Mmmmmmmmm….Delicious tentacley octopussy goodness. (holy crap, that sounded way dirtier than I intended it to. )
Mmmmmmmmm….Delicious tentacley octopussy goodness. (holy crap, that sounded way dirtier than I intended it to. )
Ok, so how’s my Italian so far? hmmm? lol Italian is such a beautiful language…just hearing it makes me happy. The way the words flow, and the intonation, well, it’s a language I would love to learn. Languages have always fascinated me…ever since childhood I wanted to learn Spanish, and once in high school, I found that I loved it! Then, I moved on to French…and after that, Japanese in college. Italian has been on my list of things to learn, though, for quite a long time. I wonder if it’s possible to teach one’s self a language? Probably not, huh? lol Some day. Some. Day. In the meantime, cooking Italian dishes and coming up with corny Italian titles for them will have to suffice. hehe (**let me clarify…I am NOT fluent in all of these languages…only English and Spanish! lol I have only studied them, and love them. )
Risotto Negro, or “Black Rice,” is another one of the things we ordered on our night out. At the restaurant, they served it with pan seared monkfish, but, I thought that prawns would be better suited. I like monkfish when it’s prepared to mock lobster, but other than that….not so much. (Do you have any suggestions for improving the texture? It always seems so rubbery. yuck ) This particular variation of Risotto is made with squid ink, which gives it its signature color. If you’ve never tried squid ink, please consider it. It has such a divine, subtle flavor…just hinting at the taste of the squid (calamaro or seppia). Even Mr. Picky Pants loves this rice–and that, my friends, is saying something. lol
So let’s get cooking, shall we?
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, minced
2 very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 cups rice
1 cup dry white wine
4-6 cups fish stock (I used prawn stock I had in the freezer–the amount will vary depending on your tastes)
3 envelopes of squid ink (12 grams total), or 3 squid ink sacks
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 pounds (1 kilo) prawns, steamed
alioli to garnish
Before anything, combine the squid ink packets with a small amount of water and thoroughly combine.
Heat oil and butter over moderate heat.
Saute garlic until golden, then add onion, tomato and pepper (save a little bit of pepper for garnish).
Continue to saute until tender, then add in rice and stir well for about 2-3 minutes.
Add wine and reduce, stirring constantly.
When wine is absorbed, add broth, ladle by ladle waiting for the liquid to absorb before adding more. You’ll need to stir this constantly as you cook it, to avoid sticking and burning.
When the rice is nearly done (depends on how you like your rice, and whether you like it drier or with more of a brothy feel), add in the squid ink mixture and thoroughly combine.
Test your rice for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper.
Add in the parmesan and stir to combine.
Remove from heat and serve immediately, garnished with steamed prawns, chopped roasted peppers and alioli.
2-3 cucharadas aceite de oliva virgen
2 cucharadas mantequilla
3-4 dientes de ajo, majados
1 cebolla grande, picadita
2 tomates maduros, pelados, sin semillas, y picados
1 pimiento rojo asado, picado
2 vasos arroz
1 vaso vino blanco seco
4-6 vasos fumet de pescado (Utilicé fumet de langostinos que tenía congelado. La cantidad varía dependiendo de los gustos de uno)
3 paquetes tinta de calamar (12 gramos en total), o 3 bolsitas de tinta de calamar
1 vaso queso parmesano, recién rallado
1 kilo langostinos, cocinados al vapor
alioli para acompañar
Antes que nada, mezclar los paquetes de tinta con un poquito de agua.
Calentar el aceite y la mantequilla sobre fuego medio alto.
Sofreir el ajo hasta que esté dorado, y a continuación, añadir la cebolla, el tomate y el pimiento (reservar un poco de pimiento para adornar después).
Seguir sofriendo hasta que esté todo tiernito y a continuación añadir el arroz, removiendo constantemente.
Añadir el vino y reducir, removiendo constantemente.
Cuando se haya absorbido el vino, añadir el fumet de pescado poco a poco (cucharón a cucharón) asegurando que se haya absorbido todo el líquido antes de añadir mas. Tendrás que removerlo constantemente para evitar que se pegue ni que se queme.
Cuando el arroz esté casi hecho (dependiendo de como te gusta el arroz…mas seco o mas caldoso), añadir la mezcla de tinta de calamar y remover bien.
Comprobar el sazón y rectificar la sal y la pimienta.
Añadir el queso parmesano y remover bien.
Retirar del fuego y servir de inmediato, adornado de langostinos, pimientos asados y alioli.
So, I celebrated another birthday recently. Yep, 25. Again. What? I’m good at 25, I’ve got several years experience, and I’m sticking with it. But that is totally not what I wanted to talk about. What I *did* want to share with you is this recipe I recreated from the (awesome) restaurant we went to to celebrate for sushi…My Gawd, you guys…this place was just incredible…top floor of the Reina Isabel Hotel, panoramic views of the ocean and beach and islet and all of it’s twinkling glittery lights at night. The place is called La Parrilla (click here for pics and stuff), and the food was just out of this world. Fusion is probably the best way to describe the menu…Asian flavors combine with Peruvian and Italian influences to create some of the most fantastic flavor combinations…they also offer local dishes, and fresh fish selections according to season. To start, we decided upon the tuna sushi, and both of us just went nuts. I knew this one would be gracing our table at home pronto. I even kind of impressed my own self with how close I was able to come to the original. heh If you like tuna sushi, you are going to love this one, folks. It is dayumed good.
