Anda Flamenco Company & School, Kristina de Sacramento, Artistic Director
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Flamenco Food and Bird Blog

From Birds to My Favorite Recipes...???

It all came about like this: I was reciting yet another great recipe in class when Frank said, "Why don't you just blog all these recipes?" Well, why not? It doesn't have to make any sense nor follow the flamenco theme - I mean, what do birds have to do with flamenco?

Well, I haven't gotten the leftover turkey recipes up yet, so maybe by Thanksgiving. Perfectly in keeping - it's June 2013 and I'm getting the last year's Christmas presents ready for my students!

This is my go-to pie, summer or winter. I prefer Pappy's pie crust, a locally made crust found in the freezer at Rainbow, but I can't find it now. You can use any fruit combo. Strawberries, pineapple and craisins is great. (A dried fruit or toasted nut adds a good textural . Adjust the spices in your sugar, but always use the 1/3 c sugar, 1 T cornstarch, and citrus zest.


Preheat oven to 425. Mix together 1/3 c sugar or Xylitol with 1 T cornstarch and equal parts of ground ginger, cardamom, allspice and cloves, and 2 t lemon zest. (The amount you use depends on your tastes - I probably use 1 1/2 t) Thinly slice but don't peel 3 almost-ripe red-skinned Anjou pears and add to the sugar mixture, along with a heaping handful of the biggest red grapes you can find, sliced into thirds.

Roll out crust. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment (not necessary but sure makes clean-up easier.) Pour fruit mixture into the middle of crust, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle w/toasted almond slices. Pull crust up around the pie, pleating it as you go. Depending on your oven, how much fruit you have, etc., start checking at 25 minutes. 35 minutes is the usual time. You want the crust to brown slighty, but you don't want to overcook the fruit.

This recipe, which I think came from Bon Appetit, is a no-fail 20 minute delicious dinner. I substituted pork sirloin roast for chops and found it much more tender. You'll love it!


Cut 1.5 lb. pork sirloin roast into 1 inch chops, and let stand at room temperature while oven preheats to 450. Place a large timmed baking sheet in the oven and heat until very hot.

In a large bowl, toss 2 or 3 red skinned sweet potatoes (peeled, sliced lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 2" pieces), 2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples (peeled, cored, and cut into eigths), 1 fennel bulb (trimmed and cut lengthwise into eigths) and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (cut into 1" pieces) w/2 T olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper.Remove baking sheet from oven and spread mixture on it. Roast for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are nicely browned and tender, turning ingredients over half way through cooking.

Season pork w/salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 T olive oil, then add chops to skillet and cook about 5 mins per side, or until golden brown but with some pink left in the center. Transfer to a platter (reserving oil in skillet) and let stand for 5 mins.

Pour off all but 1 t oil from skillet, leaving brown bits in pan. Return pan to medium low heat, add 1 c apple cider or juice and bring to a simmer for about 2 mins, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in 1 T Dijon mustard (I use more) and simmer for about 2 mins to reduce liquid slightly. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 t butter to thicken sauce slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put vegetables and pork on plates, drizzle sauce over pork. Serves 4

I've been working on this recipe for over a year, and last night it was the best ever.


The essential ingredient for this dish is spelt tortillas. Corn or flour tortillas turn to mush in this dish, whereas the spelt tortillas hold their texture and their flavor and make the dish. Try your coop. I get mine at The Wedge.

My baking dish is about 7 x 12. I tear one tortilla for the bottom layer and one for the top. Judge by what you need to fit into your cooking vessel.

Grease baking dish with olive oil, put down a layer of spelt tortillas. For layer 1, drain 1 can of kidney beans, toss in bowl with shredded chicken (I use leftovers from supermarket roasted chicken), small can chopped black olives, cumin, fresh parsley and/or cilantro (optional). Top the spelt tortillas with chicken, top with shredded mozzarella. Pour a small can of red enchilada sauce over, mixed with the gel that forms on the bottom of your roasted chicken container. Top with another layer of spelt tortillas. For layer 2, I used what greens where in the fridge, and chopped them all to the same size - yellow zucchini, green pepper, 1/4 jalapeño, half red onion, 1/3 c kale, 1 broccoli (T IS IMPORTANT TO CUT BROCCOLI SMALL SO ALL VEGGIES ROAST TOGETHER), and a generous sprinkling of cumin. (I tossed this with olive oil, soy sauce, sriracha and garlic powder - I'd just used this mixture to make the kale chips in Recipe 3, so I tossed the veggies in the mixture left on the baking sheet and put it back in the oven. Experiment here...). I roasted veggies for 15 mins at 350 before prepping chicken. I spread them on top of the second layer of tortillas and topped them with 1 small can of green enchilada sauce and shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 for 20 mins or until cheese melts. Yummm!

I kept reading about the kale chip craze, and finally, I decided to get my feet wet, so I've chronicled my first attempts here for you.

RECIPE 3: KALE CHIPS There've been references to these in every food magazine, so I finally researched a couple of recipes online and here's my early take on this. Experiment yourself, and let me know what tweaks you make.

