Tuesday, August 30, 2011

GFG's Cioppino, or Use (Up) What You Have Tuesday

That's right, cioppino!  Not familiar?  It is so amazingly yummy- there's a restaurant here in town that I adore that does a great cioppino- if you're ever in KC go to the Bristol downtown- it will blow your mind!  Anyways- it's a tomato based seafood stew, usually with shrimp, mussels, clams, fish, lobster, etc.  But I would not be the GFG if I actually made something the way it was supposed to be made.  Didn't matter- this came out great and all in all was a very inexpensive meal (except for the fennel, why oh why does fresh fennel have to cost $3.99/lb!?!?!) that will last for several days, enough to feed five or six.  I had a half empty bottle of two buck chuck sauv blanc in the fridge that was about to go bad, a half empty can of tomato paste, and a 3/4 full bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer that I just could not stand looking at for one more day- I don't even want to tell you how long it had been in there.

Yum right?  Not what mine looked like- but you get the idea!
GFG Cioppino
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, and juice
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp salt, plus sea salt to taste at the end
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, plus a bit more at the end
32 ounces fish/seafood stock (this was actually sort of hard to find which I thought was weird, thankfully WF had it)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (TJ's $2.99 Sauv baby!)
Roughly 2lbs fish- whatever you want- I used frozen shrimp and frozen skinless boneless mahi mahi.   Mussels, clams, salmon, lobster, all would be delish.

Heat oil in a large pot and then add in onions and fennel and salt- saute over med-high until translucent.  Then add in garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for another two minutes.  Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes and juice, wine, stock, and bay leaf, and simmer.  Cover for 30 minutes to reduce.  Then add in fish.  I put my frozen fish directly into the stew.  Season to taste with additional salt/red pepper flakes. I am in love with WF's 365 Sea Salt I just got- I know I am way behind on this one- everyone's been using sea salt for ages and I've been living under a rock.  Anyways- it's great stuff. 

It was very simple and tastes like an expensive dish you'd pay $30 for at a restaurant.  Will be even better tomorrow.  Served with a plain baby greens salad.  Baby S enjoyed the mahi mahi!  Nice evening and I'm so glad to have used up some of those items.  I absolutely hate wasting food, don't you???  And we don't compost, so I feel extra horrible throwing stuff out, which is why I almost never do.  I really need to just buck up and start composting instead of talking about it. 

This meal was also extra extra special because it was my first I cooked on my new range!  MKG and GFG's third wedding anniversary appliances were delivered and installed yesterday, after much deliberation, consternation, and unfortunately many additional unforeseen expenses (plumber, electrician...) but now it's all a distant memory because...
...I'm in love!  Ok so I've only used it once- but it was big.  We switched over from a junky electric range that took forever to heat up and had uneven temps, this was like, a revelation.  The pot actually got hot!  It got hot fast!  Oh my goodness, it was so fun to use.  I need to read the manual though.  Not quite sure how to use the oven.  It's got a convection feature too which I need to read up on.  And check out the dishwasher!
Yay!!!!!!!!!  Our old dishwasher, well can you really call it a dishwasher if it doesn't wash dishes?  I think it just washed itself, and got the dishes dirtier.  Bowls and plates would come out dirtier and filmier than they went in, and silverware had a mysterious tinge to it.  Clear glass was no longer clear.  Ugh good riddance!  We did a lot of shopping around and read online reviews endlessly- in the end we purchased everything from Factory Direct Appliance and I'm so glad we did.  The dishwasher was way on sale because it was last year's model, and the range was on close-out as it was the last one they had.  We scored big time and I was able to get a professional grade range for cheaper than I would have paid for an entry level gas range at Sears.  For reals!

I'm totally smitten, and grateful that MKG and I were able to upgrade these appliances.  We are so fortunate to be able to do these things, and I'm so lucky to have a sweet husband that cares about this kind of thing.  I'm thrilled we see eye to eye on this stuff.  But it's tough- I decided that my family, and my nutritional health was going to be a top priority.  That decision comes with a lot of baggage.  You have to be prepared to spend a lot more time, and more money, than you were probably accustomed to.  I know I know, produce isn't that expensive (except for said $3.99 fennel) and there are so many farmers markets, we've all heard it.  But when you eat a lot of produce, and when you seek out natural, clean foods with as few additives as possible, it starts to add up.  Almond Flour? Please!  That stuff is expensive!  Nuts are expensive too, and protein isn't cheap either.  Some proteins are, beans for example, and eggs, and believe me those are major staples in our house.  Besides the expense- there is the additional time commitment.  Making meals, prepping meals, cleaning up, and oftentimes, going to three, maybe four stores to get everything you need.  It's a lot of effort.  Is it worth it?  A million times yes.  To go to bed feeling clean and healthy and knowing you just nourished your loved ones well.  That you are doing your absolute best to keep them healthy.  It's incredibly rewarding.  But like everything else, you make sacrifices.  We don't eat out, practically ever.  We don't spend much on ourselves, and we don't spend much on S either- we don't have a house full of toys and a closet full of clothes.  And I don't have a lot of leisure time, and what time I do have I prefer to spend either outside at the park or taking a walk, or in the kitchen cooking.  That's partly due to having a 1 year old and a full time job.  But we make our own choices, and do the best we can.  I chose to make healthy eating a way of life, and it really is a lifestyle in every way, affecting your every move.  Is it too much?  I wonder.  I know this weekend at S's bday party everyone will be nudging me about S having bday cake.  It's just a little, what's the big deal, a little bit won't hurt her, etc etc.  Am I crazy?  Or on Sunday, when I ran into the grocery store down the street and was temporarily revolted when I looked in the lady's cart in front of me in line, and saw nothing but pudding snacks, potato chips, soda, ice cream, cereal, and a bunch of other junk.  And then I realized- gross I'm judging, and that is NOT OK.  I'm trying. I need to do better.

I think we're all accustomed to spending a fortune at Whole Paycheck though.  What do you forgo so you can keep on spending $4 for fennel at WF?  Mani/pedis?  A new car? Vacations?  Admit it- you gotta cut somewhere!  Bikini waxes haha?!  Or maybe your home phone line?  I just canceled ours.  Pennies equal dollars right?

1 comment:

    our kitchen colors scheme is really similar to yours.

    granite, white cabinets and stainless.

    I LOVE IT.