We've been having loads of food fun recently with Spanish Paella. After experimenting a little on our own, we've thrown a couple of Spanish Paella parties to the delight of friends and family.
It all started a while back when my wife and I were browsing through a charming specialty Spanish food and kitchen store (The Spanish Table - Santa Fe, NM location). We marveled at the rows of tantalizing spanish food products on the shelves, probably over 30 different kinds of Spanish olive oil.
And the impressive display of paella pans. From the smallest 7 inch pans all the way up to the giant paella pans, over 200 inches in diameter for preparing an outdoor paella feast over a propane fired burner.
Note: apparently, there seems to be a contest for the world's largest paella pan. This group in Spain looks like they hold the record for the "Biggest Paella in the World" (with a 32 ton paella pan, 24,000 pounds of chicken, and enough paella for 110,000 people).
We thought it would be fun to try our hand at making Spanish Paella. And or course, a great excuse to buy one of these beautiful paella pans and add to our kitchen collection.
We didn't buy a paella pan that afternoon. But the seed was planted.
Well, just recently (now many years later), we finally got around to it. We started with this Spanish Paella kit that we found at La Tienda, a wonderful specialty Spanish food and kitchen supplier located in Virginia. The paella kit comes with a quality 15 inch stainless steel paella pan and the essential (non-perishable) ingredients for making paella for 6 (more like 8 or 10 people).
It's that time of year again. The spring harvest in our garden is just around the corner. We've planted the spring vegetable garden and it's still too early for the spring vegetable harvest, but the loquat tree in the backyard is brimming with fruit. It's going to be a bountiful year for loquats.
The yield this year is terrific. We're experiencing an El Niño this season, so the loquat abundance might have to with the extra rain we've been receiving.
At any rate, we're going to be busy picking fruit this weekend. Besides, if we don't get the fruit off the tree, the birds and the squirrels will have a feast.
In fact, we have a resident squirrel that loves to gorge himself on the loquats every year. He stuffs himself and can barely hold himself up in the tree. And mister squirrel also likes to tell a few other squirrels in the area. Apparently, he doesn't mind sharing his loquat find with the neighborhood.
I must admit, we take the cooking and food vocabulary that we use and hear every day for granted. At least, that's the case for me. And so it is for Parmesan as in Parmesan Cheese.
I was playing around with a recipe the other day that called for Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. And I had to pause with a brief pondering question "what's the difference between Parmesan and Parmigiano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese"?
It occured to me that I've been buying and using these cheeses for years and I've never stopped to understand the difference. In fact, I've probably been mistaken in my assumption that these are just different names for the same cheese.
Well, to some extent, that may be true, but it's a bit more complicated than that as I've come to learn.
OK, some of you (maybe many of you) are probably saying at this point, this one's pretty obvious. Of course, Parmesan is simply the French version of Parmigiano which is Italian. So are these just the French and Italian language equivalents for the same cheese? Not so fast.
Soup to Nuts - now how did that saying get started?
We hear the common colloquialisms, expressions and idioms everyday, and usually just take the words for granted. We're almost numb to their meaning. Do you ever stop to listen to the words, and wonder "where did that expression come from"?
I had that pause the other day when someone mentioned "soup to nuts" in the context of what we were talking about (and I honestly can't even remember what we we're talking about). OK, we know that soup to nuts means everything from A to Z, or maybe more accurately, everything from start to finish.
But just how did the phrase "soup to nuts" come about? In the spirit of the general food interest here at Family Recipe Central, I thought I would "spill the beans" (another shameless food related saying) and dig up the derivation of the expression "soup to nuts".
I was very sad to learn that Gourmet Magazine will be closing the doors. The publisher Conde Naste announced on October 5th that November 2009 will be the last issue.
Apparently the casualty of our current down economy and the advertising dropoff that has affected the publishing industry at large. Like so many publications, the magazine has faced tough challenges coping with the Internet and changing consumer behavior.
Most of us have a fond memory of a home-cooked meal at mom's house. And when the family gets together, how much time do we spend hanging out in the kitchen? Food plays a major role in our lives, and the time we share around the family meal, usually a pleasant experience, brings us together. Makes us feel connected to our family. Which is why I think we cherish our family recipes. Our family recipes define our family tradition in a large way. What do you think? If you have a moment, leave me a comment below. Let's talk about it.