Paella, Simple Summer Fare

Rising temperatures and backyard parties means – it’s paella time!

So often in the States we think of paella as a gourmet dish meant to be eaten on special occasions or when fine dining. In reality, a paella in Spain is a casual meal eaten outdoors, served at summer festivals and enjoyed as simple midweek meals.

The paella originated in the countryside of Valencia, España, where rice fields were (and are) in abundance. Local farmers and peasants raised chickens, rabbits and collected snails.

After making a rich and nourishing broth, the rice and local meat were combined creating the first paella cooked over an open fire.

This simple peasant’s dish has since influenced the entire world and is now made in many different variations.


All photos by Diana Bauman

A real and traditional paella is made using only a few seasonal ingredients and meant to highlight the rice. The rice is really what makes a paella.

As long as you have a good quality rice and a few other ingredients, you’ll be on your way to an amazing rice dish.

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Mid-Summer Update and an Announcement!

UPDATE: Thank you all SO much for the kind well wishes! I’m truly touched and appreciate all your comments. Thanks!

A funny thing happened last week. I received my favorite cooking magazine in the mail and when I flipped through it, not one thing looked good, not even the sky-high meringue pie on the cover.

Then on Monday, I was making the weekly menu plan and strangely enough, could not come up with any meals that sounded appetizing. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I was hungry.

What’s up? Why the lack of interest in food? Well, you can probably guess – we’re pregnant!

Danny, Noah, Mateo and I are very excited to welcome a new member into the family sometime in early 2012. I’m feeling exceedingly blessed, as we’ve been hoping and praying for this gift, and the timing seems to be really right.

Of course, I’m a little terrified to be doing this all over again! However, there is plenty of time to wrap my head around this pregnancy, and still many months ahead to prepare for the arrival of a newborn.
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Lacto-Fermentation: A Healthier & More Sustainable Way to Preserve

This post was originally published on July 16, 2010. Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

In March we ate the last of 5 1/2 gallons of lacto-fermented vegetables. They stored for over six months in our refrigerator and I didn’t boil a single pot of water.

I think everyone should try lacto-fermentation for three reasons:

  1. The product is a living food, full of enzymes and probiotics.
  2. The process is much faster than waterbath or pressure canning.
  3. The process (and storage) can be done with zero energy usage.

A healthier product in less time and with less energy usage? Yes please!

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Weekend Links

Eat Well, Spend Less: The Art of the Summer Potluck

There’s nothing like a lingering, warm summer evening to inspire one to entertain. The children’s bedtimes have long gone out the window, friends and family are in town, and the garden is flourishing – its fruit ready to take center stage on the dinner table.

A barbecue with the guys one week, a garden party with the ladies another week; there is no question that entertaining in summer can eat a chunk out of the monthly food budget. But not gathering with friends is entirely out of the question, as summer entreats us to fill the back patio to overflowing and let the laughter spill onto the neighboring yards.

So how do we receive guests (lots of them) and still have money at the end of the summer for school supplies? This is the subject we’re tackling in our July edition of the Eat Well, Spend Less series. My blogging cohorts and I are talking about Entertaining on a Budget.

My solution to entertaining on a budget is simple: The Potluck. But not just any pot-luck. It must be an organized event, with plenty of communication between host and guests. Read on to learn how to plan a successful potluck, as well as how to be a gracious potluck attendee.
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