Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Luke's Monthly Visit to the Unknown AKA the Kitchen

I don't mind cooking every night. In all honesty, I love it. Especially since Luke does the dishes.

But I have to say it is a rare treat when Luke has the time to cook up one of his two meals -- Paella or Wontons. It's really nice to sit in a chair and relax with a glass of wine while he chops, sautes, measures, and all around cooks.

I love to create something new in the kitchen but knowing that his familiar tastes will be ready in slightly more than an hour are fantastic too.

The funny part is that even though I think I love to relax, I actually can't help myself but try to help. I try to sneak past him and get out my own cutting board to help with the chopping or I pull out my own homemade chicken stock and defrost it. It's like my hands want to take over.

Most of the time I can refrain from doing too much more than slicing up the occasional veggie but I have been told to get out before. I think Luke really likes cooking his two meals for me. He knows how much I love food and tries to share it with me. Kind of like I try to share his love of the outdoors by camping?

Anyway here is his recipe for Paella - the dish of the night. Wonton Noodle Soup to visit next month.

Luke's Paella

1 chorizo sausage, Spanish style sausage sliced into circles
2 tablespoons olive oil
Half a head of garlic, cloves only peeled and crushed
1 medium onion, sliced into onion rings
Large pinch of saffron
4 cups of homemade chicken stock, warmed
1 - 2 cups short grain uncooked white rice, depending on size of pan (you can use two pans too!)
18 large raw shrimp
1 cup scallops, bay scallops or sea scallops
1 medium fillet of tilapia or other fish
2 - 3 roasted red peppers, we use jarred because paella is already so time consuming
1 cup raw sugar snap peas
1 lemon, cut in wedges

1. Begin with heating oil in a paella pan or other large thick bottomed cast iron pan. Add chorizo, garlic, and onions and let let cook through.

2. Your oil will now be flavoured like the chorizo and will be delicious. Chorizo is the most important part of the dish. You can substitute saffron for another spice like turmeric but try and not substitute the chorizo. Now you can add your rice to toast in your pan. You can also combine your warmed chicken stock and saffron at this point.

3. Start adding your warmed stock to your pan once your rice is toasted. Add it slowly like you would a risotto, except with a paella you want the bottom to stick to your pan. This part is the delicacy in Spain and Luke and I always want to each taste it.

4. Once your rice cooked through and your stock is all used up, you can start adding your seafood. We just push it down into the rice. Like I said, you can substitute the seafood you use and add mussels, different kinds of fish, or lobster. You can also add chicken or other kinds of meat if you like but I would cook those through at the beginning.

I've heard that paella comes from the Spanish wanting to use up a mixture of leftover seafood but there are so many stories floating around that who knows what is actually the truth?

5. Once your seafood is cooked through, you can add your veggies and roasted red peppers. Not everyone uses veggies but I can't stand the thought of a meal without green veggies. :) I only warm my sugar snap peas so I can keep the snap in them when I take a bite.

6. That's it. Serve it up and make sure to get some of the crunchy bottom on each plate. Squeeze a fresh lemon on top and enjoy.

PS did you notice the few tiny little green beans mixed in with the sugar snap peas in the picture? Those were homegrown but my plant seems to have stopped its growth so I only get about 12 beans at a time. I think I brought it outside too early and have to replant. I'll keep you updated on that one!

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