Vegetable Paella Recipe

vegetable paella | pamela salzman

We made it to Barcelona!  Neither my husband, the kids , nor I has ever been to Barcelona before, and hubby and I haven’t been to Spain in 17 years!   We are very excited to start our European vacation here.  So much to see and do in a short amount of time!

ingredients for vegetable paella

types of rice you can use

As you would imagine, I am fairly obsessed with what people eat around the world.  As much as I love visiting landmarks and museums and churches (I am actually also obsessed with churches), local markets and restaurants are high on my list of places to experience.  I am fairly open-minded when it comes to trying new foods, although I am not a huge fan of meat, game and pork.  I know, my options will be limited in Barcelona since every other menu item contains some sort of the above mentioned.  Moderation is my mantra.

Jovial tomatoes in glass jars

I am for sure on the lookout for excellent paella, which is basically like the national rice dish of Spain.  I L-O-V-E rice in any way, shape or form.  Paella is particularly delicious because it is typically cooked with lots of seafood, chicken, pork and some other tidbits like olives and roasted peppers all mixed together in the same saffron-infused dish.  It’s so tasty.  And it’s basically Mr. Picky’s nightmare since he would eat all of those things PLAIN, and “why did they have to mess this up by cooking it all together?!”  I already gave Mr. Picky a pep talk before we left about being open-minded about food, otherwise he might ended up starving, or worse, really cranky.  I’ll keep you posted, friends.  Wish me luck.

steps to paella

Whether I find the perfect paella in Barcelona or not (and if you know where I should go, speak up!), I did teach this Vegetable Paella in my cooking classes this past spring.  And I might admit, it was so flavorful and rich even without all the meat.  You don’t normally find paella loaded with vegetables, and I find that true about a lot of the dishes in Spain – not very veggie-heavy, unless you count (fried) potatoes as a veg.  Asparagus, peppers, artichokes (by all means, use frozen), tomatoes, mushrooms all go in here.  I did make this several times for my vegetarian students with veggie stock, and it was very good, but I do prefer using chicken stock.

vegetable paella | pamela salzman

The one ingredient that is missing from this paella recipe that makes it an imposter and non-authentic is saffron, which gives the rice a beautiful gold color and imparts a unique flavor.  Saffron is absurdly expensive and I have always had success substituting a bit of ground turmeric for saffron when I need that great yellow tint.  If you have saffron however, by all means use it by crumbling it and dissolving it in some hot stock.

vegetable paella |pamela salzman

I love eating this paella with a green salad on the side and that’s it (although a pitcher of sangria wouldn’t hurt.) More from Barcleona to come, including my quest for the best paella!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vegetable Paella
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup drained sliced jarred pimientos, chopped (one 4-ounce jar) or equivalent amount of roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped or ½ an 18-ounce jar of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt (or more if your stock is unsalted)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or sweet pimenton
  • 1 ½ cups rice, preferably medium grain such as bomba or arborio
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 6 ounces artichoke hearts, either frozen and thawed or jarred and drained*
  • optional: serve with lemon wedges on the side
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet pan (between 12-14 inches,) heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pimientos, tomato and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the salt, both paprikas, turmeric, and rice. Add the chicken stock and parsley and bring to a boil. Continue cooking over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the asparagus, peas, and artichokes. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
  4. *to give the artichokes some extra flavor, pat them dry and sauté them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Notes
you can also add mushrooms to the paella to add a meatiness. Sauté with onion in Step 1.

 

Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili Recipe

Are we having fun yet?!  Good, good.  I have been running around the house yesterday and today like a busy bee, very excited that the big day is almost here.  I’m taking a quick breather from the Thanksgiving marathon just to touch base and check-in with you all.  Hope everything is going according to plan and that you’re enjoying the process.  What I am not doing today, however, is sharing a Thanksgiving recipe on the day before Thanksgiving because I know you are all planners and that ship has sailed!

Instead, I thought I would give all you super organized and efficient people a great way to use up any leftover turkey you might have on Friday.  I always make turkey stock and a simple turkey vegetable soup the day after.  I have also given in to chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie with turkey.  But I also think it’s nice to make something on Friday that tastes NOTHING like the dinner you just spent a month thinking about!  It’s actually one of my strategies for getting everyone excited to eat leftovers even the day after Thanksgiving.

This recipe is inspired by the fabulous chili at the Deer Valley ski resort in Utah.  I first skied Deer Valley in 1994 when my husband and I were engaged.  He and his family have been going to the resort since it first opened over 30 years ago.  It is a really special place and we are fortunate to be able to go there a couple times each year with the kids.  Although I enjoy skiing and Deer Valley is absolutely stunning, I’m not super gung-ho about getting out there early and making the most of my day on the slopes.  I’m really in it for the food.  My favorite part about skiing is building up a good appetite and rewarding myself with a nice hearty lunch.  I actually start thinking about this turkey chili when I sit down on the chair lift for the first run of the day!

