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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gluten Free Cioppino

There are some things I can’t do, because they are impossible.  I can’t flap my arms as fast as I can and fly.  No matter how hard I try, can’t do it.

There are some things I’d like to do, but can’t.  I can’t peel an egg.  Oh, every once in a while I get a pristine peeled egg.  But in general?  No.  And please don’t tell me you have an easy way to peel an egg.  I’ve watched every video known to mankind.  I’ve soaked them, I’ve rolled them, I’ve cracked them in the pot, heck, I've even cracked both ends and tried blowing it out.  Got a mouth full of shell on that one.  The fact is, no matter how hard I try, can’t do it.

Then there are some things that I’d like to do, but just don’t have much time for.  This blog is one of them.  Most of the second half of last year, I worked on the weekends…much as I did this weekend.  I mean, I get it, sometimes you gotta work weekends.  But I worked nearly every weekend.  And as much as I like my job, and don’t mind working a few weekends here and there, my mind became mush, and the last thing I wanted to do after sitting in front of a computer working seven days a week was to then to sit in front of a computer and write.  No matter how hard I tried, couldn’t do it.

And of course, my cooking suffered as well.  Well, I shouldn’t say suffered.  I should say it was nonexistent.  Because, after having a mushy brain, all I wanted was to stare at the television.

But until this weekend, I hadn’t worked weekends in a while.  So I thought, “I want to cook.”  As long as there are no eggs I need to peel, because…can’t do it.


I love soup, especially on a cold winter day, and although this has been a pretty good winter so far in New England, the past few weeks have been brutal.  So, a bowl of soup was just the right thing to make.

The soup I made is adapted from a Rachael Ray cioppino recipe called “A Fine Kettle of Fish.”  I’ve made it before, and it is pretty easy.  The most challenging part for me is making sure I used the kinds of fish Cathy will like.

Put ¼ cup of olive oil in a large pot, and add in crushed red pepper, garlic, a bay leaf and two or three anchovy fillets.  Yes, anchovy fillets.  They break down and give a salty flavor to the dish, as well as adding a “depth of flavor” to the dish.

Then add a couple of ribs of celery that are chopped, along with a chopped onion, and cook until softened.  Add some white wine, let it reduce for a minute, and then add a 16-ounce can of chicken stock, a 32-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, some thyme and some parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, uncovered.

Once the soup simmers, you can season and add the fish.  I added tilapia and cod.  Both are firm white fish with a mild flavor that I knew Cathy could eat.  After five minutes, I added some scallops and some shrimp, covered the pot, and gave it a good shake.  That’s so the fish won’t break up.  After ten minutes, and a few shakes later, I ladled it into some bowls, and added some chopped parsley for some color. 

It was everything I like in a soup.  Bold flavor with a little bit of heat from the crushed red pepper, with different textures from the different kinds of seafood.

As for calories, each bowl was only 337 calories, 12 grams of fat, mostly from the olive oil, 18 carbs, and 36 grams of protein.  A perfect low fat meal for a winter’s day.