Monday, February 14, 2011

Veggie Paella

I never thought I would like paella...mainly because it is almost always made with seafood. Then I went to Cascal and had an amazing paella! That set me on a mission to recreate the paella. After a few missteps and tries, here is the recipe that comes the closest to their paella.  The next modification will be to make the romesco sauce that is added at the end.  That will make this closer to the Cascal version.
Just a note about the recipe, I've used the vegetables I like.  You can vary this recipe and use many different vegetables.  I've varied it many times using kale, spinach, and broccoli.

Veggie Paella
Serves 4-6 people


  • 2 cups rice (I used basmati)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves (or more depending on your taste)
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • 4 medium tomatoes or 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups artichoke hearts (used frozen)
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1 large bunch cilantro + 1/2 cup parsley, blended with 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • salt to taste

  1. Warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute.  Add garlic and rice and saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini and artichokes and cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and stir for a few minutes. Add veggie broth, and cilantro/parsley mixture and bring to a boil. Add the garbanzo beans, peas, bell pepper and salt. 
  3. Cook until the rice is done. This may take 15-20 minutes.

Chai Cupcakes...Eggless!

I made these Chai Cupcakes for a chaat and cupcake get together.  I wanted to make a cupcake that would complement all the yummy chaat (aka Indian snacks).  I came across this recipe from Love & Olive Oil site and modified it after finding another recipe. (I didn't want to use soymilk...)


  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons loose black tea or tea bags
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chai masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Heat milk and add chai.  Boil and take off the stove.  Let sit for 10 min to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and tea mixture until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and masala.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until lumps gone.  Fill in cupcake pans and bake until toothpick comes clean. (~20-22 minutes).
  6. Once the cupcakes are cooled, sift sugar over cooled cupcakes. (Make sure the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled or the sugar will just melt!)

Simple Sorbet

This is by far the EASIEST recipe I've ever tried and one of the tastiest.  This is a great way to make a tasty summer time treat! I got this receipe from Prevention magazine and modified it very slightly by replacing the sugar with honey.

Simple Sorbet
Adapted from Prevention Magazine

  • 1 lb frozen strawberries, mango or your favorite fruit*
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (the full fat version works well)
  • honey (to taste)
  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor (or a Vita Mix if you have it) and puree until creamy.  If the fruit doesn't blend, add a little bit of water.  You can eat immediately or freeze it. I've put this into Popsicle molds and it has been a hit!
*Note: You can take fresh fruit, clean and freeze to use for this recipe.  I did that and it worked just as well.

Batata Harra (Lebanese Potatoes with Cilantro)

I fell in love with these potatoes at Open Sesame in Long Beach.  They were so tasty that I set out to find the recipe.  I didn't have to look too hard as the NY Times had it posted! I modified the recipe as I do not like frying.  The original recipe calls for russet potatoes, but have made these with different varieties of potatoes and they turn out great.

Batata Harra
Adapted from NY Times

  • 4 potatoes
  • 3-4 tablespoons of oil (use any kind you like)
  • 3 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional, I left it out)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley (optional, but tasty)
  1. Cut potatoes into cubes. (You can peel them or leave the peel on).  Place them in a microwave safe bowl/dish with 1 tablespoon of oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 5-7 minutes to par cook.
  2. Heat a pan on medium-low with 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add garlic and cover.  Cook for ~3 minutes, but be careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the cilantro and wilt it for ~1-2 minutes.  Remove sauce from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. (This works really well in non-stick pans to avoid messy clean-up).  Add the potatoes from the microwave.  Do not stir! Let them cook for a few minutes until brown and then flip using a spatula.  Continue cooking on all sides until browned.
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, take out into dish.  Add the cilantro-garlic sauce, lemon juice, paprika, cayenne (if using), and salt and toss. Enjoy warm.