Tapas For Two

Peppers + Garlic Shrimp + Photographs Brenda Lei Casey

Brenda Lei Casey was in 3rd grade when her family moved from Grand Rapids, Mich., to Springfield, Mo. From that moment on, she was home.

Until she grew up, married Josh and moved to Brugge, Belgium, in 2016.

Brenda Lei and The Gang — Josh and their three daughters and a baby on the way — now live in Spain, where “appetizers” are “tapas,” and the flavors are more than you think.

Brenda Lei and Josh are church planters who moved to Spain to “share the light of Jesus.”

“We moved to Spain technically on Dec. 31, 2019,” Brenda Lei says. “We had been praying God would get us there by the end of 2019.”

And He did.

By a comfortable six hours.

When deciding the menu for Tapas For Two, she realized sometimes we don’t feel we have anything worth celebrating, especially when life seems normal.

“But, hey,” she says. “It takes courage to live normal sometimes. To just show up day in,

day out, and we don’t celebrate small achievements very much. So why not celebrate even with just two people?”

She explains Tapas For Two can be a romantic gesture; a fun, low key girls’ night with a friend; or time well spent with a child you adore.

“Can’t gather with all your friends because of Covid-19? No biggie,” she says. Double the recipe and have fun with the kids.”

Brenda Lei and her youngest daughter prepare ingredients together for Tapas For Two.

Pimientos de Padrón
(Otherwise known as Sautéed Little Baby Green Peppers)

Recipe Brenda Lei Casey

12-15 Baby Green Peppers
2 T Olive Oil
Sea Salt Flakes

  • The best thing about these in how incredibly EASY they are! No chopping, dicing, marinating—nothing!
  • Heat the oil up to nice and sizzling hot in a frying pan and drop those peppers in! (Editor’s note: According to “Worst Cooks in America,” heat the oil so it sounds like the roar of applause when you add the peppers.)
  • During the next 3-4 minutes, stir them every so often. The skins should start to blister and blacken up a bit.
  • Drain the oil off them briefly using a paper towel, and sprinkle sea salt flakes over them and eat right away! YUM YUM YUM! Super easy, super quick, and SUPER tasty!

Gambas al Ajillo
(Garlic Shrimp!!!)

Recipe Brenda Lei Casey

1 C Shrimp (peeled, deveined, all that jazz)
2 Cloves garlic, diced
1/2 Onion, diced
2 T Olive Oil
2 T Butter
1 T fresh parsley, chopped

  • In a frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil.
  • Once it’s hot (see comment in previous recipe), go ahead and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic.
  • Once everything is browned a bit, remove from the pan.
  • Place the butter in the pan. After it melts and becomes hot, add the shrimp.
  • Cook the shrimp 2-3 minutes, until pink and done.
  • Place everything, including the oil/butter mixture with the shrimp, onions, and garlic in a dish and season with salt, pepper, and parsley to taste.
  • This is served great with a fabulous crusty bread to dip in that glorious buttery/garlic sauce!

Spanish Croquettes Made With Jamon Serrano

Recipe Mireille, The Tortilla Channel
Brenda Lei says jamón serrano is a type of cured ham found everywhere in Spain. “It’s like a thing here.” However, according to the The Tortilla Channel website, you can substitute any type of cured ham in the recipe. Recipe includes freezing instructions.

Patatas Bravas

Recipe Meghan, Fox and Briar
According to the Fox and Briar website, in Spain, appetizers are called “tapas.” Recipe instructions call for baking, not frying, the patatas bravas.

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