Tuesday, April 24, 2012

my sweatshirt recipe

Do you ever think about how things like onions and peppers can become a part of so many different meals? I know, I know, it's as profound as yesterday's gem on timing. I suppose it's right up there in culinary "lightbulb" moments like "oh yeah, I guess quality ingredients really do make a difference." Give me some credit, I'm still (kind of) new to this whole regular cooking thing. 

Anyways, I'm sure this isn't the very first time I've had the ingredient versatility thought, but it's the first time I felt compelled to articulate it. Lucky you, I know. The thought came to me as I was rummaging through my fridge and cabinets for the components of angry paella. I found myself dicing up the leftover onion and red pepper from last week's pad thai experiment and thinking "I'm being so economical!" You know, little pats on the back and all that. We'll ignore the fact that I got distracted from dinner prep by testing paint colors for upcoming stencil projects. Just focusing on the positives here.     

pardon my unusually careless handwriting. and my bottle of wine holding the whole experiment up.
I decided earlier yesterday afternoon that I wanted to make angry paella to use up the last of my arborio rice. The fewer things I have to pack at this point the better, considering I still haven't started that little chore. Angry paella isn't always made in anger, by the way. It just so happens that the first time I made it, I was angry, and the nickname stuck. 

So while yesterday I was not angry, I was tired and am facing the reality of imminent "homelessness." Or at the very least, a gap between when my current lease ends and when I can close on my new apartment. The details are peculiar, and I'm too drained to recount them right now, but at some point you'll hear plenty, I promise. Bottom line is, the bank has deemed me loan-worthy. My future building on the other hand, is not-so-loan worthy, it seems.  

Which brings me to how, aside from pantry emptying goals, I found myself making angry paella for dinner. You see, it's my sweatshirt recipe. You know how you come home from work and immediately ditch the real clothes in favor of leggins and an old sweatshirt? (That's not just me, right?). It may not be the most creative or attractive combo, but it's comfortable after a long, stressful day in heels and hose. The appeal isn't in the appearance, it's in the familiarity. And that's what angry paella is to me. 

I make it more from memory than from a recipe. I really only measure the rice, everything else happens by sight/feel. I always know just how it's going to taste. It always has just the right level of heat and the right touch of smokiness from the sprinkle of smoked paprika I started adding a while back. No matter in what country, or in whose apartment, I've made it, it has never let me down. So on a rainy, cold day full of stress, it's just what I need.

This is why I don't bother measuring things. I'm going to end up using as many peas as I feel like, and the measuring cup just gets in the way.

problems -> solutions

angry paella + what turned out to be a perfect syrah/malbec blend

And maybe the best part is, I have leftover paella for lunch (and wine for later, when mom descends on DC and we start figuring out what to do about this most recent real estate drama/dilemma). It's practically the next best thing to actually being able to wear my sweatshirt and leggins at work...

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