I am thrilled to know that we have raised a family of chefs.  In this past few days, everyone has been using their chef jackets which they got for Valentines Day, each monogrammed, of course. 

Josh and I made octopus the other night.  Something I have never tried before.  It is incredibly easy to make.  Fun to make with a 9 year old since the sight of an octopus is a good "wow" for a 9 year old and he really enjoyed cutting it up.

Emily is obsessed with our new panini maker.  This morning she made an experiment which ended up being lunch for everyone.  Oat bread smeared with peanut butter, sliced bananas on top and then another piece of oat bread and grilled on the panini maker.  Really top.

Jessica was the most creative this week.  She had to make paella for Spanish class.  I helped but she basically made it herself.  It was pretty impressive for the first try. We sort of played around with the recipe because we decided straight seafood wasn’t the way to go for 8th graders.  You can substitute anything here but here is what we did.

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 2 onions sliced and diced
  • red pepper sliced and diced
  • yellow pepper sliced and diced
  • 5 plum tomatoes sliced and diced
  • 6-8 boneless chicken thighs – sliced into pieces
  • 24 large shrimp
  • 2 large sausage sizes of chorizo, sliced
  • 3 cups rice – we just used plain Carolina rice but you could use a medium rice
  • 1 box of frozen peas

We used a large dutch oven pot although you could use a beautiful paella pot but I don’t own one, yet. 

In a stock pot, add the chicken broth, clam juice and saffron and bring to a boil, cover it and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You could substitute one cup of the chicken broth for one cup of white wine if you wanted. 

Cover the bottom of the dutch oven pot with olive oil and throw in the sliced pieces of chorizo until they are browned.  Take them out and put them in a separate bowl.  Toss in the shrimp and cook until pale pink and put them in the chorizo bowl too.  Toss in the chicken thighs and cooked until done.  You could use chicken with a bone or even legs if you wanted to or you could do white fish or calamari if you wanted instead.   The chicken tends to make the pot a bit watery, so once you are done, empty out the liquid.

Put in new olive oil, heat up and toss in the onions and peppers until they are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add in the rice and tomatoes and stir for about another minute.  Add in the stock concoction, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer.  If you wanted to use mussels or clams, I would put them in when the rice is cooking.  The rice takes about 20 minutes.  When the rice is done, toss in the bowl of chicken, shrimp and chorizo and mix really well.  Now, finish off with the frozen peas, mix thoroughly and cover. Let the peas warm up. Season with salt and pepper.   Serve. 

I am looking forward to the day when I come home and a gourmet dinner is being made by the kids, and all I have to do is grab a glass of wine and enjoy!