Shrimp Paella (and B-Day Recap)

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.

vegetables not included ;)

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:

the boy and me at FIG

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.

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9 responses to “Shrimp Paella (and B-Day Recap)

  1. That is such an awesome gift! It sounds like your boyfriend is definitely a keeper. :-)

    Your paella looks delish as well! I like to modify recipes, too. Some recipes I have found work better when following more exactly (hummus is one of those for some reason), but I love being creative in the kitchen (and usually hope for good results!).

  2. I love Charleston! What a great place to go to for a bday celebration. Glad you had fun!

    And I’m a recipe follower. I screw things up too much otherwise. LOL

  3. Claire

    More reason for you to come back now – we will just have to take more pictures! :)

    Love it! So glad you and the boy got to come out!

  4. I’ve never had paella. That looks so delicious!! :)

    Sounds like such a fun birthday!! Love the pic of you and the boy!! :)

  5. I’m a total recipe rebel–I use them merely for inspiration:)

  6. Happy Birthday!

    I am notorious for changing up recipes.

  7. Happy birthday to you! I’ve always wanted to make a good paella. Maybe I will finally give it a shot!

  8. Happy birthday! The paella looks delicious!

  9. Yum that paella looks delicious! Hope you had a great birthday! I am definitely a recipe modifier I hate following directions :)

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