Paella Valenciana!

I might be English, but after making and eating this paella recipe from Victor Claver of the Portland Trailblazers he might just be my favourite Blazer (sorry, Joel Freeland).

A month or two ago, my friend and I asked Victor if he had a family paella recipe he could share with us to use for one of our Friday Night Dinners. He kindly gave us this recipe from his native Valencia with a message saying, “I hope you can make a good one ;)” and we made it for dinner this weekend (you can read the dinner recap and find the other recipes here).

Now, I’m not going to lie. When I read over the recipe and saw there was rabbit involved I was a little skeptical. I’d never eaten rabbit before, let alone cooked with it so I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. {If you really, really don’t want to try rabbit, you probably can make it with just chicken instead of a combination of the two. Just remember it won’t be as authentic.}

To say it was an experience would be a total understatement. Taylor and I ordered rabbit and picked it up from a local store, not realizing it would be a whole rabbit and we would have to cut the meat off ourselves.IMG_6305

We got back to her apartment so we could start preparing everything for the paella before the rest of the FND crew showed up. Given that we had absolutely no idea what we were supposed to be doing with the rabbit, we went to trust ol’ Google and looked up what we needed to do. It was…unpleasant. But we sucked it up like the strong young women we are and got to it. It would probably have been better if we had the correct knives, but we made do with what we had and got the meat we needed.

IMG_6306

IMG_6308

IMG_6310

IMG_6312

IMG_6313

Next time though, we’re getting someone to butcher it for us. Not something I particularly want to do again, although it’s nice to be able to say I did do it.

This is a pretty simple paella to make. It does take time though, and make sure to follow the directions because otherwise I assume you’d end up with either a sloppy mess or a bunch of burned rice — neither of which sound very appetizing.

While we were cooking we got a message from Victor asking how it was going and asking us to send him a picture once it was done. It turned out great an
d we sent him the best picture we had taken (and we took a lot). Yesterday we sent him the recap blog post over from PDX FND, expressing our gratitude for sharing the recipe with us and he proceeded to tell us that we’ll “have to go to Valencia  and taste the original flavor ;)”. I think that sounds like a great plan and I’m so excited to go over there at some point (hopefully in the not too distant future) and try out a real Valencian paella made by a true Valencian. Until then though, this will have to satisfy my paella cravings.

IMG_6321

We also came across a store with an entire line of shelves dedicated to things from Spain, like this paella rice. Needless to say, I’lll definitely be going back there.

Here is the recipe, I’m posting it with step-by-step instructions and a lot of pictures because I think for paella, being able to see what you’re supposed to do is so, so helpful.

I hope you all enjoy it and once again a big thank you to Victor for sharing the recipe with us!!

Paella Valenciana:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 700g (1 1/2 lb). chicken, sliced and slightly salted
  • 300g (2/3 lb.) rabbit, sliced and slightly salted
  • 1 tablespoon ground paprika
  • Saffron, to taste (or yellow food colouring)
  • 12 tablespoons grated fresh tomato
  • 400g (14 oz.) Ferraura, rotjet, or wide green beans
  • 100 g (3.5  oz.) Garrofón (Lima Beans)
  • 3 or 4 artichokes (we used a can of artichoke hearts, a lot easier)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz.) white beans or tabella
  • Water
  • 150 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 320g (11.3 oz.) rice (paella rice is preferable)
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour the oil in the middle of the paella pan and heat the oil over a high heat.IMG_6328
  2. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and rabbit and brown carefully over medium heat. Paella success depends a lot on successful browning of the meat.IMG_6331
    IMG_6332
  3. Add the chopped vegetables (beans included) and sauté for a few minutes.IMG_6333
  4. Make a hole in the centre of the pan, setting aside the meat and vegetables. In the gap, incorporate the tomato, fry for a few minutes, then add the paprika. Let it cook for another minute and be careful not to burn the paprika.IMG_6334
  5. Pour in the water close to the edge of the pan. You want the pan to be almost full of water. Add some salt and allow it to cook for about 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary.IMG_6336
  6. After 20 minutes, you should see that the water/stock of the paella comes halfway up the rivets on the side of the pan.IMG_6338
  7. Now test the salt. The broth should be slightly salty as the rice will absorb some while it cooks. {The recipe translation says you should have a guest try the broth to determine saltiness, then you can blame them if it is too salty ;)}
  8. Now incorporate the rice. Make a slight groove with the rice, going diagonally across the pan. You want the rice to stick out about an inch from the stock. Add the saffron or dye on top of the rice. Uniformly mix the rice into the pan and cook over a strong (medium-high/high) heat for about 7 minutes, or until half cooked rice begins to appear. {I don’t actually have a picture of this step, but imagine the picture above having a diagonal line of rice topped with saffron on top, then stir it all together}
  9. Now lower the heat to low/medium-low and cook for another 4-5 minutes. {Make sure the paella isn’t burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan; if you need to slightly stir it to move around the grains to prevent burning}.
    IMG_6340
  10. Once the liquid has been absorbed, check to make sure the rice is cooked. If not, add a little more water and continue cooking, just make sure not to burn the rice.
  11. Finally, rest the paella for about 5 minutes, then enjoy!IMG_6341

