Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Review of "Now You See Me" [40]

Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton
Minotaur Press, ISBN 978-0312600525
June 7, 2011, 400 pages

When Detective Constable Lacey Flint leaves her interview with a witness at a London apartment complex, all she is thinking about is getting in her car and driving home for the evening. And when she sees the well dressed woman leaning at the side of her car, at first she thinks the woman may just be looking for directions. That is until the woman turns around and Lacey sees that she has been horribly stabbed and in moments dies in Lacey's arms. At first, Lacey is just a witness, but when a journalist gets a letter from the killer, a letter that points out the similarities between this murder and the murders of Jack the Ripper and a letter that mentions Lacey by name, it is clear that her involvement is much deeper than just a haphazard coincidence

Of course, when we discover that Lacey wears what is almost a disguise to work, to make herself as plain as possible so that she will go unnoticed and that she keeps an 'escape' bag in her apartment, a bag she can grab if she must leave the life she has been living at a moments notice, we know that something else is going on. Lacey has a secret in her past and it is a secret she has worked very hard to keep that way. We don't know what it is...and we will not be fully sure what it is until the very last pages of the book...but the journey to discover her secret and how it ties in to these murders..because there will be more murders...will be a very entertaining one.

While I am not a particularly great fan of stories about Jack the Ripper, in this book the author has done a great job at tying together the historical story, with many facts about the murderer's tale that I never knew, together with a great modern day story, weaving it all together into one very good  mystery. It is full of all sorts of twists and turns, clues that will having you suspecting just about everyone in the book, with Lacey at the head of the line. Still Lacey is a great character and the reader can't help but like her, so  she can't be a murderer...can she? Best of all, just when you thing you may have finally figured it out, Bolton throws in just one more, final surprise.
Excellent to the very last page!

I have not read any of Ms. Bolton's other books...she has written three, Sacrifice, Awakening and Blood Harvest...but after reading Now You See Me, they will certainly be on my list.

My thanks to Library Thing Early Reviewers and the publisher for a copy of this book.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...On To Athens

On what was a more quiet day in the city.
We will start at the Acropolis..



 always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Musing Monday...Storm the Barricades. Maybe This Afternoon. Or Tomorrow.

Let's check out this week's question from  MizB at  Should Be Reading ..

This week’s musing asks…

Have you ever read a book that inspired you to take up a cause? What book was it, and what is/was the cause?

Have I ever read a book that inspired me to take up a cause? Ok, I thought and mused and mulled...and my answer is....nope, not that I can remember.
I must admit that I wish I could say that I have. First, that I read books like that and second, that I have taken up a cause.

But no, I admit it. I read for pleasure. I read for escape. I read to relax. Certainly books, even the books I read can sometimes be inspiring...but honestly not enough to make me actually do something.
I will even be so honest as to admit that at this point in my life I don't even want to read books that are too challenging.

There are some bloggers out there that read and reviews book that are a bit out of my usual field of picks. Non-fiction, history, political tomes, science..and I think to myself "Wow, that sounds like a lot of work!" ;-)
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want silly books, totally mindless books. I want interesting, complex characters and interesting plots. Yes, they made deal with important timely issues, social issues and hopefully I might even find them enlightening and thought provoking...but in a non-threatening way. Not enough to make me put the footrest down on the recliner.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Boys Go To The Beach

Last year, Bandit went to the beach. This year is Sammy's see if he can swim! Swim...or sink!


Oh, at least my buddy Bandit is here now too!
Hey, I can swim!

Does anyone have a blow dryer??

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Cooking... Tandoori Chicken

I like chicken as much as the next person, but let's face it...sometimes it gets a little dull. Well, here is a recipe that is pretty easy, keeps the chicken tender and juicy as it cooks, is quite tasty and is a little different than my usual fare.

