Archive for December, 2011

What is selah?

You never realize that you’re tired and that you’ve been running on empty until you finally stop. Then when the closest of friends lovingly mentions how you look so tired at 9:30 pm and you insist you’re not that tired (as your days typically wind down at midnight), it makes you wonder if perhaps you’ve been running a little too long on overdrive. Well, perhaps its days like this where you really do need a selah from life–life that is but a crazy flurry of a whirlwind around you, and you’re deceived to think all is fine when you are really just in the eye of the storm for a moment. Good luck getting out of that one, right?

Well, I’ve heard selah defined as stop and think about it, or to take a pause. While a difficult word to translate, perhaps deep down we have a deep sense of the meaning and feeling behind the word–like a soft and gentle whisper inside that nudges you to just give yourself a moment to stop, rest, think, and ponder.

So find a way to take a selah whether it be a trip to the hot tub or aimlessly wandering around a Target or Costco (with no intention of purchasing anything) for a while to decompress from long days, or taking a stroll on a beach somewhere.

A perfect place to stroll...

If we plan to live as long as our tough farm-raised grandparents, we probably need to find more times to selah. How would you selah?

One-dish-wonder: Paella

Whenever someone says I’ve perfected a recipe over the years, it makes a bell go off in my head…I want to know your secret recipe! For Mama Su, that’s her amazing mochi’s, tea eggs, sponge cake, and yo fan…after 20 years of trial and error (where I had to consume lots of the unpleasant errors), you definitely want to know those recipes. But today is not the day for those recipes.

The only tricky thing about secret recipes is the chef often cooks by their gut versus an actual recipe…having made it so many times.

Alas, I attempt to capture Nancy’s paella today…and will leave the freestylin’ up to you so one day it becomes your one-dish-wonder too. I guess we all get to put our signatures on our dishes and that’s what makes them even tastier. (Technically, this is dish requires 2 pots to make, so not exactly a one-dish-wonder, but close enough…you get the picture).

Servings: Approximately 6-8

Prep and Cook Time: ~ 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 3 Fresh sausage links (i.e. chicken varietals)
  • 1 Red bell pepper, slivered
  • 1/2 ¬†Large onion, slivered
  • 1/2 Large onion, uncut for seafood stock
  • Garlic, minced
  • Mussels (a healthy 2 handfuls)
  • Shrimp (a healthy 2 handfuls)
  • 3 c. Rice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Saffron (cheaper alternative includes a mix of turmeric, paprika, and cumin)
  • Cilantro
  • White wine
  • Olive oil

Directions:

1. Boil your seafood broth in a pot with 1/2 a big onion, mussels, salt and pepper.

2. Chop your bell pepper and onion in slivers. Chop the sausages into bite-size chunks.

3. Stir fry the onions and minced garlic in a big pot with olive oil. When fragrant, add bell peppers and stir it up, add more oil if needed. Add the sausages. Add some salt and pepper and let it all cook until the veggies are soft and the meat is cooked through.

4. Add shrimp to the seafood stock pot and let it all boil up. Remove the seafood from the pot when shrimp is pretty much cooked through¬†(about 90% done) and let it cool a little and peal the skin of the shrimp (if it has some). Note: I was the sous-chef for the night and had the job of peeling shrimp. It was HOT when I did this, so you may want to peel the shrimp before you cook it. I’m not sure if that makes the shrimp more tough to cook without its skin, but anyway, you can decide what order to do all this based on your preference).

5. Add three cups of rice to the main pot and add 3 cups of seafood stock to the main pot. Note: If you want to make less, use less rice and keep water to approximately equal parts with the quantity of rice. It’s up to you how you adjust your rice to other ingredients ratio. Stir it up and add some more salt, pepper, and saffron spices (or cheaper alternative of turmeric, paprika, and cumin blend), a splash of wine and let it cook up. Stir every so often so it doesn’t stick to the pot. Add more seafood stock as necessary until the rice gooey glue-iness is to your liking. When the rice is almost done, stir in the shrimp and mussels, and add more seasoning to taste.

6. Take it off the heat when all is mixed in and flavors are to your liking. Stir in fresh chopped cilantro if you’d like and serve! The quicker it’s served, the better, or it gets even more gooey-gluey over time instead of a more Nancy-preferred thick watery-ness. Buen provecho! (as they say in Spanish).

Paella is served! Buen provecho!

Beverage Pairings: Blood Orange Soda (or on special occasions, a drink of clear nature containing fresh mint leaves is a nice complement).