Monday, September 12, 2011

Four Golden Rules

posted by Melissa
Getting it started.
Today I find myself strangely unsettled, as in I feel like I am not settling into any of the tasks I thought I would accomplish today.  I am not even talking homesteading here, just basic things like doing the dishes or putting away the laundry.  I keep being magnetically drawn back to the computer and find my fingers typing "fa" in the spot for web addresses (what is that thing called?)  And there it is...Facebook.  Unfortunately it is slow drama-free day on FB, so even that is not satisfying.

I am thinking is am feeling this way because the weekend was way too fun.

Friday Fiesta
My birthday was Friday and we put together an outdoor paella feast (of which, I hope you are not tired of hearing about).  Amy shared a bunch of photos of the evening on one of her last posts.  We spent all day prepping and praying that the paella pan would arrive in time (I had ordered it from Amazon and had it priority shipped.)  Wait, no we didn't.  I went to the spa!  Oh my, I completely forgot about that wonderful time at the spa!  I got the Korean body scrub and it was amazing!

So, then, after that I prepped.  And patiently awaited the pan's arrival (It finally arrived at 4pm, just in time to get it seasoned).  I mostly followed a recipe from Sunset magazine, but kept in mind a few things from the book I had read to prepare for the day, La Paella.  In the book, author Jeff Koehler goes over some techniques and tips.  These rules, in particular, were referenced throughout the evening.

Paella's Four Golden Rules:

  1. Do not wash the rice first.  (and I used bomba rice, not what Sunset suggested)
  2. Do not add the rice until everyone is present.  (People will wait for rice, but rice waits for no one.)
  3. Do not stir the rice.
  4. Do not cover while cooking the rice.
The Masterpiece.
I followed these rules religiously.  Even while other's shouted their suggestion of covering the rice, I did not.  I could not.  It was a golden rule.  And I am a Virgo, we follow recipes to a fault at times and we certainly will not break a golden rule.  

There was one point, when the flames on the charcoal grill were high, and the crowd was wondering if the rice was burning and the timer still said we had a few more minutes to go, when everything really hit a peak of energy.  Everyone crowded around the grill and voices raised to a joyful, yet opinionated tone.

"I am throwing on the seafood!" I announced.

"NO.  No, the time isn't up yet!" They shouted.

"You have to wait!"

The crowd roared back.  But I just did it.  I threw on the shrimp and a few others got their hands in to arrange the clams and mussels all pretty around the pan.  Lily got her way and, sorta carefully splashed on the remaining broth and we waited again.  Timer set, eager to see if I had made the right choice.

Another wave of excitement came when the clams and mussels started popping open.  The shrimp was pinking up nicely and we all breathed some sighs of relief and refilled our sangria cups.  Mission accomplished.  Paella had been made and we were thinking it was a success.  After letting it rest for 5 minutes we uncovered it (yes, you can cover it with a dish towel after cook, during the resting phase) and marveled at the glory of it all.

Everyone contributed to the beautiful feast.  We had amazing appetizers, delicious gazpacho, a refreshing jicama salad, yummy bread, and a dense chocolate torte for dessert.  And as always at the Boathouse, the kids put on a performance for us all.

Saturday Shower
The "other" paella.
On Saturday, we went to a really lovely shower for some friends of our's new baby to be.  And guess what?  They had a caterer there making paella!  I could not believe it.  I hovered around for a while, asking lots of questions.  And then, when I saw him stirring his paella, I decided I would stop the questioning.  A Virgo, with golden rules as ammunition, cannot pull off an "innocent" question like that.  I would have come across as a know-it-all, after only making the dish once.  Yes, to a person that makes his living making paella.

It was the only baby shower I had been to that had paella, and also the only one that had a keg of beer and a bottle of bourbon.  I tried my hand at a new drink, beer with bourbon.  I don't suggest it.

Bubble fun at the shower.
Sunday Soccer
Two games of soccer and a cookout with some of our best friends concluded the weekend.  I was up late yet again and think I am paying the price today.  Yes, the dishes still sit in the sink, the compost has not been taken out for days, and all of the laundry that was once folded is strewn over the bedroom.  I have a plan for dinner, homemade pasta.  Jamie Oliver made it look like a piece of cake, he made the entire thing in 6 minutes.  Why can't I?

But at least I blogged.  I know my family will be so happy about that.


No comments: