Everyone always loves to cook and eat Italian food, but not many people pursue recipes from Spain. After living in both countries, I often recognize the disparity of the popularity of the foods. Everyone speaks Spanish, but everyone eats Italian (although I supposed most would “substitute” food from Spain as food from Mexico for the Spanish). Even a great number of students study abroad in Spain, but the cooking their cuisine once they return to America has not seemed to have caught on. Even after living in Spain for two months, I hardly have made Spanish food. Much of it is time consuming or involves seafood, which I don’t eat, and many people simply are not familiar with many of the ingredients and popular dishes. So finally first time since I came home from Spain, which was nearly two years ago, I made my parents a Spanish dinner.
White Sangria, Gazpacho, and Paella
Easy Lobster Paella
(A recipe of Ina Garten)
This recipe I changed up a lot. First, lobster never came anywhere close to my paella. I wanted to find one that used chicken, but not having a true paella pan (if I did, I would have use Alton Brown’s recipe) this recipe gave me a way to make it in a big pot.
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
- 2 cups white basmati rice
- 5 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup licorice-flavored liqueur (recommended: Pernod) [After searching Kroger’s liquor section up and down with no success, I was later informed by my dad that I would have to go to the state run liquor store or across the river to Kentucky to get this. Not quite as accessible as it is in California, so I did not have any of the liqueur in the paella]
- 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat [I substituted the lobster and kielbasa with cooked chicken breast that I had cubed]
- 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the rice, chicken stock, saffron, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. After 15 minutes, stir the rice gently with a wooden spoon, and return it to the over to bake uncovered for 10 to 15 more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
Transfer the paella back to the stove top and add the licorice-flavored liqueur. Cook the paella over medium heat for 1 minute, until the liqueur is absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat and add the lobster, kielbasa, and peas and stir gently. Cover the paella, and allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, garnish with lemon wedges, and serve hot.
(A recipe of Margaret Ball)
- 4 ripe, red tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced (set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish)
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced (set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 slice French bread, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped, fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano and/or flatleaf parsley (set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish)
- 1 cup ice water, or as needed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, and bread in a food processor and process to a smooth puree.
2. Add the herbs, water, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar to taste: the gazpacho should be highly seasoned. The gazpacho should be thick but pour-able. Add water as needed.
3. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into chilled bowls.
4. Garnish each with a sprinkling of the reserved cucumber, onion and herbs
(A recipe of Ellie Krieger)
- 1 (750-ml) bottle white wine [I use Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc]
- 1/2 cup brandy or cognac [I didn’t use this]
- 1/4 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Cointreau)
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup club soda
- 1 medium unpeeled orange, sliced
- 1 unpeeled lemon, sliced
- [I also use one peach cut into small pieces]
In a pitcher combine the wine, brandy, orange liqueur and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the orange juice and club soda. Add the orange and lemon slices, and chill. Serve over ice.