Paella is one of those dishes that was always on my “to make” list, but I just never got around to. Honestly, I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a whirl. Chicken, spicy chorizo, shrimp, clams, white wine, saffron – all cooked together, with a hefty portion of rice acting as a bed to absorb all that goodness.

I love one dish meals to begin with. But, the flavor that comes out of this simple – yet sophisticated dish, is un-paralleled.

Yeah, I know it’s traditionally made with mussels. But, that’s something we don’t come by too often here on the Eastern Shore. They tend prefer rocky coastlines, and we have alot of marshy muddy coast here. That being said, I love this Eastern Shore twist of the littleneck clams. Juicy and tender – they add wonderful flavor to the paella. That I’m not so sure you’d get with mussels to begin with…

I’ve never had a paella pan (don’t believe in uni-taskers), but if you have a heavy dutch oven – you’re all set! The good folks at Le Creuset were so kind to send me this gorgeous Mariner Star Dutch oven a couple of weeks ago. I love it’s nautical look and feel, it looks right at home in my island kitchen.

Oh yeah, by the way – they have one to give away to one lucky reader! Details can be found at the end of the post.A quick sear of the chicken and chorizo, followed by a saute of onion and garlic. Tomatoes, wine, chicken stock saffron, and bay leaf create a rich broth in which the rice cooks, along with the chicken and chorizo, in the oven. The seafood is added for the last few minutes, so it doesn’t get overcooked in the process.

To attain the soccarat, or the crispy edge on the bottom of your paella, just takes a few minutes on the stovetop once the paella is removed from the oven. And trust me, it’s worth it. Don’t skip this step.

An easy garnish of a lemon wedge and some fresh parsley, a green salad, and a bottle of wine – and you’ve got a lovely meal fit for company!

Le Creuset has graciously offered to giveaway one of the Limited Edition Mariner Star 5.5 Quart Round Dutch Oven to one lucky reader. What’s your favorite thing to make in a dutch oven? Leave a comment telling us what that is, here on this post, to be entered to win. Winner will be chosen on February 10th at 12 PM, via random number generator.

Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Disclaimer: I received a 5.5 Quart Round Dutch Oven from Le Creuset for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream

Is anyone as excited for the Holidays as I am? We had a great visit with Jon’s family over Thanksgiving, and now I’m looking forward to getting the house decorated this week – and ready for Christmas! We’ll be going to get our tree this weekend, *squee*.

I couldn’t help but kick-start my excitement a few weeks ago when I was asked to develop a recipe for Eggland’s Best to celebrate holiday baking. Did you know that their eggs contain 25% less saturated fat than other supermarket eggs? Or that they are typically to the supermarket within 72 hours of laying? Impressive.

Anyways, the cupcakes. I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, which is as moist and chocolaty as it gets. Then I topped it with a delicious peppermint buttercream frosting, and garnished with pieces of broked up peppermint candies. They were nothing short of incredible! I loved the crunch of the candies with the smooth frosting. And they were so pretty to look at!

So if you’re looking for something to get you in the kitchen, and holiday baking underway before the cookie exchanges and whatnot start up – make these cupcakes. They’re fun and festive, and sure to please!

Eggland’s Best has also graciously offered to host a giveaway for our readers! I have a $25 Visa gift card and a coupon for 1 dozen free eggs for one lucky reader. What a great way to get started on your baking! To enter just leave a comment telling us your favorite holiday baking memory. Contest ends at 12/7/14 at 11:59 PM. A winner will be chosen by random number generator and announced on December 8th. US residents only, please.

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Congratulations to Carla, who had Comment #23! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Eggland’s Best, and as always all thoughts are my own.

New England Style Hot Dog Buns

There’s nothing quite like a homemade roll to put a hamburger or a hot dog on. I’d been making my own for quite some time now, and haven’t looked back since. A basic dough, rise, then shape and re-rise before baking. But, after receiving this New England Style Hot Dog Pan for Christmas from my mom, I have to admit I have a new favorite way of preparing my hot dog buns.

You make the dough, let it rise, then press it into the bun mold and let it rise. It’s then baked in the oven with a sheet pan on top, once browned is allowed to cool, then the individual buns are sliced – leaving you with an awesome bread-to-toasting ratio on  the sides of the bun.

Not only are they great with hot dogs, but also lobster rolls.  Or a fun Maryland twist, crab rolls – which are next on my hit-list to try once I get my hands on some good crab meat (as in, I pick it myself). These buns would definitely add a really nice touch to any 4th of July celebrations you may have going on.

To celebrate the 4th, and festive get togethers – my favorite linen company, Hen House, has graciously sponsoring a giveaway for a set of napkins perfect for you summer celebrations! 2 Bargello Navy (pictured above), 2 Devine Scarlet, and 2 Gracious Persimmon. I can’t say rave enough about their linens – I use them everyday, they wash beautifully, and the colors hold up so well. To enter, just leave a comment letting us know how your favorite ways to spend your time outside in the summer.

Hen House Linens

Want a couple of extra entries?:

Like Tide & Thyme on Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.
Like Hen House Linens of Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.

Contest will end Wednesday, June 26th @ 11:59 PM ET. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and contacted via email.

In addition, they’ve been kind enough to offer our readers a 10% discount now through July 19th. It’s a great opportunity to treat yourself to some new kitchen linens that will really brighten up your house for summer. Just use the code “TIDEANDTHYME” when checking out. Thanks so much Hen House!

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Congrats to Sarah, who had comment #21 – I love going out on the boat with the family. I think that’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer too. Take a picnic dinner and enjoy these linens!

Source: slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

Blueberry-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

For me, summer is here officially. There’s nothing that we love more than firing up the grill and enjoying dinner sitting at the picnic table in the backyard. Homemade BBQ sauce is one of those things that some people insist on cooking down for hours upon hours, so if you’re looking for that…keep looking. But if you’re looking for a super quick sauce that takes just a few minutes, that will be the star of any summer cookout or potluck this summer- look no further!

Naturipe had contacted me about participating in the Very Berry Month Of May celebration on their site. A chance to make something with berries? I’m always down for that! I chose blueberries, and ended up using them to create this awesome barbecue sauce. Blueberries are cooked down with a bit of honey and water, then quickly pureed. It’s then combined with basic ingredients to form an absolutely delicious sauce that’s great brushed on pork, chicken, or beef.

I love the purple-tint that the sauce has too – it really screams “BLUEBERRY!”. And it’s definitely there in the flavor as well. A bright fruitiness and change of pace from the traditional barbecue sauces I usually go for.

Naturipe has been kind enough to host a giveaway here at Tide & Thyme. This awesome KitchenAid 7-Cup Food Processor is up for grabs! Slices, shreds, chops – the perfect size for pureeing a few berries, shredding a block of cheese, or making a batch of homemade baby food! To enter just leave a comment below telling me your favorite way to use fresh, in-season berries. Contest will run through June 1st at 12 PM. I’ll chose a winner using a Random Number Generator thingy.

Food Processor Giveaway

Want a couple of extra entries?:

Like Tide & Thyme on Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.
Like Naturipe Farms on Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.

Also, make sure to stop by their site and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $500 gift card from Williams-Sonoma. I could think of a bunch of great ways I could put that to use in my kitchen – how about you?

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winner, Entrant #11 – Shanna! Thanks so much for entering, everyone!

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Disclaimer: I have been compensated for my time to create a recipe for Naturipe Farms. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.