Monthly Archives: November 2012

Lowcountry Paella

Growing up in coastal Georgia, I’ve had my fair share of Lowcountry Boil – some better than others. At its best, the dish is a spicy concoction of fresh seafood, sausage, corn, & potatoes. At its worst, it is a big pot of overcooked, fishy-smelling mush. Ew.

As my culinary tastes have expanded over the years, I have come to realize how much I love Spanish cuisine. I decided to combine the best of these two cuisines to make a “lowcountry paella.”

paella ingredients

I started with all-natural smoked chorizo and fresh shrimp from Whole Foods, poaching them together in a light beer. Meanwhile, I sautéed a diced onion and green bell pepper in canola oil and started the saffron rice. I couldn’t decide between traditional Old Bay seasoning or the more flavorful Chef Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic, so I used a little of both.

Once the rice was ready, I added all ingredients, including most of the beer from the chorizo/shrimp mixture (undercooking the rice a little so it can absorb the extra liquid) and added a few stewed, peeled Roma tomatoes.

paella2

This dish goes nicely with a light lager or a soft Spanish red wine with a hint of spice such as a Rioja. Just make sure to serve the wine at actual “cellar” temperature of ~60 degrees or the heat may be a little much.

 

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Thanksgiving 2012

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for simplicity. After a year of traveling and moving, I am so grateful that we decided to make this holiday all about relaxing. I’m only making a few favorite dishes with the rest being cooked by our local Whole Foods. The table is even set simplistically.

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This year, we have no plans to go anywhere nor to have any visitors. Thursday is strictly a day of good food, good wine, and (hopefully) some decent football. I am all the more grateful for my home and my tiny family since I haven’t seen much of either this fall.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Becoming Van Gogh exhibit at Denver Art Museum

DAMIf you haven’t had the chance to check out Becoming Van Gogh at DAM, I highly recommend it. I was so impressed that our “little” art museum pulled together this amazing collection from pieces that usually reside in places such as Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, and Musée d’Orsay, just to name a few.

I did the audio tour this time – a rarity for me. I usually prefer to just observe and enjoy the work on my own. I’m so glad I made an exception this time, as the audio drew your attention to subtle changes that the artist made in his technique during the evolution of his work.

I had no idea how very self-taught Van Gogh was. His story is an amazing testament to focus, hard work, and using the resources one has.

The exhibit will only be showing at DAM and will be here through January 20, 2013.

Linen in Winter

If there were such as thing as fashion confession, I’d be due a visit. I’ve known since I was a child that proper ladies didn’t wear linen after Labor Day (or possibly after the first day of fall in very warm climates), but that was before I fell in love with this fabric.

It started with my husband’s Irish linen shirts from Brooks Brothers that I got him last year for his birthday. They looked so cool and crisp when he wore them. Feeling envious, I bought one for myself from the clearance rack in September. It has grown softer with every washing and actually keeps me warm in chilly weather without the heaviness of a sweater.

linen

 

Then, during our move, we splurged on Restoration Hardware’s stonewashed Belgian linen sheets, duvet cover, and shams – our first such purchase since our wedding ten years ago. I had all intentions of changing them out once the weather got cooler, but again…with every washing they get softer and feel even better on chilly nights. Plus I love their relaxed, cozy look.

linensheets

 

So…perhaps I’ll just have to live with my faux pas with the small reassurance that, once you know the rules, you can break a few 😉

Things I’m Loving…

Another post of random things I’m loving this week:

1. If Georgia wins over GA Tech and Bama, we could have a repeat of the 1980 National Championship game against Notre Dame. Go Dawgs!

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2. Great gift idea: scan handwritten family recipes, then have them printed onto a tea towel.

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3. I just love this eBay seller that Entertaining Women recommended to me about a year ago – quality linen hemstitched napkins, placemats, & table runners for a fraction of what they usually retail. The picture below shows one of my placemats in “steel blue.” (I knew I should have ironed before I started taking pictures…)

placemat

4. Finally, I followed (as closely as possible – our grocer was fresh out of calves’ feet) Julia Child’s recipe for braised beef (AKA pot roast) earlier this week and it was DELICIOUS. Her cookbooks, along with my Williams-Sonoma series, continue to be favorites.

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(Image from Amazon)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!