Monday, June 23, 2008


The Best Days Are Spent with Family & Centered around Food

On Sunday, NH and I traveled to Walnut Creek for a family visit. My sister-in-law Jackie just graduated from St. Louis University and started her new job here in California this week. Congratulations Jackie!

Everything in the East Bay Area is turning that lovely brown color that it does every summer. My in-laws' property backs up to the Sugarloaf Open Space. Although brown, it's still a beautiful view.


Before lunch we visited the Danville Arts Festival, a short drive away. This is one festival we had not been to in past years. The sidewalk artists were amazing.

It was nice to go for a walk and see such variety of art.
This display of blown glass in vivid colors caught my eye.

Look, apples!

My favorite stall was that of Locke Heemstra, a photographer based in San Mateo. We are looking for a wine-themed picture to hang in our dining room, and we grabbed his card and these photos to find him later.


After the festival, my FIL Mike prepared his famous paella. He enjoys barbecuing and makes a mean dish of paella. Today's dish contained no seafood because of NH's allergy, but shellfish is a traditional ingredient in most paella.
(*You could make this dish on the stove but it won't have the smokey flavor that a charcoal grill contributes.)
Mike is the grill master, but I did get to assist with the chopping.

Paella originates from Valencia, Spain; it's cooked in a shallow frying pan on an open flame.

Traditional paella has a dry consistency with a crusty bottom called soccarat that is quite prized. However, this family prefers a moister, more saucey dish similar to risotto. Each time they make paella it's a little different, but here is yesterday's combination.

Carroll Paella

roasted asparagus
frozen green peas
red bell pepper
chicken breast
chicken apple sausage
saffron threads
chicken broth
Arborio rice

Heat grill and add paella pan. Saute the chicken in some olive oil with the sofrito of tomato, red pepper, mushrooms and onion.

Add water and/or chicken broth. Cover and allow to cook until the vegetables are soft.
Stir occasionally.

Add frozen peas and incorporate into the mixture.

Next, add sliced chicken apple sausage and Arborio rice. Stir to combine.
Incorporate saffron threads and stir thoroughly. This creates that beautiful yellow color and exotic fragrance that paella is known for.

Cover the grill and allow to cook until the rice is tender, checking occasionally.

From grill to table, the beautiful finished dish.

Kudos to Mike, the paella was delicious. We were so full from this meal we hardly needed dinner in the evening. I always look forward to summer meals at home because I know paella might be on the menu.



LizNoVeggieGirl said...

"The Best Days Are Spent with Family & Centered around Food" I couldn't agree more!!

Looks like you had a fabulous weekend; and wow, that paella sounds delicious!

Anonymous said...

Locke Heemstra has a website of his travel photography. Makes me want to travel!

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The Partybluprints Girls