I cannot believe it! It started Tuesday afternoon and it is now 4 pm Wednesday and it is still snowing and blowing. Yikes! Overnight we had a lot of thunder and lightning. Officially it is called thundersnow. Here’s the Weather Channel in 2006 getting it on camera (in Wooster, Mass).
And let me tell you, it’s damn exciting and creepy. I think in part it’s because it occurs while it is snowing and with everything coated in white when that lightning strikes the light reflects off all those white flakes and white surfaces and it seems twice as bright. I was standing in the kitchen when one of those flashed and I swear I thought the ceiling light had shorted out, except a second later everything looked normal.
But enough about the weather, this was going to be about food. When my son was about twelve he came to his Dad and said, “Let’s make paella.” Curt questioned where he might have gotten that idea (we do watch a lot of cooking shows) but not one to miss a culinary opportunity he said, “Sure.” Now we didn’t have everything on hand at that moment to make paella but if memory serves me, the very next weekend all of the ingredients had been procured and cooking commenced. After all these years it is hard to remember all of the details of that event. I know we used a big frying pan since we didn’t own a paella pan and Curt had Nathan help him with the recipe.
Jump twelve years later and Curt sees a paella pan on sale at one of our local department stores. Off we go on a shopping trip where he gets his pan which we obviously needed since we make paella so often. I took advantage of the white sale going on and got a new set of sheets. About three weeks later the guys got together again and whipped up some paella, this time with the right size pan. A while back, Curt bought some Spanish Boma rice, apparently THE proper rice for paella so Curt cobbled together a recipe with chicken, shrimp, mussels which we definitely didn’t have 12 years ago and some lobster claws which were on sale at the market; and limes, since we didn’t have lemons. A bit up scale because of the lobster but, what the hell.
It looked great and tasted pretty good; I passed on the mussels but that means more for someone else.
Just this past Saturday friends called with an impromptu invitation to a birthday/anniversary party. His was in February, hers was in March, the anniversary in April and they just wanted to have a reason to invite people over. Party was Sunday, noon to 6, with paella being served around 2:00. We like food, we like parties, sounded good. We moseyed over around 1:30 not at all expecting what greeted us. There were about 12 – 15 guests, lots of wine, lots of good conversation and a huge midday (midafternoon?) meal. One couple, Bonnie and Julio (not our hosts) were in the kitchen creating the paella. A huge salad sat on the table along with loaves of crusty bread. Once the paella was done we all gathered around the table and dug in. Curt happened to be sitting right next to the pan of paella so he was given the job of serving as everyone passed their plates his way. After we all started eating I looked around just marveling at the fact I was meeting many of these people for the first time. But here we all sat eating good food together, drinking wine, laughing, talking and generally enjoying life on this Sunday afternoon in March. Can it get any better? Yep, dessert followed and even though I had eaten my fill I couldn’t pass up Bonnie’s flan. It was so good I asked her for the recipe which she quickly wrote out. I haven’t tried it myself yet but it’s pretty straight forward and she said it’s foolproof.
3/4 C sugar, carmelize and pour into the bottom of an 11 inch flan or tart pan.
Blend together the following ingredients:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
2 oz. cream cheese ( softened)
1 3/4 C milk ( skim or 1% is fine to use)
Once this is blended, pour into the pan and bake at 350 degrees in a hot water for 1 hour, 10 minutes.
I’ll report back once I’ve tried it but feel free to start without me.
Meanwhile it’s still snowing.