My mother, although multi-talented, had an aversion to the kitchen and has often said that I learned to cook at an early age “out of self-defense.” When she made chicken à l'orange by smearing a chicken with powdered Tang, I quickly developed a necessary passion for creating tasty things to eat. Somewhere in the family photograph album is a picture of me at the stove, age ten, happily stirring marinara sauce.

I developed a lifelong fascination with food; good food. There was even a foray of working as a chef’s assistant at a French restaurant during my mid twenties, just for fun. I had always loved watching Julia Child and knew that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was to be revered. It wasn’t until I read her biography (long before the Julie & Julia movie) that I really became fascinated with her work. From that book, I decided to prepare her recipe for mayonnaise.

Upon tasting it, I wept. . . .

Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paella to the Rescue

Sometimes, sheer necessity can decide a menu. My apartment doesn't have a dishwasher and only one studio-sized sink in the kitchen. After Saturday night's Julia extravaganza, the last thing I wanted to do was to face any more dishes to wash. I'd been soaking and washing dishes for two days.
What to do? 

I realized that I had a tiny plastic box of saffron that had been hanging around in my cupboard for about ten years. Presented with that, paella was the answer.

I'd never made paella before but, to me, it seemed like a Spanish risotto free-for-all. A sofrito of Cuisinarted onion, tomato and garlic went into olive oil. Chorizo, chicken and red bell pepper were close behind. Medium-grain rice was sauteed. Soaked saffron, chicken stock, turmeric, and pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) did the cooking. 

By the way, if you don't have pimentón on hand, get some. It's just about the sweetest, smokiest thing ever and can zhoozh up just about anything.  

Shrimp came at the end. Lemon wedges, parsley and olive oil were festooned. 

One pan on the table, two plates, two forks, a good friend, laughter . . .  I can see why the Spanish are such happy, relaxed people. We couldn't stop eating.

And the dishes are done and put away as I'm writing this.

No comments:

Post a Comment