A Vegetable Paella for Spring Cleaning

How does your stuff manage to expand? Enjoy this paella as you figure it out and clean it out.

by Karin Duncker • More.com Member { View Profile }

It couldn’t have been me. I don’t have that big a place — just 800 square feet — and other than a penchant for amassing fabulous footwear, I’m fairly conservative with my purchasing habits. Seriously, my face won’t be showing up on the next installment of “Fun with Hoarding” any time soon. So I’m flummoxed by the fact that I’ve managed to fill three large hefty bags with crap since starting process of purging before my big move, and I’m still filling! So if I didn’t buy all this sh…er, stuff, who did? There’s only one explanation: the Crap Fairy.

Under cloak of darkness, the Crap Fairy enters my home and begins her fiendish work, filling my small apartment with more stuff than I’ll ever admit to buying. Take that stack of cooking magazines over there. She doesn’t just plop a few extra on top. No, that would be too easily spotted. Instead, she sticks them in between the one or two (dozen) I’ve purchased, wedging them tightly. Everything looks neat and tidy, and her dastardly doings are only noticeable when you decide to move cross-country and have to pack all your crap. She uses the same trick with t-shirts. The crap fairy observes your habits and just expands upon them. New t-shirts, the ones with no stains, not stretched out, those she pretty much leaves alone. She knows you are in them almost every day, and to place a few more in the pile would draw suspicion. Instead, she focuses on the stack of “work out” t-shirts. You know, the ones that are no longer fit for proper company, so you put in the closet with your workout gear. Who cares about that tea stain you just can’t get out when you’re all sweaty, no one. Same for the “sleep t-shirts,” “cleaning t-shirts” and “dirty-job” ones. CF just loves messing around with those. She’s pretty cheeky with cd's and books too. You know you’d never have bought that Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch album, or anything by Jackie Collins; yet, there they are. Crap Fairy strikes again!

Well, I’m three big garbage bags down, and will probably fill several more before I’m through. And I think I’m putting locks on my closet doors in the new place. Because I have a feeling it won’t take long for you know whoto find my new address.

What’s the perfect meal after a day of purging your crap? Something I can make with what’s at hand because there was no way I was going to do any more shopping! That’s exactly how this Spring Vegetable Paella came about. The bones of this are from my simple chicken paella recipe, with the spring vegetables I had as the star. You could easily make this version vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for chicken, leaving out the chorizo and adding a tablespoon of olive oil to cook the sofrito. It is also extremely adaptable as far as what vegetables you want to use. I would have added asparagus into this too, but I was too lazy to run out to the market to get some.

Spring Vegetable Paella

Serves 4-6

4 ½- 5 ½ cups chicken broth

A good pinch of saffron threads

2-3 oz Spanish chorizo, sliced into thin coins (this is a hard sausage – don’t use the soft chorizo in casings)

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ onion, grated on the largest holes of a box grater

1 medium tomato, halved and grated and the largest holes of a box grater

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

1 ½ cups frozen artichoke hearts (and/or 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces)

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

½ cup frozen edamame (or if you are lucky enough to have fresh or frozen shelled fava beans, use those)

Zest of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Lemon wedges

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