Chocolate Chip Cookies! (Probably the best ever)

IMG_6287

My spring break officially began yesterday and I celebrated my cutting off all of my hair. Well, not quite all of it. But a lot. As in I sat in the chair and my hairdresser immediately cut off 5 inches — just pulled all of my hair behind my head and chopped it off. It was liberating. She then proceeded to actually style my hair, I’m not actually walking around with hacked-off hair 🙂 I’m still getting used to not having hair hanging halfway down my back (I run my hands through my hair and all of a sudden it’s not there anymore), but my head feels so much lighter and I love it.

I clearly go to the grocery store by my house too often because I walked into the produce section after my haircut and the lady that works there says, “You cut your hair!!”

After all of that I came home a whipped up a batch of these cookies. I came up with the recipe a couple of years ago for one of the Friday Night Dinners with my friends. It was a back-to-school themed dinner and what person didn’t love chocolate chip cookies as a kid?

IMG_6280

My friend Taylor has stated that these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever and who I am to argue with that?! These are seriously so, so easy to make and they taste delicious. I don’t drink milk, but if I did these would be the perfect “cookies and milk” cookie. From personal experience I can tell you these are great with a big cup of tea. Wonderfully soft and full of chocolate chips. Nothin’ better.

IMG_6282

Take yourself back to your childhood and try these out. Or if you have kids of your own have some family baking time and make a batch of these. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

IMG_6289

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Makes about 48 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt and cream of tartar. Stir in flour and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.

IMG_6291

IMG_6295

Leek & Potato Soup

IMG_6244

Towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year I had a thing for soups. Making them, eating them, I just couldn’t get enough. When my costing class rolled around this term and I found out we had to make a menu with complete with original recipes, I knew I had to feature a soup. I went with a British-themed menu (duh!) and leek & potato soup seemed like the perfect soup to include.

IMG_6237

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you I had come up with 20 new recipes and I’d eventually get around to sharing them with you? This is one of them. I made it this past weekend for the first time and it was so good. My family and I like things a little spicy so I threw in some tabasco while I was making the soup for little something extra, but it’s totally fine if you prefer things on the milder side and omit it. The chives in this are also optional, they were added as a garnish for a picture I needed for another project.

IMG_6238

This soup is rich, creamy and so, so comforting. Seriously the perfect soup for those cloudy, depressing days we experience so often here in Portland. Pair it with a slice of sourdough bread and you have yourself the perfect dinner. The soup is so quick and easy to make it will probably become one of my go-to dinners on days I don’t have a lot of time to spend hours in the kitchen. If you have any leftovers, this is just as good the next day; just heat it up and you’re ready to go!

IMG_6242

Leek and Potato Soup: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • Onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 large or 3 small russet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • Tabasco/sriracha, to taste (optional)
  • Few chives, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large pan. Add chopped vegetables, sliced garlic, salt and pepper; sauté for about 10 minutes, until onions and leeks are slightly golden.
  2. Add chicken stock and potato to vegetables. Bring to boil and let simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft. {If you’re adding tabasco/sriracha, add it now}
  3. Add cheese and milk to soup, stirring to combine. Take off heat and pulse until smooth.
  4. Serve in soup bowls and top with chopped chives.

IMG_6243