Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rice with mushrooms, seafood and artichokes (1st DC Challenge)

The count down is over, i can finally blog my first Daring Cooks Challenge. Thank you very much Robert . . An Alaskan Cook's Exploration of Food and Technique for inviting me to join this wonderful group. It's been few weeks since i joined The Daring Kitchen and I'm loving it already. I can't wait for next months challenge!

This month's (August) host is Olga Olga's Recipes . Olga chose a Spanish recipe by José Andrés, Jose Made In Spain "Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes". Thanks for the recipe, this is a delicious dish, definitely a keeper.

I love the sofrito and intend to use them w/ other recipes, i'm thinking using them w/ pasta and seafoods..will see. As for the allioli, i opted for the traditional recipe and it came out really good. The Allioli really complimented the dish but must be used sparingly, learned it after putting a lot on my first serving.

Some of the ingredients

I did some substitutions on my version of the dish.
1. I used mixed seafoods.
2. I used shrimp stock.
3. I added colored bell peppers.
4. I used mixed mushrooms.
5. For the sofrito, i sauteed my garlic and onions first then pureed them, i'll specify the changes in red.

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4):

•4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or freezed if fresh are not available) Used the brined artichokes and added more veggies- tricolored bell peppers.
•12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello) I used mixed mushrooms.
•1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
•1 glass of white wine Used St. Julian White Wine-Michigan Wine

•2 Cuttlefish (you can use freezed cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh) I used mixed seafoods coz i had them in the freezer.
•“Sofregit” (see recipe below)
•300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices. I used Nishiki (Sushi Rice)
•Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice) I have lots of shrimp stock
•Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder) Used Saffron
•Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) - optional It's a must in my opinion.


1.Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2.Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3.Cut artichokes in eights.
4.Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5.Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6.Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7.Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8.Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
9.Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10.Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat. FOR THIS STEP IT'LL DEPEND ON WHAT KIND OF RICE YOU ARE USING.
11.Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12.Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13.Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

The Dish in the making

Sofrito (pureed)

Sofregit (a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times
different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

•2 tablespoons of olive oil
•5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
•2 small onions, chopped
•1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
•4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
•1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
•1 Bay leaf
•Touch of ground cumin
•Touch of dried oregano

1.Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft. I SAUTEED THE GARLIC AND ONIONS FIRST THEN ADDED THE REST OF THE VEGGIES
2.Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)



Allioli is the optional part of the recipe. AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, IT'S A MUST. You must choose one of the two recipes given, even though I highly recommend you to try traditional one. Allioli is served together with the rice and it gives a very nice taste

Allioli (Traditional recipe) I MADE THIS
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.

•4 garlic cloves, peeled USED MORE
•Pinch of salt
•Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
•Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

1.Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2.Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
3.Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4.Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5.Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
6.Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.
José's tips for traditional recipe: It's hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don't give up. It's worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you're adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.

Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes

•1 small egg
•1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
•1 garlic clove, peeled
•1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
•Salt to taste

1.Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
2.Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
3.Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
4.Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
5.If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
6.Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
7.The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
8.Add salt to taste.
José's tips for modern recipe:
(1) If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.
(2) What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don't throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

Olga’s Tips:
1) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.

2) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
3) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.

4) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.

5) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.




  1. Great job and congrats on your 1st Dc challenge :) I also think that the allioli is a MUST with this dish! Cheers :)

  2. Congratulations on a first DC Challenge VERY well done! Your photos and the dish itself turned out beautiful and mouth watering! Glad Robert encouraged you to join! Welcome!

  3. Hi, Anula thanks! We enjoyed this dish. Can't wait for the next challenge.

  4. Hi, Lisa Michelle. Thanks! I'm glad Robert did! Can't wait for next month.

  5. Homerun on your very first try. I should have had you make my allioli. I kindly call mine de-constucted.

  6. Robert, it was a bit laborious making the allioli the traditional way..i'll have to switch hands while pounding and grinding the garlic.

  7. Wow, I'm impressed! This dish seems really labor intensive but you came through with flying colors! Looks wonderful. I've heard of the daring bakers and was considering joining but haven't done it yet. I would dare join the daring cooks--I'm not brave enough--LOL!

  8. Thanks, V! It seems like it is but really it isn't. The sofrito can be a do ahead part and can be kept in the ref for days. Thanks to Robert, i am a proud member of The Daring Kitchen...come on join the group already, i'm sure Baking challenge will be easy for you! See you there okay?!

  9. Erin from Long IslandAugust 14, 2009 at 9:37 PM

    I am so proud of you Pia! This looks amazing! Did you try both ways with the aioli? I was curious which way was tastier.
    I really appreciate how you showed the original and your own recipe and the photos, of course, are gorgeous!

  10. Congrats on your first challenge and the results are superb. Wonderful pictures especially the "tomato sauce". Good to hear that you enjoyed it so so much. Hope you have many more happy challenges. Cheers from Audax in Australia

  11. Wow your paella and cooking photos are gorgeous. I also like how you highlighted your changes. For your first challenge you did a GREAT job. This time around I did the chunky style of sofregit but normally I process it like you did. I look forward to seeing more of your challenge results.

  12. Wow! Your paella look delicious!
    Love your step-by-step photos.
    Congratulations on your first challenge!

  13. I love your blog! Your paella looks GREAT!

  14. Thanks, Erin! I only made the traditional one, the modern version was my back up incase the tradtional will not work. I was happy that my aioli was successful on my first try, i didn't have to do another batch or get to try the other version.

    Hi, Audax, thanks! I'm glad that i did join this group of talented people. I like that i feel welcomed right away. 'Til next challenge. Have a wonderful day.

  15. Thanks, Dandelion. I'm doing the sofrito again and this time i'll leave it chunky as well. I look forward to the next challenge.

    Thank you, Isa. Can't wait for the next challenge.

    Thank you very much Sylwia!

  16. Yes it is cast iron. It's a vintage piece. Made by Copco years ago. The designer is Michael Lax he did a lot of danish style designed pots and pans. I love it! It really holds the heat. It's a little different than making Paella in a thinner pan. I have to watch the heat and remove it sooner so that it doesn't burn. I use this over a wood fire and coals normally, but I couldn't see buying a new steel pan just to try it over the burner or in the oven. I have lots of vintage pieces. They just don't make cookware like they used to.