My Paella Travels Won First Place at Casa Azafran’s Paella Cook Off Contest in Nashville, Tennessee!

 Hot Chicken Paella! The winner of the popular vote at Nashville’s Casa Azafran’s Paella Cook Off!

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In the fall of 2015, My Paella Travels was asked to be one of the contestants at Casa Azafran’s Paella Cook Off Contest. I was thrilled to be able to share my “fusion paella” with the crowd of paella lovers!

(Unfortunately, it was dark early and we did not have adequate lighting to take the best photos. Please check out my previous articles and photos to see just how delicious my paellas are!)

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Casa Azafran Cultural Center is “both a beautiful event space and home to a collective of nonprofits who offer services in education, legal, health care and the arts to immigrants, refugees and the community as a whole.”  

(I want to give credit to my amazing and talented forever-friend, Kim! I couldn’t have done it without her creativity and support.)

This cultural center is a fusion of cultures which welcomes immigrants from many countries into Nashville and offers amazing services to help those families settle into Nashville. It’s a beautiful center with many smiling and welcoming faces. I have had such fun teaching several cooking classes at the Mesa Komal Kitchen over the past few years.

My Fusion Paella

For the many years that I have created meals for friends and family, I have always enjoyed cooking with “exotic” spices and seasonings fusing my culinary culture recipes. I am a fusion of cultures. 

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I have Louisiana roots, with a Sicilian heritage and have been influenced culinarily early on by Southern food culture as well as Cajun/Creole and Texas-style foods. What better way to honor the fusion of cultures with my paella! My 32 inch paella pan was brimming with the usual authentic paella (mixta) ingredients including mussels, shrimp, saffron, intensely flavored sausages,brightly colored vegetables  and topped with Hattie B’s Hot Chicken! It was a hit with the crowd! I explained to Mayor Megan Berry and the guests that paella is inherently a fusion of flavors and cultures and combining Nashville’s own Hot Chicken with a Spanish Paella is the ultimate in fusion food to honor the Nashville culture and Spanish culture!

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I won a ticket to anywhere in the US and the status of The Best Paella voted by all of the guests-a crowd favorite! I will be flying to the California wine country this fall to the Wine Bloggers Conference!

Here is everyone who competed! We had a blast!

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28

06 2016

Put an Egg on It! Enjoy a Sunday Paella Brunch with My Paella Travels and Lodge Cast Iron Paella Pan

Paella is my passion and so is brunch! 

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all photos are by my daughter @laylamays photography www.laylamays.com

First, I want to thank Lodge Cast Iron for supplying this awesome 15 inch seasoned carbon steel paella pan! WOW! It is the very best paella pan that I have used so far. I am a Paella Chef in Nashville, TN called MY PAELLA TRAVELS. I expertly create succulent, intensely flavored authentic Spanish paellas with a Nashville-inspired twist. I have cooked for many in the Nashville and surrounding area and even won FIRST PLACE in a paella contest last September. I won the popular vote. Everyone loved my Nashville-inspired paella!

I recently received this great pan from the Lodge Cast Iron Company. I was delighted to find that it is already seasoned and cooks the paella evenly which creates the most flavorful and uniform socarrat (crispy bottom crust) ever! It’s small enough to finish in the oven to get the crispy, caramelized rice crust and large enough to feed 6 to 8 people!

Put an egg on it!

Brunch seems to be very popular here in Nashville and we now have many great brunch places to choose from. But the only place you will find this is with My Paella Travels! Most brunches include several dishes with eggs or topped with a poached or fried egg. Soooo, I was thinking…..

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There is always a plate or two of paella leftover from the events I host. I always tell the group to warm it up for brunch the next day, put a fried egg on it and serve with a side of tangy and smokey Romesco sauce. Well, it’s about time for me to do that too. But why wait until the next day. Why not have a Paella Brunch today!

IMG_9109-webSaveur Magazine has great Paella articles and recipes. I found this Paella Mixta recipe and thought this would be just perfect for today’s Sunday Paella Brunch. I was very inspired by the recipe but I did modify the recipe to fit my own flavor profiles. This recipe worked great for the 15-inch paella pan but I did use 2 cups of Bomba rice instead of 2 1/2.

The Romesco Sauce (modified) is the perfect accompaniment with the fried egg and paella. Spanish Romesco sauce is a tangy, smoky blend of roasted red peppers, smoked paprika, garlic, olive oil and the freshness is enhanced by the sherry vinegar. It is often served with tapas of grilled seafood or even with a paella.

All seasonings and spices used in the recipe can be purchased at Savory Spice Shop in Franklin,TN or online. The Palacios dried mild chorizo can be ordered from www.latienda.com. 