Turkey chili is one of the few items that the resort serves every single day.  I happen to notice the the lunchrooms also serve a roast turkey plate every single day.  Hmmm, could it be the kitchen needed to find a way to use up yesterday’s roast turkey?  Hmmm….  Anyway, we all love this chili because it’s lighter than a beef chili and a totally different take on the typical red, tomato-based ones that are so common.  This one is lighter and tastes fresher, perhaps because of all the delicious vegetables.   Regardless, all the signature shops on the mountain and many of the local grocery stores sell the special seasoning packet and the dried black beans in addition to the recipe so you can make it at home.  For $7 or $8 plus the cost of the turkey, vegetables and stock, you can make this pot of deliciousness at home.   Hmmm….$8 for 1/2 pound of dried beans and a few dried spices.  It wasn’t long before I decided I need to figure out what the heck was in that seasoning packet!

I can’t say this turkey chili is exactly like Deer Valley’s, but it’s close enough and I’m not sure my kids have noticed.  For sure I use half the amount of butter than the recipe calls for and I omitted the leeks, which I think don’t make or break this chili.  I also don’t use canned creamed corn, because ugh — canned and creamed and sugar don’t go with corn — so instead I just make a little corn puree.  The only ingredient you may not have lying around is masa, which is ground dried corn that’s been treated with lime.  It’s what corn tortillas and tamales are made from.  I have to say, it does thicken up the chili and give it a fabulous Southwestern corn flavor.  It’s also not an expensive ingredient, so I say definitely go for it.

Alrighty, dear readers, that’s all the time I have today. I am elbow-deep in sweet potatoes and butternut squash and my kids are starting to bicker about who gets to pick the music we listen to while we work.  Ahhh, sounds like Thanksgiving!  Hoping you all have a lovely holiday.  xoxo

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Author: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (you can use oil, but it won’t be as good) -- vegans can use organic Earth Balance
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into 1-inch cubes or cooked turkey, cubed -- vegetarians and vegans can add 5 cups of additional vegetables and beans
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery, about 3 stalks
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (or leave seeds for extra heat) and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • ¼ cup masa harina (more if you like a thick chili)
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (cut back if you don't like spicy)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple sugar or natural cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (double if you’re using unsalted stock)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 ½ cups of chicken or turkey stock, divided* -- vegans can use vegetable stock
  • 2 ¼ cups frozen sweet corn, thawed (about 12 ounces)
  • 5 cups or 3 15-ounce ounce cans cooked black beans (drained and rinsed)
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot. If using raw turkey, add half the turkey and sauté until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining turkey. If using cooked turkey, do not saute in butter, but add in step 3.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, celery, jalapeno, and garlic to the pot and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the masa harina, spices, sugar, salt and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Return turkey and any accumulated juices back to the pot.
  4. Add 4 cups stock, 1 cup corn and the beans to the pot. Take the remaining 1 ¼ cup of corn and puree with the remaining ½ cup stock in a food processor (a mini processor works too.) Add the pureed corn to the pot. Mix well and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered for 25 minutes. Serve with desired condiments (sour cream, cheese, minced onion, cilantro) or serve on top of a baked potato.
Notes
*If you only have stock in 32 oz. containers, no need to open a new one just for a ½ cup of stock. Puree corn in ½ cup water.

 

 

 

Deer Valley-Style Turkey and Black Bean Chili | Pamela Salzman

Southwestern Quinoa Salad Recipe

Have you ever read a cookbook or food blog where an unbelievable, creative recipe was put together with “odds and ends” from the pantry or produce bin?  I am always in awe of people who can do that.  Those same people go grocery shopping without a list and simply buy what looks good and then create a meal around it.   I too can use bits of this or that and turn it into something fairly tasty, but it usually ends up as a frittata, Pantry Pasta, or some sort of fried rice dish.  Definitely enough to get an acceptable dinner on the table, but nothing that will win me any accolades.

 

One day a few years ago, I decided to try my hand at “throwing something together.”  I figured I had done this many a time at salad bars, I should be able to do this within the limitations of my own pantry and refrigerator.  Whereas I pride myself on keeping things simple,  on this particular day I got a little carried away.  It all started with some quinoa, corn and cilantro which sounded Southwestern to me.  Pretty soon I was dicing up red pepper, red onion and opening a can of black beans.  Just when I thought I was done, I spied a mango and that went into the mix, too. After squeezing in some lime juice, olive oil and cumin, I had myself one fresh and tasty salad that I could happily bring to a backyard barbeque or serve to guests, even that same day to my mother-in-law who is slightly skeptical of quinoa.

