It was like summer camp, only without the archery, macramé, or nature wedgies. I worked dawn to dusk on an 8 x 80 foot wall in some seriously hot weather, but I got it done, and made a little time to work on the labyrinth too. Dinners are communal, and prepared on a rotating basis, so I busted my ass to be able to contribute on Thursday. Anthony went out and procured all the necessaries, so I made paella for the crew- having remembered to bring my pan with me. Tom- who took the picture below- was incredibly helpful with preparations and a damn fine guy to talk to as well. I felt bad for those on dishwashing duty, because I characteristically dirtied pretty much every pot and surface they have. Outdoor kitchen or no, I can make a mess.
It was pretty straightforward- a shrimp shell broth with onion, carrot, and herbs- lots of saffron plus the shrimp in the rice, with peas from their excellent garden- and clams and mussels to finish. Time and a couple of pescatarians combined to keep sausage and/or poultry out of the mix. The rice expanded to fill my pan, so I steamed the bivalves in the pot with a bit of broth in it, then dumped the accumulated liquor into the rice to finish it before serving. So the shellfish were on the side, with a gazpacho (tomato, red pepper, cucumber, zuchini, onion, citrus, herbs) appetizer, papaya/avo/onion/cilantro/lemon/orange salsa, and salad to round it all out. And wine. I brought up a bunch, and we poured much of it: three rosés (all French) and then a 1997 Teófilo eyes Ribera del Duero (I LOVE THIS WINE BUT IT WAS MY LAST ONE) and a Thackrey Pleiades XVI.
Good times. And it’s good to be home now.
From left to right: Brace, Anthony, Paul, and yours truly drinking rosé out of a jelly jar.