So... did anyone know that I am 1/4 Spanish?? Yup... its true--I can claim Hispanic on "check the box" race forms! My grandfather on my dad's side was born in Spain and then immigrated to the U.S. when he was in his early 30's (I think?). Plus my dad served his mission in Spain and growing up we would learn about the culture from my dad's mission experience. Growing up, I wasn't exactly proud of being Spanish. I don't even know if there is a big enough number for the times I was teased and called Mexican or expected to speak Spanish. I'm not Mexican and I don't speak Spanish. I didn't really like my maiden name and was so grateful when I got married and it became a normal, English/ American name! Anyway... that is not the point of this!
We would always celebrate 3 Kings Day and my dad would often make Tortilla de Espanola for us. We always called it a Spanish Omelette (it is like an omelette but has cubed potatoes in the egg batter... and it is not folded over on itself --wiki explains it pretty well!)
But this past weekend, we had the opportunity to enjoy a real Spanish feast. We drove up to my parents' home and learned so much about our heritage. The table was set with several dishes all stacked on top of each other. Each course would use a different dish and when you were finished with one course, the plate or bowl was simply removed and then the next course would use the next dish down.
The main course was Paellla. Casey and I have fallen in love with this dish and I imagine we will make it time and time again! :)
My dad taught us that paella was a poor man's supper and it would be made on a beach. The paella pan is a shallow, large-diameter pan (it is kind of like a wok). They would build a large fire (or use hot coals) on the beach and cook it there with what was available. They would use large varieties of vegetables and many combinations of various meats and fishes. Shellfish would often be used because it was easily available. This is kind of like the Spanish version of a large BBQ. (Note: we did not go to a beach or build a huge--illegal--bonfire. We simply used a large fry pan on the stove!)