Tuesday, June 21, 2011

~What's for Dinner?~ Spanish-Inspired Supper for Father's Day!

picture from marthastewart.com

*The below recipes are from marthastewart.com*

  • Prep Time 5 minutes

  • Total Time 50 minutes

  • Yield Serves 8

  • Ingredients

    • 1 bottle (750 mL) amontillado or other medium-dry sherry
    • 1 cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
    • 2 cups sliced stone fruit, such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums
    • Ice cubes


    1. Combine sherry, Cointreau, and fruit in a pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
    2. Serve over ice.
    Everyone really liked the drinks.  I'm not a huge fan of Sangria but I thought this drink was really good, especially with the peaches.   

    Piquillo Pepper and Cheese Toasts
    picture from marthastewart.com

  • Prep Time 10 minutes

  • Total Time 25 minutes

  • Yield Makes 16

  • Serves 8

    • 1 medium baguette, thinly sliced into 16 rounds
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 16 piquillo peppers (from one 12-ounce jar), drained and patted dry
    • 4 ounces sliced aged provolone cheese, cut into 16 one-inch squares
    • Garnish: 1 scallion, pale-green part only, thinly sliced on the bias


    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of baguette slices with 2 tablespoons oil. Toast on a rimmed baking sheet until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes.
    2. Stuff each pepper with a cheese square. Place 1 stuffed pepper on each toast. Bake until cheese melts, 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Garnish with scallion.
    Okay, these toasts were just about the best I've ever had in my life! Really, I'm being serious.  The grilled piquillo peppers were so good!  This was my first time ever having this kind of pepper and trust me, I'm making these again soon.  If you're vegan, simply add a spoonful of cream cheese to the center of the pepper instead of the provolone cheese.  For an added touch, slip in a few capers too.  Fabulous!

    Seafood Paella
    picture from marthastewart.com

  • Yield Serves 4 to 6

  • Ingredients

    • 2 1 1/2-pound lobsters
    • 4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
    • 2 links linguica (about 1/2 pound), skinned and chopped; or chopped cured Spanish-style chorizo or other cured sausage
    • 2 cups white rice
    • 3 cups fish or chicken broth, heated
    • 1 pinch of crushed saffron
    • Coarse salt (depends on saltiness of linguica and clams)
    • 1 dozen littleneck clams, well cleaned
    • 1 1/2 pounds codfish or any firm-fleshed white fish, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • Sprigs of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped, for garnish.


    1. Bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the lobsters, cover, and cook for 13 minutes. Remove the lobsters and cool just enough to handle. Crack the shells and remove the meat. Keep the claws whole and chop the remainder of the meat into large pieces and reserve.
    2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and saute the onion and bell pepper until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the linguica and cook for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes to lightly toast.
    3. Add the broth, saffron, and salt, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and cover with a lid or sheet of foil and place the paella in the oven for 10 minutes. Uncover and scatter the clams around on top of the rice. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the clams are open and the liquid is absorbed. With 3 minutes left to cook, add the codfish and lobster.   Discard any clams that do not open. Garnish with parsley and serve.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
    The Paella was good.  I love seafood (as most of you know) and so a dish that combined lobster, clams, cod and shrimp all in one place was most certainly a spectacular dinner.  I felt that it was a touch dry, so feel free to add about a half cup more of the broth.  My dad has always raved about paella and how the Spanish fishermen loved making this dish.  For years he's talked about Paella, the special pan used to make it, stories about fishmen and their wives,etc.  I thought it would be wonderful to prepare this for Father's Day since he seems so interested Paella and its history. It was a big hit both with my husband and father-two of the most important men in my life.   

    Photo Gallery

     This blog is for you, Dad.  My number one fan and the hero of my world. I love you!

