Sunday, May 20, 2007

'queing it, Spanish style!

Pressure. It either brings out your best, or it makes you crumble like a 2-day old donut. Last night at my sister's house, she had it going like she didn't have a care in the world, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she was hosting (along with her sous chef, husband, and tender of the Weber kettle Dave) 11 food fanatics and a photo shoot of her paella for a soon to appear article on the great local food blog Culinate. In attendance, besides your humble reporter and his partner in crime w, was the editor of Culinate, Kim Carslon and her husband and chief webhead James Berry. Also salivating at the prospects were good food friends Jeff and Kathryn, plus the owners of up and coming PDX food mecca Foster and Dobbs, Luan Schooler and Tim Wilson.

Oh look, dahlings, it's our cook!

The paella happily simmering away

w and I arrived, several bottles of rosé in hand, to find things simmering along nicely. They had already popped a couple bottles of pink stuff, the mise was done, and the cooking tool was fired up. See, this paella that my most creative sister was cooking up was being cooked on Dave's near collectors vintage 25-year old Weber kettle. Talk about patina. Anyway, we were snacking away, the chatter was flowing, of course mostly food related, the rosé going down like koolaid for adults. Then sis Kathleen swung into action, laying down the pan on the Weber grill, throwing in a few choice ingredients including Paul Bertolli's smok-a-licious chorizo from Fra' Mani, and in about 25-30 minutes, we were plate deep in some serious Spanish goodness. Steaming hot, a thin layer of the elusive socarrat adding a crusty layer of complexity.

The finished product right before it mysteriously disappeared.....into our bellies!!!

Her good friend and pro-photog Steve Bloch was snapping away pic after pic (sorry, you have to put up with my usual half-ass efforts!) as we gathered around the table and tucked in to this most satisfying of rice creations. A few more bottles of wine were emptied, well deserved praise was issued, our tummies were getting stuffed, but there's always room for dessert, right? We finished the night with Kathleen's signature rhubarb crisp, and Kim and James brought these CRAZY homemade ice cream sandwiches. Creamy, rich vanilla ice cream tucked between two homemade oatmeal cookies. Off the hook!

My new definition of happiness: Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches!

Once again driving home with that happy glow, thanking the gods of food for all that is good!


Cracker said...

That Paella sure looks scrumdittylicious. Did it have a nice socarrat? I love that stuff.

bb said...

it did have the elusive socarrat. It was awesome!

kab said...

We've been working on getting a nice crust, and it couldn't have appeared at a better time...our karma must have been working overtime!

Thanks for the kind words, dear bro. Wouldn't have been the same without you here!

bb said...

And i wouldn't have been near so happy had I not been there! Although you would've had a bit more leftovers......
So thanks back at ya...what a feast!

james said...

bb: thanks for your part in a fun evening. Kim and I had a great time, and the food was ma'velous, as was the wine.

As part of stories we're doing in June, culinate (which we think of as more a 'zine than a blog) will be running the recipes both for the the ice-cream sandwiches (in a story by David Lebovitz) and the bbq Paella (in an inaugural piece by your sis). Keep an eye out for them!

And let's do it again. Next time with a bigger pan ;)

bb said...

James, that was a pretty good group effort, wasn't it? That's why our crowd is so fun. Everyone brings something, literally, to the table!!