1/4 cup sweet soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Mirin
sesame oil to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon or so)
2 cups prepared sushi rice
3/4 pound (300 grams) sushi grade tuna
1 ripe avocado
sesame seeds to garnish
chopped cilantro to garnish (I didn’t have any, so I skipped it, but it really does go great with this, so I recommend adding it if you have some)
Prepare your rice and let cool.
Be sure that you specify to your fish monger that you will be eating the fish raw, you’ll want only premium sushi grade tuna for this.
Prepare the sauce.
Mix soy, vinegar, Mirin and sesame oil.
Prepare each sushi plate, chopped avodado on one side, tuna slices in the center, rice at the other side.
Drizzle sauce over tuna.
Garnish with sesame seeds (and cilantro if using).
4 cucharadas de salsa de soja dulce
4 cucharadas de vinagre de arroz
1 cucharada Mirin
aceite de sésamo al gusto (utilicé una cucharadita de café aproximadamente)
2 vasos arroz de sushi ya preparado
300 gramos de atún para sushi
1 aguacate maduro
semillas de sésamo para adornar
cilantro picado para adornar (no tenía en casa, pero si tienes, te lo recomiendo, el sabor es fantástico)
Preparar el arroz y dejar enfriar.
Asegúrate de que avisas al pescadero sepa que vas a comer el atún crudo–solo quieres máxima frescura para el sushi.
Preparar la salsa.
Mezclar la soja, vinagre, Mirin y aceite de sésamo.
Preparar cada plato de sushi, aguacate picado por un lado, atún en tiras por el centro, y arroz al atro lado.
Rociar el atún con la salsa.
Adornar con semillas de sésamo y cilantro
I’m sure most of you are already familiar with Paella…one of the quintessential foods of Spain. You’re probably aware that paella is made with rice, saffron, a few vegetables and seafood or meat, or a combination of the two.
The latter is what I want to share with you today…the Mixed Paella, or Paella Mixta. If you’re like me, whenever you have a meal you like to have a little bit of everything…a taste of each. Paella is perfect for that…you get delicious bites of savory rice combined with prawns, mussels, clams, squid, chicken and pork, a pepper here and there and of course, gaaaaah-lic.
Paella can be made on the stove top, or on a special serpentine heating device specifically designed for paella, on an open flame (this is the best way guys…on the beach, rocks aligned just so to support the “paellera” (paella pan), with a view of the Gods), or, as I’ve done here, on the grill! Now that summer is upon us, I’m sure you’re all looking for new and exciting things to prepare on your grills…I know I am…Alvaro bought a new, behemoth grill…seriously, it’s like at least 3 times the size of our old one. Which wasn’t small. lmao Needless to say, we’ve been grilling more frequently since this purchase, and I’ve grown tired of steaks and burgers. Paella to the rescue! I’d love to hear your grill suggestions, guys….I really need new ideas. What’s your favorite thing to make on the grill?
Here’s what you’ll need (approximately):
1 paellera (or other wide, flat grillproof dish–mine is 34cm)
good olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1 pepper, minced
a few thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 small spoonful of Spanish paprika (sweet or smokey, your choice)
6-8 chicken wing drumettes
1/2 pound lean pork, in bite sized pieces
a generous pour of white wine (dry, table wine)
2 packets saffron threads (about 15 threads or so?)
2 cups arborio or other short grained, rounded rice
4 cups chicken broth
sea salt to taste
1 small to medium sized squid, cleaned and cut into rings–don’t you dare throw away those tentacles. I might have to come after you
1 pound clams, soaked in saltwater overnight to remove grit
5-6 mussels, soaked to remove grit, beards removed
1 pound prawns, thoroughly washed
1/3 cup frozen peas
Ya got all that? Whew! lol
First, you’ll need to season your paella pan. I like to buy the regular old metal kind. This means that they need to be seasoned first, much like a cast iron pan or wok. To season it, just lightly oil it, and rub it with a paper towel until mostly absorbed. There should be a thin layer of oil remaining on the surface, but just barely. You’ll need to repeat this after washing, so that your paella pan doesn’t rust.
Ok. Are we seasoned? Good. Let’s get cooking!
Drizzle your paellera with some extra virgin olive oil.
Toss the garlic in first, to lightly brown.
Once the garlic is nice and golden, add in the onion, pepper, thyme and bay.
Give it all a good stir, and keep at it until the vegetables are tender.
Add in the paprika and stir again.
Now push the vegetables to one side, and add in the chicken and pork.
You might want to lightly oil the paellera on that side again first.
Season with salt and pepper and brown.
When the meat is nice and browned, add in the wine. I can’t tell you exactly how much…just enough to coat the bottom…probably a good cup to 2 cups?
Add in the saffron and stir around.
Reduce this a bit.