    Here is my dad, Carl.  He's my hero, teacher, supporter and counselor on just about everything.  I love you, Dad!  Here he is getting the kitchen party popping with some good old knife sharpening before we kick off the cooking.
    I was chopping and I thought I'd get a picture of him.  He's so cool!  He has put up with me for almost 30 years!
    I decided that I'd start with the drinks so that they could chill in the refrigerator.  The Cointreau and the dry Sherry are mixed together with some peaches to make the Sangria.
    I made my way back over to the table for quick cheers with my Dad. 
    Moving along to the yummy piquillo pepper and cheese toasts.  Here is the toasted bread.  Whole Foods carries such great, artisan breads!  This is one of them.
    I snapped a quick picture of the toasts before they were gone. 
    Kid tested and Dad approved.
    The seafood Paella begins with preparing the lobster.
    How about some lobster tail earrings?  Come on, you know you want a pair.
    The boiled lobster tails...
    How many times have we seen a recipe call for a pinch of something?  Well, that's all relative, isn't it?  My dad got me some measuring spoons awhile back that have measurements such as a pinch, scant and smidgen. 

    Below is the Arborio rice, sauteed onions and some spices.
    It's getting even better!  The clams, saffron and peppers are now in the mix.
    Lastly, I threw in some lobster, cod and shrimp.  The recipe calls for 2.5 pounds of lobster.  A pound of lobster was running a little over $30 so I decided to substitute with a pound and a half of jumbo shrimp.  That's the great thing about Paella- you  can add whatever you like and it still turns out great.
    The table.  When you have a two and three year old sitting at the table, you try and keep it as simple as possible.  I never get too attached to any items that are set out because you just never know how long they'll be there. 

    For dessert, I made the peach-custard pie (featured in June 2011 Martha Stewart Living Magazine).  Below I'm starting on the pate brisee.
    The ingredients are blended.  It's tricky making this crust becasue you never want to over-work the dough.  Mix the ingredients until they just begin to hold together.
    The recipe said to fill the crust with beans and bake.  Well, I'm out of dry beans.  I decided to use potatoes instead to hold the pie crust in place.
    The peaches.
    The custard ingredients.  After the crust is baked, then I added the custard to the shell and baked for forty five minutes. 
     The peaches weren't quite ripe and tasted pretty dry after baking.  *make sure you use very ripe peaches for the dessert or they will dry out!*  Also, I peeled all of the peaches instead of leaving one behind for the center.  Overall, the pie was gross.  I also don't really like custard all that much either.  Blah.  It was NOT a good thing! 

    Misc. Pictures

    Gabriel and Sarah really enjoyed the dinner.  They seemed to especially like the paella because it was fun for them to pick out the different sea creatures.
    As you could imagine, it was quite a day!  I was happy that everyone enjoyed themselves, as did I.  I did however, enjoy a quick nap in the late afternoon ;)
    Happy Father's Day, Ben!  You are an amazing husband and father of our children.  Thanks for all that you do!
    Sarah loved the seafood.
    Dad, you are an amazing father.  Happy Father's Day!
    Ben is sitting back and enjoying the day.
    Toddlers are constantly in motion.  It was difficult to pictures of Gabriel as he was not interested in remaining stationary.  Sarah on the otherhand, likes to have her picture taken.  In a matter of seconds she changed her poses three times.
    Picking your nose is a must at two-especially in social situations.
    I just love this picutre of sweet Sarah. 
     My dad liked the Sangria.  However, once he had a few sips, we were all back in the late 60s if you know what I mean. *winks*
    Good Thing alert!  In June 2011 Martha Stewart Living these are featured in the Good Things section on page 54.  I decided to make Ben and my dad these for an extra Father's Day treat. 
    Ben got a mushroom making kit from Whole Foods.  He enjoys dabbling in culinary delights, as do I.  This was the perfect gift for him.
    My dad is getting ready to open his present.
    Tada!  His woolen beret handmade by yours truly. 
    Well, it turned out to be a beanie and not a beret.  Not a good thing!  Sorry, Dad.  He was a good sport about it.  When I told him that I'd make him another one he put his hand up quickly and said, "oh no! That's quite alright.  You don'thave to do that."  Was he trying to tell me that this was not his thing?
    Beware of the woolen beret...it is more like a tiny beanie.
    The other present was really fun to make.  I love making collages and cutting out interesting pictures.  It was especially fun to cut things out that reminded me of my Dad.  I used old Martha Stewart Living magazines and a seed catalog to gather pictures for the coasters that I decoupaged.
    He did like the other gift that I gave him.  At a thrift store I got six coasters for three dollars.  I decoupaged various things onto them that reminded me of him and his interests.  Much more fitting, don't you think?
    Below is the beret how-to.  Cute idea but it needs to be much bigger. Also, it is not a beret.  It is a beanie!  The pictures are sort of decieiving.  The light blue bottom hat is what you will be making from the given pattern.  I'm not sure about where the patterns are for the purple and navy hat?

