Recipes for Love: The Train In Spain

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The following excerpt and recipes are reprinted from The Hungry Love Cookbook: 30 Steamy, Scintillating Stories; 100 Titillating, Mouthwatering Recipes by Cindy Silvert.

He caught her eye in the ticket line. After two glorious weeks in Spain, she had thought she was immune to drop-dead gorgeous. Apparently not. Heather had brushed up on her Spanish for just such an occasion, but her knees turned to goo, her tongue went AWOL, and all she could remember was the Dora the Explorer jingle, which she decided to keep to herself. The best she could do was to oh-so-casually flash her seat number as she passed him by. Was it too obvi­ous? Did he even notice? She boarded the train, settled into an empty car, and tried to breathe.

Not a minute later, Santiago stepped in. He pulled down the shades bearing that cocky European prepare-for-pleasure smile. She smiled right back at him, fully prepared for every sinful minute of it, her wild European adventure about to begin.

It’s now or never, she thought.

Heather’s mother had warned her about the men and the trains and traveling alone, but she was more than eager to experience the country and the natives. Right now. Heather could practically feel his hot tan skin, his full lips on hers.

The crisp sound of a zipper jolted her back to reality. Heather gasped at his audacity and could hardly wait to tell her friends, until she realized it was only his backpack. Quickly regaining her compo­sure, she watched as he unloaded a cornucopia of delicacies, care of his mother.

train in vain

The first thing she tasted was the Smoked Salmon Corkscrews with Black Olives, Dates, Basil, and Gruyere. Those tiny explosions of flavor would be a party-starting sensation back home, of this she was sure. The bold hues of his Wild Rice reminded her of the Miros she had hoped to see in Barcelona were it not for the hangover that rendered bright lights, crowds, and anything remotely cultural too much to bear. Its less-colorful foil, a Celery Root Salad packed such an unexpected punch that she swore off boring old Waldorf for eter­nity. He then pulled out a platter from who knows where, of Shiitake Croquettes—still warm and crispy! He fed her slowly, and she devoured every bite of it. Santiago looked pleased but not surprised. This was hardly his first rodeo.

The train came to an abrupt halt as he was unwrapping a small package. He whispered something into her ear as the train’s momen­tum pressed her into his arms all too briefly. Within seconds, he grabbed his bag and bolted out the door. What did he say? What did it mean? Heather felt empty, robbed of something that was never really hers until she noticed the basket he had left behind. Señor Sexy was gone for good, but Nonni’s Cranberry Nut Biscotti weren’t.

Two stops later, a fellow American took over where Santiago had left off. Heather and John downed her leftover biscotti with his cheap Sangria. They kept the blinds down as their eager bodies did what they had traveled all the way to Europe to do, majestic Pyrenees be damned. Heather and John traveled together until their money ran out and it was time to trade in their secret summer identities for grad school and such. On anniversaries, they would take a road trip with a tin of biscotti and a bottle of Sangria in tow. The cookies were never as good as the ones he had in Spain, but Heather was, so John let it slide.

Create your own delicious journey with the recipes from John and Heather’s story:


Smoked Salmon Corkscrews with Black Olives, Dates, Basil, and Gruyere
Wild Rice
Celery Root Salad
Shiitake Croquettes
Cranberry Nut Biscotti



IMG_0385 Salmon Corkscrews


15 rosemary sprigs
4 oz Gruyere or Swiss cheese
6 oz smoked salmon
20 cured black olives, pitted
20 fresh basil leaves
5 Medjool dates
20 toothpicks
1 lemon
2 Tbs. small capers


  1. Break the rosemary sprigs into sections 3″ to 4″ long.
  2. Slice the Gruyere into thin, long pieces.
  3. Place a slice of salmon on top of each slice of cheese.
  4. Place 1 olive, 1 basil leaf, and 1 thin slice of date together at the edge of the slice of salmon and cheese.
  5. Wrap up the cheese and use a short rosemary sprig or toothpick to hold it together.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice on top, and decorate serving plate with capers.



IMG_0809 Wild Rice

2 cupswild rice
1 cup Shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 scallions or 10 chives
cupKalamata olives, pitted and sliced
½ cup black beans, large or small
2 Tbs. chia seeds
2 Tbs. toasted sunflower seeds
4 Tbs. tahini
½ lemon, juice of
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper


  1. Cook the rice according to instructions.
  2. Slice and sauté the mushrooms in oil on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Slice the scallions and add to the mushrooms for 2 minutes.
  4. Once the rice cools, toss in all the ingredients.
  5. Great hot or cold.




celery root, about 2 cups shredded
4 Tbs. mayo or 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. honey or agave nectar
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½  tsp. ginger powder
Salt and Pepper

¼  cup walnuts or pecans


  1. Grate the celery root by hand or in a food processor.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients except for the nuts.
  3. Allow salad to marinate 30 minutes or more.
  4. Toast the nuts in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Mix in the nuts before serving.

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