Friday, July 23, 2010

Camp Paella

One of the benefits of being in a vacation home as opposed to a hotel is the fact that there is a kitchen and you can cook the foods found at the local market. The down side of cooking in the kitchen of a vacation home is that the spice rack is often bare. My task was to make dinner for 6 people in a vacation home, a stone's throw away from a local farm, with only dried cilantro and a bag of rice in the cupboard.

The farm had phenomenal corn on the cob, but we had just had that a few nights previously. I bought a pint of fresh peas, got in the car and drove to the supermarket. My plan was to use what I deemed the only salvageable item in the kitchen: the rice. My plan was a paella because it only relies on wine (readily available), stock (easily purchased at the store) and saffron (here, I was concerned). The supermarket had "American saffron" which is very different than the Persian strands I have in my kitchen. These blossoms are named "American" but grown in China and imported by a company in Quebec. I put my hesitation aside, threw the orange blossoms of saffron in the cart and continued shopping. "Try the local foods," I thought to myself, "even if they are global".

You're on vacation. Don't worry if what you cook turns into a disaster. You get the chance to try something new. Enjoy the company and watch the sun set.

Camp Paella
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
olive oil
1-454g bag of rice
a glass of white wine
1/2 tsp American saffron
1 L of salt-free chicken stock
1 red pepper, diced
1 pint of peas, shelled
350 g frozen shrimp
350 g frozen bay scallops

Thaw seafood, reserving liquid.
Saute onion in olive oil, add garlic. When translucent, add red pepper. When the pepper is getting soft, add rice & stir until coated.
Add wine. When liquid from wine has evaporated, add stock. Continue stirring now and then.
Sip own glass of wine & chat with other vacationers.
Check on rice every now and then. If it needs more liquid, add the liquid from the thawed seafood. Ensure rice is almost cooked.
Add peas and seafood, allow everything to cook for a few more minutes.


Anonymous said...

The food and the company were great!


Murasaki Shikibu said...

hmm...that must have been quite a challenge to whip up something from those ingredients. Hope you are enjoying your vacation. :)

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