Posts Tagged ‘tapas’

Chef José Andreś-Inspired Chicken, Mushroom and Sausage Paella in my Lodge Carbon Steel Paella Pan & Tapas Paired with Ribera Del Douro Wine is the Perfect Meal for Weekends

Paella de Pollo y Setas (Chicken and Mushroom Paella) with Camarón Tapas and Fresh Green Salad

15 inch Lodge Carbon Steel Paella Pan


(photos by

Usually, I teach paella cooking classes but this time I was the student. Our local Williams Sonoma was featuring paella this month and I couldn’t resist experiencing other recipes for paella because I always learn something new and ways to add new flavor profiles to my paellas.

The ingredients for this type of paella was pretty straight forward but I couldn’t resist on adding my signature touches to make it my own.

When, I am creating a custom paella for 6 people, I always use my 15 inch Lodge Paella Pan. I love it! It cooks the paella perfectly, helps ensure the crusty socarrat rice crust and finish it off in the oven.

A fresh, well-made broth is the key to the foundation of creating a flavorful and authentic paella. The best part of this class was the mushroom broth. Fill a stock pot with your favorite (homemade) chicken stock (or water ) and fill it with a package of a variety of fresh mushrooms (sliced), carrots, celery, onions, fresh thyme. Add your favorite spices and salt and pepper, too. I prefer the combination of chicken stock and mushrooms for more flavor in the stock. Flavor and aromas should be the most important consideration in creating the best paellas ever, including the stock!

Locally made sausages are a big deal here in Nashville because they are amazing so I include some of the best around. Find your local butcher to add a touch of your area in each bite. This is so important. If your a lucky enough to find a locally made Spanish-style chorizo in your area, use it!


The Chicken Mushroom Paella by José Andrés that was posted in Wine Enthusiast Magazine is a nice recipe on its own, which inspired me to take it to another level by adding a few ingredients that you like with elevate the flavor profiles and the bright colors will catch your eye.

Green peas, red and yellow pepper strips and lemons added near the end of the cooking add color contrast and interesting flavors and textures you will enjoy.


There is nothing better than a big bowl full of flavorful paella with a perfectly formed soccorat (rice crust) and with a bottle of full-bodied Ribera del Duoro near by. Fuentespina Seleccion 2011 is a classic example of the luscious 100% Tempranillos from the Ribera de Duoro region of Spain. Wines from this area are very diverse and flavors of plum and strawberries that pair well with dishes with layers of flavors including sausages and chicken.


The tapas is an-seared shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper with Curry Mayo with lime. Mix 1 cup mayo with 1 tablespoon of Madras curry powder, honey to taste, lime juice to taste. Serve with a bubbly glass of Cava Rose’.


Fresh orange segments, chopped/blanched asparagus and sweet purple onion pairs very well with a paella dinner. Serve with fresh, homemade ranch dressing with fresh or dried tarragon.


08 2016

Backyard Tapas, Sangria and Friends ~ The Perfect Mix

Livi and I have recovered from our Florida culinary adventures and decided to invite our friends for a small gathering in my backyard. The weather was pleasant for an outdoor evening meal and we both were inspired by our trip to prepare Tapas and Cava de Sangria. I am lucky to have so many foodie friends that are great in the kitchen as well!



One of the best Sangrias I have ever had was at The Columbia, a Spanish Restaurant located in Celebration, Florida. Cava de Sangria is a White Sangria made with Cava, Brandy and Orange Liquor with lots of fresh fruit.

It’s made table side at the restaurant and I couldn’t wait to make it as soon as I returned home.



Recipe for Sangria de Cava

2 bottles chilled Aria Cava : refreshing bubbles and acidity balanced with flavors of lime,white peach and melon flavors and aromas

Torres 10 Gran Reserva Brandy: This highly regarded topaz-colored Spanish Brandy is rich,intense and luscious with notes of cinnamon and vanilla.

Orange Liqueur: I wanted to use Torres Orange Liqueur but I could not find it. Luckily, there are several brands available. I used Gran Gala which is a triple orange liqueur but Cointreau would also be another great choice. I am not a huge fan of Triple Sec. Its too sweet with no depth of flavor.

Cut two small oranges,limes and lemons into small pieces and place in a large pitcher. For an hour or so before you serve, macerate the fruit with the brandy and orange liqueur. I also threw in fresh cherries that I happened to have but Maraschino cherries work great! I used less than a half cup of each. Remember, these are high alcohol!

When you are ready to serve, pour both Cava bottles into the mix. Stir, add ice to glass, pour and enjoy!