Wash, tear into bite size pieces and spin dry 1 bundle of lacchinato kale (also known as tuscan, dinosaur, or black - I've not tried the other varieties yet). Mix together in a large bowl about 2 T olive oil or sesame oil, some squirts of sriracha or other hot sauce, a healthy shake of garlic powder, and some squirts of low sodium soy sauce. Put the kale in the bowl and toss to coat. Cook at 350 for 8 - 12 mins in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I line mine with parchment, but I'd think there's enough oil to forgo spraying the sheet with oil if you don't line it.) Note that the size of the piece will shrink. Try not to eat it all in the next hour...

I've finally gotten around to putting up Recipe 2, a recipe featuring leftovers. In that vein, coming soon are 2 "turkey" recipes. "Oh, yuk," you say, but there's another turkey meal coming up soon! Keep an eye out for my fabulous turkey posole and an easy, yummy turkey (plus shrimp and choirzo) paella soup!

RECIPE 2: SALMON RILLETTES (This is a great way to use that leftover piece of cooked salmon. Taste as you go - this is an intuitive recipe!)

Flake 1/3 to 1/2 pound of cooked skinless salmon. Mix it with half as much flaked hot smoked salmon - the kind that looks like smoked trout, not the smooth Scottish smoked type. Sauteé 2 - 3 T minced shallots in butter. Cream 4 T butter and whisk in 1 T plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream). Stir in 1/2 t smoked sweet paprika, 1 1/2 T lemon juice, 1 T EVOO, and 2 T snipped chives (if you have them). Get adventurous and add a smidgen of hot sauce and a dribble of ouzo or anisette. Stir in cooked and smoked salmon and season with salt and white pepper. Serve on toasted baguettes. Warning - very rich - sort of like a savory buttercream frosting!

Cauliflower in a soup works like potatoes and cream for color and texture, but need I say it's healthier?

RECIPE 1: FAST CAULIFLOWER AND CHEDDAR SOUP (lifted from Everyday Food unaltered because it was so good!)

Melt 3 T butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 medium yellow onion, diced, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into 1.5 inch pieces (YOU ARE EVENTUALLY GOING TO BLEND ALL THIS) and cook until just beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Add 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 20 minutes. Blend in small batches in blender or it pan with an immersion blender. Add more broth or water depending on consistency you desire. Heat over medium until warmed through. Add 1 1/2 cups white cheddar (this worked very well for flavor and oil content, but feel free to experiment), salt and pepper as needed. Recipe says to sprinkle with cayenne. I added some sriracha to the soup, and garnished with diced jalapeños and crushed spiced almonds.

Serves 4 as a main course. Spec for 6 servings are:212 cal, 16 g sat fat, 12 g protein, 8 g carb, 3 g fiber

Buen provecho!

Yet Another Bird Story

After four hours of teaching and three hours of "Zapping" on a hot July Saturday, the studio doorbell at our house began ringing incessantly (but erratically) at 8am on Sunday morning. I couldn't rouse Harland to go answer it, so, buck-naked and really really pissed off, I ran down the hall and looked out the dining room window to see who had such an urgent agenda. No one was at the door, so I walked into the flamenco studio to look out the window onto the driveway to see if someone was just leaving. As I entered the studio, I heard a light knocking on the wall by the door. I jerked the door open, and there, clinging to the doorbell and looking up at me with a huge, open, yellow baby-bird mouth was a woodpecker fledgling saying "Feed me, Feed me!" That is until he realized that I didn't look anything like his mom and flew away! Wow - what a memory I still have of that little insistent face with the tiniest slash of red decorating the back of his head - a little punk-pecker! (Oh, pardon me...) Sorry, no picture...

A Spanish Blog of Sorts

Hola, Kristina speaking. I'm back from my annual month in Spain. Do you see all the luggage I left with? This may seem excessive, but I inventoried it there and I could only reduce the total weight by five pounds -doable by bringing less of clothes to wear to flamenco concerts and dinner engagements. I noticed that I wore the same "uniform" to class, dinner, and concerts that I am wearing to board the plane in this photo. But those of us who go every year know - and I'm sure Juana Maria will agree - that bare yet weighty necessities are: audio and video recording equipment; batteries and battery chargers; supplements to keep us from getting sick and meds in case we do; face cream, foot cream and laundry soap; two pairs of flamenco shoes; and three changes of class clothes (so your first change has two days after washing it to dry in damp weather before you'll need it again). And then, have you ever weighed your suitcase itself? My light one is 11 lbs and my heavy one is 16. The total per suitcase is 50 lbs. (And thank heavens, since I'm lugging my own luggage around Spain!) The pathetic part of this is that I pack worse and worse with each succeeding year, and with more and more forethought, nonetheless! (Sort of like how I overloaded that last sentence...)

And speaking of pathos, when I arrived in Madrid I found (for the first time in 20 year) that the elevator in my pension was broken. I had to haul all that luggage up four Spanish flights of stairs (translation: 20 stairs per flight, blessedly interspersed with two landings per flight). Unfortunately that maneuver froze my left glute for the rest of the trip. That is how I confirmed what I have always suspected: Flamenco is totally left-leg based! Left without the benefit of body memory, I stumbled through my classes in Madrid and Jerez, and had to rely on my brain to dance the choreographies we were learning without crashing into the person next to me.

