Garden Vegetable Paella

Anyways, moving right along, we have recently been experimenting with making paella, thanks to getting a paella pan as a Christmas gift from Meghan’s parents.

Behold our first attempt from a few months ago:

We refined our strategy a bit before our next attempt, which is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ~1/4 pound green beans
  • 14-oz can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • ~1/4 pound asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 small/medium tomatoes, coarsley grated
  • Salt
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (water is a fine substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp sweet pimenton
  • 2 pinches safron threads, lightly toasted and ground
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1 1/2 cups short- or medium- grain rice

Method

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in the paella pan over medium heat.
  2. Add bell pepper and eggplant and cook until they begin to brown, ~5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, then add the green beans, artichoke hearts, and asparagus, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Lower heat to medium-low, add garlic, tomatoes, and 2 pinches of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato has darkened to a deeper shade of red, ~10-15 minutes.
  5. Add 1 cup of the stock and simmer until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender, ~10 minutes.
  6. Return the bell pepper and eggplant to the pan. Sprinkle in the pimenton and saffron while stirring.
  7. Add the remaining 3 cups of stock and the peas. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  8. Sprinkle in the rice. With a wooden spoon, probe the pan to make sure rice is evenly distributed. Do not stir again.
  9. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 8 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked but with a slight bite.
  10. Remove the paella pan from the heat, cover with paper towels, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Now, friends, the reason that cooking paella reminded us of the blog we forgot about for a cool 3.5 years is because it involved a lot of techniques we’d never done before. What essentially went through Meghan’s mind was, “Wow, I have so many thoughts on this, I wish I had some way to write out all my feelings other than an instagram post, maybe I should write a blog or somethi- OMG.” So congrats to paella for reminding us that we had a food blog. Anyways, we learned:

  • You can grate tomatoes. Use a normal cheese grater and grate it over the bowl. It’s shockingly easy; the skin will just come off in your hand.
If it looks this gross, you did it right.
  • Pimenton is basically sweet paprika. Feel like we should have know that, but we surely did not.
  • If the rice doesn’t seem done, you can add small bits of WARM water and keep cooking until the texture is better.
  • This recipe is very customizable based on your preferences.
  • You’re supposed to lightly toast saffron in a skillet and then crumble it, for flavor and dramatics.
  • In fact, we CAN both be working in our small galley kitchen at the same time without one or both of us getting ourselves kicked out (at least this time)!

Alright, enough suspense already. HERE ARE OUR STUNNING RESULTS:

New-ish in New Canaan

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A Horatio Welcome

Friends, it is time. Time for the desperately-anticipated Part 2 of Meal’s weekend in New Canaan, from Neal’s second ever day in this illustrious town (hence, “new-ish”). Day 2 in the NC also happened to be Meghan’s birthday, which gave us all the perfect excuse to celebrate with unnecessary amounts of food.

Meghan has the best friends in the entire world, objectively speaking, and they assembled a beautiful birthday brunch bonanza.

After this truly delightful morning, a Birthday Meal had to become Meal on Wheels again and drive back to Boston to reluctantly embrace the reality of work Monday morning. Luckily for me(ghan), Neal had the brilliant idea to end this birthday day with an ice cream trip to Toscanini’s. I got a FREE BIRTHDAY TOPPING, which I maintain should have been an entirely free ice cream, but, as in life, I took what I could get.

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ToscaMeal

All in all, it was a deeply successful weekend that perfectly encapsulated the spirit of this blog: great food and greater friends.

New to New Canaan

Hi there, friends. This weekend, mealswithMeal became mealsonwheels. Meal drove to Meghan’s hometown, the illustrious New Canaan, to hang with Meggo’s friends (& parents) during her birthday weekend. The weekend swiftly turned into one big eating adventure, to the point where we need to separate this blog post by the day. Trust us, you’d be overwhelmed if we tried to fit all our foodventures in one post.

On Saturday, Meal met up with one of Meghan’s soulmate friends, Hilarie. (Atlernative text to read here: On Saturday, Hilarie and Meghan met up with Meghan’s boyfriend, Neal). We first stopped by Le Pain Quotidien, where Neal silently decided to start referring to Hilarie as Hilarie “the Bruncher” Bininski.

It was a pure delight to combine all these friends and all this food. We took a group selfie no more than 20 minutes into the inital meeting of Hilarie and Neal, which felt so right.

After lunch, we were very full but simply could not NOT pop into the illustrious “New Canaan Olive Oil” (everything is illustrious there) for some samples and some browsing. Meghan here, and I’ll be honest: my initial plan in going here was to marvel at how a store could possibly stay in business selling nothin’ but olive oil. Well, friends, joke’s on me. Turns out I really enjoy tasting olive oil and trying to figure out if I could afford fancy honey (spoiler alert: I couldn’t).

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Olive you.

All in all, it was a deeply successful day of food and friends. We’ll keep you posted on part 2.

Pre-Meal Cocktail

Judges Jr
Coolest umbrellas you’ll ever see

Well, friends, it’s been quite the day for Meal, taste-wise. Last night, we settled in for an evening of PnR and had a single Judge, Jr. apiece. This was the classiest beverage we’ve ever had together, so the occasion called for some tiny drink umbrellas that almost reached the liquid surface.

The next morning, Neal made yet another round of his now-infamous french toast before Meghan traipsed off to do stuff. Then, in a stroke of inspiration, he scrambled up the remaining French toast egg batter situation into sweetly scrambled cinnamon eggs. [See why I like him? – Meghan].

Jellin with Meal

Hello world! It is us, Meal, checking in for our VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

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A Meal in the wild.

This morning, it was our sheer pleasure to welcome some of our favorite people and featured guests, Jellin (Jenn+Collin), into Meghan’s home for brunch.

The menu:

  • French toast for which Neal made HOMEMADE BREAD
  • Bacon (MEAT)
  • Berries of various persuasions, provided by Jellin
  • Tea (for a brunch tea party)

Hope you enjoyed your first meal with Meal as much as we did.