1 Snowed-in Weekend, 1 Kitchen, 2 Cuisines

Jonas sprinkled 2+ feet of snow locking us indoors, so my roommate Kaitlyn and I decided to be productive and clean up the condo. We eventually made our way to Kaitlyn's Try the World boxes waiting patiently to be used for the last few months. They're Birchbox-like subscription boxes with curated international specialty foods. Each box came with themed recipes and ready-to-make kits appropriate to try on a weekend like this. So we turned ourselves into Japanese and Spanish chefs for the last 2 days.

These dishes were surprisingly easy and flavorful, not intimidating at all. We could see ourselves ordering them at restaurants.

Below are my favorites, and recipes I'll keep for the future:

Seafood Escabeche Crostini - serves 8, time: 30 min plus 2 hrs marinating

In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté 3 mined garlic cloves in 1/2 cup olive oil for 30 seconds. Add 2 bay leaves (be careful: the leaves will pop) and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove the leaves from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, the zest of 1 orange, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 sprig of oregano, and salt. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a bowl and add drained Espinaler tuna or mussels. Marinate for 2 hours, then serve on toasted baguette or pita with arugula and oregano.

Patatas Bravas - serves 4, time: 45 minutes

Quarter 2 lbs. small yellow or red potatoes and soak in hot water for 15 minutes. Dry and toss with 3 tbsp. olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven fro 25 minutes at 450 F, stirring once. Meanwhile, blitz 5 canned, whole, peeled tomatoes, 1/2 yellow onion, 3 garlic cloves, and 1 tsp. smoked paprika in a food processor. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and cook bravas sauce until fragrant, about 5 minutes. In a separate skillet, sauté 1 cup spicy hard chorizo until fat is rendered, 5 minutes. Toss cooked chorizo with cooked potatoes, braves sauce, mayonnaise and parsley.

Photos are blurry, too excited to dig in! Top to bottom: Kansai-Style Okonomiyaki, Seafood Escabeche Crostini (toasted pita on left), Patatas Bravas with sauce below, and wine of course

Photos are blurry, too excited to dig in! Top to bottom: Kansai-Style Okonomiyaki, Seafood Escabeche Crostini (toasted pita on left), Patatas Bravas with sauce below, and wine of course

On our second night, we made Pan Con Tomate, Kansai-Style Okonomiyaki, and Simple Soba Noodle Salad from the books.

Pan Con Tomate - serves 4, time: 10 min

Drizzle olive oil over 4 slices of thick, crusty bread, then toast in the oven at 375 F for 8 minutes. Spread tumaca sauce onto the toasted bread. For extra tomato flavor, distribute sliced tomatoes over the top, then sprinkle paprika and salt. We added mozzarella as an extra touch.

Clockwise: Patatas Bravas, Kansai-Style Okonomiyaki, Pan Con Tomate, Simple Soba Noodle Salad, and another wine

Clockwise: Patatas Bravas, Kansai-Style Okonomiyaki, Pan Con Tomate, Simple Soba Noodle Salad, and another wine

The Kansai-Style Okonomiyaki reminds me of the Korean pancakes my mom makes. I can see the soba noodle salad served as a small plate in a Japanese restaurant. Nothing new here. The Spanish dishes had more unique flavors with the smoked paprika and tumaca sauce. The tuna crostinis and potatoes will definitely be future lunch ideas.