Monday, January 25, 2010

Last Night For Dinner

Last night for dinner we had a garlic and onion-free version of an old favorite.  Vegetarian Paella (well, except I threw in a few pieces of leftover frozen turkey meat):

I adapted the recipe (and it's slightly different each time) from one I found on the Whole Foods web site.  The fun part of real seafood paella is the shellfish you get to open while eating.  So I leave chunky vegetable "surprises" in the rice for this one, too.  In the summer you can put half ears of corn in the cob in there.  My winter version was as follows:

If I could stand how they taste and smell right now (I've had to avoid them all of my pregnancies) I'd have first sauted these first two ingredients in olive oil.  And if I wasn't later adding chunks of roasted red pepper I'd have added that, too.  Since I wasn't doing any of these, I started by sauteing uncooked rice with some strands of saffron.  If you don't have saffron, you can substitute by using a little turmeric.  Saute rice for a few minutes on low heat.  Add a can of tomatoes (diced or whole) with juice (or frozen diced tomatoes if you stocked your freezer with seasonal veggies in the fall) and some broth (chicken or vegetarian).  Broth should just cover the rice.  I didn't measure either, just be sure to add more water or broth later if rice seems to be drying out while cooking.  At this point you have a lot of freedom in what to add.  Last night I added soy beans (the last time I used lima beans), green olives, roasted red peppers, shredded zucchini/summer squash (I had that frozen from fall in one cup measurements--I stuck in one cup), and some frozen hunks of leftover Christmas turkey meat (you could easily leave that out, unless you're married to a "every dish must have some meat" guy like I am).  Then I left it on the stove on low heat until the rice was softened but not soggy.  I stirred in frozen peas and orange slices as my last step and let it sit until they warmed.  When I put the paella on our plates (or you can serve all of it on a large shallow bowl and be more authentic) I added some slices of sweet potato (I had baked those in my crockpot during the day) and some slices of avocado.  It serves beautifully.  We had sauted broccoli rabe on the side, which was a great compliment.

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