Quick Vegetarian Paella

February 26, 2008

Sacromonte/Albayzin (Grenada, Spain)
View of Alhambra from the Sacromonte
Photograph © John Willer and used with permission. 

Honey, let’s play “Caveman!”

Cave hotels are beautiful, bright and clean.  I know because I stayed in one once, though not for a honeymoon! There are cave hotels in Turkey, Greece, and southern Spain , among others.   Imagine sending Sam and Harry to a cave in the Albayzin/Sacromonte area of Grenada, Spain, where the whitewashed cave homes are built into and stacked against the hills directly across from spectacular, 14th century  Alhambra palace and grounds.

A cave is a wonderful place to escape the afternoon glare and heat and take a siesta, emerging at sundown for a late dinner in the cool evening air, with the wild and lovely sounds of Gypsy music drifting up from the Flamenco bars dotting the hills below you.  

This recipe for Spanish paella is easier than most, and vegetarian besides. -Almostgotit

Quick Vegetarian Paella

10 strands saffron
6 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tsp garlic minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 Tbs smoked paprika
15 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas thawed
14 oz. can chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs parsley chopped
lemon wedges to serve

In a large saucepan pan, combine the stock and saffron, bring to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce heat to simmer.

In another large pan or wok, heat the oil and sautee the onion, peppers and garlic until soft. Stir the rice into the onion and pepper mixture and cook until rice is translucent, about two minutes. Add the paprika and tomatoes and stir well.  Pour simmering stock into the rice mixture and stir. Bring the rice mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan tightly, and cook 25 minutes.  Add the peas and chickpeas and simmer for  for 5 minutes more or until all the stock is absorbed. Stir well and add parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.

Tienda.com is a great online source for paella supplies and other Spanish food products, and provides several additional, more traditional paella recipes.


Fridge Salad

October 3, 2007

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Okay, if you have a can opener, you can make this salad. Chop the veggies, boil the dressing, toss it all together, and stick it in the fridge. Every night—for weeks!—you’ll have your own ready-made salad. Of course, sharing would be nice … HARRY

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can French-style green beans, drained
1 (5-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
4 medium center ribs celery, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings (2/3 cup)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, chick peas, green beans, water chestnuts, celery, and onion. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover tightly and chill. Salad will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Makes 8 servings.


Hummus

May 23, 2007

 

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Hummus is one of those ancient mysteries of food and chemistry. Every recipe calls for basically the same ingredients—and every dish is different. This one is easy because you use canned chick peas. The better the olive oil, the richer it will be. Cumin is a nontraditional twist, but don’t be stingy with it if you like a spicy kick. However you make your hummus, though, let it sit for while before you commit to the final seasonings. It needs time for the flavors to meld. SAM

2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
Juice of 2 small lemons (4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for serving
1/2 cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin, or to taste
Sea salt to taste
1/8 to 1/4 cup water (as needed)
Pita bread for serving

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chick peas, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, tahini, garlic, cumin, and salt. Process with an immersion blender until smooth, thinning with water as necessary until the hummus is the consistency of ricotta cheese. To serve, place a small amount of hummus on a plate and fill a well in the center with additional olive oil. Serve with pita bread.
Makes 3 cups.