It comes from the folks on Holland America Cruises and their Culinary Arts Center, just one of the many activity on the ship to keep passengers amused between Bingo and when the bars open. Sadly on this cruise, due to all the ports we stopped at, we were ashore almost every day and I only had the chance to attend a couple of their presentations..last weeks Baklava and this week's Tandoori Chicken. I may have to break down and buy one of their three cookbooks.
I will say that while the recipe is quite easy, pretty much just dumping all the ingredients in a bowl, it did have me pulling a lot of spices out of my spice cabinet!

Did i make any changes? Well, they call for 2-3 cloves of garlic and I must admit I probably added about 5 or 6..because I like garlic. I also sliced my chicken breasts horizontally, making two thinner pieces from each which I though would cook quicker on the charcoal grill without burning...which worked very well.

 Tandoori Chicken

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp. clove
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
1 TBS. honey
1-2 tsp. curry, preferably Madras
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except chicken. Stir to combine. Remove 1/3 cup of marinade and set aside as a sauce for final assembly.

Pour the remainder of the marinade over the chicken, stir to coat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, at least 20 minutes, or as long as overnight.

Grill or indoor or outside grill. basting with marinade or under broiler, basting, for about 4 minutes per side or until done.

Remove from grill or boiler, let sit 5 minutes and serve, whole or sliced, topped with reserved yogurt sauce and a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Winner! Winner! Winner! has spoken and the winner of The Girl Who Disappeared Twice is...


You might notice that she was the very last person to enter yesterday evening, so it is never too late!
Congrads to the lucky winner. Just respond with your mailing info and the folks at Mira will have it on the way!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Review of "Kisscut" [39]

Kisscut by Karin Slaughter
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0688174590
September 3, 2002, 352 pages

It starts as just a nice Saturday night. 
Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver wants to spend the evening with his ex-wife Sara Linton, who he has started dating again, at the skating rink. Then he steps outside to take a phone call and into the midst of a nightmare.
A young girl is holding a gun on a teenage boy, things escalate and Jeffrey is forced to shoot her to save the boy's life. It is a terrible thing, the thing of nightmares, but as the police start to investigate why she would have done this, things just get worse, worse than they ever could have thought at first. Starting with the dead, dismembered newborn that Sara, a pediatrician and the county coroner, finds in the skating rink's restroom.
The first thought, that the girl had given birth to the child and went to kill the boy, the father, proves not to be possible...for reasons that I will let you read yourself. 

This is the second book in Slaughter's Grant Count series and all our favorite characters from the first book are back. Besides Tolliver and Linton, front and center, a witness to the shooting and leading in the investigation, is Detective Lena Adams, herself the victim of a horrible crime in the previous book Blindsighted. If you have not read the previous book and are not aware of what happen to her, don't worry, because she is far from over it and we will soon share most of the details again.

I will warn you the subject matter of this book is strong stuff. Some reader will like that but some may not, but if you do, no one does this sort of story better than Slaughter. Personally, I though it was a very good plot, fast paced, one that had a number of revelations that took me by surprise...and OK, one that totally did not.  But I will forgive that, because the action is non-stop from the first page.

The characters are always interesting, if not always totally likable. Which points out one problem I have with this series. The center character of these books is suppose to be Sara, doctor extraordinaire and love interest of Chief Tolliver. On the other hand Lena, deeply flawed, walking on the edge, occasionally out of control Lena, is her foil. But the problem is, I don't like Sara and keep hoping the Chief wise up and drop her (although I know he will not). On the other hand, I think Lena is, by far, a better character, far more interesting and even more likable. Sara dislikes Lena and makes no secret of it, but I assume we are suppose to understand why. I just think Sara is often a nasty piece of work. This is one scene in this book where Sara, in her normal self righteous, know it all mode, says something to Lena that is incredibly mean and hurtful. But Sara is sorry, because as she tells herself, she is not a mean person, so I guess it is suppose to be OK. Really?

