Sunday, May 22, 2005

Post-paella ponderings

Four people. Two dogs. Three kinds of appetizers. One large pot of paella. And four bottles of wine. So, yeah, we did exactly what we planned last night: Got sloshed and made paella. (And then I apparently thought it was a good idea to sit at the computer for a while and ramble incoherently over at Phantom Scribbler's place about the base closures.)

The evening's festivities did necessitate a 4 a.m. Advil and glass of water, and I'm pretty sure that a nap is in order since I've already been awake for, ye gods, nearly two hours. Other than that, though, there was no serious fallout from so much wine. We started out with three bottles, two Spanish reds we'd given H. and J. as thanks for watching our pooches when we went to D.C. a couple weeks ago, and one Spanish white I bought from the fabulous neighborhood bakery/wine shop yesterday morning. We'd finished the two reds about 10 minutes into dinner (the prep/appetizer/chatting took a while), then polished off the white while we sat at the table talking about class and college -- the kind of discussion that seems to be going on a lot these days. (If I could remember anything that was said, I'd post about it... perhaps it'll come back to me as the day goes on.)

Before dessert -- some amazing bittersweet chocolate souffles, also from the fabulous neighborhood bakery/wine shop -- we gathered coats to walk up to the corner store for another bottle, opened the door, discovered it was raining (as it will be for the next 40 days and 40 nights) and turned around... except for Darren, who (perhaps inadvisedly) drove the six blocks to acquire some California chardonnay. Then we drained that, too.

As for the paella itself: It turned out incredibly well, and it wasn't difficult at all. The worst part was deveining the shrimp, a task I loathe. I used a Cook's Illustrated recipe, which was, of course, perfect; main ingredients were chicken thighs, chorizo, shrimp and mussels, plus some red pepper and peas. I even pulled off the creation of soccarat, the toasty, browned rice that forms along the bottom of the pan and is the "hallmark of authentic paella," according to the magazine.

On the agenda for today: the Times, a nap, a trip to the grocery store (which Darren has volunteered to make, thank gawd). Then, at 3 pm, a few friends are coming over for what was planned as a long walk around the neighborhood, followed by snacks and drinks. Given the lousy weather, I suspect we'll just be doing the mid-afternoon drinking, something I can't particularly imagine at the moment. But, never fear, I'll rally to the task.