    picture from marthastewart.com

    -project is from marthastewart.com

    Tools and Materials

    Tailor's tape measure

    Beret template
    Small heavy item, such as a can of soup or a paperweight
    Rotary Cutter
    Sewing machine
    Uncovered 1-inch button
    Button covering kit
    Iron and ironing board
    1/4-yard wool melton; a brushed weight wool
    Machine-sewing thread in complementary color

    Woolen Beret How-To1. With a tailor's tape measure, measure around the top of your head (or the head for which the beret is intended), where a hat would normally sit. Round up to the nearest 1/2 inch. This is your head measurement.

    2. Print the beret template and cut out along the line that is marked with your head measurement.

    3. Place the template on the wool and weigh down with a small heavy item. Cut around the template with a rotary cutter. Repeat to make 6 of these pieces.

    4. Put two pieces together, right sides facing and edges aligned. Using a sewing machine, sew these two pieces together along one long edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Open the sewn piece, and align a third piece to a raw edge, right sides facing. Pin and sew as you did the first two pieces. This is half of the beret -- repeat this step with the remaining three pieces to make the second half.

    5. Pin the two halves together, right sides facing and edges aligned. Sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

    6. Use a zigzag stitch along the raw seam allowances to finish and reinforce the seams. Turn the hat right side out and set aside for now.

    7. Make the hat band: Cut a strip of wool 2 inches wide, and as long as your head measurement plus 1/2 inch.

    8. Match the short sides of the strip together, right sides facing, and sew with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.
    Fold the band you have just created in half lengthwise, with the right sides on the outside of the fold, matching raw edges together. Press.

    10. Match the raw edges of the hat band with the raw edge of the hat, with the band on the outside of the hat. Pin in place all around. Remove extension arm of sewing machine and stitch hat and hat band together with 1/4-inch seam allowance. Finish seam with a zigzag stitch.

    11. Using a button-covering kit, cover a button with a scrap of wool from the hat. Sew the button to the top of the beret.

    12. Using the narrow point of your ironing board or an ironing ham, press the seams of the beret flat.

    A few photos of the beret supplies

    The beret pattern can be downloaded from Martha's website.

    Here's the button covering kit. I've never covered a button before so this was pretty fun.  You can buy the button covering kit in the notions department of most craft stores.

    And that concluded Father's Day at our house.

    Happy Father's Day to all you wonderful Dads out there! 

    ~Dinner Was Served~

    1 comment:

    Carl said...

    Morgan, this is one of your better blog posts, if not the best. Your paella was just excellent, but a bit cooled off being served outside with that slight breeze. I savored every bite.

    I will share with your readers what I have learned about the Valencian Spanish fishermen that evolved this seafood medley, paella de marisco, version of paella (pie-ay-uh, a Spanish "pizza" using white rice instead of a dough crust beneath the ingredients. The fishing boats are pulled up onto the beach and the seafood is immediately loaded onto carts and taken to market. The tired fishermen are usually famished and so their families meet them on the beach to make a paella dinner. Wood is brought to the beach along with steel paella pans, rice, saffron, olive oil, salt, other herbs and spices, wine, and chilled drinks. Over the coals, the assembled ingredients are added after the rice is started. If one boat does not have shellfish, they often trade for finned fish, and the reverse as well. Possibly someone has a guitar and knows how to play it.

    We might see this as a wonderfully romantic scene, but to the fishermen and their families, it is just another day after work, enjoyable as it might be.

    The other two paella dishes are also from Valencia: Valencian Paella (Paella Valenciana): white rice, green vegetables,meat(rabbit, chicken or duck),land snails,beans, saffron other herbs and seasonings.

    Mixed paella (paella mixta, like pizza, can include anything: meat, seafood, vegetables,and beans over calasparra or bomba rice. Saffron is used here as well. Sounds good to me!

    The above was plagiarized from Wikipedia. Thank you very much W. My version is a bit longer: en la boca cerrada no entran moscas (in a closed mouth no flies enter).
    June 21, 2011 4:24 PM

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