Tag Archives: Rice

Seafood Paella

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit.  This isn’t exactly a paella–but if it looks like a paella, smells like a paella…

But due to circumstances beyond my control, this ended up somewhat like a pseudo-paella.  Those circumstances include:

  1. I didn’t have the right kind of rice, so I used brown rice which is delicious, healthy, and takes a million times longer to cook.
  2. Paella already takes a million years to make, and 1,000,000 x 1,000,000 is a really long time to wait.
  3. We were all very hungry.
  4. I also didn’t have a paella pan, and the one I used was too large in diameter for the burner underneath it (uneven cooking), but the only one large enough to contain all the ingredients.

Alas.  Such is life.  Also, it was still delicious, so I’m willing to call it a success.  I’ve also learned a lot about making paella and I think my next one will be much better!

Seafood Paella (original recipe here from Annie’s Eats)

  • 1/4 C + 1 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced, and 4 whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 t smoked paprika (first time trying this–yum!!)
  • 1 C clam juice
  • 1 1/2 lbs mussels
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled with shells reserved
  • 1 lb scallops
  • 2 C rice–supposed to be “Spanish Bomba” rice, but I used long grain brown rice
  • Salt to taste

There should also be saffron involved, but we didn’t have any and there wasn’t any at the grocery store.  If you want the original recipe, check it out at Annie Eats, but here’s what we came up with.

First make the broth–if you want this to be a quicker recipe, you could use a previously make seafood broth, or even chicken broth in a pinch.  Heat the shrimp shells in a saucepan over medium-high heat for a few minutes until they turn pink.  Add a handful of mussels (I used 10-12) and five C of hot water.  Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for ten minutes.  Strain through a sieve and add the clam juice–that’s your broth!

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan (preferably a “paella pan”, whatever that is).  When hot (you’ll see it “shimmer”) toss in the diced tomatoes and onion.  Let it cook up for a bit, then add the garlic, smoked paprika, and salt (I used about a 1/4 t).  Turn the heat down low, and let it simmer and thicken until it becomes a nice dark color, and very thick.  Add the rice and stir it around for a minute.  Spread the rice mixture out in an even layer throughout the pan, and gently ladle the broth over the top, trying to maintain the even layer of rice.

Now, if you are making a real, grownup paella, you don’t want to stir the rice again!  You want it to develop a nice, thick, carmelized crust on the bottom.  If you are working on a time crunch and it’s easier to just stir everything in at the very end, I won’t judge you.  You just probably shouldn’t call this a paella.  But sometimes life happens!

Bring the rice/broth mixture to a vigorous simmer.  It’s also important that the heat be distributed pretty evenly, bubbling all the way to the edges so you can get that nice even bottom crust.

I didn’t get that.  Do you still love me?

Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, layer the remaining mussels on the top and cook for a few more minutes–they should be opening up.  Any mussels that don’t open up by the end should be chucked.  After two minutes, add the shrimp, pressing them into the rice.  Check the rice at the bottom (is it carmelizing?) by scraping at it with a spatula–you should have a nice crusty resistance, and the rice on top should be fully cooked.  If the broth evaporates too fast, just add a bit of water or loosely tent with foil.

Heat the last t of olive oil in a small pan, and quickly sear the scallops.  Toss them on top of the whole mixture and serve.  Season with salt to taste (and I topped with a dash of smoked paprika–it’s so delicious!  Why did I wait so long to discover it?).

Despite the fact that this didn’t turn out exactly how I hoped it would, the taste was still really good.  I love seafood, and mostly have scallops and shrimp when I come home to see my parents, ’cause they usually have some in the freezer just waiting for me.

I also discovered that I love mussels today!  I wasn’t sure if the mussel taste would be overpowering, but I had no issues with it whatsoever.  It also went quite nicely with the white wine Mom picked out for us.

Since it is Memorial Day weekend, I welcomed summer by reading an entire book (the majority of it outside in the sun), going kayaking with Dad, and having a nice long after-dinner neighborhood walk with Mom and the giant wolfhound.  All in all, a perfectly relaxing day.  Not sure of our plans for tomorrow, but hopefully it will begin with me sleeping in all the way until at least 10:00–and then possibly making a red, white, and blue confection?  We’ll see what I find.


Filed under Entrees

Meatless Monday: Mjdara (Lentils with Rice)

Today is Tuesday, not Monday. 

Just wanted to make sure that you knew that I knew that.

