break for a road trip to gruene, texas where we saw guy clark in concert at gruene hall, texas' oldest dance hall (where it was 100+ degrees as we lined up for the show, there is no air conditioning in texas' oldest dance hall, and we still had a righteous good time)
what we are thankful for—every year, the northwest austin rotary club, of which my parents are active members, conducts a fundraiser to benefit local nonprofits and community endeavors by selling delicious texas oranges and grapefruit. this past year, we were lucky enough to be blessed by my parents, tom and jerre perkins, with 8(!) cases of citrus. we produced 8 different products from this citrus, and the leftovers went to some very happy goats, and into the gardens to successfully combat squash bug infestations (did you know?).  we entered one of those citrus products, from maggie's farm citrus cherry marmalade and seven other products in the county fair last week, our first time to participate. we entered in hopes to receive feedback that would help in product development, but didn't expect much more, since we were the newbies among the 87 entries from more seasoned preservers than ourselves. we are proud as punch to report that we earned three blue ribbons, and our citrus cherry marmalade won best of show! we are so thankful for the generosity and support of our family.
words that inspire us:
do you want to know who you are? don't ask. act! action will delineate and define you.—thomas jefferson

source: sierra, l. a. (n.d.). what are tapas? retrieved 2011, from,
center for human nutrition at the university of california and los angeles,
michael pfeiffer, wikipedia images.


  1. This looks wonderful! I see a party in our future and we are going to let you do the tapas!

  2. YUM !!! I can't wait.


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