Monday, November 15, 2010

It got really ugly when I faked I was Vegan.


It started out just like every other weekend when I am cooking for people. I spent a couple of days deciding what I wanted to make. In THIS case, our guest was a vegan. He was slowly moving away from it though and has added seafood to his diet. He will even partake of a little dairy here and there. So, I decided to make a seafood paella. It is pretty easy to make and it always seems to work out well.


A seafood stock is made right off the start. It is made with the shells from the shrimp that are going into the paella.


This paella had mussels and shrimp along with lots of vegetables. It had the traditional saffron in it but it didn't have the smokey paprika that I love so much. It used chipotle instead.

I have to say that it was a good paella but not like my standard one that I always make. I missed the smokey taste from the paprika and also from the spanish sausage that I usually use. Our guest liked it though.

I then had to come up with a dessert and this was vegan.


It was called Ooey Gooey Caramel Apple Blackout Cake and it is from Desserts For Breakfast I am sure that I must have done something wrong because it came out looking really pretty but it tasted ...uh....ew. Now the others thought it was "ok" but *I* hated it. Don't get me wrong you maybe should try it for yourself. I think that the part that got me was the salting the caramel with course salt part. Anyhow, go on over to this blog after you read this post and check it out. It is a beautiful blog with beautiful pictures and *I* am just an idiot that can't bake.


This was how much salt *I* used when it said liberally. Dr food thought it might be too much but to me it wasn't overboard. I just didn't like the taste of the salty chocolate and carmel and apple. Then again, I don't like chocolate that much.


Hi pretty cake!


Just looking at the picture sort of makes my mouth water and not in a good way either.

Ok enough. I will let it go. I will just say that dinner on Sunday was AWESOME! Saturday not so much.

Grilled Seafood Paella
Food and Wine - Marcia Kiesel
Printable Version


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Reserved shrimp shells (see below)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 quarts of water
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 large chipotle chile in adobo
Large pinch of saffron threads

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large poblano chile—stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups short-grain Spanish rice, such as Valencia or Bomba
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 pound green beans, preferably flat Romano, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Large handful of woody herb sprigs, such as rosemary or thyme
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
1 1/2 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded


MAKE THE BROTH: In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the shrimp shells and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to brown, 5 minutes longer. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the sherry and boil for 1 minute, then add the water and return to a boil. Stir in the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, chipotle and saffron and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes.
Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids; you should have 6 cups. Season with salt. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

MAKE THE PAELLA: Light a grill. If using charcoal, build a large fire that will last at least 30 minutes. Start more coals in a chimney starter to feed the fire. If using a gas grill, set the center burner on high heat and the side or front and back burners on low.

Place a 14- to 16-inch paella pan or a 14-inch stainless steel roasting pan over a medium-hot fire. Add the olive oil and heat until sizzling. Add the scallions, onion and poblano. If using charcoal, move the pan over to the cooler side of the grill; if using gas, reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring with a large wooden paddle or spoon, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, corn, green beans and salt.

Add the hot broth to the rice; shake the pan to distribute the rice evenly. Move the pan to the hotter part of a charcoal grill or increase the heat to moderately low on a gas grill. If using charcoal, scatter the herbs over the coals. If using a gas grill, place the herbs in the smoker box or scatter over the heat bars. Cover the grill and let the paella cook, shaking the pan once or twice, until the broth has been absorbed and the rice is almost tender, about 20 minutes. The rice should cook at a steady simmer; add hot coals to the fire if it starts to fade.

Scatter the shrimp over the rice and nestle the mussels in the paella, hinge side down. Cover the grill; cook until the shrimp are pink and the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Using a large wooden paddle or spoon, transfer the seafood paella to plates, scraping up the crusty rice from the bottom of the pan, and serve.


  1. Well, good for you for trying to cook vegan....I don't think I could do it! Your paella looks delicious:)

  2. that is *way* too much salt! Sorry, perhaps I should have been more specific when I said "liberally." Sorry that you didn't like the cake, but you should really try it again, perhaps without so much salt this time? A small dusting will do just fine. ;-)

  3. hehe mouth watering can definitely be bad and good. I like the flavors of salt and caramel and chocolate so I bet I would have loved it. I think its an acquired taste to like salty sweet combos. The love paella and I have to agree sausage makes it so much tastier.

  4. Hilarious as always Janis. Love your candor. The paella looks delicious.

  5. Your title alone is killing me. Nice. Vegan desserts don't have to be a debacle, hope you have better luck next time! (I'm not a vegan, but as a pastry chef, I have to come with with vegan desserts from time to time, and have been so pleasantly surprised at how they turn out...)

  6. Oh Janis. Didn't you know it would bite you in the butt? Not New England, faking being a vegan? Ha, ha! Loved this post. I just hate it when you make something and it just isn't what you expected. I love chocolate, but don't know if I would like it with apples. Love salty sweet. I think you did a fabulous job. If I fake being a vegan can I come to dinner at your house?

  7. OOOOh, it is a pretty cake. I can definitely sympathize after spending the better part of last week making practice floating islands...don't ask.
    The last time I cooked for a vegan I was so careful making a roasted vegetable risotto (no dairy) and then he added cheese to his. I wanted to kill him. Your paella looks lovely by the way.

  8. I think the cake looks good. I am not a pro in vagan recipe, too. It's nice to know you have fun trying it out :)

  9. I'm sure your guest appreciated the effort you went through!

  10. That paella looks perfect. Perfectly wonderful. The cake ... well, I appreciate your honesty!

  11. Definitely an A for effort! It can be difficult to cook vegan when you are not used to it. That paella and the cake *look* absolutely perfect. We did that last year for a vegan friend of ours, we made a creamy bacon dip and pasta primavera. The pasta got rave reviews. The dip even the dogs wouldn't eat.

  12. I would like it with apples think you did a fabulous job.

  13. OOOOh, it is a pretty cake. I can definitely sympathize after spending the better part of last week making practice floating islands...don't ask.
    The last time I cooked for a vegan I was so careful making a roasted vegetable risotto (no dairy) and then he added cheese to his. I wanted to kill him. Your paella looks lovely by the way.