Well, a mix of good and bad folks makes for an interesting story and Kisscut is indeed that!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...Split, Croatia

We leave Venice and travel down the coast to the lovely seaside town of Split....

 always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Review of "Murder in Mykonos" [38]

Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger
Poisoned Pen Press, ISBN 978-1590585818
January 10, 2009, 288 pages

For most people, to learn that they were going to Mykonos, the lovely Greek island, would be good news. Beautiful blue Aegean, full of restaurants and shopping, beaches and nightlife, it is a huge tourist destination. But for homicide detective Andreas Kaldis, it is a punishment for stepping on the wrong, politically connected toes in Athens. Now he is the new Police Chief on the island and if anything, the political toes are even more numerous. The name of the game on Mykonos is tourism and no one, not the mayor, not the old families with all the power, want to hear anything that will negatively effect the view of the island as a safe and fun destination.

When the dead body of a young woman, a tourist who disappeared some weeks before, is found hidden in one of the tiny churches that dot the countryside, it is bad news. The fact that she was buried alive, that it appears to be some sort of ritual killing, is even worse. The fact that her body is resting on the bones of the bodies of other young women that have been murdered over recent years will be a disaster for the island when it gets out, evidence of Greece's first serial killer. And as much as they say that they want to find the killer, the locals would also very much like to keep this all quiet if they can, even as the number of suspects mount. But when another girl disappears, the niece of a prominent Greek politician, a young woman who fits the killer's physical type to a tea, that seems impossible. Especially if she too turns up dead, something Andreas Kaldis will do everything in his power to prevent.
Not that Chief Kaldis is too concerned about the political consequences...after all, that is how he got there in the first place.

From the very beginning of the book, the author surprises us with a bit of misdirection, and it will not be the last time in this quite engaging story. The story is told from several points of view. At times, the story is told from the perspective of a victim, at times from the very twisted viewpoint of the killer. But mainly it is told through the eyes of Chief Kaldis, an appealing character, smart and clever, even if he is not above some suspect intimidation and a little strong arming. He is assisted by veteran homicide detective Tassos Stamatos, from headquarters on the island of Syros, a man who bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the investigation, and someone who knew Kaldis' father, something that adds an interesting dynamic to the relationship. Mykonos may look all clean and whitewashed on the exterior, a vacation paradise, but we get a glimpse of a much seedier and more dangerous side of the island as well. And it all leads up to a great ending with a twist that I admit I never saw coming.

Mykonos was one stop in my recent Great Eastern Mediterranean Cruise and I must admit that I enjoyed recognizing a number of places mentioned, both on Mykonos and the nearby island of Delos where I spent one very windy and fascinating afternoon. I think the author, who I read lives on Mykonos for part of the year, gives a realistic if not always flattering view of the island, beautiful yet inhabited as is everyplace, by less than perfect people. He also gives some interesting glimpses into the historic and mythical past of Mykonos and Delos that brought back some fond memories from my recent trip but I think would be just as interesting for those only visiting in their imagination.

This is the first book in a series featuring Kaldis and I admit that, after finishing this book in one day, I am already reading the second,  Assassins of Athens , on that handy tool of those with no patience, the Nook.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Musing Monday...The Written Word or the Silver Screen?

So, what is this week's question from  MizB at  Should Be Reading ..

This week’s musing asks…
Do you like movies made from books? Which ones do you think have been done well — kept mostly to the plot of the book, etc?

I like movies, but I love maybe my answer is a little prejudiced.
I think in almost every case a good book, a great book, that is made into a movie will fall short.
To me, it is just logic.
No movie can contain all the good stuff that is in a book. The character development, descriptions of the settings, all the interior conversation...not even all the plot in a fairly good sized book. How long does it take to read a book aloud? 10..15...20 hours? and you are going to fit all that in a two hour movies? Of course not. So things will be changed, left out, glossed over and the best you can get is, maybe, a lesser representation of the original book.
It maybe still be an enjoyable movie, but can it be as good as the book?

