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A good day in the kitchen

April 21, 2010

It’s school vacation this week, which is not such a big deal now that I don’t work in a school any more.  It does mean that I’m not teaching piano lessons, since many of my students are out of town, and therefore I’m home for dinner every day. I’m not going as crazy in the kitchen as I might normally be during vacation, since I’m also in tech week for City of Angels, which means I have to be out of the house around 5:15 to get to rehearsals. But early dinner is a lot better than just grabbing a bagel to eat in the car. And yesterday… well, yesterday, I was hungry.

I’d been craving scones and had some frozen raspberries on hand, so I made raspberry scones for breakfast. Then I was thinking I should make some hummus to go with the 79-cent pita I bought at Building 19, and I got to remembering all the awesome things I’ve acquired from Building 19 over the years. Like my paella pan, which I almost never use for paella, since I cook mainly for myself and my boyfriend, who keeps quasi-Kosher and doesn’t eat fun things like chorizo and shellfish. Sigh. But it occurred to me that the fish I was going to have for dinner would be much tastier in paella than not, and that I would go to rehearsal much happier for having spent the time to make something yummy and slightly labor-intensive.

I went out to buy a lemon for the hummus and some arborio rice and veggies for the paella. I threw a couple of roughly-chopped scallions into the hummus, since I’ve got lots of those around at the moment, then snacked on that while I got things ready for the paella. I used this recipe, but without the chickpeas, roasted pepper, or asparagus/green beans; I did add some zucchini and an extra 1/2 tsp. of paprika, which gave a nice subtle spiciness (I used Hungarian hot paprika – I think smoked Spanish is more typical, but I’m a little bit Hungarian, so that’s where my paprika loyalty lies). I broiled the fish — 2/3 lb. perch, which is mild and fairly firm — with some salt and pepper, then tossed it on the paella before baking.

Jacob (the aforementioned boyfriend) remarked that the dish hardly needed the fish, but it was nice how it soaked up the surrounding flavors. I was too busy having seconds to reply.

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