Posts Tagged ‘Summer’
So remember last week when I mentioned how I have been theming our dinners to prepare for our upcoming travels?
I wasn’t kidding.
It just didn’t seem right to be daydreaming about the beaches of Barcelona without sipping Sangria and feasting on paella.
I know that paella is technically not from Barcelona, but it was one of the few spanish dishes I knew how to re-create and it totally worked for my tastebud-traveling purposes.
I don’t know if this is authentic, but’s it’s pretty darn tasty. My sister worked in a Spanish restaurant for years, so I consider myself an unofficial coinsossor of tapas, tempernillo, and vegetarian paella. As someone who used to consume this dish on an almost weekly basis, this is about as good as it gets.
Isn’t it just the most beautiful looking thing?
Rice, vegetables, saffron broth, and tomatoes. Mmmm… I had to hide the rest of the pan so BL and I didn’t accidentally consume the whole thing.
A word on the rice: I used Arborrio rice in this, not Bomba. Before you throw a shoe at me, here’s my excuse. Sacramento is not ready for paella making. After heading to three different grocery stores to find this special short-grained white rice, I was 0 for 3.
And you know what? I really couldn’t tell a difference. I’ve heard of people using sushi rice and rinsing it a few times before hand, but I wasn’t in the mood for that kind of patience.
Another important consideration in paella making is a proper pan. A wide, shallow dish is best for this so break out your biggest sauté or frying pan and don’t overload it. I actually used my large grill pan and it worked perfectly. Next time I think I am going to try it on the grill as an alternative to our veggie burger outside dinners.
DK’s Vegetarian Paella
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 8 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, chopped
3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 pinch saffron threads
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne papper
1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice (see above)
3 cups vegetable broth
pinch salt (will depend on how salty your broth is)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced
In a paella pan or large, shallow sauté’ pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, red pepper, and roasted red pepper to the pan and let brown and reduce, about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, tomato, saffron, paprika, cayenne pepper and let cook over medium heat another 10 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the rice, vegetable broth and stir once. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t touch! Once your stir it all together, trust that it will come together. Stirring is for risotto, not paella.
Top with chopped parsley and sliced lemons!
Let’s have a drink, shall we?
I’m in full on vacation mode. We don’t leave for Europe for another 2 1/2 weeks (but who’s counting?) but I’ve already been practicing my phrases, eating dinner at 9, and enjoying lots of wine and gelato in between.
I mean, I need to prepare for the culture- right?
BL and I have split up the planning duties: he’s got transportation and activities, I have food and nightlife.
Clearly my sweetie understands me.
I have been pouring over trip advisor, Rick Steve podcasts, and countless books trying to figure out favorite local restaurants, picnic spots and cuisine of each region.
It’s been a tough few weeks.
(If you have any recommendations- let’s hear them!)
Since I will turn just about any event into a celebration, I’ve themed our weekend dinners- coinciding for each country we researched that day. Ah, life has been pretty fun lately.
Last weekend? Barcelona! Along with my Paella recipe (next week), I made this Sangria to sip on the porch Saturday night and then by the pool on Sunday.
If you’ve ever had Sangria, you understand the refreshing, addictive drink that it is. Red wine, fresh squeezed juice, lightly-sweetened, it’s easy to down a pitcher faster than you’d like.
This is my classic recipe, a simple version that I sometimes deviate from depending on the menu. It’s just as delicious with in-season berries, sliced plums, and peaches. I recommend allowing it to sit for at least 8 hours. If you don’t have that kind of time, be sure to serve it very-well chilled and muddle your fruit as you add it.
1 Bottle of red wine
2 medium oranges, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2.5 tbsp. raw sugar
1 oz. brandy (or more if you like your Sangria a bit boozier)
2 Cups club soda, preferred but can use ginger ale or lemon-lime soda
Add 1 orange, 1/2 the lemon, sugar, and brandy to a pitcher. Lightly muddle until sugar is mostly dissolved and fruit is slightly broken down.
Add the red wine and remaining fruit. Chill for 6-8+ hours. To serve, add club soda and pour over ice. Garnish with fruit!
Now that temperatures have officially hit 90°, I’m more than ready to start introducing BBQ sandwiches into my diet again.
I’ve discussed my dilemma with most veggie burgers multiple times; most of the time they don’t live up to the hype and definitely don’t impress my omnivore friends. Thankfully, these BBQ sandwiches are not only perfect for a cookout, they are meaty and hearty as well. Tempeh is the perfect meat-alternative here. While I prefer making my own, store bought tempeh will do just fine. If your grocery store doesn’t stock tempeh- why not ask the produce manager? I couldn’t get it at our local Safeway so I asked the manager a few times and voila- they now stock it!
My stubbornness often works out.
No respectable BBQ sandwich is complete without coleslaw so I made this in batch in less than 10 minutes. Shredded coleslaw, carrots, little bit of Veganaise, splash of white vinegar, salt and pepper and you have homemade coleslaw by the time your tempeh is ready. If you want to make this dish even easier, thin out your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and pour over the chopped tempeh. Bake as directed below.
I liked this sandwich with big chunks of BBQ’ed tempeh but BL preferred the tempeh chopped even smaller. Oh that Midwest boy!
8 oz. tempeh
4 hamburger buns
1 recipe BBQ sauce, below
1 recipe Simple Coleslaw
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 tbsp. cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1.5 tsp. cumin
Whisk all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop tempeh into whatever size you prefer. I slice it in 1/2, then in 1/2 width wise, then into strips. Lightly spray a glass pan. Add tempeh bits and pour BBQ sauce over, reserving 1/4 cup. Gently shake so that all tempeh pieces are covered.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until browned and caramelized. Remove tempeh from pan and toss with reserved 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.
Assemble the sammy! You know how to do this, right?
We got a few green tomatoes in our CSA this week and I immediately thought of my childhood favorite, fried green tomatoes. Growing up in Virginia, I’ve been lucky enough to eat FGT a handful of times, my favorite being after picking up fresh tomatoes and corn at the Chesterfield Berry Farm.
While I remember fried tomatoes being one of my favorite summer treats, I also remember the pile of oil they left behind. These are lighter on grease but still crunchy and flavorful. These make a perfect light meal paired with corn on the cob or a green salad.
2 large green tomatoes (unripe tomatoes)
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or other unflavored milk you have on hand)
1 lemon (optional)
Combine cornmeal, pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and flour in a bowl. Add almond milk to another bowl.
Slice the tomatoes relatively thin, a little bigger than 1/4″ thick.
Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a cast-iron or non-stick skillet pan. Check to see that the oil is hot- if you shake a little bit of cornmeal into the hot oil it should sizzle and crisp up.
Dip the tomato slice into the milk, then the cornmeal, and then into the pan. Cook about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and allow to rest on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the tomato slices while they are still hot. Then eat, eat, eat and enjoy these last weeks of true summer! Hopefully you love them as much as I do.
Per serving (6): 278 calories, 20g fat, 25g CHO, 3.3g fiber, 3.7g protein