Friday, February 15, 2008


Last weekend we had some dear friends over for dinner. Unfortunately between each of our busy schedules we only seem to manage to get together like this once every 6 months. But, perhaps because it doesn't happen very often, we always try to go above and beyond with the festivities.

I've always had a thing for paella. The idea of it really. I don't think I'd ever actually had it before. I remember doing a tapas night and attempting a vegetarian version (in my veggie days) but it was so incredibly bland that i just gave up on it. When I was planning dinner I suddenly realized that I actually eat all the major ingredients now. It seemed like a perfect one-pot meal that would also make a stellar presentation. I decided to use the Cooks Illustrated recipe, because all of the blogs I happened upon said it was idiot-proof. (Always important when you are attempting a recipe for the first time, especially if you are going to be serving it to guests!)

Like all cooks illustrated recipes it is easy to follow and it was a big hit with everyone! My favorite part is the development of the "soccarat", which is basically heating the rice at the bottom of the pot until it becomes brown and crunchy. You then scrape it up and serve it mixed in with the rest. I was SO EXCITED about this. When I used to make prepared rice mixes back in the day I always turned up the heat at the end to make it crusty on the bottom. All this time I thought I was just a weirdo- but hey! I was making soccarat!

(Mr. McD and Miss D showing their "mussels")

So this was all that was left at the end of the night. Just enough for a Monday lunch. A definite success!


Styling with Renee Michelle said...

I can imagine that the vegetarian version just wouldn't cut it. Looks like everyone enjoyed it.

Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Damn that looks good!

Wait, crunchy rice is called soccarat?? Then I love soccarat! Too funny that you were making it all this time anyway.

Bernice said...

Is Miss D minus a tooth, or is just how it looks in the picture?

Dad said...

Remind me to make a copy of one of the paella recipes I have in my Spanish cookbooks. They're very good. Also an authentic paella pan is in fact not expensive at all - maybe a nice birthday gift?

alexis said...

yes good idea dad. from the looks of it soccarat is no fun afterwards when you have to clean the pan.