January was a big month in sports, and in Susan’s world, it revolved around both the U.S. Figure Skating Championships–who wasn’t a fan of Michelle Kwan, anyway?–and the Australian Open. Those of you too busy getting ready for the Super Bowl may have missed the weeks of intense tennis being played in Melbourne, but we didn’t, and decided to have a cooking competition in honor of the exciting men’s final match between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain.
We admit to a slight bias in our challenge to cook Spanish and Swiss food: Spanish food has traditionally had enough spice to interest us, but Susan is a huge fan of Federer, and wishes he could have put up more of a fight in the tie-breaking set.
So we had a three-recipe match to duke it out between the cuisines. Round 1: Spicy Spanish Potatoes and Beans. The potatoes were excellent, and the beans were flavored enough to cover up the fact that they’re healthy. Set to Spain. Round 2: Fruity Swiss Fondue. This is certainly not healthy, and-if in fact he has ever tasted this dish before-may be the reason Federer is looking less in shape this season. It does taste good-set to Switzerland. Round 3: Spicier Spanish Chicken. The chicken burns, but tastes great with the tangy lime juice. Spain for the win, even if it was a rather short game consisting only of aces.
Spicy Spanish Potatoes and Beans
10 baby red potatoes? lb. fresh green beans1 Tbs. olive oil1 tsp. paprika1 tsp. chili powder? tsp. ground cumin? tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 400oF. Wash the potatoes and beans and cut the ends off. In a medium bowl, mix together the olive oil, paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt.
Roll the potatoes around in the spice mixture to coat them lightly/moderately. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them for 40-50 minutes.
Place the still damp beans in the bowl with the leftover spice mixture and shake them around until they are evenly flavored. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 4? minutes. Remember to be very careful and remove the wrapping with a fork, rather than your fingers. You will be badly burned if you make contact with the oil-infused steam that escapes from the bowl-trust us and Susan’s burned fingers on this one.
Spicier Spanish Chicken
3 chicken breasts, cut into halves1? tsp. minced garlic1 Tbs. olive oil1 Tbs. paprika1 tsp. chili powder1 tsp. dried oregano1 tsp. ground black pepper? tsp. saltLime juice or wedges, to serve
Cut the chicken and make one or two slits in each piece. Place the garlic in the slits, so it’s a little under the surface. Let this sit for a few minutes. In a bowl, mix together the chili powder, oregano, pepper and salt.
Brush the chicken with a thin layer of oil, then place the chicken in the spice mixture to coat it-this is pretty hot, so use discretion in how much of a coating you give your chicken. Broil for about 15 minutes until slightly blackened. Serve with the lime.
Fruity Swiss Fondue
1 12 oz can raspberry pie filling1 21 oz can cherry pie filling6 oz fresh blueberries3 Tbs. cherry brandy1 Tbs. corn meal? cup plain yogurtFresh fruit slices, marshmallows or angelfood cake
Rinse the cherries in a strainer or colander to remove the sticky-sweet sauce. Mix together the raspberry filling, cherries and blueberries in a saucepan over low heat (about three). Stir the corn meal into the brandy and slowly add it to the heating mixture.
While on the stove, mash the warming blueberries and cherries to make the consistency smoother. After about half an hour, add the yogurt. The fondue is ready for dipping at this point and you can remove it from the heat.
Dip fruit slices, marshmallows or angelfood cake into the fondue, and enjoy!