Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and Father’s Day is just a couple days away. So in the spirit of appreciation for all the great papas out there, here are three lessons I’ve learned from my daddy 🙂
1. Love your family.
My dad’s independence is enviable, yet he’s never failed to be there for his family when we need him. Though I didn’t grow up in the same house as my dad, he was always been a strong and loving presence in my life. He has come to every dance recital, every play, every graduation, and every special event. Over the last few years we’ve been able to bond more deeply over our shared love of travel. In 2013 we spent a week in Spain, and just 4 weeks ago, a week in Los Angeles to visit one of my brothers (picture below).
My dad is also the beloved “cousin-brother” of his extended family. He’s the great guy who always shows up, and is the life of the party. Everyone loves and admires my dad. So do I.
2. Live life on your own terms.
My dad runs a high-stress company down south, yet makes time to travel, see his family, and enjoy life. I know he gets overworked (I can always hear it in his voice), but he seeks equilibrium and joy in a way I’ve only witnessed from him. When I think of people who are really living their lives, I think of my dad.
3. Tofu is great!
Okay, so I may not be the biggest fan of tofu, but thanks to my dad I have a great appreciation for it. He was raised vegan (as crazy as that sounds, it’s true), and has been eating tofu since he was a kid. Somehow he hasn’t tired of the stuff, and makes it almost daily! He scrambles and sautés it with turmeric, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, turning a humble old-fashioned food into a healthy yet comforting creation. I sometimes make it like he does when I need a taste of home. Don’t be afraid of tofu, y’all!
Thanks for setting a great example, Daddy!
I figured a vegan paella would be the perfect meal to make for dad this Father’s Day. Like I mentioned before, we spent a week in Spain 2 years ago, and––though we couldn’t find a vegan paella––this is the one I would have liked to have shared.
Inspired by the incredible paella my señora would make when I lived in Madrid during college, this paella is filled with hearty artichokes, meaty oyster mushrooms, caramelized fennel, and fragrant saffron. It’s pretty luxurious, and it is so very delicious. Though Spaniards traditionally use a white paella rice, I decided to retain as much fiber as possible (extra important for the dads out there) and use a medium grain brown rice. I promise that brown rice will soak up all of the delicious spices just as well as using paella rice. If your dad is a big meat fan, fry up some Field Roast sausage up and throw that in there too. That’ll make it a tad more authentic…at least from my non-Spanish point of view.
However you make it, make sure you add lots of love! That ought to be the number 1 ingredient, especially when it’s make for dad.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father figures out there!!
Vegan Fennel Paella
- 1 to mato diced
- 2 medium shallots minced
- 1 large fennel bulb tops chopped off, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 cups medium grain brown rice or paella rice
- 5 cups water
- 1 vegan bouillon cube 1/2 more if you like it salty
- pinch of saffron crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups oyster mushrooms chopped
- 6 oz jar of marinated artichokes drained
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
- Heat 1/4-1/2 cup water in a large skillet (with a lid) or a large heavy-bottomed pot.
- Add the shallots, tomato, and fennel to the water to sauté. Reduce the heat to prevent it from burning.
- Cook on low until the fennel has softened and starts to caramelize. About 10 minutes.
- Add rice followed by the water and bouillon cube. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and add the saffron (crush before adding), bay leaf, and fennel seeds.
- Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms.
- Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Stir in the green peas, artichokes, smoked paprika, and chili flakes.
- Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
- Remove from heat, and stir in chopped fennel sprigs. Save more for garnish.