Grilled Seafood Paella Valenciana

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Valencia is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Great architecture, culture, and cuisine gather together in this little gem of a city that faces the Balearic sea.
Throughout history Valencia’s splendid location attracted cultures contributing to this fantastic region character. Moors brought new ingredients to the region like rice, sugar cane, oranges, almonds, and spices. The Romans brought the utensils to cook with. This kind of influences, shaped one of the most iconic Spanish dishes, Paella Valenciana. The original Valencian Paella recipe consists of a combination of chicken, rabbit, rice, green vegetables, artichokes, peppers, bomba rice, white runner beans, saffron, fresh rosemary, sweet paprika, garlic and lemon. It sounds divine, right? And also a little far off from the Paella Mixta we know in America.
I had the opportunity to travel around Spain with my Grandma Ana.  One of the cities we visited was Valencia. We had a blast, and of course every time I tried some remarkable food I wanted to know the origin of the dish. I love to hear about different stories about what people believe and their traditions. For me, this is an enriching way to know a culture; by their stomachs! So I took this info at face value and what I discovered is that Valencianos prefer to make their Paella with one category of meat at a time and not mixing them. Hey, since they are the Paella creators, I will go with their advice!,… And it make sense, seafood ingredients available in the near coast, they use shrimp, langoustines, mussels, clams, and squid. Areas more inland use land creatures, rabbit, chicken. What ever freshest available always taste best.

Throughout Spain, other variations have been adapted for inland areas creating the infamous Paella Mixta which combines a variety of white meats, seafood, sausage and chorizo. But, just remember that Valencians are very proud of their dish and they do not recognize this Paella Mixta as Original Paella Valenciana. So watch out what you call Paella Valenciana unless you want to get in to a heated argument.

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Scotch Mex Eggs

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How can I begin to tell you that the infamous “Scotch Egg” is not Scottish. It is believed that it was created by a London department store Fortnum and Mason in the 18th century. However, origins may go back to Algerian cooking or possibly to a fish paste and egg recipe that produced ‘Scotties’. want to know more about the history of these creatures, click here.

This etymological confusion distracts from what could be the best picnic food not yet consumed widely in the US. We love to eat hard boiled and deviled eggs at picnics. We also love delicious salty savory fried treats. This is only the marriage of each to the other. The crunchy breadcrumb exterior of the egg covered in sausage is from the deep frying technique and enhances the experience of  eating this savory delight. When prepared correctly the yolk will be cooked through but still soft and creamy. The Scotch Egg we present in this recipe has been further enhanced by the seasoning of the meat with Mexican spices adding a smokey and spicy note to the sausage mixture.

The result is a New World revision of an Old World treat. And doesn’t it seems appropriate that this recipe was created by a Mexican for his Husband which happens to be an American of Scottish ancestry?

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Creamy Basil-Zucchini Noodle Soup

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Welcome Spring! and its amazing crazy weather, hehehe… here in Austin, Tx its rainy, cloudy and around 60 degrees that feels like 50 degrees. So I think a vegetable noodle soup, with a bright green hue, light, creamy and bright will lift up any cloudy weather… If you live in a part of the world where the weather feels accordingly with the Spring season, hey! this Creamy Basil-Zucchini Noodle Soup it’s also for you since it can be served warm or cold.

Describing this soup is a dreamy pleasure,it is creamy, fragrant, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, green, calorie friendly and easy to make. The basil, ginger,  and coconut give this soup an aromatic spring flare. The raw zucchini noodles add bite and texture to the soup. For me, it always has been interesting to enhance one flavor by combining different cooking variations of it. Raw, steamed, roasted, sautéed, two or three variations in one dish with the same ingredient. I believe that by maximizing one subtle ingredient like zucchini you can achieve maximus dept of flavor, textures, temperatures and add lots of character to the dish by focusing on “the” one ingredient.

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