Category: Pasta/Rice

Grilled Mixed Paella

I actually used the paella pan!

I was kind of expecting it to sit in my pantry forever a lot longer than it did, but paella has been made. This was the pan we picked up in Boise at The Basque Market on the road trip. It successfully made paella. I’m pretty sure I bastardized it. When researching a good recipe, I came across so many conflicting ways to “correctly” make paella. It’s origins are from Valencia, Spain, and it’s cooked over open flame in the paella pan sometimes called a paellera. From there, there are several types of paellas, do’s, don’ts, and techniques. Two things I did that will probably get shamed is the use of chorizo and not using the correct rice. I didn’t want to buy a separate thing of bomba/Valencia rice. I have a huge bag of jasmine rice in the pantry. You see where I’m going with this. Yes, I used jasmine rice in a paella. I’m not sorry. It turned out just fine. I even got the coveted socarrat, which is the layer of toasted rice at the bottom. It’s a delicacy in Spanish tradition. I’m personally not a huge fan of burnt toasted rice, but all in the name of authenticity.

Of the various types of paellas you can make, I went with the mixed so there would be a little of everything — chicken, shrimp, chorizo, mussels. There is so much flavor going around in the mixed version. Had I added some green beans, it would have been a nod to the Valencia paella tradition, but I didn’t. I was running out of pan space as it was. It’s over here. Olympia Provisions makes a really great Chorizo Rioja by the way. What didn’t make it into the pan made it into my mouth. If there is one thing I’m really, really, really glad I did was buy some saffron. I die a little inside when I see how much saffron costs and how little you’re getting, but it makes the biggest difference. Have you smelled saffron on its own? It smells like paella. I can’t imagine paella without it. Get a few strands. Cherish them.

This all came together really easily. Get everything prepped in advance. The biggest hassle is bringing everything out with you to the grill. Make sure you have everything handy. There are a few steps, but if you have it all near you, it’ll go by quick. That grill gets really hot. Tongs are necessary to move the pan around to avoid hot spots. Changing the type of rice really didn’t make a difference from a timing or broth perspective. I wouldn’t use any sort of brown rice though.

Grilled Paella

I’ve only made the paella once, but the heat changed the color of the pan so it looks well used. I’m into it. Now to make more paella.

Inspiration: Chowhound


  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1lb boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 8oz cured chorizo, sliced thin
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 16 mussels
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley and lemon wedges for serving


In a bowl, toss the shrimp in 1/2 of the paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside in the fridge.

Grate or peel and dice the tomatoes. This should yield about 3/4 cup of pulp.

Sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill on high. It should get to 450° – 550°. Hot. Add the paella pan to the grill and let it heat up for a few minutes. This will keep everything from sticking. Add the chorizo. Stir it only a couple of times. Let the fat render and the edges get crispy. Remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add a tablespoon or two of the olive oil to the pan depending on how much fat was rendered. I needed both tablespoons.

Add the chicken in a single even layer. Sear each side for several minutes before moving the chicken to the bowl with the chorizo. Add the onions. Stir occasionally so they don’t burn. This may mean moving the pan or turning down the heat. Once browned, add the remaining paprika, garlic, and saffron threads. Stir for only 30 seconds before adding the tomato pulp. Use the juice to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. The color of the tomato will darken as it cooks, approximately three minutes. Add the rice and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to mix thoroughly and the rice is coated in tomato before adding the broth.

Arrange the chicken and chorizo amongst the rice. Bring everything to a simmer. Close the grill and only check on it every few minutes to rotate the pan so it doesn’t burn. DON’T STIR THE RICE. This will help ensure the toasted layer on the bottom. After about 10-12 minutes, the broth should be mostly absorbed. Arrange the shrimp and mussels hinge side down into the rice mixture.

Cook everything for another 10-12 minutes. The mussels should have opened and the rice should be tender. Remove the paella from the grill and cover it with foil. Let it rest for at least five minutes before serving. Toss any unopened mussels and sprinkle the finished product with parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Thai Basil Pork

My first full weekend without work was equal parts good and bad. Saturday felt like Sunday the whole time, but it obviously wasn’t. We checked the box on several big pieces to the new patio out front. Bistro lights were hung. Outdoor furniture has been purchased. More plants have found homes. There are only a few things left to do. Regardless we spent a lot of time outside eating. It’s the new favorite place in the house. Get ready for a lot of food photos from out there. It’s going to happen. Sunday was spent watching a lot of football [soccer], studying, and a whole lot of my body fighting some sort of congestion crap. Not the perfect weekend, but I’ll take it.

This stir fry has become the new curry in this house. I make it all the time. When we don’t know what we want to eat? I make this. If I managed to have some time in the kitchen during busy season? I made this. The first meal back in the kitchen? This.

It started out as this Thai Basil Chicken recipe, and it’s morphed into what it’s become for me now. I don’t measure much anymore; it becomes an shake of this and a dash of that. The overall foundation is there. There is always a fried egg. There is always white rice. The bottle of fish sauce is always on the table. I add it to the stir fry and then again when it’s on my plate or in a bowl. My love of fish sauce is strong. I tried using a defrosted chicken breast once. Don’t do that. It was way too watery. I’ve tried ground chicken, which is good, but kind of bland ultimately. I ended up with ground pork because it’s cheap, already cut up into small pieces, and imparts a lot of flavor with it’s fattiness without being too greasy. Since New Seasons the fridge doesn’t have Thai chilies or Thai basil, it’s jalapeños or serranos and regular basil. It’s still very good, and still very worth it.

Inspiration: Eating Thai Food


  • 3/4lb ground pork
  • 2-4 small jalapeños or serranos, depending on your spice tolerance, sliced
  • 1-2 large handful of basil leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • olive oil
  • fried eggs and rice for serving


In a large skillet, heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños or serranos. Stir often. You don’t want that garlic to burn. Burned garlic sucks. Once it gets hot and fragrant, add the ground pork. While it browns, whisk together your sauce ingredients and sugar. Once the pork is cooked, if there is a lot of grease, drain it. It happens every two or three times for me. It totally depends on the pork. Add the pork back to the pan. There should be no need to turn the heat back on. Stir in the sauce and the basil. Stir until the is basil starts to wilt. Serve with rice and a fried egg.

Unstuffed Peppers

Sometimes you just want a one-pot meal. I’m pretty sure the crock-pot is the ultimate one-pot meal, but that requires planning and foresight that I just don’t have most of the time. I’ve been getting better. Expect some crock-pot meals to come, but until then there are these.

This is what happens when you unstuff a bell pepper. It’s practically what I do when I’ve ever made/eaten stuffed ones anyway. Sure they’re pretty all on your plate perched high and stuffed full of whatever goodness, but one cut and it’s on its side anyway. Then you have to cut up the pepper with each bite so you get enough pepper with every bite. Cooking it up this way ensures you’re increasing your fork to face time. Who doesn’t like making something a little easier every now and then?

Inspiration: Budget Bytes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
  • 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce


Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic for a minute or two. Add the ground beef. Break up into small pieces as it browns. Add the diced bell pepper and cook until soft—about 3-5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes to the pan, including the juice. Stir in the rice, basil, oregano, some pepper, and the beef broth. Bring the whole mixture to a boil before turning down to a low simmer. Cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce and worcestershire sauce.

Taste for salt and more pepper before serving.

Salmon Snap Pea Risotto

Burger Week is going strong. I haven’t binged been as dedicated as some. One burger a day is enough for me. There’s only been the one photo because it’s usually too dark. So far I’ve been to North Light, Double Barrel, Club 21, and Tilt. Tilt ran out of the $5 burger before we got there, and I didn’t want to hold out on my hunger any longer, so we ate there. Even though it wasn’t one of the burgers it’s still a burger. North Light’s burger stuffed with cheese curds and Double Barrel’s pimento cheese and fresh jalapeños were so, so good. Club 21 had a solid, traditional burger [gouda and onion ring!] and their grill master had medium rare on lock. Tilt was awesome as usual. So many burgers left and so little time!

