I invited the girls over to do a Twitter Wine Tasting for The Divining Rod Wines.  Check out the post.  The wine tasting was a lot of fun.  As with most of the dinners I create, I always try be thoughtful about what the menu will be.  I had enjoyed great paella a few weeks ago so that thought would be a idea for a main course and I happened to have my own a paella pan. For starters I found this awesome recipe for an Antipasto Salad.  Full of vibrant colors, fabulous textures and wonderful flavors, this dish was a huge hit for something so simple.

Antipasto Salad
Found on Food Network  Prep time: 30 min.  Serves 6

1/2 pound green beans
1/4 cup sliced Spanish olives
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup cubed provolone cheese
2 cups cubed salami
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


Fill a large bowl with a handful of ice and water. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the beans and cook until tender but still crunchy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to cool. Drain beans on paper towels, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

In a large serving bowl toss together beans, olives, red pepper, onion, cheese, and salami. In a separate bowl whisk in order, the red wine vinegar, sugar, oil and black pepper, to taste. Pour over salad, toss and serve.

I have made this Paella dish numerous times and it’s always a hit.  The recipe doesn’t call for mussels, but as I love them and I know most of my dinner guests also did, I added them to the recipe.  The special key to how amazing this paella tastes is absolutely the Saffron.  I add a touch more than the recipe suggests.

Seafood Paella
Found on All Recipes  Prep time:  1 hour.  Serves 8


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
1 pinch saffron threads – I add about 2 threads
1 bay leaf
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
2 lemons, zested
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound mussels