Earlier tonight, I made a rockin’ shrimp paella. Seriously one of my best cooking projects as of lately. More on that later….
As of September 8, 2010, I am 23, which means I am really old to be living with my parents not even close to being 30! Heck yes :).
Last year on my birthday, my boyfriend hand-crafted me an oak cutting board with my initial in a mahogany inlay.
We had only been dating for about 3 months, and I had not talked about him on the blog at all. (He didn’t even find out about the blog for 5 more months. You can read his official introduction here if you missed it.) Even though he did not know about the blog, he did know about my passion for food and cooking (it’s pretty obvious for most people who hang out with me). The cutting board was the perfect gift. Talk about setting high standards for the rest of the relationship! (Did I mention he made it himself?!)
This year did not disappoint. We went to Charleston for a weekend long birthday celebration with some friends who live down there. Friday night, we had dinner at a restaurant downtown called FIG that had amazing dishes with local fish and local produce. Saturday, we went to the beach and then cooked shrimp and grits for dinner and drank lots of wine and champagne :)! What we did not do was take a lot of good pictures, but there are a couple snapped by our friend on her i phone like this one:
Birthday 2010= Success!
Now onto tonight’s dinner.
I adapted this recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, but my version is neither fat-free nor vegan. I also did not follow her simple one pot instructions and made a huge mess in the kitchen. Here is a montage of my cooking process followed by the recipe:
Shrimp Paella (adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 large Vidalia onion (or other sweet yellow onion)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- olive oil for sautéing, if desired
- red wine, optional*
- 1 cup of peas
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can of light red kidney beans
- 1 1/4 cup dry brown rice**, cook according to package instructions with either veggie broth or water
- 1-2 lbs of shrimp
- Old Bay seasoning (sprinkle on shrimp)
- ~ 1/2 t crushed saffron
- ~ 2 T paprika***
- ~1 t cumin
- a couple pinches of cayenne
- salt and pepper to taste
*I added a couple splashes of Syrah to the veggies while cooking and enjoyed a glass while eating. Completely optional, but I highly recommend you do the same.
**Original recipe used quinoa, which would be delicious but less paella-like, IMO. Also, I did not have any quinoa, but I had plenty of brown rice.
***Original recipe used 2 teaspoons of smoked Spanish paprika. I only had normal paprika, which is less flavorful, so I added 2 tablespoons. Also, I doubled all the other spices b/c it tasted bland to me with the original proportions. Play around and see what works for your tastes.
As for the cooking process, you can either follow the instructions on the original recipe, or you can do what I did and cook everything how ever you feel like and throw it all together in the end. The end result will be tasty either way!
Are you a recipe follower or modifier? I seem to be incapable of following a recipe exactly. I think of recipes as more ideas than instructions.