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Old 10-15-2014, 06:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by LEFSElover View Post
One day I had the best prosciutto at the most heavenly store but I didn't buy it as it was $129 a pound. The one I tasted it with and I enjoyed it soooo much............now go take a prilosec
There's no such thing as too much of a good thing

How bout starting with a little tapa salad.
I love those little frozen bags of seafood medleys. They're small and cook up in seconds.
They probably only hold about 1 cup worth total.
Arugula on a plate tossed with spanish olive oil and a good sherry vinegar with salt and pepper, as the base and quick fry up that defrosted packet. Make sure it's not wet, wouldn't hurt to open package and place on strainer before dropping in fat. The one I got yesterday contains: squid/shrimp/crab/lobster/clams/octopus/salmon/halibut. Lightly toss in seasoned flour, pat off excess, drop in a heated nonstick skillet with butter and olive <but not much of either, you're just barely dropping in the skillet getting color, cooking it through, it won't take more than about 2 minutes total [don't over cook or you'll end up with rubbery pieces that are hard to chew] then drop on salad. Eat/serve as soon as it's done and top with fresh lemon zest, shards of parm cheese and specialty spanish olives from your supermarket deli section.
Sounds delicious but the OP will be busy with the paella immediately before serving the meal so last minute frying for the first course isn't very practical.

Donít look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Stomp along and switch the bl**dy thing on yourself.
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:24 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by LEFSElover View Post
about saffron, does anyone really think it's worth that much per little tiny container? I used mine, think it was like $45 in the cutsie little glass bobble it came in, a couple of times this month. either my mouth is dead or it's just not that amazing of a flavor. just my 2Ę
Saffron, if good quality (it isn't always!), is worth every penny it costs.

Saffron is the dried stigmas of a variety of crocus. The crocus only flowers for about 2 weeks and it takes 150 flowers to yield one gramme of saffron and the cultivation, harvesting and drying of the threads is very labour intensive. Which explains why it is so expensive.

Mind you, I think you were had at $45 (approx. £30). My last lot was brought from Spain by a friend and was good quality. It cost around £5 ($7.50) for a pack containing 4 individually wrapped portions of saffron and if I had bought it here I'd have paid about £10 ($15) for the same amount.

Be very wary of packets of anything labelled "Paella Powder or "Paella Spice". Usually this is just powdered flavourings died yellow. Also don't believe anyone (including the television cook I once watched) who tells you that turmeric can be used as a substitute for saffron. It can't!

Your expensive saffron may have been stale or just not very good quality despite it's price. Or did you taste it dry? It has to be soaked in warm water or other liquid to bring it to life and release its flavour.

Incidentally, saffron is mostly produced in Iran these days but in the 16th and 17th centuries it was produced in England around the town which became known as Saffron Walden in Essex. Saffron Walden has an American connection. The town cricket pitch is on land bought by and donated to the town by US servicemen after WWII. There were a lot of American airbases in Essex and the neighbouring counties during the war and I suppose the locals took the American personnel under their wing. A monument at the site commemorates the American airmen and people of Saffron Walden who died in WWII.

Donít look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Stomp along and switch the bl**dy thing on yourself.
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Hey, quicksilver. It went great - I didn't see most of these suggestions, since they were posted the day of, and I was cleaning and then out shopping all morning, and cooking most of the afternoon.

For an appetizer, I marinated canteloupe balls in sherry vinegar, olive oil, one sliced hot red pepper, and S&P, then topped them with pieces of prosciutto (couldn't find serrano ham) - a combo of KitchenElf's suggestion and something I found on the La Tienda site. They were a hit

Then I made the tomato salad as I mentioned above, and we had the paella with shrimp, lobster and clams (mussels were only available in 3-lb. bags, so I didn't get any and doubled the clams). Then I took it easy and asked a friend to bring dessert - she brought lemon-poppyseed cake and rocky road ice cream.

I have enough of the basic ingredients (saffron, Spanish short-grain rice, olive oil) left to make another batch, so I'll incorporate more of these ideas next time. Thanks so much, everyone, for your suggestions

The only pic I got is of the paella:
This is definitely "after the fact," but if you are ever considering an encore, check out this menu. Sounds pretty yummy to me.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:59 AM   #24
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I was going to suggest little nibbles such as cherry tomatoes filled with cream cheese spiced with fine slivers if chili or tiny bites of cured ham wrapped around gherkins, cocktail sausages on sticks, or marinated prawns. In fact anything that is light because Paella is, as you know, very delicious but also filling. In Spain they often serve 'Flan' afterwards, which to you and me is creme Caramel. An excellent dessert in this case I think as it is made the day before and chilled. Very refreshing.

Celtic cook

Life is like good wine.......best taken with friends x
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