One example I remember someone giving me of a great movie made from a book is The Godfather. Great movie, no question. Based on a popular book..but it really a great book? I can't say, I never read it, but I have to wonder.

So maybe, the only time it really works well is with a not so great book. A bloated book, a good that should have been edited with the Big Red Pen, may actually turn out better when the film folk get their hands on it.
Or the film makers may take the general idea of a book and turn it into their own creation, loosely based on the facts of the original book. It may be a great movie but the connection to the book gets a little loss.

If at all possible, and I see that a movie based on what seems like an interesting book is coming out, I would try to see the movie first...then read the book. the other way in my experience is just asking to be disappointed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekend Cooking...A Study in Baklava

I like Baklava as much as the next person. It is something I have eaten from time to time, but not necessarily something I seek out. But in Turkey, in Greece, you are surrounded by the dessert. So, of course, I felt compelled to do a bit of an investigation, to seek out the best. I only did it for you, my dear readers. Really.

Did I find it?

Well, I am not sure it is the world's best, but it was the best we tasted.
When we were in Istanbul, we hired a private guide. She took us to a place that sold rugs (oh, that is another story...), the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia...and her favorite baklava bakery, where she bought us several different varieties to try. They were excellent, tender and delicious, sweet and not overly syrupy. And maybe eating them as we negotiated the streets of exotic Istanbul helped the flavor.

They were not the only good baklava we tasted.
In fact, they were all good.
But the other that sticks in my mind is the one we had after dinner at a harbor side taverna on the Greek island of Mykanos. We had had some excellent appetizers, some grilled meat, a wonderful patter of grilled shrimp, squid and a whole fish and then ended with the rather unusual rolled baklava you can see pictured below. Delicious..but rather labor intensive looking.

Again, I may have been influenced by the location. A couple of beers, overlooking the beautiful harbor, whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets, children playing at the edge of the blue Aegean Sea. Yes, it may have, but I still think it was delicious.

I have not made any baklava since I have been home. It might have something to do with the fact that yesterday was the first day that I have been off work since I have returned home. But I will leave you with a recipe that sounds pretty easy, a recipe that I got from the Culinary Arts Center on our cruise ship. Of course the chef had that completed one the shelf under the counter to take out and share at the end of the lesson..delicious.


  •  1 of phyllo dough, thawed
  • 6 oz. pistachio nuts
  • 6 oz. pecan
  • 6 oz. walnuts
  • 4 oz. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 4 oz. water
  • 3 oz. honey
  • 2 oz. orange juice

Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and preheat oven to 350F

Combine nuts and grind.
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest.
Boil honey and sugar mixture then add orange juice.
With about 1/3 of this sugar syrup, bind the nuts.

Layer 12 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing butter between each sheet.
Spread the nuts mixture on the top sheet then top with another 12 sheets of phyllo, again brushed with butter between each sheet.

Refrigerate, then cut the top into individual portions. (yes, before you bake it)
Bake at 350F degrees until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

Pour the remaining syrup over the hot baklava, cool completely, re-cut and serve.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...Ancora a Venezia

 always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Musing Monday...Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep...

Let's check out this week's question from the desk of MizB at   Should Be Reading ..

This week’s Musing asks…

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?

Well, folks, we have discussed my slightly unusual work schedule before, a schedule that make this question a bit difficult for me to answer. I mean, really, when is Night?

Half the time I am working, it is at night, 6 pm to 6 am. And yes, as I have mentioned, I usually spend some of that time reading. So I could say I stay up every week! But that is not the point of the question, is it? No, when did I read a book that I liked so much that I stayed up reading it past the time I should have been asleep? And my answer would be...I can't think of one. Which it is not to say I have not read some books recently that I really loved. Because I have. It is more that I take my sleeping rather seriously. If you have to get up at 4:30...AM or PM...and work 12 hours, you can not be staying up reading. Especially when you have to get in your car and drive home after that 12 hours. I have been doing this long enough, more than 20 years, to know it is not worth it for me. Really, I could be reading the best book I have ever read and I would probably put it down and shut off the light when I look at that alarm clock.