Let me know if you have any questions about how to host a Sunday Paella Brunch. MY PAELLA TRAVELS may just travel to you!

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RECIPES!

Paella Mixta with Spanish Romesco Sauce for a Sunday Brunch
Author: 
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
 
My Paella Travels Paella Brunch! While the Paella Mixta was cooking, I made a Romesco Sauce. Both recipes inspired by Savuer
Ingredients
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 chicken breasts,diced, marinated in olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon & seasoning, sherry vinegar
  • 10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. dry-cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 1⁄4"-thick coins
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Pinch of dried thyme and oregano leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups short-grain rice, BOMBA RICE
  • 8 oz. fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
  • 12 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 (9-oz.) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 egg per person
  • For the Romesco Sauce:
  • 2 large bell peppers or 2 jarred and drained roasted red peppers in a jar
  • 3 large cloves garlic cloves, crushed or fine minced
  • 1 cup blanched white almonds (I used Marcona almonds)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1⁄4 tsp. smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Put saffron and 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a 15 inch Lodge Cast Iron Carbon Steel seasoned paella pan over medium-high heat. Add marinated chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer shrimp to a plate, leaving meats in pan.
  5. Add paprika, garlic, bay leaves,thyme, oregano, tomatoes, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add reserved saffron mixture, lemon juice and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and add artichokes, peas, and peppers.
  8. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 10–12 minutes.
  9. (If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly.)
  10. Reduce heat to low, add reserved shrimp, and nestle in mussels hinge side down; cook, without stirring, until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more.
  11. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  12. Fry one egg per person for each serving of paella.
  13. Make Romesco Sauce while Paella is cooking:
  14. Place the drained red bell peppers and garlic in a blender along with the almonds, olive oil, tomato paste,sherry vinegar, chile flakes, paprika, and 1⁄2 cup water, and purée until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

 

 

 

 

26

06 2016

My Paella Travels to Savory Spice Shop located in Historic Downtown Franklin, TN for a Paella and Tapas Party!

I love paella! Paella is my passion. Let me share my paella with you!

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Teaching the art of cooking paella has been a skill that I have been cultivating for many years. From the time when I first moved to Nashville in 1989 (wow) and then when  I lived in Austin, Texas, I cooked paella for many friends and hosted a paella dinner at a near by olive oil farm. Paella is one of Spain’s most popular dishes. This art has been perfected for centuries in Spain from the workers in the rice fields of Valencia to today’s tables all around the world.

It’s pretty magical what you can do with rice, olive oil, saffron, sausage and seafood. My paellas are filled with layers of amazing flavors, aromas, textures and enhanced with local ingredients. I often refer to my paella as a symphony of flavors that will make you swoon and come back for more. Together with my unique fusions of local flavors combined with the many years of traditions of authentic Spanish ingredients and techniques, you’ll not find another paella that matches mine anywhere around Nashville.

My Paella Travelled to Savory Spice Shop in Franklin, Tennessee for a Paella Cooking Class this June 2016. I cooked a paella mixta from scratch to a sold out crowd. Paella mixta is a flavorful combination of mussels, shrimp, chicken, chorizo and other sausages. My signature marinated chicken, green beans, zucchini, squash and other summer vegetables filled the paella pan to the brim.  While I was cooking and demonstrating, the class enjoyed Tapas and refreshing white Sangria made with Walker’s Feed Co White Sangria mix. SOOOO refreshing!

This is the second Paella Class that I have hosted at Savory Spice Shop in Franklin, Tennessee. I especially love hosting paella classes here  because of the lovely guests that show up and the authentic spices that are available for my paella. Every single spice and seasoning was available and truly was the key to the #bestpaellainnashville @mypaellatravels.

Enjoy the photos from Saturday night’s cooking class. WARNING! PREPARE FOR HUNGER!

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photo of someone taking a photo of the cooking paella by @laylamays

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Hollie Rollins, owner of Savory Spice Shop and My Paella Travels (Lisa Mays) are about to serve the finished product!

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This was a lovely group of paella enthusiasts! I just loved interacting with each person!

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Paella cooking instructions

 

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My paellas are as intensely colorful as flavorful, just try it and see!

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The class took many photos that night!

 

Presentation

Paella presentation is very important! This is a 32 inch paella pan filled to the brim with succulent rice, seafood, chicken and sausage which took two strong men to carry in!

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The tapas boards included seasoned marcona almonds, a variety of Spanish cheeses and meats and my speciality seasoned and smoked olives. And, the dessert, oh my! Hollie’s special recipe for flan! This was her mother’s recipe and it is fabulous!

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There were lots of smiles and happiness Saturday night. I think they really enjoyed the paella!

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Anticipation!

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25

06 2016