Monday, January 07, 2008

Last Holiday Party

Since I work in the restaurant industry, I seldom have time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve to cook for my family and friends at home. Consequently most of my things are post holiday at best. We had one last dinner yesterday and now the holiday decor can be packed away until next year.

Yesterday I made an extravagant Spanish lunch. We started with Chilled shrimp and bacon wrapped dates. On my buffet I had my favorite salad of oranges, red onion, radish, fresh fennel, nicoise olives, dressed with a cilantro-orange vinagrette. I had another salad of fingerling potatoes, grape tomatoes, asparagus, and green beans dress with whole grain mustard vinaigrette. I made Potatas Brava again. This time with more chili-they were better than my last attempt, but they weren't very popular-I think I'll give up on this dish if I can't get it right in two attempts.

The centerpiece was an extravagant Paella Valencia. The photo doesn't do the dish justice, because I placed it on top of my stove and too much sunlight floods in and washes out all the color. I used arborio rice and Mexican Chorizo (which is markedly different from Spanish Chorizo), but the flavors were excellent if not quite authentic. I cooked it in my large copper roasting pan which is deeper than a paella pan, but everyone really enjoyed it and went back for extras. It was filled with lobster tails, shrimp, clams, mussels, chicken, and of course the chorizo. I used a tomato-lobster stock flavored with Saffron to cook the rice.

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