How are all the rest of you on the East Coast holding up after Hurricane Irene? I know there was a variety of different effects depending on what region people found themselves in. I was lucky enough to be in a mostly unaffected area–we got a ton of rain and wind, but because my house is on a hill, we didn’t get any flooding. There were a lot of leaves and twigs to be raked up on Sunday afternoon, but no damage to the house or cars or anything, thank goodness. I know we’re among the lucky ones!
Perhaps you found yourself cooped up inside as a result of our dear friend Irene–whether in anticipation of her coming, during the storm itself, or in the aftermath of the cleanup. Whenever I find myself housebound and stir-crazy, I crave the mother of all comfort foods: pancakes.
So, remember when Charlie left for Africa a-way back at the end of June?
Well, he’s back. Yay! However, there is a not-yay part.
Back in the spring, he tore his ACL and his meniscus (in a dancing competition…on a cruise ship…trust me, the story is as good as it sounds) but it went undiagnosed until right before he left for Africa. You’d think that couldn’t happen, right? That doctors with medical degrees couldn’t miss something like that? Yeah, I’m with you on that. But anyway, by the time they figured out that significant connective tissues were separating, he was already so close to leaving that the surgery had to be scheduled for when he returned. Welcome home…now let us cut you open.
|Photo courtesy of metrolic.com
What are the first things that come to mind when you think about the UK?
Tea and crumpets? Big Ben? Prince William?
All fine answers. Now, your list probably doesn’t include cupcakes. It’s okay; I understand, really. But if you’ve been reading this blog for any appreciable length of time, you’ll know that my sisters and I have a deep affinity for these darlings of the baked good world, and we manage to find a way to work them into any occasion, if not all.
So what was the most recent of these occasions?
Well, my dear Middle Chip has decided to spend her fall semester abroad in jolly ol’ England. She departs in just under three weeks–I can’t believe it! And so this weekend, we had all of our extended family and friends over for a UK-themed Bon Voyage party. It was, to quote the lovely Julie Andrews, “practically perfect in every way.”
This, mis amigos, is a true Spanish paella. The photo above was taken in a restaurant two friends I visited on a weekend trip to Valencia, a large city on the eastern coast of Spain, during my semester abroad there. This has to be one of the best meals I ate in the country–paella valenciana is renowned for its authenticity, even though you can get paella in mostly every Spanish cafe or restaurant.
(Paella is one of the most typically “Spanish” dishes. It’s almost like a giant casserole, made with saffron-infused rice and any number of added ingredients. Seafood paellas will include mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and prawns. Mixed paellas will have some seafood elements as well as chicken or rabbit. And vegetarian paellas have peppers, snap peas, and other yummy legumes.)
I was doing a bit of reminiscing about my time in Europe this weekend, so I decided to share with you a recipe I inherited while I was there!
So don’t get me wrong. I love you guys. But I’d much rather be here.
I just got back from eight wonderful days in the Sunshine State, and this whole back-to-work-real-life-still-exists thing is a rather unpleasant surprise. To distract myself from the inevitable post-vacay slump, I present to you: a recap of some of the culinary highlights of the trip!