Friday (the 7th) was Taylor’s 23rd birthday, and she decided she wanted to have a paella themed FND as her birthday dinner. Paella is a special dish for the FND group because it was one of the first dishes we made together the summer between our senior year of high school and freshman year of college. The paella was just as delicious this time as it was 4 1/2 years ago! We rounded out our dinner with some bread, salad, enchiladas (thanks, Antonio!), and an almond cake with clementines and whipped cream – YUM! After we ate dinner and sang “Happy Birthday”, we sang our little hearts out to some old school Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys before we went to Huber’s (Portland’s oldest restaurant) for some Spanish coffee. It was a really great night with some wonderful people.
Now for the recipes:
Simple Vegetable Paella:
*We tweaked this a little for our dinner, but this is a great recipe to start with*
- 1 quart chicken stock, vegetable stock, or garlic broth
- 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red pepper, cut into strips
- 1 green pepper, cut into strips
- 2 cups medium-grain rice
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, seeded and grated on the large holes of a box grater; or peeled, seeded and chopped; or 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 or 3 baby artichokes, trimmed and sliced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan, an earthenware casserole (cazuela) set over a flame tamer, or a paella pan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, scraping in every last bit with a rubber spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Add the stock, green beans, artichokes and chickpeas or lima beans. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the peas. Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.
- Corn tortillas (small size)
- Grated Mexican cheese blend
- Canola Oil
- Red or green enchilada sauce (Antonio used green)
- Heat up some canola in a frying pan to near boiling.
- Take one tortilla at a time and soak it in the canola oil for 2-3 seconds. It should not be crunchy, just coated in oil. Stack the finished tortillas on a plate.
- Take the enchilada sauce and smear some on the top of the first tortilla. Then flip the tortilla a spread sauce on the other side. Put cheese on the lower third of the tortilla, then roll it up and place it in a glass pan. Repeat with the other tortillas.
- Once you have filled the pan, spread enchilada sauce and cheese on top of all of the enchiladas. Then add a second layer and also top with sauce and cheese.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until all the cheese is melted.
Almond Cake with Clementines and Whipped Cream:
Via America’s Test Kitchen
- 2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, but into 6 pieces and softened
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 clementines, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rings
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°. Grease 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Process almonds, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in food processor until very finely ground, about 15 seconds. Add flour and baking powder and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add ground almond mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add milk and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds more. Give batter final stir by hand.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Gently tap pan on counter to release air bubbles. Bake until cake is puffed and golden on top and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
- Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run small knife around edge of cake, then flip out onto wire rack. Peel off parchment, flip cake right side up, and let cool, about 2 hours. (Cake can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)
- For the topping: Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream, sugar and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. (Whipped cream can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours; rewhisk briefly before using.)
- Place cake on cake platter and spread whipped cream over top of cake, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Shingle sliced clementines attractively over top. (Assembled cake can be held at room temperature for up to 1 hour.) Use serrated knife to gently slice through clementines and cake and serve.
Happy eating, everyone!