But with finals going on like crazy, I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday (plus, I posted the nut rocha yesterday–let’s not get too greedy here!), so today you get a surprise “Meatless Monday (was yesterday) post”.  I was considering just skipping for the week, but I made mjdara, or lentils with rice, and it was so good that I thought it deserved to make it into the world-wide web.

Mjdara is from the “African” section of a cookbook my mom gave me (thanks, Mom!) for Christmas last year, called Global Feast Cookbook.  It doesn’t say much about it in the book, so I googled it–and Wikipedia told me it originated as a “poor man’s food” in Africa and the Middle East, where meat was much more difficult to get than just heading over to your local BJ’s.  It also said that despite its lowly beginnings, now it’s a “health-conscious man’s” food (I made up that terminology), due to all of its wholesome ingredients.

So let’s get to it!

Mjdara (Lentils With Rice)

  • 2 C lentils
  • 2 t salt
  • 3/4 C uncooked brown rice
  • 1-2 onions, chopped (I used one, and some green onion)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • optional: 1/2 C raisins, 1 tomato, chopped
  • also optional: ham, pistachios (…no thanks!)

This is a pretty easy and hands-off recipe.  Combine lentils, salt, and enough water to cover (with an inch of water on top) in a saucepan, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.  Add the rice, tomatoes, raisins, and extra water if necessary, cover, and cook for 30 more minutes until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in olive oil in a skillet until softened.

I love purple onions.  They take such amazing photos.

When the lentils are all smushy (technical cooking term), and the rice is tender, add the onions and mix well.

Sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper and serve hot.  I like to serve anything lentilly (another technical term) in a broiled green pepper half.  The two tastes just go together perfectly, even with the sweet raisins.  Fritz is also a big fan of this method.

What do you think?  Like the text?  Someday when I’m a famous gourmet physical therapist (wait…that’s an odd career choice…), I think photos like these will look fantastic introducing my favorite recipes in my New York Time’s best-selling cookbook. 

Maybe when that happens, the heat in my apartment will work.

Want to hear that story?

This morning, as I studied for my P&O final exam, I noticed something odd.  Mainly, that I was shivering–while wearing leggings, fleece pants, two pairs of socks, a sweater, and a blanket.  I kept turning the thermostat up (sorry Chris!), but it didn’t seem to get any warmer.  Actually,it got colder.  I knew something was seriously wrong when Henry cuddled up to me–at first I felt very flattered, but I quickly realized it was more of a desire for body heat than a blatant showing of affection.

He’s not much of a cuddler.

I looked at the thermostat and it was set at ninety but the actual temperature of the apartment was fifty-eight.  That’s right.  Fifty-eight degrees.  Luckily, that got fixed a while later (apparently some water froze in our oil tank), and now it’s slowly warming up again.  However, there are still a few remnants of our morning Ice Age:

That would be the ice that has formed on the inside of our bathroom window.  The inside. 

I can tell tonight’s going to be a heat blanket kind of night.


Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Crock Pot It: Spanish Rice and Sausage

Today was just one of those good days.  I slept in ’til 8:00, had one class, then babysat for the night.  Since the weather outside has turned chilly again, I bundled up the little munchkin and we took a two-mile ocean-side walk.  Seriously. The family lives near the shore, and there’s a street that runs parallel to it.  The road is swallowed by trees and it was windy, so there were piles of orange and red leaves drifting around to Charlie’s endless satisfaction.  And this beautiful day was allowed to happen so easily because of our second car.

I love that thing.

So anyway, last night I decided to break out an old friend of Fritz’s: 

We never ate slow-cooker meals when I was a kid (mom only recently discovered that particular joy), so I don’t often think to use it.  But Fritz loves it when I do, because he knows it will result in a rice-and-meat-saucy-one-bowl kind of meal, which is his ultimate favorite…mostly likely due to its portability and convenience for the next day’s lunch.  Not to mention it’s really easy to use and there’s only one pot to clean after.  Bingo!

Spanish Rice and Sausage (adapted from this recipe)

  •  1 lb sausage (we used sweet italian)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 C water
  • 1 C brown rice
  • 1/2 C wild rice
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 t chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is the best part: spray the pot with canola oil or olive oil, add all the ingredients, and cook on low for four to five hours. 


Serve immediately.

Yum!  And because I’m just that nice, I’ll give you something else yummy to look at:

Tomorrow we are going to a PT-school Halloween party extravaganza, and I think that I might attempt to make scary cake pops to bring while we figure out our costumes.  I also found a recipe for some healthy ginger bars that I want to bake sometime this weekend.  Have a great night!


Filed under Entrees