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Eat Drink Cook at Stone Creek Kitchen

Last night a friend and I went to the Spanish Tapas Cooking Class at Stone Creek Kitchen in Monterey.

'Eat. Drink. Cook.' are the words that repeat around the arched entrance to the kitchen and you see other such sentiments in several places around the kitchen and store. And that - eat, drink, and cook - is exactly what you do there with Kristina Scrivani and Linda Hanger, co-owners of the place to stock your pantry with exotic spices or just to pick up a fresh loaf of La Brea bread.

Pia and I signed up for the class thinking that it would be a hands-on experience; we both showed up with hairties on our wrists, ready to whip our mops into messy ponytails and get to work. That was not this class. This class was more like being pampered: we watched Kristina cook, listened to her talk, had our wine glasses continually charged, and ate and ate and ate and ate some more. This was not an Oscar-party prep-friendly event. We both left wondering if our red carpet dresses for our friends' Oscar party on Sunday were going to be obscenely tight now. Oh, well...

We started the evening with mixed olives, drunken goat cheese (mini rounds of goat cheese soaked in red wine), 18-month-aged manchego, and a few kinds of olive oil crisp breads. And we washed all of that down with a cava, a Spanish-style sparkling wine that was less effervescent than other bubblies but still gave you that tickle.

Then we moved to two more substantial tapas dishes. I like that Kristina's handouts are, what she called, 'formulas' and not 'recipes'. She admitted that she didn't follow recipes and every time she made something it turned out different. Me, too! So, I'll tell you what she made and how she made it - last night, anyway - and give you my twist.

click the name for the recipe

Though I am not big on fried anything, these were nice. Some changes I might try: (1) wrap with phyllo dough and bake the cigars instead; (2) add some lemon zest to the filling mixture.

 click the name for the recipe

click the name for the recipe

For some reason I never thought to spoon gazpacho on top of greens as a dressing. Amazing. Visually, this dish was a little too monochromatic for my tastes. I would add some blood orange segments or pink grapefruit segments for the color and a little more flavor. Otherwise, this was a little bit of summer in the middle of winter! The salad was paired - surprisingly - with an organic Spanish muscat that was not as syrupy as others I've had. Very nice.


click the name for the recipe

What a hearty bowl! They paired this with a strong red wine. I will definitely be making this again soon. Maybe tonight...

We ended the evening with the opportunity to shop a bit. I ended up with some dry Spanish chorizo, sliced Jamon Serrano, smoky paprika, and dark Spanish chocolate. So much fun!


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