This risotto was something I drummed up while on a salmon kick. I really really really really want to love salmon in a can, but I really have to dress it up to make it not taste like canned salmon. It just isn’t the same as the fresh stuff. I don’t know if that’s because I grew up on the fresh stuff or what, but I love canned tuna and fresh tuna equally. They’re different, but I like them. Canned salmon is just okay for me. I think part of it is always having to pick out the bones. It drives me crazy and makes me paranoid. I know they’re cooked down and you can eat them, but I freak out a little bit if I get an unexpected little crunch while eating.

I dumped the cans of salmon into a bowl and went fishing for bones for a few minutes before going any further. It helped. A lot. The bright, crisp snap peas also helped give the dish a crunch so in the event I might have missed one, it would blend right in. Baking it is the lazy man’s risotto, and I’m all about it [never mind it’s been nearly three years since I’ve last made some]. You can add just about whatever you want into it. If you want to use some other meat, I’d probably cook it first. Top it all off with parsley and a bunch of shredded cheese, and it’s dinner without a whole lot of work.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1lb snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cans of salmon
  • parsley, chopped
  • parmesan cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 400°.  If you have a large oven proof pan with high walls that you can sauté in, use that. Otherwise start with a skillet of some kind, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add onion and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir often to keep the garlic from burning. Add the Arborio rice, salmon, and snap peas and sauté until the grains appeared to be slightly translucent.

Transfer the rice mixture to an oven proof dish if it isn’t already in one. Stir in stock. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the rice is tender, and the stock is evaporated. Set aside, covered, for five minutes. To serve, top with parmesan, chopped parsley. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Mango Puree

I’ve been enjoying an abundance of fruit and vegetable. I wander over to New Seasons and see what’s new. A beautiful new batch of honeydew melon from Hermiston, Oregon. It was a bigger, more oval shape. Intrigued was an understatement. I don’t think I’d ever had one before, only watermelon. It was extra juicy, a more vivid orange, and just as deliciously sweet as you’d expect from a melon. The radishes are extra spicy and nearly the size of golf balls right now. I don’t think I’ve had one that spicy before. I’ve been eating them like apples, so I don’t see them ending up in any salad or side dish anytime soon. The radish greens are cleaned and waiting to hopefully get used up here soon. I was tempted to blend them into my morning smoothie, but that just seems…unappetizing. My last experience with them was bitter and spicy, so I don’t know how well that will go with the latest concoction I’ve been blending up.

It all started with craving a mango. I don’t eat that many mangos after a really random and unfortunate reaction to a mango that left me with obscenely dry lips and eyelids. It’s related to poison ivy, I guess. I still gave into the craving and picked up some pre-made puree in hopes of alleviating another reaction. I did pick up a couple champagne mangos a few weeks later and survived. Maybe it was just freak thing. Either way I’m still cautious.

Rice pudding is like the risotto of the breakfast dessert world. It’s such a comforting bowl of awesome. I love it best the first day and less so each following day. Don’t think it stops me from eating it cold for breakfast. There are no rules. It’s really easy to make. The hardest part is remembering to stir it often enough so it doesn’t stick and burn to the bottom of the pan. No one likes crunchy burnt bits, do they? Maybe for color.

Each bite of the pudding was every bit of wonderful. Stirring in the puree was nice, but I really think I’d want cubed mangos next time. It would be a nice texture change and you’d get a bigger contrast between spicy coconut and the sweet mango.

Inspiration: A Thought for Food


  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1.25 cups of water
  • 2/3 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mango puree [the original recipe has a details on how to make your own] or cubed mango


In a large saucepan that will hold all of your liquid and rice, add the rice, coconut milk, water, orange juice, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring it to a boil and reduce it to a simmer and partially cover the pot with a lid. Stir the mixture occasionally over the next 20-30 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the rice. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, and your spices. Remove from heat. Spoon into serving dishes and top with mango.