Good Evening, Mr. Quincy

DSC_2167I am teaming up with my fabulous friend, Sofia, at Papaya Pieces, to feature a special ingredient. We are going through the alphabet – and challenging ourselves with a new ingredient each month. We started at “P.” Last month, we created two pear recipes. Curls and Carrots made a salad and Papaya Pieces created a main course. This month, the letter is “Q,” and the ingredient is Quince!

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The history of sweet, rich quince paste is long and rich, dating back to medieval times, when quince marmalade, including beautiful designs on the surface, was often prepared.

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Later, in the thirteenth century, King Edward I planted a quince trees a quince tree in England. Then, in the sixteenth century, nearly every English orchard had  such a tree.

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During the times of the Tudors, quince marmalade was commonly eaten. It has a long shelf-life and travels well – which was important before cars and refrigeration. Plus, the quince fruit itself is quite bitter and not very enjoyable when eaten raw – so a jam is ideal, no matter what century.

DSC_2163As for my neck of the woods, quinces are difficult to find in North America. The trees are susceptible to disease and dwindled to near oblivion in the last century. Fortunately, quinces flourish in Latin America. There, dulce de membrillo, i.e. quince paste, is a common and affordable treat. Membrillo is imported to the United States from Latin America. Here, it is a pricey (but well worth the cost).

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To me, glacé quince paste, or membrillo, has deep, earthy notes – almost reminiscent of a fig (one of my favorite fruits). Its rich, fruit flavor is delectable in a cocktail, such as a fusion of the “Old Quincy” and “Manhattan” cocktail recipe featured below. I have named this subtly sweet, festive drink “Old Quincy in Manhattan.”

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Of course, the traditional way to enjoy membrillo is paired with Spanish Manchego cheese as an appetizer. The duo is served on thin slices of baguette or crackers. The saltiness of the cheese is an ideal juxtaposition to the sweet quince paste. But why stop there? A scattering of Spanish marcona almonds provide a needed crunch. Additional depth of flavor provided by a few drizzles of flavorful, extra virgin olive oil; floral, golden honey – and a sprinkling of  savory rosemary leaves – elevates the dish.

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The buttery, complex hors d’Oeuvres is best accompanied with a Spanish Tempranillo or Rioja wine, which is dry, yet bright with lively, burgundy fruit notes. Of course, a dry neutral white wine would also pair well, if desired.

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Enjoy a night in with some great “amigas,” and make sure to invite Mr. Quincy.

Best wishes,

Shanna and the Clan at Casa Curls and Carrots

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Print Hors d’Oeuvres Recipe

Manchego and Membrillo Hors d’Oeuvres

A taste of Spain, wherever you may be. High quality ingredients shine in this straightforward dish.

 Ingredients:

 1 very fresh, artisan baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal

8 ounces of mature Manchego cheese, aged at least 12 months, thinly sliced

Membrillo (quince paste)

Marcona almonds, cut in half

A delectable, rich and thick floral honey

First cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (Spanish, if possible, to keep the theme)

Fresh Rosemary leaves taken off of the stem

Freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation(s): 

  • Assemble all ingredients on platters and allow guests to help themselves to the medley, or:

  • Alternatively, lightly grill or toast the sliced baguette and spread a small amount of membrillo on each slice.

  • Top the bread with slices of Manchego and Marcona almonds.

  • Drizzle with honey and olive oil and lightly dust with cracked black pepper.

  • Enjoy with a nice Tempranillo; a neutral, dry white – or your preferred wine pairing.

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Print Cocktail Recipe

Old Quincy in Manhattan

Inspired by Wayne Collin’s Recipe at the BBC

Serves one. Feel free to multiply the recipe to serve guests.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 ounces good quality bourbon or Kentucky whiskey (very cold)

1 ounce good quality extra Italian dry vermouth (very cold)

several dashes of angostura bitters

a twist of clementine orange, plus one or two slices of the orange for garnish

2 to 3 tsp. of quince paste (use 3 tsp. for a slightly sweet cocktail)

2 ice cubes

1 cold Martini glass

Preparation:

  • Place all ingredients, except for the ice, in a cocktail shaker. Stir until the quince paste is completely dissolved.

  • Alternatively, process the mixture in a miniature food processor. This may be a better route if your quince paste is very thick.

  • Add the two ice cubes and shake the mixture in the cocktail shaker. Strain into a cold martini glass.

  • Garnish with a slice or two from the clementine orange. ¡Salud!

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©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.
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52 thoughts on “Good Evening, Mr. Quincy

  1. Shanna this looks great, and so Spanish too!!! I didn’t know that quince marmalade had beautiful designs on its surface in Medieval times. If we ever cook our own quince paste, we’ll have to carve designs on it! 🙂 Besos

    1. Sofia-
      So, we must, one day, find a way to cook our own dulce de membrillo – and put fun designs on the top. 🙂 You are very artistic, so you will be the team-leader on all things design-oriented… hehe.
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a kind note, Amiga! Yes, I do love Spanish food. MMMMMM. Take good care and have safe travels.
      Best wishes,
      Shanna xx

    1. Hi, Rosa. Thank you so much for stopping by! 🙂 I think that you would enjoy this combination of flavors – the membrillo is subtle in the appetizer. Of course, what doesn’t go well with a glass of great wine? Thank you so much for your visit. Have a great afternoon. Best wishes, Shanna

  2. I love the smell of quince. Reminds me of my grandparents cellar where they stored all the apples and quinces from their garden. My friend Andrea had lots of quinces from her tree this year – I’ll be sure to point her to your post.

