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.

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Lighthouse cocktails

February 25, 2008

Staviken lighthouse

To the Lighthouse!

I think Sam and Harry would enjoy honeymooning in one of several authentic lighthouse inns, including The Stavik Lighthouse (Stavikens Fyr, photo at left), a romantically-bleak lighthouse in Sweden that would be my personal favorite, and might have been Virginia Woolf’s favorite too, but it’s no doubt colder than a polar bear’s behind at this time of year. 

In February, they may prefer someplace warm like Cape Otway Lightstation (photo, below), the oldest lighthouse in Australia.   And since the Cape Otway cafe already has a nice salmon quiche on their menu, all that’s left is to mix Sam and Harry a couple of “Lighthouses” to go with it.  Of course!!Almostgotit   

Lighthouse recipeCape Otway Lightstation

 For each serving:
1/3 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/3 oz Bailey’s® Irish cream
1/3 oz 151-proof rum

Pour kahlua into a shot glass. With a spoon, slowly pour irish cream into the shot glass on top of the kahlua. Pour the 151 rum, again with the spoon, slowly on top of the irish cream and light on fire. Blow flame out before drinking.


Baked Bananas with Rum Sauce

February 24, 2008
Aruba
Aruba (Image: Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa)

I feel guilty.  Who am I to deny Harry and Sam a simple, straightforward honeymoon in a tropical paradise?  So today I’m sending them to Aruba, and I’ve invented a new recipe for them so they can enjoy a typical Aruba treat (baked bananas) made extra celebratory with a wonderfully-Caribbean rum sauce to go on top.  Enjoy! – Almostgotit 

Baked Bananas with brown sugar rum sauce

6 firm, but ripe bananas
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Sauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put butter and lemon juice in 9” x 13” baking dish, and place in oven just until butter is melted.  Stir lemon juice into the melted butter until mixed. Split bananas in half lengthwise and arrange bananas in baking dish, rolling in the butter mixture first to coat. In small bowl stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of bananas. Bake 20 minutes or just until bananas are heated through and butter begins to bubble. Don’t overcook.

Meanwhile, stir all sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture will foam, so watch that it doesn’t boil over.  Cool sauce to room temperature.

To serve, spoon sauce over bananas; garnish with a sprinkle of lemon or orange zest and/or some shredded coconut.

Wouldn’t these be good cut up and served over vanilla ice cream, or stuffed into crêpes?


Beer Biscuits

December 26, 2007
rrbeercap.jpg

Pull out that emergency box of biscuit mix … we’re making Beer Biscuits! SAM

1 (20-ounce) package biscuit mix
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer, room temperature
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, beer, and sugar. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease twelve 2 1/2-inch muffins tins. Spoon the batter into the tins and bake for 20 minutes.
Makes 12 large biscuits.

Adapted from Emily’s cookbook: All-American Comfort Food.