1. First we tried to watch "Rangeela." We really did. We just couldn't stand it, Aamir Khan notwithstanding. What did we eat? Hmmm, oh yeah, it was Baked Chicken with Herbs, Garlic, and Shallots again. Yum.
2. Next up was "Master and Commander." As Andy likes to say, this movie was long but boring. Thank heaven for subtitles! I still didn't know what half of them were saying even while I was reading it. It would have been impossible otherwise. Plus, I couldn't seem to forget that I've heard that Russell Crowe is a big jerk, so I had trouble concentrating on him as Jack Aubry. I made a pseudo-paella, which was pretty delish, but I can't call it real paella because it didn't have soccarat.*
2 lbs. chicken pieces
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/3 lb. chicken sausage
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup diced plum tomato
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
Preheat oven to 400°.
Sprinkle chicken with rosemary, salt, and black pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan.
Remove casings from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring to crumble. Add more oil if necessary. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rice, tomato, paprika, saffron, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover pan; bake for 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp, asparagus, and peas. Cover and bake an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp are done and most liquid is absorbed.
*Socarrat (soh-kah-raht, from the verb socarrar, which means to toast lightly) is the caramelized crust of rice that sometimes sticks to the bottom of the pan. It is the prize in a well-made paella. To get some, increase the heat at the end of cooking, paying close attention to the sound of the rice (it crackles) and the smell (toasty but not burned). After one or two minutes, poke around with a spoon; if you feel just a touch of bumpy resistance on the bottom of the pan, you've got socarrat.
3. Tonight was steak frites again (this is becoming a Saturday night tradition!), and "Unfaithful." A lousy movie, but good performances from Diane Lane and Richard Gere. The plot and script and character development were so lame as to make it almost a joke, though.