Now, I will admit, my day off is another story. I have been known to spend most of my entire day off reading, in my PJs no less, even though I know I have a list of things I should be doing. I think when I was recently read Purgatory Chasm, a book I like a good deal. But when that happens it is more about what book I happen to be reading at a certain time in my work schedule that the quality of the book.

For me, it is all about the sleep!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekend Cooking....Roasted Chicken and Farfalle Salad

Oh, yesterday was a hot one, a record 104 degrees at my office. This is NJ, not the deep South, not Texas. It is not suppose to ever be 104!

Now, I don't know about you, but when it gets hot, all thoughts of cooking seem to me like a bad idea. At least any cooking that involved heat. So, there I was, wandering around online and saw this recipe for
Chicken Pasta Salad on My Recipes and one without a heavy mayo based dressing. Instead, it had a much more refreshing sounding citrus based dressing, a touch of sweetness with the grapes, some crunch with the celery and nuts and the always comforting pasta. Now, I happened to have some roasted chicken breasts in the frig, but you could easily use a rotisserie chicken too.

As always, I made a couple of small changes. I had no walnuts but I did have pecans, so pecans it was. And I had no rice vinegar, so I used the red wine vinegar I had on hand. I figured the amount was small enough it would not make a big difference and I do not think it did. Also, after reading comments on the website, I made 1 1/2 times the dressing the recipe called for and kept the extra to be able to add a bit more if it seemed dry the next day.

I must say I was a little concerned about a few of the ingredients, like the mustard and the grapes and the nuts, but really it all blended together very nicely, no one ingredient standing out too much. Very tasty and I think even nicer the next day when everything has had a chance to all meld together even more.
I served mine on a bed of baby spinach leaves for a very nice lunch or dinner, quick and easy, one pot, one bowl and pretty healthy.

Roasted Chicken and Farfalle Salad

6 servings (serving size: about 1 2/3 cups)

3 cups uncooked farfalle pasta (about 8 ounces)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 2 breasts)
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup thin diagonally cut celery
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Cool completely.

Combine orange juice and the next 7 ingredients (orange juice through rice vinegar) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk to combine. Add pasta, chicken, grapes, celery, red onion, walnuts, chives, and parsley; toss gently to combine.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Review of "The Girl Who Disappeared Twice" and a GIVEAWAY! [37]

The Girl Who Disappeared Twice by Andrea Kane
Mira, ISBN 978-0778329848
May 31, 2011, 400 pages

SHE COULDN'T STOP IT. NOT THEN. NOT NOW. If she'd only turned her head, she would have seen the car containing her daughter, struggling to get out. Struggling to escape her kidnapper.
Despite all her years determining the fates of families, veteran family court judge Hope Willis couldn't save her own. Now she's frantically grasping at any hope for Krissy's rescue. Her husband dead-set against it, she calls Casey Woods and her team of renegade investigators, Forensic Instincts.
A behaviorist. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A former Navy SEAL. Unconventional operatives. All with unique talents and personal reasons for being part of Casey's group, they'll do whatever it takes.
Able to accurately read people after the briefest of encounters, Casey leads her crew to Krissy's home. There, she picks up the signs of a nervous spouse, a guilty conscience, a nanny that hides on her cell. She watches as secrets beg to creep into the open.
Forensic Instincts will dig through each tiny clue and eliminate the clutter. But time is running out, and even working around the clock, the authorities are bound by the legal system. Not so Casey's team. For they know that the difference between Krissy coming back alive and disappearing forever could be as small as a suspect's rapid breathing, or as deep as Hope's dark family history. 