Now add the rice and give it a good stir. Really good, because pretty soon I am going to take the spoon away from you. No, I’m not kidding. lmfao
Add the broth.
Arrange your chicken wings now, because you need to retire your spoon until the cooking has finished. I’m serious, now. Resist all urges to stir your paella. It’s imperative for the delicious crust or “costra.”
NO MORE STIRRING!
I MEAN IT! lmao
After about, oh, 10 minutes your paella should be bubbly and goooood looking, like this:
Now it’s time to arrange the seafood on top.
Just put it on there how you want to…I had some leftover prawns, so I threw them on the grill along side the paella for some impromptu pepper shrimp.
When your paella is just about done, throw on a generous handfull of frozen peas.
Let it cook until done (you’re allowed to poke a fork in there and check lol)
Once your paella is done, you’ll need to check to be sure there aren’t any unopened clams or mussels. Unopened clams/mussels = very, very bad. Throw them out.
Now it’s time to serve! Just pile a bunch on your plate and serve with a wedge of lemon and a nice hunk of bread.
BTW…that black stuff at the right? The “costra.” Ideally it should be brown, not black, but I overcooked. Ooops!
Ps…after you’ve washed your paella pan, you’ll need to season it again to prevent rusting.
Ok, so that’s fun to say, isn’t it? lol Fun to say, and fun to eat! Looking for something simple and packed with flavor? This is just the ticket. Active work time is only about 15 minutes, the rest is just bake time. Empanadas are great for lunch, or for a snack, and are great the next day…perfect to take with you wherever you need to go. They’re even good cold, so are perfect picnic fare! When we had the sailboat, I’d make these all the time to take with for a day out on the water. You can make them up ahead of time, and they keep really well. Empanadas can be made into a pie, like I’ve done here, or if you’re feeling feisty, go ahead and make them into individually sized empanadas, for a quick bite, or a great party appetizer.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (or pure)
1 pound (1/2 kilo) light tuna, drained and flaked
pastry for 2 pie crusts (either homemade or store bought)
1 egg, beaten
Heat oil and saute garlic first until golden.
Add onion and pepper and saute until tender.
Add thyme, bay and tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Cook about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add tuna and stir until combined.
Remove from heat and remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
Spread half of the pastry on a baking sheet.
Cover with tuna mixture, leaving a 1″ border.
Top with remaining pastry and seal edges.
Brush pastry with beaten egg and poke a few ventilation holes.
Bake at 400ºF/175ºC for 20-30 minutes or until golden.
Y en español:
3 cucharadas de aceite de oliva
3 dientes de ajo, majados
1 cebolla, picada
1 pimiento rojo picado
3 ramos tomillo
1 hoja laurel
sal y pimienta al gusto
1 1/2 vasos tomate frito (salsa de tomate o puré de tomate)
2 láminas de masa quebrada
1 huevo, batido
Calentar el aceite y dorar los ajos.
Añadir la cebolla y el pimiento y freir hasta que estén blandos.
A continuación, añadir el tomillo, laurel y salsa de tomate.
Cocinar unos 5 minutos.
Añadir el atún escurrido y desmenuzado y mezclar bien.
Extender 1 lámina de masa y cubrir con la mezcla de atún, dejando unos centimetros al border.
Tapar con la segunda lámina de masa y cerrar bien por los lados.
Pintar con huevo batido, y abrir unos agujeros en la superficie.
Hornear a 175ºC durante unos 20-30 minutos, o hasta que esté dorada.
Don’t forget! Only 5 days left to enter the free cookbook drawing!
So, remember last week, when I was telling you how badly I wanted to try ZenChef’s (over at Chefs Gone Wild) Clam Risotto? Well, I did it. I made his absolutely remarkable risotto and I’m sort of half wondering if I have died and gone to heaven? Did I? Somebody let me know if you read this post…to let me know if I died or not. I mean seriously…it’s *that* good. I even screwed it up a little–I forgot the lemon juice until after we finished eating it. Did I mention there was not a single grain of rice left over? We even licked the cockle shells clean. I was going to make some really inappropriate joke about sucking cockle shells, but I’d better not. But we did. lol If you know me, you know that I cannot follow a recipe exactly. It really is some sort of impossibility for me. I do not feel complete if I don’t change things up at least just a little. After all, a recipe really should just be a springboard for our own creativity, right? So, I will note my (minimal) changes, even though I did stick pretty close to Zen’s original post.
So, would you look at this? Don’t you just want to dive into that plate of creamy risotto bliss? Trust me, it’ll be the best dive you’ve ever performed.
Here are my changes:
*Rather than using 6 pounds (3 kilos) of clams, and a pound (1/2 kilo) of mussels I used a combination of cockles, mussels and prawns (peeled, deveined)
*I used 2 1/2 cups rice (because I had only a little left in the bag. Toss it in there, I said.
*I added the prepared prawns to the clam broth, and then added them in with the rice right away (as you know, prawns either need to be quick cooked, or long cooked for them to be tender, so I opted for long cook, so the broth would have a hint of prawn flavor as well)
*I forgot the lemon.
*I added freshly grated Parm cheese to serve.
See? Hardly any changes, really. Just a couple.