she who keeps this diary

19 January 2006 - 10:03 AM

Kettles of Fish

No news on the Viking's job search. He's had interviews, but no call backs yet. *sigh*

I have made some small progress on the planned 'can I cook from Rachael Ray's cookbooks for 2 weeks?' project. It may boil down to 14 meals rather than 2 weeks, but it's a start. In his now copious free time I had the Viking sit down with the books and some sticky notes, and mark things he thought he'd like to eat. He came out with more than 14 meals and feeling particularly enthusiastic about the Everyday Cioppino from 30-Minute Meals 2, so this Saturday we went to the local fish market and I made the stew and accompanying salad for dinner.

It was pretty good. The recipe calls for cod, but that's not locally available as fresh fish, so I used flounder instead. There's a degree to which firm white fish is firm white fish, and personally I like flounder better anyway. I was somewhat uncomfortable with the effect of the anchovies in the base, but I am biased against anchovies anyway. The Viking, who is not biased against anchovies, thought it was great. I might try using clam juice in place of the chicken broth (or in conjunction with chicken broth) next time and see if I don't like that better.

The sea scallops also didn't quite do it for me, mostly on textural grounds. Sea scallops are big, and quartered so they're easily eaten with a spoon, they kind of blended in with the flounder chunks. Sort of an 'Oh look, another white lump' thing. Maybe smaller bay scallops would be better. The Viking also suggested the use of crab meat in season in place of the scallops, which is definitely worth trying.

It took me somewhat longer than 30 minutes to make the whole thing, from unwrapping the fish to ladling into bowls, though that was partly because it was a new recipe and partly because my kitchen is poorly designed for cooking. Who the heck designs a kitchen without counter space? But that's not the fault of the recipe, and I can see how in a better organised second try it might actually come in at 30 minutes.

I'll see if I can't try out another recipe this Saturday.

verso - recto

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