I’ve made this salad countless times since then and changed it up every time.  Red onion has been replaced with scallions or shallots.  Ripe avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds have found their way in on many an occasion.  When corn is crazy fresh and sweet, I just cut it off the cob raw and use it that way.  With Father’s Day coming up, I am thinking about including this on the menu, but I might just leave out the quinoa entirely since I made quinoa tabbouleh last year on Father’s Day.  Although my husband likes quinoa just fine, he doesn’t consider it very “manly.”  Please.  I keep trying to tell him how much protein it has — it’s like eating meat, but without the saturated fat and cholesterol.  But it’s his day and I aim to please!  So I think next weekend I’ll make this with extra corn and beans and thrown in some “manly” diced up grilled chicken.  Regardless, “creating” this salad was a good exercise for me in learning how to be flexible, but also gave me some confidence to use what I’ve got — in more ways than one.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if canned (1 can)
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or cooked corn (cut from 2 large ears)
  • ¾ cup diced red pepper (1 small pepper or ½ large)
  • ½ large red onion, diced (soaked in ice water if you want to cut the harsh onion flavor)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice (about 1 ½ limes)
  • ⅓ cup unrefined, extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Rinse quinoa in a bowl with water or place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer to a saucepan and add a healthy pinch of sea salt and 1 ¾ cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and place a kitchen towel over the pot. Place the lid over the towel and let sit covered for 5 -10 minutes.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl, fluff with a fork and cool slightly. Add beans, corn, red pepper, onion, (optional) jalapeno and cilantro. Sprinkle with cumin and sea salt.
  3. In a small bowl combine lime juice and olive oil. Pour over salad and mix well. Taste for seasoning.
Notes
Options for substitutions/additions: Also delicious in this salad are sautéed zucchini, diced celery, diced fresh mango, sliced scallions, diced tomato or diced avocado.

Thai (Grass-fed) Steak Salad Recipe (or with Chicken)

 

Thai Steak (or Chicken or Salmon) Salad Recipe | Pamela Salzman

 

Oh people.  We are on the brink of my favorite time of year.  A time of backyard barbeques, picnics at the beach, sand between my toes, fresh tomatoes and basil, peach pie, and long nights under starry skies.  Ahhhh, summer.  Beyond better weather and my favorite produce, life is just easier when the kids are out of school.  No homework, tests or book reports.  Sure, two out of my three have a summer reading list, but they always wait until the last week of summer to crack those books open, so it’s smooth sailing until then.

Because we live at the beach, we entertain most weekends in the summer, starting with Memorial Day which, being the East Coaster that I am, is the unofficial start of “the season.”  One of my favorite things to do right about now is start planning a few menus that I can rotate during the summer.  Whenever I am thinking of the ideal food to prepare — make ahead, room temperature and easy all come to mind.  Very often, we’ll go to the beach for the afternoon, come back to the house to freshen up before lingering over dinner in the backyard.  This doesn’t give me too much time to cook for a crowd, so I look for recipes which allow me to prep in the morning or the night before so I can do more assembling than cooking.

This Thai Steak Salad has never appeared on any of my summer menus since I just taught it a few months ago in my classes, but it will definitely be a regular this season.  There are so many reasons I love this salad — it’s light, I can vary it with chicken or tofu (even shrimp) and change up the vegetables according to what looks good, and there’s lots of prep in advance that I can do.  Oh, forgot to mention that my family loves it, too!  The first time I told my kids and husband they were eating “Thai” steak salad, I saw a bunch of sad faces.  “We don’t like Thai food.  It’s too spicy.  Or sour.”  “Guess what?  You’ve never had Thai food in your life!”  I only call this a “Thai” Steak Salad because of the combination of sweet, sour and sort of spicy in the marinade/dressing, plus the addition of cilantro and/or mint.  I have a feeling I am taking a lot of liberties with the word “Thai.”  I could probably get away with it if I added some fish sauce to the marinade.  Next time.  However, if I were to rename this recipe, I would call it Yummy, Fresh, Tangy, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan-adaptable, Paleo-friendly, Perfect for Summer Salad.  If you’re debating whether or not to veer from the standard burger fare this holiday, I have two words for you:  Pink Slime.

 

