Monday, October 28, 2013

I Bump You!

I did the unthinkable this weekend. Something I rarely do on weekends and do not intend to redo anytime soon (unless it is absolutely necessary). I went to my local Middle Eastern supermarket in the middle of the day! Some of you may be wondering why that is such a big deal. Well on weekends (unless you go early in the morning), that place seems to morph into something like a fashion show in the middle of traffic. Women walk in dressed to kill while the men smell like they took a bath in a bottle of cologne. Hundreds of people walk around quickly, pushing each other and filling their carts as if the market will run out of food and there is always that one person at the deli or spice stand who thinks his or her time is much more valuable than everyone else's and just approaches the counter without taking a number and recites his/her order.


Somehow, my slightly shy and introverted (and almost makeup-free) self does not fit in there very well. As I get pushed around and the right of "cart way" gets taken from me time and time again, I start thinking "I'm in a Middle Eastern market. (I'm Armenian- parents are from Lebanon). This is MY territory! You bump me with your cart? No, no, no! I BUMP YOU!"

Watch this video for the inspiration for my "I bump you" thoughts. Don't get offended, don't take it personally or think this is racist. Just have a sense of humor and laugh!

As I engage in a marvelous game of bumper carts and swiftly manoeuvre my way to the cash, I face a little problem. No tabloids to read at this store! The only thing to read there are nutritional information charts off candy bars... sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

The reason I had to go to the market was to get ingredients for a seafood paella. Here is my somewhat tweaked version of the recipe.

Seafood Paella
yield: 4-6 servings


- 1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 pound firm white fish (such as monkfish), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pound squid, cleaned, cut into 1/2-inch rings, tentacles halved
- Coarse salt
- 5 cups fish stock
- 1 8oz bottle of clam juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 green bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 3 cups short-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen organic peas
- 16 mussels, cleaned
- Garlic aioli (recipe follows)


1. Place the shrimp, fish and squid in a colander, sprinkle with coarse salt and let sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.
2. Combine the stock, saffron, and wine in a saucepan, and bring to a boil while cooking fish.
3. Heat the olive oil in a wide paella pan set over two burners. Add the shrimp, fish, and squid, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the shrimp and fish, leaving the squid in the pan. Add the peppers to the pan, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute to release the aromas. Stir in the paprika and tomatoes, and sauté 1 minute to release the aromas. Add the rice, toss to coat it with the tomato mixture, and stir in the parsley and bay leaves.
4. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Add the hot broth to the pan, along with the peas. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until some of the liquid reduces. (Paella should have just enough liquid to cook rice, but not be soupy). Adjust seasonings. Stir in the reserved shrimp and fish, and arrange the mussels over the paella with the edges that will open facing up.
6. Transfer paella pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until rice is almost cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed.
7. Remove paella from oven, cover loosely, and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with the Garlic Aioli.
Garlic Aioli
yield: 1 1/2 cups
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup olive oil


1. Mash the garlic with the salt, and combine with the egg yolks, vinegar, and lemon juice in a bowl. Blend with a whisk.

2. Gradually add oil, a drop at a time, whisking constantly. As mixture begins to thicken and look like mayonnaise, add oil more generously. Adjust seasonings and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

1 comment:

  1. you kill me?! I KILL ME!!! ahahaha that's why i dont like adonissssssssssssss