Monday, July 27, 2009

Paella et Adieux

Mon professeur de français et son mari se déplacent à Antibes le 31 août...or perhaps it should be mon professuer de français et son mari se démenagent à Antibes le 31 août. Or perhaps both of those are wrong and I just need to follow them to the South of France so I can figure out what's correct.

But to celebrate the summer and our class, last night we had a paella dinner chez nous. I know, I know, it's Spanish, but look at a map. Antibes, Toulon, Marseilles, Nimes, Montpellier, Béziers, Perpignan and then you're almost in Barcelona. OLE! And The Gypsy Kings...Spanish? Nope, French. Well, their parents were gitanos from Catalona who had fled to France during the Spanish Civil War. So, yeah, technically Spanish, but un peu français aussi, non? So we had them stomping and riffing and partying in the background and every now and then I'd throw my arms up in a distinctly meant-to-be but ultimately non-flamenco move, overwhelmed by the heat and the Spanishness of it all.

The food was good fun with everyone contributing. I made a couple of paellas, Dan & Martha made the sangria (the best ever), Paulette made a great roasted red pepper dish (fantastico), Nadia brought Spanish cheeses, Andrea and Neal brought a superb salad, Ellen & Steve brought brownies and ice cream, Buzz brought minted melon, Janaki came bearing wines and rendered ice pack therapy for my neck (and elsewhere) and Arlette and Andrew had wines and plenty of sparkling water and, as always, were enormous help. One of the paella pans was so big it had to be cooked in our oven (HOT), while Roger manned the other out on the grill.

It was enormous fun and enormously hot and a little poignant. Fun because of the people. Hot because the living room zoned part of our AC was fried by a leak onto the compressor and woo hoo...needs to be replaced. The estimates to replace it begin this afternoon. Nobody seems hungry enough to cut me a deal in July so if I have to wait until November, I will. I'm stubborn like that. And poignant because of Antibes's lure and also because Ellen and Steve are headed back to Minneapolis. Nothing remains the same, but sometimes moments demand capture and this was one of them.

Fans were blowing everywhere, ensuring that our (especially mine) sweated brows were dried to a degree acceptable in company. I wish I'd thought to capture a few of the other food and friends moments but these will have to suffice.

Always teaching...Arlette with Neal and Martha in the background

Un autre professeur, Buzz with Ellen and Steve

Arlette encore, mais où est-Andrew, son mari? Neal, Martha and Andrea in the background

After the dinner. Sangria glasses emptying quickly, post-prandial collapse to follow.
Dan to the right of Andrea

Paulette, Nadia et Janaki

The MEAT paella

And the overly musseled fish and meat paella. This paella pan is 3" deep by 16" across


Anonymous Viellefemme said...

Oh, WOW! And the best we managed this weekend was yet another version of pan seared shrimp (adobo, lime juice, chipotle, cilantro, etc) over spicy rice. (I started eating shrimp in April of this year.) Husband says he's eaten more shrimp in the last 3 months than in his whole life together. And, isn't that just wonderful!

I checked out the NYTimes salad link and printed the first 41 suggestions. I'm just going to work my way down, up, middle in the list! Most sound absolutely wonderful - that Mark Bittman is a very talented guy. I have his tome on vegetarian cooking but have really only cracked the surface.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Lin said...

I like the sound of those spicy shrimp (a lot!).

Glad you're enjoying the salad link. I love some of those combinations!

3:32 PM  

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