If you’ve been hanging out with me for the last year, you probably remember my post on how to reduce carcinogens when you grill.  Now’s a good time for a refresher.  Whereas you can definitely grill the steak or chicken here (I did grill the chicken), I prefer a more healthful way to cook the steak.  It’s a method I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated and it’s especially good for cooking grass-fed beef, which can get dried out if you’re not careful.  The only downside is that it takes a few minutes longer than grilling, but it’s a really tasty result and likely less carcinogenic.  No matter how you make this salad, it will surely be a delicious way to welcome in summer!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Thai Steak Salad Recipe
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Marinade/Dressing:
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup unrefined olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons shoyu (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 6 Tablespoons packed fresh cilantro or mint leaves, chopped (or a combo)
  • 1-2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes or ½ teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds grass-fed top sirloin or flank steak, about 1-inch thick
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • 8 heaping cups salad greens, about 6-7 ounces
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • a few handfuls of seasonal veggies*: thinly sliced cucumber or sweet bell pepper, sprouts, julienned carrots, fresh mint leaves, fresh Thai basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine lime juice, 6 Tablespoons oil, shoyu, cilantro, garlic, hot pepper, honey, and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. If steak is thicker than 1 inch, place between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound on both sides. Remove wrap and place meat in a shallow nonreactive dish that is just small enough to hold the meat. Pour HALF the marinade (about ⅔ cup) over the meat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours (longer is better). Take the reserved marinade in the bowl and add 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Set this aside as your salad dressing.
  3. Pull the steak from the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes before cooking it. Preheat oven to 275 degrees or preheat a grill.
  4. Insert a wire rack inside a baking sheet and place the meat on top of the rack and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes for medium to medium-well.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Transfer the steak to the skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium to medium-well. Alternatively, grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes for medium doneness.
  6. Transfer meat to a carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes, covered.
  7. Assemble the salad greens on a platter and drizzle with half the dressing (about ⅓ cup), tossing to coat. Drizzle the shallots and vegetables with half the remaining dressing (about 2 ½ Tablespoons). Toss to coat and arrange on top of the salad. Taste for salt and add as needed.
  8. Slice meat thinly against the grain on a diagonal. Arrange slices of meat on top of the greens and drizzle with remaining dressing.
Notes
* I used 1 whole red bell pepper and 2 Persian cucumbers.

To prep in advance, marinate steak or chicken the night before. Keep dressing refrigerated. Wash and cut all vegetables and keep refrigerated until ready to assemble.

Hummus 4 ways

I was talking with my summer intern Hannah about how much I love hummus and how easy it is to make.  I think I have been making my own hummus since before she was born, but the last couple years I have felt hummus boredom so I’ve had a little fun experimenting with different flavors.   Hannah was intrigued since she thought hummus was like puff pastry, which NO ONE makes from scratch.  Well, I knew we had a cooking lesson on our hands!

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made from cooked chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) pureed with tahini (a paste made from ground up sesame seeds), garlic, lemon juice, and salt.  I add a little liquid from the pot (or can) of cooked chickpeas and some people add olive oil.  Sure you can add cumin or hot sauce, but essentially that’s it.  I maintain that hummus tastes so much better when I make my beans from scratch, although really you can use canned and it will still be fabulous.  But what kind of a cooking lesson would this be if we used chickpeas from a can?  So I started soaking a ton of dried chickpeas that day, cooked them for 90 minutes the next morning and we began our hummus factory.

I had an idea to make several of my favorite flavors just for kicks, so we also roasted a couple beets, a red bell pepper and cut some cilantro from the garden.  After we made our first batch, which was the traditional kind, Hannah looked at me in disbelief.  “That’s it?! ”  Yep.  That’s it.  “If people knew how easy it was to make hummus, they would never buy it!”  I’m so glad that thought was put out there to the universe.

After that, we made hot pink hummus with a roasted beet, which I agreed would be super cute for a (girl) baby shower or a bachelorette party (Hannah’s idea.)  Cilantro hummus turned out a lovely pale green with a fresh herby flavor.  Lastly, my favorite was roasted red pepper hummus to which I added a little smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne.  We tried all the flavors with raw carrot, cucumber and sweet bell pepper slices, as well as some gluten-free chips.  But I also love the red pepper version on veggie burgers and the cilantro one on a turkey sandwich.  The beet hummus is for pure shock value since despite adding a roasted beet, it just picks up a subtle sweetness and really tastes a lot like the traditional.  You can never have enough healthful dips for summer entertaining.  With July 4th around the corner, there’s no better time to add some pizzaz to an old classic!

Traditional Hummus
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, if canned, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved*
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup sesame tahini
  • 4-5 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 Tablespoons chickpea liquid
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the hummus is smooth. Taste for seasoning and texture.
  2. I like it very smooth and creamy, so I let the food processor run for a few minutes. I also prefer to eat it immediately at room temperature, but if you will be refrigerating it, you can add a little extra chickpea liquid since the hummus will thicken after it has been refrigerated.

 

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

 

Variations:

Beet Hummus: add 1 large roasted and peeled red beet to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  Blend until thoroughly combined.

 

Cilantro Hummus: add 24 sprigs of cilantro and a few dashes of cayenne pepper to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  You can use either lemon juice or lime juice.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Feel free to use more cilantro.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: add 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika, a few dashes cayenne pepper and 1 large roasted, peeled and seeded sweet red bell pepper to Traditional Hummus ingredients in food processor.  Reduce lemon juice to 1 Tablespoon and sea salt to ¾ teaspoon.  Blend until thoroughly combined.  Taste to adjust seasonings.