Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cleaning out the refrigerator

To-day was unseasonably warm in San Francisco (temperatures in the 80's) and I didn't feel like stopping at the grocery store on the way home, yet wanted a nice meal because 1. it was Thursday and thus almost the weekend and 2. I felt like celebrating what felt like the advent of spring on such a nice, warm day after all the rain we got the last two weeks. Also, because it was so warm, the meal couldn't be too heavy (so the slow-cooked chicken with caramelized onions and cream that Dave wanted is out). And the meal had to come together with the produce that was already in the house. Well, we always have on hand staples such as rice, onions, garlic, bacon, frozen ground beef, frozen green peas, chicken broth, and all the spices imaginable. And I had half a head of cabbage left over from Dave's pre-birthday dinner. So, when I found the recipe for "Cabbage and chopped meat paella" in this book

it couldn't have been more perfect! The only substitution I had to make was to use green peas instead of julienned snow peas.

Here's what it looked like before we dug into it:

Yes, that's crisp-fried and crumbled bacon sprinkled on top. Yum! Bacon is like the most perfect food. The flavors were built up from a sofrito base of sauteed chopped onions, chopped serrano pepper, and chopped ham. Then, finely-sliced cabbage was added (Huxley LOVED gnawing on the cabbage core!) and then the rice was stirred in and then chicken broth kept simmering with a pinch of saffron was added, together with previously-browned ground beef and chopped scallions and a generous amount of that nice Spanish smoked paprika that I always have loads of in my pantry and the frozen green peas. 10 minutes on top of the stove and another 10 in the oven and some standing time and dinner was ready!

Some chilled Cline Mouvedre Rose wine was just perfect with it and with the warm evening. And, best of all, I got to clean out the refrigerator and use up some of the produce in it. We bought a really big tub of Kimchee from the Korean supermarket in Oakland last weekend and space is getting to be a premium so it was good that I got to make more space for... leftovers??!!

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