    1. Chava, What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing – and for stopping by to leave such a sweet note. Do point me towards Andrea’s post – it sounds very interesting (and delicious, too). Enjoy your afternoon. Best wishes, Shanna

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. I must say…it’s kind of a “sumptuous” appetizer, with a combination of salt&sweet. Also to me remembered the Spanish tapas.
    In Italy quince and other marmelades are often combined with cheese, as main meal.
    Have a good Thursday, Shanna! xoxo Cris

    1. Hi, Cris! Thank you so much for all of the compliments. I am glad that you are visiting today! Yes, aren’t Spanish tapas just scrumptious? 🙂 I appreciate you sharing about what is traditional in Italy! Do tell me more about how marmalades and cheeses are combined in the main meal. It sounds delicious! Have a great day. Best wishes, Shanna xx P.S. I like your description of the appetizer as “sumptuous,” what a compliment!

    1. Anna – I am so glad to hear that we have similar tastes! I would love to cook with you! I will let you know as soon as I can catch a flight to Stockholm. 😉 Have a wonderful day; and, thank you kindly for your visit and compliments! Best wishes, Shanna xx

  4. I just love cocktails Shanna! I am having a cookie swap party tomorrow night and just might serve this cocktail. But first I have to decide on what cookies to bake… oh my! Those apps look delish! Happy Holidays to you and hubby, and those adorable little munchkins!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Lidia. I am excited that you have stopped by! Your cookie swap sounds SO SO SO fun! 🙂 I expect a full report on the cookie you chose to make, and what cocktail you whip up. Hehe. It will be lovely, I am sure. Happy holidays to your family, as well – and a healthy, prosperous new year. Best wishes, Shanna xx

  5. Good one, nice to see something different brought to my screen. You have also given me a cheese and chutney themed idea for my daughter, who is telling me my food is boring.

  6. Thank you, Denise! What a thoughtful and kind note. I am so happy that you have stopped by. How old is your daughter? My own daughter is a big fan of nice cheese – especially when it is melted a grilled cheese sandwich with any sweet jam or honey, Manchego and cured olives. I am sure your food is anything but boring! 😉 Have a lovely night. Best wishes, Shanna

  7. What a great idea! Can’t wait to see what the two of you are going to highlight next. I’ve yet to try quince paste, though I’ve seen a couple recipes. The crostini sound great, Shanna. Quince works so well with Manchego cheese. Not so sure about the Manhattan, though. Still, I won’t know until I try. Cheers!

    1. Thank you, John. It has been fun to team-up Sofia. I am so grateful for the inspiration and teaching other bloggers provide. As for the Quincy-Manhattan fusion… to each his own. 🙂 I like the sweet, rich flavor of the membrillo with the bourbon. Cheers! Have a great week and an early Merry Christmas. Best regards, Shanna

  8. I have missed your blog. The past week has been a whirlwind of events for me…I virtually forgot I owned a blog. Today I woke up to catch up and so here I am to see this wonderful membrillo paste paired with Spanish Manchego cheese and the old Quincy in Manhattan. I can’t remember the last time I made a cocktail…it has been a while but you’e now inspired me to start thinking about cocktails. Both sound delicious and the Hors d’Oeuvres is great for a lazy individual like me who wants to enjoy good food but spend the minimum of effort. Thanks for sharing. I hope SM and LG are doing great and so are you. I wish you all the best now and in the new year. I hope you’ll have a fabulous 2014 and a happy blogging. Best…Liz

    1. Liz,
      You are NOT lazy. You crack me up… lazy, no, no, no. You are not. Have a few cocktails this time of year with your lovely friends and family. Have a great 2014; healthy, prosperity and only good things.
      Best regards,
      Shanna

  9. Love the letter “Q” it is so beautifully graphic and it’s also my dear ol’ dad’s nickname. And I ardently heart quinces. So needless to say: adore this post and the recipe and also, what a clever and imaginative idea for a blog series.

    1. Thank you for sharing lovely thoughts – and your contagious enthusiasm! 🙂 I will check out the quince recipes on your blog. I appreciate your visit – and am so glad that you are here. Have a fabulous week! Best regards, Shanna

      1. I didn’t make jam…I kept a few but gave them to a friend. She comes to the orchard each year and picks fruit and always gives me a jar of homemade jam or jelly at Christmas. 🙂

  10. One of the things I always like about your blog are the fabrics in the photos. This particular yellow and blue fabric was a favorite of my mother-in-law’s. She passed away this year. It’s the little things! Also, I have a few places I can hunt for quince paste. I love this about blogging. I never would have thought to hunt for quince paste otherwise!

  11. Great post! Quince is so-underappreciated, I agree! I was in Spain a few weeks ago, and came back with about a pound of membrillo, it’s been brilliant over Christmas on the cheeseboard.

    I’ve also got a quince recipe of my own – slice a whole quince into paper thin pieces, put in a large jar with vodka and some sugar (err on side of caution, you can add more sugar later). Leave in the cellar for three months – and voila, fantastic quince liqueur with a honey colour and delicious aroma.

    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving such a wonderful note. I appreciate the kind words!
      Your visit to Spain – and the acquired membrillo – sound absolutely amazing.
      As for your quince recipe – brilliant. It sounds easy and delicious. Quince liqueur? I will not argue with that. Now, I must get my hands on some quince – and find a cellar. 😉
      Best wishes,
      Shanna

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