Monday, July 19, 2010

This Paella is brought to you by Blue Rhino Propane Exchange

If it has a ring-tone, it just isn't a real camera. One of these days I am going to have to go down to Fry's (about 1 mile away) and buy a real camera.

In any case, here are a couple of shots of the paella I cooked on Friday night. My brother, who lives in the SF Bay Area and plays guitar in a rock-n-roll band, flew into L.A. for the weekend. We did some serious cooking.

I kicked things off with a beastly paella. As you can see, it was dark by the time the thing was finished, and I believe the time was around 9:30pm. That is fairly late to get going with a paella party. What can you do? I get home from work around 6:00 PM, and the prep for a paella like this takes some time.

My buddy Colin, who was a member of Ben's graduating class, and journalism team, came over for the feast. These dudes gorged themselves. Too bad there were no ladies at the party! Frankly, my apartment was not up to it at that moment. The joint was in a shambles due to the great balcony reorganization that had taken place a week earlier. Ben and I worked on it yesterday, and my apartment looks good. It is now time to do some serious entertaining.

That Paella was a monster. Here are a list of the ingredient:

  1. 24Oz Santo Thomas Bomba rice from Alevante, Valencia Spain, courtesy of
  2. 21 threads of Princesa de Minaya Saffron from La Mancha Spain, courtesy of Sur le Table
  3. 1 package of Goya Sazon con Azafran, courtesy of the market 300 yards from my door.
  4. 150 grams of de Leon hard dry garlicy Spanish Chorizo, courtesy of my local German sausage shop
  5. 150 grams of Leon Herradura paprika loaded Spanish Chorizo, courtesy of my local German sausage shop
  6. Williams Sonoma House Olive Oil. This is an extra virgin oil directly from California.
  7. One whole Rabbit (2.5 pounds) chopped to bits with my F. Dick meat cleaver, and brined for 24 hours in the frige. This was courtesy of Bristol Farms.
  8. About 2 pounds of chicken thighs, courtesy of my local store
  9. 2 big red bell peppers cut into strips
  10. 2 small yellow peppers cut into strips
  11. 5 cloves of fresh garlic
  12. 2 carrots, chopped fine
  13. 2 stalks of celery, chopped fine.
  14. 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  15. 4 large oyster mushrooms, sliced
  16. 1 very large yellow Spanish onion, diced.
  17. 1 large branch of Rosemary, stripped and chopped fine
  18. 1 leaf of Savory, chopped fine
  19. 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme (my AeroGarden died)
  20. 1/4 teaspoon of dry sage
  21. 48 ounces of Chicken Broth
  22. 24 ounces of highly purified water, courtesy of La Wateria down the street.
One good tip for you: you need to be careful to select California Extra-Virgin olive oils. Most so-called extra virgin olive oil is not. A lot of the Italian and Spanish products are rip-offs. The stock on the shelves at most grocery stores--this includes Whole Foods--will fails one or all three of the critical tests for extra virgin olive oil.

Don't believe me? You don't have to. Just consider this. The UCD Olive Oil center conducted a series of tests in partnership with the Austrialian Oil Research Labratory, located in South Wales. They selected a wide assortment of recognized brand-name 'premium grade' extra-virgin olive oils. They subjected them to a series of three commonly accepted tests for quality.

The bastards flunked like crazy. Most brands flunked one or all tests. The results of the study are clear: people are paying a lot of money for crap oil that claims to be ultra-high quality Spanish and Italian stuff. Aparently, the Europeans have been panicked by these findings. They are going to hold a conference in Verona Italy focused entirely on achieving and maintaining excellence in super-premium olive oils.

California is making a hard push right now to be recognized as the finest producer of olive oil in the entire fucking world. Yep, that's right Italy and Spain. You are in the cross hairs. The quality of our fruit is amazing high, and the quality control is even higher. These California oils are the best you can obtain right now. As Brett Favre says, you can pay more, but you won't get more.

I removed the steel grills from my Weber Genesis 310, placed the iron paella directly on top of the flavorizering bars, and pre-heated with the lid open for about 10 minutes. That was a mistake. I should have pre-heated with the lid closed for 15 minutes. The Paella was not quite hot enough to begin with. My Weber is powered by Blue Rhino Propane. I like it.

In any case, we dug in, and ate hearty. That is a 17 inch cast-iron Paella from Lodge Manufacturing of South Pittsburgh Tennessee, and it was fully loaded. I would say that the three of us demolished more than half of that Paella in the first sitting. I was surprised at how little was left over after we ate it.

Ben and Colin were pretty stunned. They did not expect to like it so much. They were both a little queezy over the thought of eating rabbit. I had to talk them into it. They changed their minds quick. They went back for seconds and pounded it down with lusty greed. They were thinking about getting thirds, but they knew they were over-stuffed already.

I have to say that brining the rabbit for 24 hours is the key. The rabbit was moist and tender; it was falling off the bone really. If you have not had a well prepared rabbit, you are missing out on the finest white meat on the market. It is better than chicken. I don't say that lightly. I am a big fan of chicken. I love chicken. However, in this case, the rabbit was the star of the show.