Tag Archives: Spain

Paella and Sangria

Chip and I first had paella while on our honeymoon. As I mentioned in this other post, we took a cruise through the Mediterranean that left from Barcelona. After spending the afternoon exploring Barcelona, we made our way back to where we were staying in Las Ramblas. We found a small cafe just blocks away from our hotel, ordered ourselves some sangria, paella and pizza (the pizza was Chip’s order… he was a little skeptical about foreign food at first). It didn’t take long for Chip to realize my dinner choice of paella was better and we soon split the rest of that dish and left the pizza aside. Now whenever we think about our day in Spain, it almost always brings up the memory of having paella and sangria outside, enjoying the view with a bit of jetlag.

Enjoying dinner in Las Ramblas

Enjoying dinner in Las Ramblas

We tried to make paella for ourselves once last summer… it wasn’t that great. We should have known the taste would be a little off when the recipe called for the dish to be baked, instead of cooked over the stove like traditional paella. The consistency was too watery and the flavor just wasn’t there. So we decided we would have to search for another recipe in the future.

Fast forward to this past week: we knew we were going to purchase Les Mis as soon as it was available on DVD on Friday, so we thought a nice dinner at home would be a fun way to end the week. Chip suggested trying to make paella again, which of course, would have to be accompanied with sangria. A tasty meal and a musical? That’s pretty much all the convincing I need!

We did some searching on Pinterest and found what looked like a promising recipe. You guys, it was delicious. We will definitely be making this again! It was also a great chance to use our Le Creuset dutch oven for the first time, which we absolutely loved. It cooked the food so evenly and was surprisingly easy to clean afterwards, which is always a nice bonus. As for the sangria, after playing with a bunch of different recipes, I think we finally discovered the perfect traditional sangria recipe. Chip took one sip and said it tasted just as good as the sangria at La Fogata, so I think we have a winner.

Ready for dinner and sangria

Ready for dinner and sangria

Making dinner with our new Le Creuset dutch oven

Making dinner with our new Le Creuset dutch oven

Yum.

Yum.

Dinner time

Dinner time

Below is the recipe for the paella with our modifications. If you’d like to see the original recipe we were working from, click here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • Minced garlic, 4 cloves
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into long thin strips
  • 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 dried chilli’s, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups paella/Spanish rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (hot)
  • 1 cup water (hot)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Sausage – we used HEB’s jalapeno sausage
  • 1/2 pound shrimp

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a container (large enough to hold everything) and saute the onions until soft and fragrant.
  • Add the garlic and continue sauteing for a few more minutes.
  • Add the zucchini and bell pepper. Cook on medium heat until the veggies are slightly cooked, stirring in between.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and continue stirring.
  • Add the paprika, turmeric, cumin powder, crushed dried chilli’s, and red pepper flakes. Combine well, making sure the veggies are all coated well.
  • Add the paella/Spanish rice and mix well, about 3 to 4 minutes, until the rice begins to slightly crackle.
  • Add the hot chicken broth and hot water. Stir, then close the lid and cook on medium to high flame until the rice is cooked through (this took about 10 minutes for us on medium heat). If it starts burning or sticking to the pot, pour some more water. Its okay if the mix is lightly mushy and loose, that’s how the consistency should be.
  • While the rice is cooking, in a separate pan cook the sausage for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the shrimp and cook on high for another several minutes.
  • Add the frozen peas to the rice mixture about three minutes before taking the pot off of the flame.
  • Add the meat and stir well just before serving.

La Sagrada Familia

Chip and I saw a segment on 60 Minutes this past Sunday on La Sagrada Familia that has left us wanting to take a trip to Barcelona. Yes, we realize it makes us seem a little old that we not only watched 60 Minutes on a weekend, but we even recorded it. But I promise there’s a good reason.

We went on the honeymoon of a lifetime when we got married about two years ago. We decided pretty early on in the honeymoon planning process that we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been to before, and we thought Europe would be fun to experience together. After doing some research and meeting with a very Type A travel agent, we decided on a Mediterranean cruise with Carnival. The cruise was set to leave from Barcelona a few days after our wedding, so we decided to fly out the morning after our wedding so we could get at least a day to explore Barcelona. This was probably one of the best decisions we’ve ever made together. Sure, we didn’t get to see the whole city since we only had about 24 hours there and were also experiencing the super fun effects of jet lag, but we loved the time we got there. One key part to our afternoon spent exploring Barcelona was touring La Sagrada Familia. We left that church (now a basilica) so impressed that we swore we would watch some documentaries about the architect Gaudi and maybe someday come back when the church would be completed.

Well, we never got around to finding something on Netflix for us to watch and we have no realistic plans to travel back sometime in the next decade, but we did see this special on 60 Minutes this past weekend. We had been watching college basketball with my brother and as soon as we saw the commercial for the Sagrada Familia segment, we knew we had to watch it. The segment wasn’t that long, but it left us re-excited about all of the details in the church and wanting to go back to Barcelona. For those of you that have been to La Sagrada Familia, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t but have plans to go to Europe, you HAVE to add this to your list of places to check out. I promise, it will not disappoint. The amount of detail and the vision Gaudi had are nothing short of genius. Gaudi wanted this church to tell the story of the Bible, and that’s exactly what it does. The entrance is covered with the story of the nativity, while another side tells the story of the Passion of the Christ. Every aspect to his architecture had symbolism and it’s all so impressive.

For those that are interested, here’s the link for the segment on 60 Minutes. Below are some of the pictures we took from our honeymoon. Who knows, maybe someday we actually will get a chance to go back to Barcelona and see more of the city :)

Stepping out of the metro and standing right in front of La Sagrada Familia

Stepping out of the metro and standing right in front of La Sagrada Familia

The Nativity Facade

The Nativity Facade

The Passion Facade

The Passion Facade

Model from two years ago - the tan parts had already been constructed while the white portions still needed to be done.

Model from two years ago – the tan parts had already been constructed while the white portions still needed to be done.

Inside La Sagrada Familia

Inside La Sagrada Familia

The ceiling inside La Sagrada Familia

The ceiling inside La Sagrada Familia

The four large pillars represent the four Gospels

The four large pillars represent the four Gospels

Visiting Park Guell, also designed by Gaudi

Visiting Park Guell, also designed by Gaudi

Sangria with dinner in Las Ramblas

Sangria with dinner in Las Ramblas

Market in Las Ramblas

Market in Las Ramblas

At the top of the Christopher Columbus monument

At the top of the Christopher Columbus monument

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

A framed print of La Sagrada Familia that we bought in Barcelona

A framed print of La Sagrada Familia that we bought in Barcelona