The Newbie Cook
- 19,192 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
Because I have to cook before I go to work every morning, I have to make sure that I have all the ingredients laid out early and that the meat has defrosted from the day before. I do give myself at least an hour of cooking time each day. Apart from the fact that C has to eat a real meal, buying lunch every workday isn’t healthy for my pocket. And God only knows what the sodium content of those foods are!
But, I do (accidentally) sleep in every once in a while. For these cases, dishes like shrimp scampi are a lifesaver.
It’s buttery, garlicky, and oh-so-fragrant that I couldn’t wait for my lunch break to come. And the best thing is this deliciously simple dish literally takes 15 minutes to prep and cook. It can be eaten alone or served with angel hair pasta. While cooking the dish, you can boil the pasta to save time.
The members of this little household were craving for seafood. After a few days of eating Italian, we both wanted something Asian. Something Pinoy.
I’m a little nervous about cooking any Asian dish, especially Filipino. For one, both my parents are very good cooks and I grew up eating yummy homemade Pinoy food. I would be so disappointed with myself if I can’t make something up to their standards and I probably wouldn’t eat it. Cooking Italian is relatively easy — everything goes well with risotto or pasta. But most Filipino foods have to be made with specific ingredients and the process is not always simple.
Motivated to continue my project, we flipped through Miki Garcia’s cookbook, argued which one looked yummiest, until we finally settled for paella. I tried making Kapampangan paella before (bringhe) but it was not so successful (understatement of the year *rollseyes*). I was determined to stick to the recipe this time so I wouldn’t mess up the dish especially since seafood isn’t exactly cheap.
The local fresh seafood shop, John’s Seafood, closes on Tuesdays. Isn’t it weird? Family businesses closing on Sundays are pretty common but Tuesday is unusual for me. Luckily, yesterday was a Friday so we were able to procure the three most important ingredients for paella: mussels, shrimp and squid. Unfortunately, they did not have the small, pinkish squid that Filipinos often use so I had to settle for the bigger, peeled, white ones.
Since paella is a dish that is usually served on special occasions, I always had the impression that it must be difficult to make. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it is relatively easy to cook paella. I can’t wait to make it for my family when we see each other again this April.
I had it with a glass of White Merlot wine and Chris stuck to his precious Yuengling. Miki’s recipe is shown below after the jump. I halved the recipe but followed all of her instructions except for adding the olives. Enjoy!
I haven’t been diligent with my Steffi x Jamie x Miki project. It’s just too easy for me to get distracted and try other things. But I promise to try and make more dishes from those books so I can meet my self-imposed deadline.
It’s a warm early-March day. By mid-afternoon, Chris and I arrived from the vet with our tiny chihuahua puppy, Basti. We’ve been up late, woke up early and the only thing we devoured since last night were cups of French roast coffee. Chris went straight to the garden and started pulling weeds out but I insisted on eating something substantial to appease my complaining tummy.
We were both ornery, hot and hungry. We both needed comfort food. We needed something Italian.
I chose this dish because it looked and sounded interesting. I also have an intense craving for seafood considering that we’ve been eating a lot of beef and pork lately. (I know, I know… I should eat more greens.) I tried to be as faithful to the recipe as much as I could but I did tweak things a bit based on the availability of ingredients and taste preferences. My revisions are listed after the recipe below.
Is it the best pasta dish I’ve ever had? No, but it’s definitely in the Top 10. We enjoyed it immensely and I hope you do, too.
Thanks, Jamie. 🙂
If Rachael Ray has a You-Won’t-Be-Single-For-Long pasta, I took the next step and made sure the cook will be married by morning. 😀 J/K. This is something that I threw together while Dad and I just arrived and were both hungry. I just came from the gym and my legs were screaming bloody murder. If you like to eat as much as I do, a little maintenance is a must. So, while Dad was doing the dishes, I offered to cook pasta because I don’t think I can eat chicken again for the nth time this week.
The spinach pasta cooks so fast. And make sure it’s al dente, not soggy. I wanted to make it completely vegetarian but that might make Dad a little sad so I added a little shrimp to taste. It’s invented and hurried but it’s surprisingly yummy so I decided to share it.
There isn’t really much more to say so I’ll go straight to the recipe. Read more of this post