Richard Blais’ “So Good” Recipes

Richard Blais’ “So Good” Recipes

 
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Strawberry Sangria
Ingredients:
8 cups fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 750 milliliter bottle white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 cups sparkling water, chilled
1 orange, sliced

Directions:
1. Make a syrup of the sugar, water and strawberries by cooking for 10 minutes.

2. Strain and chill this and add to the wine and soda.

3. Serve with an orange and strawberry slice

Vegetable Paella
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely diced yellow onion (about ¼ onion)
½ stalk celery, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
¼ green bell pepper, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
1 pound Bomba paella rice (see Notes)
B⁄e cup paella spice mix (see Notes)
3 to 4 ounces eggplant (about ¼ of a purple globe eggplant), sliced into half-moons
¼ cup white wine
Pinch of saffron
2 to 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade (enough to cover the rice by ½ inch)
2 or 3 Swiss chard leaves, torn (about 1 loosely packed cup)
¼ cup drained and chopped jarred piquillo peppers
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (about ½ bunch)
Handful of jarred caperberries, stemmed and halved
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar Kosher salt

Directions:
1. In a paella pan or large cast-iron pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, until the vegetables are aromatic.

2. Stir in the rice and spice mix and then stir in the eggplant. Add the wine and saffron and stir gently to mix. Cook until the wine starts to reduce and the alcohol cooks off, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the stock. There should be enough stock to cover the rice by ½ inch. If there’s not, add a little more. Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture cook undisturbed until the rice is cooked and the liquid evaporates, 20 to 25 minutes. At this point, the bottom of the rice will stick to the pan and be lightly browned.

4. During the last few minutes of cooking, stir in the chard, piquillo peppers, parsley, and caperberries and let them cook until heated. Add the vinegar, stir well, and, when the paella is hot, taste and add salt, if needed. Serve the paella directly from the pan.

Notes: Paella rice makes a difference when you cook paella. If you can’t find Bomba rice, which is considered by many to be the best rice for paella, use any medium-grain rice, such as Valencia. For more on rice, see opposite. Paella spice mix generally contains saffron, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, as well as other ingredients such as dried parsley and roasted bell peppers, depending on the brand. You can find it online and in most supermarkets and specialty shops.

Serves 4.

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