Asides

Just a quick little something I wanted to note:

Sometimes I forget I’m in Europe. Sometimes IIII forget I’m in Spain. I forget what language needs to come out of my mouth and start blending the languages and throwing in wrong words.. “It was really fun porque when we went here…”.

But something, so small, that pulls me back to reality and really grounds me and helps me remember I’m not home is the way the shopkeepers act. Every morning on my walk to school every store owner is mopping the sidewalk or the street in front of their shop. It’s still dirty. There’s 15 year old dried, black gum, the stains of dog urine, the cigarette butts that end up right where they just mopped ten minutes after they’ve finished. It’s something small, but they all do it, and it reminds me that I’m not home.

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Vegetarian Paella

Vegetarian Paella – Paella de Verduras

Two ingredients are especially critical for making an authentic Spanish paella. The first is Spanish sort grained rice — especially rice from Calasparra, either Bomba or regular. These are special Spanish rices that absorb large amounts of the broth without becoming creamy or sticky — as arborio and Asian rices do. Second is smoked paprika (pimentón de la Vera) lends a depth of flavor which is unique to Spanish cuisine. It is the secret ingredient that makes a paella authentic.

Makes 4 servings.
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 piquillo peppers
1 large bermuda or Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
3 large cloves or garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 – 1/2 tsp bittersweet Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
5 – 10 strands of saffron
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cubed
4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups Bomba rice, or Calasparra rice
3 cups vegetable stock, or 2 cubes vegetable bouillon. Keep stock warm.
Finely minced parsley

Preparation:
In a 13″ paella pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Add the Piquillo peppers, onion and bell peppers. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, saffron, zucchini and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in the rice and warmed stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed.
Cover with foil, put in 350 F oven for another 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
To serve, decorate with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Spain GourmeTour magazine.

Money isn’t real..

Today I needed to dig out my real wallet to get my insurance card and in the front pocket I saw these foreign, green pieces of paper. Wait. That’s US money. How quickly I forgot what it looked like.

Money doesn’t seem real anymore. The Dollar looks funny because I’ve been using the Euro so much, but the Euro is funny because..well look at it. It’s shiny and colorful.

It’s so interesting to think about how we put value on pieces of paper, be they green or blue or pink. Just a thought I’m having just moments before I retire to sleep.

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