Now for the Tapas!

Here are three of our Tapas dishes we enjoyed:

Marinated Olives: a variety of olives from the Whole Foods Olive Bar marinated with sherry vinegar,olive oil,lemon and lime slices,fresh garlic,rosemary,slices of the sweet Peppadew pepper,red pepper flakes and seasonings.


Steamed Mussels,Shrimp and Chorizo tossed with steamed potatoes,olive oil,lemon juice,dried thyme,oregano,garlic,cumin and green onions served room temperature.

You need lots of crusty bread to soak up the juices!



Caramelized Onion Tart on puff pastry with champagne grapes,figs and bacon!





You don’t need to go any further than your backyard for a night of Tapas and Sangria.
Just add friends to a pleasant summer evening with The San Raphael Trio playing in the background.

And, the night just happens.

Ciao for now!


08 2011

A Little Taste of Spain Floridian-Style

On my recent road trip to Florida with my sister-in-law Olivia to visit my niece, I was promised a wine and food adventure that I was sure to enjoy. Although we have an obvious connection by marriage, she and I have been close friends for many years and share an intense love for creating delicious meals and enjoying wines. We have enjoyed our traveling culinary adventures together and her promise of a great experience was kept!

We were looking forward to finding a Paella Restaurant that my niece had heard about.
Mi Tomatina Paella Bar pays homage to the La Tomatina Festival held in Bunol,Spain the last Wednesday every August. Looks like the tomato fight could be fun!


Upon arriving to the beautiful resort town of Winter Park, Florida, we found our way to this rustic and welcoming Paella Bar Mi Tomatina. The atmosphere was relaxed and tastefully decorated as I would imagine a house in Spain would be and we felt as if we were dining in their kitchen for a relaxed meal of Spanish cuisine and wine.


Delightful Flamenco guitar music made this dining experience even more authentic.









We began with CAVA, the sparkling wine of Cataluna, Spain. Cava is made in the same way as champagne but with different grapes. I selected Raventos for its refreshing bubbles, brightand lively fruity aromas of lemon and green apple and complex notes of freshly baked bread. Our tapas plates of Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, marinated olives and warm bread with fresh tomato dip were a perfect match.

Making Paella and Tapas have been two of my favorite ethnic dishes to cook for many years. Paella is a festive Spanish treat and is a great excuse for a party. Some of my best parties have revolved around Paella and Tapas or small plates of a variety of cheeses, seafood and roasted meats and served with Spanish wine and Sangria.

Paella originated from Valencia but depending on which region of Spain you are in, the Paella and its ingredients will vary. There were six Paellas to choose from and I knew exactly which two I wanted to order. The signature Paella was brought to the table in the traditional shallow pan with saffron-soaked rice, succulent shrimp, mussels and clams and spicy chorizo and chicken. DELICIOUS!

Another Valencian Paella and referred to as Fideua (fay-du-ah). Pasta replaces the rice and it cooked with the traditional ingredients and spices. Since I first learned about fideua from the Cooking Channel on Foodography The History of Noodles, I have wanted to try it and I was pleased to find this dish on the menu. The pasta absorbs all the flavors from the saffron, garlic, olive oil and seafood and we enjoyed every flavorful bite!

I was impressed by the wine list. It was well-constructed and offered a great sampling of quality wines from the different regions of Spain. Our server brought out several samplings for me to try and I decided the perfect pairing with the Paella was the Resalte, Ribera del Duero 2007.

This is one of my favorite Spanish Wines. The wine is referred to as Robles which means young. This tempranillo wine spends little time in oak giving it that fresh, fruity character and means drink now!

I love it for its deep, ruby red color and aromas of fresh and juicy red fruit. This wine comes from the Ribera del Duero Region of Spain and the grape is Tempranillo, one of the most important grapes in Spain. You taste Spain when you drink these wines.

This wine is aged for 3 months in new French Oak and is expressed by the vanilla and roasted coffee aromas. The tannins and acidity are not overpowering which makes this a perfect match with the Paella as well as other spicy dishes with meat and seafood. This Tempranillo wine spent just 3 months in new French Oak and was bottled as a Selected Harvest.

Spanish wines are plentifully available at wine shops around the Nashville area including Moon Wine and Spirits , COOL SPRINGS WINE AND SPIRITS , GRAND CRU and as many others around.

Let me know if I can help you select the best Spanish wine for your next Tapas or Paella Party! If you need instructions on Paella preparation or want me for a Paella and Tapas Wine Dinner, just ask!

Ciao for now!



08 2011