Ah, Spain! Warm Mediterranean breezes, siestas in the middle of the day…okay, so I’ve never been to Spain. In fact, I’ve never even left the country! Ugh, lame! Man, I need a vacation. It doesn’t matter who you are there is nothing like getting away from the routine of everyday life and experiencing something new. Alex and I would love to do some serious traveling. Honestly, if I could, I would live in a different country every year. How amazing would it be to immerse yourself in Italian, Irish, or French culture for a whole year? (I hear there is a lot of gluten free awareness in Ireland.) But the reality is…that’s not going to happen any time soon…or ever.
So how do you break up the norm? Keep your enthusiasm and a sense of adventure? If you would have asked me that a year ago I probably would have told you lots of great things that all would have begun with the word “I”. “I need…”, “I want…” Yes, taking care of your own needs and wants is very important – I absolutely need some time to myself to pray, to read, to workout, to get lost playing the piano, to think, to just sit still and breath. Now, however, I think my answer would also include serving others. There is so much joy, and self-fulfillment when you help others fulfill their needs and wants. It seems like a counterintuitive notion doesn’t it? But I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of selfless service and no matter how you slice, service is key.
So even though I hope to one day, I won’t be going to Europe in the near future. I can, however, keep my passion, adventurous spirit, and excitement for life alive and encourage my kids to do the same. Dream big. Hope. Aspire. Work for it. Until we get there though, there is one way to experience a taste of it. Eat it!
So last night we visited Spain …at least during dinner (gluten free, Food L’amor style!) Fancy right?! No, this wasn’t a dinner for two. I wish! This Spanish Pork Paella has a easy going mild, all-around, tasty flavor and the kiddos liked it too. Even without the peaceful siesta’s and ocean breezes it was perfect!
Paella is just the Spaniards version of comfort food using meat, veggies, and rice. There are a ton of different ways to make it and you could still call it paella. So here’s my gluten free version…
4-6 boneless pork rib chops, patted dry
3/4-1 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. gluten free capers
1 bell pepper (green, red, orange, or yellow), seeds removed and chopped
5-8 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
*a few saffron threads if you got em’
1 lemon, quartered
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
parsley to taste
2 cups brown rice, cooked
Dump tapioca flour into a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and turmeric and gently stir together. Dredge the chops through the tapioca mixture until they are completely coated. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat, add garlic until it starts to sizzle, then lay your chops in. You just want to brown them on both sides. If they’re still not done in the middle that’s okay because you’re going to poach them in the broth in just a minute.
Once they’re browned on both sides pull them out and set the on a plate. Now add in the chopped bell pepper (any color you have), mushrooms and capers. Pour the chicken stock in and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the good stuff up. If you have saffron threads put just a pinch in. The tapioca flour will help to thicken the stock slightly. If you want it thicker then you can mix 1 tbsp. cornstarch with 1/4 cup reserved stock. Mix it in and it should thicken as it boils. Once the stock is bubbling, put the chops back in and let them simmer on medium-low heat for 5-8 minutes or until they are cooked completely through.
Serve over cooked brown rice with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped parsley, and walnuts sprinkled on top. Gluten free, savory, yet light and fresh! Make it look fancy for a special occasion or make any night special and take the whole family on an adventure…at least for dinner!