I must admit that when I first started reading this book and found out about this group, Forensic Instincts, it sounded like a bit of a gimmick. A bit too much like an adventure movie. Well, as is so often true, I was wrong. What it is is a great setup for a great book series. At least I hope so, because I would certainly be up for reading more about their adventures and finding out a bit more about these individuals. I certainly love police procedurals, but it is fun to read a book where those investigating the crime can follow a few more interesting paths.

This book has it all...a good plot with any number of great suspects, good characters, a little romance and even a little run in with the mafia. It is very well written.
Ok, I figured out the "Bad Guy" before the end, ok, well before the end, but it was still great fun figuring out how it all worked out. And it really says a lot for me that even though I had figured out who the kidnapper was, the book still held my attention until the last page.
A good, entertaining read!

And even better folks, due to the kind people at Mira, one of you can be the winner of your very own copy.
The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada.
Just leave me a comment.
If you are a follower, leave me a separate comment for a second entry.
The contest will run through 6/23, 11:59PM EDT, when I and the folks at will pick a winning number.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday..We Start In Venice



 always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Musing Monday..These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things.

What is this week's question for the desk of MizB over at  Should Be Reading ..

This week’s musing asks…
Where is your favorite place to read?

Well, I will tell you where is not my favorite place to read.
On vacation.

I have mentioned this before, but I rarely read on vacation. I just got back from a delightful two week cruise. A lovely balcony to sit on, a comfortable chair, beautiful views. It should be ideal. And on that cruise I read one book. One book. On the other hand, my SIL who, with the Bro, were on the cruise with me, read 6 books.
I tried, without success, to get her to write a review or two for my little blog.
No go.

So where do I like to read? I have mentioned that I read a lot at work when I work the night shift. The wee hours of the morning, when things are quiet, are a fine time to get a lot of reading done, but I will admit it is not my favorite time or place to read. At 2 a.m. I would rather be at home, asleep, as would any sane person.

No, my favorite place to read is....
At home in my recliner. I like to have my feet up when I read. Not fully reclining like in bed, which just puts me to sleep. It is a balance between comfort and TOO much comfort. A footrest of some sort, a hassock, will do. Maybe on the couch, sitting up but with my feet up.
But nothing beats a nice recliner! A cup of tea, in cool weather a little comforter, good light, feet up, a good book.

Can't beat it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Cooking... Easy Paella

Let me be honest up front.
I have not made this dish yet.

But I saw it online the other day and was very interested. If I was not going on vacation any minute (or am on it when you read this) I would have made it.

See, I love paella, but I suffer from paella fear. It is similar to but unrelated to my fear of yeast. A burnt, sticky mess or hard, uncooked rice..I see a lot of possible problems. A couple of years ago...yes, a couple of years ago...I received a paella pan for Christmas and have not used it yet. I read any number of recipes online, and they all seem so complicated. But this one, from Chef MacGregor Mann, from Amada in Philadelphia, seems so much easier and especially since it is cooked in the oven rather than on the cooktop, more foolproof.

Hey, before I get back, why doesn't someone make it and tell me how it turned out?! I would appreciate it!
fuzzy...and not mine, but Chef Mann's

Chicken Paella

  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 bunch parsley, stems removed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup jarred baby artichoke hearts, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2¼ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound fresh Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 small onion, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 cup calaspara or Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup fresh or frozen peas
  • ¼ cup jarred piquillo pepper, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces shredded cooked chicken (about 2 cups)


1. Make the parsley salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with the parsley, onion, vinegar and artichoke hearts. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Let stand at room temperature while you make the paella.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Remove the stock from heat, stir in the saffron, cover and set aside.
3. In a large, heavy skillet or paella pan, combine the olive oil, chorizo, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and the chorizo begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and mix to coat the grains completely.
4. Stir in the reserved chicken stock, peas, pepper and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until the edges are golden brown and the rice is cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Top the paella with the parsley salad and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.