Calamari, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken Paella

About four times a year Scott and fellow potters from the Chelsea Ceramic Guild go to Roger Baumann’s studio in Lake Peekskill to woodfire their pots. I love to tag along on these trips as it gives me a welcome chance to get away from the city to be outdoors absorbing nature, sharing with good people and helping the group get their wares ready for the fire.
Roger Baumann's Woodfire Kiln in Lake Peekskill
A beautiful, brisk, early fall day at Roger Baumann’s studio in Lake Peekskill. His hand-built woodfire kiln located in an idyllic spot next to a stream.
On our latest trip to Roger’s early this fall, potter Ana Larea and her husband, painter Arturo Guerrero, treated us to a traditional outdoor paella. Ana and Arturo are native Spaniards and Arturo is an amazing cook. This was my first experience with outdoor paella and I asked Arturo if I could watch and learn.
Crisp ingredients are used to make this paella
The chicken is braised in fragrant seasonings. Blood sausage, chorizo, calamari and crisp green beans are added. Once the savory juices have reduced and strengthened in intensity, the Arborio rice and fresh stock is added and topped with fragrant rosemary and roasted red pepper.
Smoke infuses into the paella
Smoke from the wood fire infuses into the paella to give it a rustic smoky flavor. Arturo propped the paellera (paella pan) far enough away from the flame for a gentle, even cooking temperature.
Arturo Guerrero stoking the fire
The fire has to be just right in order for the paella to cook properly. Raw logs were burned to smoldering charcoal, then the cooking process beings.
Making an Outdoor Paella
Arturo maintained an even, medium fire throughout the whole process and added wood as needed to keep the fire going.
Outdoor Paella with Arborio Rice
Arturo checks the paella and adds fresh chicken stock as needed until the rice is fully cooked. For this paella he used Arborio rice, but he prefers using Bomba rice.
Socarrat
As the paella cooks, the delicious socarrat develops. This crispy crust at the bottom of the paellera (paella pan) is infused with super concentrated flavors. It’s my favorite part of the paella.
Paella Cooking
The paella is almost done. A savory aroma fills the crisp fall air.
Calamari, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken Paella
The paella is removed from the fire once the rice is firm but cooked through, the juices have reduced to a creamy, rich base and the socarrat forms a dark brown and crispy crust. This paella is almost ready.
Calamari, Blood Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken Paella
Arturo removes the paella from the fire and sets it aside to finish cooking and to cool slightly.
Ana and Arturo Guerrero serving paella in Roger Baumann's back yard
Ana and Arturo Guerrero serving paella. Roger Baumann, our host, in the background. Photographed by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
The paella was absolutely delicious and made for a memorable experience. Spending a day cooking outdoors, enjoying the simple things and sharing with friends – this was a day that reminded me how rich and savory life can be.

Honoring the Empire Diner

Empire Diner when we first moved to Chelsea
Photo by Scott Bartolomei Edmonds.
This iconic Chelsea diner has lost it’s lease and will be closing it’s doors on 5/15/2010 after thirty years in business. Join them on 5/16/2010 for a farewell celebration. The owners hope to find a new location for the Empire Diner, so fans, do not despair. Read the owner’s farewell statement here and some memories of the Empire diner here.
strolling by the Empire Diner
Photo by Scott Bartolomei Edmonds.
Empire Diner when we first moved to Chelsea
Photo by Scott Bartolomei Edmonds.
Empire Diner Closing it's Doors in Chelsea
Photo by Marta Bartolomei Edmonds.
Empire Diner's spaceship lights and iconic Eat sign
Photo by Scott Bartolomei Edmonds.

9/11


Photo by Angelica Bartolomei Edmonds, 2001.
Seven years ago I got a phone call from my boss, Julie Hoffman. I was at my father and stepmother’s home in Webster, NY. My father had passed away five days ago after a year long battle with auto-immune hepatitis and a failed liver transplant. Carolina, Abuela Sara, Titi Sara, and Carolina’s mom and brother were there. Inside Carolina’s immaculate suburbian house we were all enveloped in a cloud of mourning and the early morning phone call was not unexpected as the past few days were filled with phone calls of people sharing their sorrow and well wishes. Carolina, my step mom, answered the phone and then handed it to me. It was clear to me that there was something wrong.
Julie proceeded to tell me that there was an attack on the World Trade Center and that Scott, my husband, had asked her to call me to tell me that he was okay. Scott worked in the World Financial Center, the buildings adjacent to the World Financial Center. We turned on the television and saw the terrorist attacks unfolding before our eyes: the airplanes striking the first and second tower, the people jumping from the smoldering buildings and finally the collapse of both towers. I walked in circles around the house as I watched this disaster unfold.
I frantically tried to get in touch with Scott but the phone lines were down. Eventually I was able to get a hold of him via email to his Blackberry. He was making his way from Lower Manhattan to pick Angelica up from school in the Upper East Side. That day, he was running late for work. As he emerged from the subway, the first airplane had already struck the first tower and he watched in disbelief as people struggled to get air and escape the raging inferno. Who knows what would have happened had he been on time to work that day.
My first instinct was to rent a car and drive to the city to pick up Angelica and Scott. After just having lost my father, the thought of loosing my daughter and husband was unbearable.
There is absolutely no food related to this memory. All I remember was how desperately I wanted to be with my family.
That day everything was uncertain. We are vulnerable, fragile living beings. That phone call and the day that ensued brought a greater sense of gratitude. Even as we mourn the loss of loved ones, I am thankful for all the experiences that make their way into memory, thankful for the love and delight shared between friends and family, thankful for all the lessons and the falls and thankful to be alive, sharing today with Scott and Angelica.

Whole Foods Tribeca Opening Tomorrow


Whole Foods Market is opening up in Tribeca tomorrow. We took a tour of the store and I was impressed. They have expanded their selection of bulk items including grains, beans, nuts and even exotic salts. Their fifth location in New York City is huge with a large dining area upstairs and plenty of treats to attract food loving people in the area including sushi, middle eastern fare, gelato, crêpes and more.
Money conscious consumers like me will be happy to learn that when you buy by the case, Whole Foods gives you a 5% discount. Visit their bulk bins to save on items like rice, beans and nuts. Bring your own bag and receive a discount of at least 5 cents per bag. They will also be offering delivery service at this location.
What impressed me the most was learning about their environmentally responsible and community conscious values. They partner with local food purveyors, support sustainable practices and donate 5% of their profits to local community organizations. I feel good about supporting companies like Whole Foods.
Thanks, Sunetra for inviting us to this event!