Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Half-ass paella

Editor's note: This recipe was actually tested a little over a week ago, but it took me a while to upload the photos, so here it is now.

Last night, while picking up some pineapple Jarritos (and a bottle of grapefruit Jarritos, with all intention of getting blitzed on Palomas one lazy weekend), I wandered down the rest of the where it's all Goya and Abuela drinking chocolate. Seeing a pack of Vigo's yellow Spanish-style rice, I picked it up because a) I like yellow rice and b) I just love rice, man. Yea, I know, half-Asian? Loves rice? No way? Yea, haha, fuck you too.

Anyway, whilst reading the packet, I was made to understand that it came with all the seasoning necessary. While debating what I'd eat with the yellow rice, it dawned on me...why not make paella?

You may have previously read my instructions on how to make kimchi soup, New Year's rice cake and dumplings soup, etc. In another installment of "Just because you live alone doesn't mean you have to eat like shit," feature I decided to share my Half-ass Paella experiment with you. Upfront I can assure you it came out good. I was a little worried since I came up with the recipe in the 15 minutes I was wandering around the supermarket today to pick up extra ingredients on a tight budget.

Anyhow, here are the ingredients.

- 1 packet of Vigo's yellow rice
- 2 cloves of garlic (to be minced)
- 1 or 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced (depending on the size)
- 2 chorizo diced
- 1/2 or 1/4 of an onion diced (also depending on size). I know you see the picture. It doesn't have to be red. I used a red onion because that's all I had in the fridge and I wasn't buying another damn onion since the red one's just fine.
- 1/2 pound of shrimp
- some random veggies. I chose peas and corn because they're super cheap frozen and it also adds some color. This is optional though and obviously you can put in whatever veggie you want. We're not making "real" paella here folks, go nuts.

So I first started off by cutting up the chorizo, bell pepper and onion. I'm going to start these off first to bring out some flavor since I'm not going to be boiling them to all hell, just for that 20-25 minutes required on the back of the rice packet. I'm not gong too far off from the instructions already provided with the rice, just adding in some extra steps.

The instruction on the packet already suggest adding a little oil and/or margarine(yuck) in step two, so I'm just going to use some olive oil here for the chorizo and veggies. Just gonna kind of sweat them a bit. And not too much oil too since that chorizo's pretty fatty and cooking it will bring some of the porky grease out of it.

I turned it around a bit with the red pepper and the onions, then added the garlic in for a couple of more turns.

I put in the same amount of water as indicated in the directions. So while that comes to a boil like the packet instructs, let's see what else do I have. Oh, OK. So I got some shrimp at the neighborhood fishmonger. Half-pound of medium shrimp for 3 bucks, so good deal. I'm not gonna peel them since I want all that shrimp shell flavor, but I am going to devein them.

I forgot where I learned this trick, but if you have a toothpick, deveining is easy. You pop a toothpick in on the top of the shrimp, around where the first and second shell meets (in between, into the flesh), and poke it out like you're threading it, then just rip that sucker out. If you go in deep enough, the top part of the vein should pop right out with it. You just grab it and pull, et voila, the vein comes out.

I don't have any toothpicks around...but you know what toothpicks also work as? Well, you can poke them into cakes to see if they're done. Well, what do you know, I just happen to have a cake tester. Tests cakes, and deveins shrimp. Fabulous.

Why do I own one? I bake sometimes...what?

Anyhow, here's kind of a visual of how it should look.

Those of you saying "GROSS!" you need to give up on cooking. You can't be squeamish about stuff like this. I mean if you plan on eating shrimp anyway, you gotta be able to at least do stuff like this. Have you ever seen the underside of a shrimp? It looks like the underside of a goddamn roach/waterbug/palmetto bug. Seriously, you were gonna put this in your mouth anyway. The disconnect some people have with their food nowadays is ridiculous.

But I'm getting off track. We also need some more "veggies." I'm going to use that term very loosely since I'm using generic brand frozen peas and corn.

Now this isn't really necessary. I'm just adding these for a bit of variety in flavor as well as color.

Dump the rice in, per the instructions.

Next the shrimp.

The peas and corn. I didn't really measure it out. I just poured them out into another receptacle first because I didn't want a whole block of frozen peas dropping into the paella.

Stirring it a bit like the packet instructs.

Cover it like the packet instructs, and just let the whole thing simmer for about 20-25 minutes...like the packet instructs. Like I said, not really straying far from the actual directions.

I really can't do much but just watch at this point. Would everything have been for naught? I looked into the saucepan at the half-way mark and it seemed to be doing OK so far.

I really couldn't determine anything except that it smelled pretty damn good.

All done!! OK, so let's look at it.

Hmm, can't really tell anything from this, let's fluff it a bit.


Well, it looks good and tastes good. I ate it with some broccoli.

Um, I like broccoli.

So there you go. Half-assed paella.


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