Upon arriving, I immediately went to La Tati's classes in Madrid as I always do. I understand Tati's dance language so I can work hard in her classes to rebuild the muscular and cardiovascular strength I lose by teaching instead of taking class in the US. After a week with Tati I took the train to Jerez where I had the honor of studying with Matilde Coral for the first time. It was the teacher in me who chose to study with Matilde, as she is the ONLY person of that very influential generation with whom I'd not yet studied and I needed to understand her sphere of influence. WOW- what a great decision! She represents (like her fellow Sevillana, Merche Esmeralda) all that is quintessentially and artfully feminine in the dance. Assisted by her daughter Rocio and Carmen (Rocio's assistant), a very precious and coquettish tanguillos emerged from this class, choreographed to a recording of the late Chano Lobato (a dear friend of Matilde). Matilde divided her time between our class in Jerez and the bedside of her dying husband, dancer Rafael el Negro, in Sevilla. She cried in class one day speaking of all the flamencos of her generation who have so recently died. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to breathe in her aire and sentimiento before she leaves us to join her compaņeros.

There was much flooding in the south of Spain this spring, along with weather-related disasters in the rest of Europe. There were flamingos hanging out in the flood waters lining the train tracks between Sevilla and Cordoba! That's a long way for them to travel from the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking of birds, this brings me to my favorite story of my 2010 trip. I rescued a partridge! Not from a pear tree, mind you, but from a pet store. In Jerez, Juana Maria and I threw down a hasty lunch after our dance classes and then, before the nightly 9 pm fabulous flamenco concerts, we rushed off to a few hours computer-hell at the 24-hour Video Cruz. (We were unfortunately still immersed in Anda Company business while a continent away... sometimes being connected is NOT a blessing!) One day, on the way to computer-hell, I heard a bunch of pigeons cooing in a pet store. I convinced Juana to stop and come inside with me for a moment of "bird-time." In addition to the bevy of birds Harland and I feed year-round outside, I was also missing our five doves who live in my office at home (one of whom - Mrs. Jeffrey - was currently "hospitalized" under Harland's care in my warm bathroom at home.)

Inside the pet store, I faced a 4' x 9' wall of red bird eyes - each set peering at me from a 1' x 1' square cage front. One guy pigeon keep puffing up his greenish purple chest and threatening to throw himself against the cage, challenging me. Then I suddenly noticed a pair of red eyes that had white rims. I looked into the cage and instead of a pigeon, there was a "perdiz" (partridge) In an instant I knew I had to buy it and let it go, but Juana and I had to go as well. I stopped in again and tried to ascertain if the bird had been born in captivity (therefore I couldn't release it) or had been captured. Lacking the vocabulary to ask the question precisely, the answer I got was that the bird had been born in the country rather than in a cage, but in captivity in the country maybe?And speaking of the country, how long was it going to take me on foot or by taxi to get from the pet store to the country so I could free the partridge?

Enter my hero Carlos, one of the great guys who works at the Hotel Joma, my home in Jerez. He offered to drive the bird and me out to the country. Carlos told me it was illegal to keep a partridge caged, but noted that no one in Jerez would care about that. He told me the caged birds were used as live decoys so hunters could shoot and then sell partridges for $$ to restaurants. Carlos also knew the owner of the pet store. On my last night in town, we stood impatiently in Pepe's bar for 45 minutes, waiting for the pet store next door to reopen after siesta. Carlos wisely asked the owner how long the bird had been in the 20" x 12" cage, and it turns out that cage-time was over a year. (Guess not many hunters are wanting to sell partridge to restaurants nowadays...) None of us liked that idea...a valuable game bird sitting on the ground trying to remember that birds fly. Then the owner had the idea of releasing the bird at a game preserve (while telling Carlos as an aside that I must be crazy, which Carlos answered with a typical Spanish "so what" shrug of the shoulders). There is hunting twice yearly at game preserves to control the population, but if our partridge didn't survive the hunt, at least it wouldn't be shot waiting to remember that birds are supposed to fly.

We drove the partridge out to the country. It traveled in a cardboard hamster-toy box, supplied by the pet store owner. We set the bird free in the fields across from the gate to Gonzalez-Byass vineyards. It flew to the ground in front of us and just sat there, cocking its head and looking in every direction. It was the first time in more than a year that the bird had seen anything farther than 8 feet in front of itself. We walked towards it, hoping to flush it and have it remember flight, but our first two steps sunk us ankle-deep in the sodden clay of the flood-soaked field. Night was approaching, so we decided to drive away, hoping that the rabbits and birds (which ceased moving upon our arrival) would take up normal life again before sunset and jog the wild memory of our once wild bird.

The partridge cost $45 at the pet store. The other 35 pigeons in there were only $2 apiece. Just wait 'til the Bird Lady returns next year, Jerez!



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