Tuesday, December 21, 2010
When Arica is around be prepared to laugh until you pee yourself and be warned that if a bone isn't fractured, for sure something else will get broken. Most of the time she breaks your soul by embarrassing you in front of everyone with some small but private bit of information you begged her to keep her pie hole shut about. She justifies it by saying, "but its true!" And Chris reminds her that, "Arica, people don't want to hear the truth all the time!"
When Chris and Arica came over to make paella as a wonderful housewarming, Arica was already sporting a bright green cast after breaking her arm from punching her brother in the gut. Broken bone: check.
Chris is an awesome cook. Aside from the paella, I have tried his awesome lasagna, the most kick-ass enchiladas and the best BLTs ever. (I need that enchilada recipe, Chris!)
Arica, not so much a cook. Chris said she once melted a pot trying to boil water. She is an awesome baker and makes the best oatmeal cookies in the universe!
And even though her wrist is broken, she is really good at opening wine bottles and getting the party started. For paella, we needed some delicious wine, which we got over at Dandelion, the best wine shop in the hood.
Markus made "his famous" sunchoke bruschetta. I always call it "his" because I basically sit him down and make him peel all the little sunchokes, then chop all the garlic, then roast everything until perfection, then spread it on toast. He is just so good at it, even though he grunts and complains the entire time.
And while he got busy on that Chris started making his amazing paella. Earlier that day I got a list of things to have on hand. Of course I have bowls! Geez! But I didn't have the special paella pan, which Chris brought over along with all the seafood, merguez sausage, chicken, saffron and special paella rice.
With paella its all about layering the flavors, starting with the sausage. Any dish that starts with sausage is a good dish in my book. Chris even made his own fish stock with the shrimp tails and a sofrito of tomatoes and onions. Mouthwatering.
It takes a while, but we sure know how to kill the time, laughing and goofing off. Well at least Arica and I. Markus sits there and God only knows what he is thinking. And Chris rolls his eyes and scolds us the whole time. Well mostly he scolds Arica; I am just an innocent bystander.
There was some major embarrassing accomplished in the form of Arica reading a private letter with sensitive material out loud in a very non-senstive way to everyone. Embarrassment: Check!
Then we ate the delicious paella. I ate two bowls easily. It was perfect. The rice was done just right and all the seafood and the sausage were just so delicious together. Paella is one of those dishes when you see it in the restaurant is for 2 or for 4 only. I like a dish that is meant to be shared.
And then some damage to my belongings just had to happen. Damage to personal property: CHECK!
That day I happened to walk into La Perla sample sale and spoiled myself to some silky unmentionables including a gorgeous robe. I was showing off my new sexy things to Arica in my room while the boys were doing what they always do, make weird inaudible animal sounds. When we heard snoring, I threw the robe onto my bed and we went into the other room to wake the boys up. I looked back and my cat Bean was full on heaving puke all over my new robe! Bile puke no less. This is when Arica and I urinated on ourselves in pure laughter. And it was all over when Markus came in and applauded Bean, "when we were together it was only tee shirts and flannels in bed. Good job, Bean!"
But its not over. To "save" the robe, Arica grabbed it and put the entire thing into the shower!
A little puke might have been remedied with some dry cleaning, but water stains on silk begins the new life of the robe as a dish rag. A very expensive and beautiful dish rag!
Bean really had the last laugh that night when he scratched poor Markus right between the eyes as he was leaving. BODILY INURY: Check!
And this is just a glimpse into an evening with Arica and Chris. I LOVE YOU GUYS!
Chris's Paella Print Out
Notice there are no amounts (Chris is Sicilian) and there are a lot of bowls, set asides, 20 minutes and bullets. He means business! He made it look so easy. Chris, anytime you need to borrow my gas top for paella you are welcome to come over.
•Simmer 8 C. fish stock with salt
•Clean shrimp, place in a bowl, set aside
•Add shrimp shells to stock
•Clean and slice calamari, place in a bowl, set aside
•Clean scallops, mussels and clams, set aside
•Toast saffron, set aside in mortar
•Strain shells from stock
•Crush saffron and add to stock
•While grating tomato, onion and poblano:
- saute merguez
- saute chicken with poblanom set aside
- saute shrimp, scallops and calamari, set aside
- deglaze with 1/2 C. white wine
•Reduce heat to medium-low, prepare soffrito, 20 min
•Add 1 tsp smoke paprika
•Add 2 C. rice, increase heat to medium high
•Add 7 C. stock (reserve 1/2 C.), bring to boil
•Arrange merguez, chicken, scallops, some calamari, mussels, clams and peas
•Do not stir, cook on medium high, rotating for about 20 min.
-optional: bake at 400 for 20 min.
•Reduce heat to medium low
•Simmer until al dente, adding stock if not done
•Arrange shrimp and remaining calamari
•Cover with aluminum foil, cook 2 min.
•Increase heat to medium high, cook 2 min socarrat (?)
•Remove from heat
•Let rest 5 min
•Serve with lemon wedges