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Paella Mixta
Paella Mixta

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Recipe (Food) III (Basic Editing)
Collection: Portfolio
Camera: Pentax K200D
Lens: Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC for Pentax
Location: My Kitchen
Date: Jul 13, 2008
Aperture: f/6,3
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1.0 sec.
Galleries: Food and Drink
Date Uploaded: Jul 15, 2008

Took this shot while the paella was bubbling on the stove. Used a long exposure to try to capture some of the steam and smooth out the liquid. I liked this shallow DOF shot better than some other frames I took with a deeper DOF.

When I cook, I cook, and when I shoot, I shoot. This challenge showed that it was difficult to do both well at the same time! My stomach won out, and I spent more time cooking then shooting; just kept my camera nearby and grabbed shots when I could as I was cooking. This was taken near the end, while the rice was cooking.

Post-challenge: Yeah, well, whatever. After seeing the top shots in this challenge, I guess I should have realized this is not Chowhound ... the "recipe" was a bit irrelevant to the voters. Guess I should've dumbed it down and taken a pretty picture instead. Cest la vie.

Rant off. :>P Thanks for the comments and views. I knew there would be some who didn't like the shallow DOF, and I had some deep DOF shots to choose from, but just liked this one better. I guess its just a matter of taste. Pun intended.

Paella Mixta
Heat a little olive oil in a wide pan (non-stick preferred) over medium heat. Cut 3-4 small boneless chicken thighs and a sausage or two (I used linguica, but any kind will do) into 3/4-inch chunks and brown in the oil for about 5 minutes. Remove to a platter. Cut a small firm fleshed fish filet (I used corvina) into similar sized chunks, season with sea salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and brown in the same oil (add a little more if you need to) until crisp and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove to the platter. Brown 6 large shrimp a couple minutes on each side, until shells turn pink. Remove to platter.

Now to make the sofrito, which is the flavor base for the paella. First add a little more olive oil to the pan and heat to medium. Brown 1 green pepper, cut into 3/4-inch chunks, for about 4-5 minutes til fragrant. Add about 1/2 pound of cut up squid or cuttlefish (I actually used frozen seafood mix) and continue frying for 5 minutes until liquid released. (I might omit this and use white fish instead for the sofrito base. Don't think the squid added a whole lot extra). Add 3-4 tomatoes (peeled, seed and diced) and 2 large garlic cloves (minced) and cook for about 10 minutes until fragrant. Sprinkle 1 generous tsp sweet paprika over top, stir to combine and cook for another minute or two. Sofrito!

Return the chicken and sausage to the pot, stir to combine again, then add about 5 cups of water, bring to a slow boil over medium high heat, then simmer for another 10 minutes over low heat to combine flavors. The paella will be quite soupy at this point.

After its simmered, sprinkle the broth with two healthy pinches of saffron (toasted in a dry pan before hand, if you wish), then add 1-1/2 cups short or medium grain rice and stir to evenly distribute the rice. DON"T STIR AGAIN FROM THIS POINT ON.

Add a dozen or more mussels or clams (or both) to the broth, then lay the fish and shrimp on top. Cook over med-high heat for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook for another 8 minutes. You're done! The liquid will be gone, the rice will be cooked, and (hopefully) it willl stick a bit to the bottom of the pan, forming a nice crunchy crust. Remove from heat.

To serve: place the pan in the middle of the table. Give everyone a plate and some silverware, and tell everyone to start digging in from the closest side. The paella will be quite hot, and retain a good bit of heat for a while. Serve with beer or wine, a crisp salad, maybe some bread.

Serves 4-6, depending on how much protein you use. For larger groups, you can increase the rice to 3 cups (and the water to 9 cups), but you need a pretty big pan (14-16 inches or bigger) to do that. You can cook the whole thing on a grill if you want, which works better with larger pans. (Simply drizzle the meat with olive oil and grill to brown instead of sauteeing it).

If you want, you can brown a few giant sea scallops in another pan while the paellas is cooking, then place them on top with the shrimp and fish. A lobster tail would be great too!

Place: 85 out of 134
Avg (all users): 5.2593
Avg (commenters): 5.8750
Avg (participants): 5.4490
Avg (non-participants): 5.1929
Views since voting: 864
Views during voting: 316
Votes: 189
Comments: 8
Favorites: 0

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 Comments Made During the Challenge
07/20/2008 08:40:47 PM
IMO, this is too little information contained in the image to bring me in to look around, technically a good photo.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/20/2008 08:23:43 PM
Would be more interesting if more was in focus IMHO.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/19/2008 10:51:11 AM
greater part of the image should have been in focus...good try
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/18/2008 11:01:27 AM
My 1/5 Spanish blood cries for this recipe! Lovely food shot and I am now officially starving! top ten finish for sure. 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/17/2008 07:40:11 PM
colors are great. I wish it had more depth of field
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/16/2008 09:48:36 AM
Wonderful detail on the shrimp and mussels in the forefront. Love that you practically filled the frame with this dish - it brings us closer to your subject so that we can savor the flavor:-) Lighting is absolutely wonderful illuminating your subject perfectly so that we can fully apreciate it. You did a great job on this 9.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/16/2008 05:00:20 AM
DOF is a tad too shallow, lights are a tad too blown, crop is a tad too close, border is a tad too bold. And where are the rice and vegetables? This looks rather like a bouillabaisse.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
07/16/2008 12:21:18 AM
very nice.. Looks like a food poster to me.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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