My friend Diane shared her paella recipe with me. It is delicious and a lot of fun to make.
Unfortunately I didn't have any good photos of the finished paella.
My Andalusian Paella Recipe
by Diane Marvin Koenig
My paella recipe comes from my love affair with flamenco, the music and dance of Andalusia, southern Spain. Paella originally comes from the region of Valencia, Spain but every good flamenco party centers around the making of a paella, then of course the music and dancing follows until morning hours. Cooking outside with an open fire and making the dish in front of your guests is fun and brings people together for a wonderful evening of sitting by the fire and sharing a meal from the same pot.
Paella is about the rice and the saffron that flavors it. I like to use ‘Matiz’ a rice grown in the Albufera National Park in Valencia, Spain. It can be found in specialty shops and our nearby ‘Shopper’s Corner’ carries it. Paella rice is a short grained, absorbant rice that along with saffron is the basis of a good paella. I have used basmati as a substitute and it comes out well. You will also need a good paella pan. Mine is about 14” in diameter, has a lid and is not an authentic paella pan but is low with slanted sides and will feed 10-12 people.
The fire! You will need a good fire maker to tend the fire and make sure it is not too hot or too cool. I have cooked paella indoors in a pinch on a gas flame but the fire gives the paella it’s flavor and it’s good to enlist some help.
Diane and George have a beautiful oasis on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains between Aptos and Watsonville . Driving up to Diane and George's place is an adventure in itself. It is a mile long narrow road to the top of the mountain. Once you are there it is a green redwood oasis with a scenic view of the Monterey Bay. This place has hosted many weddings , parties , and celebrations. The property has a vegetable garden and some fruit trees
Ingredients for a paella can be varied. It is basically a fisherman’s stew with rice. Throw in a few peas or beans and you have a meal. You first make the ‘sofrito’ with the onions, garlic, peppers, then add the rice and broth and lastly the fish.
A German cake that will please your palate
Capitola is about three miles down the road from where I live. It is a cute little seaside village that attracts many visitors from near and far. Each Labor Day there is a Begonia Festival. Local businesses, friends and families decorate floats with begonias and parade them down Soquel Creek under a bridge into a lagoon near the beach. It is a lot of fun and a wonderful Labor Day tradition. The floats are all uniquely beautiful—how can they not be with all those beautiful flowers? This festival has been going on since 1951. Major growers of these tuberous begonias are located in the Santa Cruz area and in late summer they are in spectacular bloom.
Originally, I had planned to post an Italian giant cookie cake. I will do that next. Last Sunday, Ronald, my strawberry farmer, had some beautiful ones and sold me a whole flat: 12 pint baskets of strawberries just picked that morning, sweet and juicy. I had already made strawberry jam from an entire flat the previous week, so I used half of the strawberries to make more jam. We ate quite a few fresh ones and sliced some for my husband’s morning cereal. I had two baskets left. I also had some green rhubarb in my dried out tiny garden. After a quick search on the internet, I found a German recipe I like and this cake was born. It was easy to make and I couldn't stop eating it after it came out of the oven. My husband said it was not his favorite, but he still managed to eat quite a bit. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did.
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.