- Date: Friday, December 31, 2010 -- 7pm
- Location: Westerville, OH
- Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companions: Dave, Karen H, Brad, and Deniz
- Recipe Rating: B
My special gentleman's family likes seafood more than most people in my life, so I made this fish stew as part of New Year's Eve dinner at their house. I started by making some croutons by slicing a baguette, brushing the slices with oil, and toasting them in the oven. Once they were toasted I rubbed them with garlic cloves and set them aside. I then cooked a live lobster by plunging it into boiling water. My special gentleman cracked the boiled lobster into pieces. I cooked tomatoes, onion, and garlic in oil, then added peeled, cubed potatoes, fennel fronds, bay leaf, saffron, sea salt, and pepper. I added fish stock and brought it all to a boil. I reduced the heat and simmered until the potatoes were almost cooked, then added 2-inch pieces of halibut and cod. I stirred in the lobster and cooked the stew for a few minutes. I stirred some of the broth into the rouille (see post below). I then put croutons in each bowl and ladled some soup on top. I served the soup with the rouille on the side. I was a pretty indifferent about this soup. It did have halibut in it. I love halibut. There aren't too many types of seafood that I get seriously excited about, but halibut is one of them. We served halibut as one of the entree choices at our wedding. That's how much I love it. So the halibut was delicious. The rest of it? Eh. I could take it or leave it. I hate, hate, hate putting toasted bread on the bottom of a soup bowl and pouring soup on top of it. The bread instantly becomes soggy, and hence disgusting. The Book is very big on the soggy-bread-in-the-soup method and I just don't get it. Plus, this soup was already served with soggy bread sauce (aka rouille), so why did we need more soggy bread? We really didn't. The flavor of the soup was fishy (as one would expect). The fish flavor from the fish stock drowned out some of the other things I was hoping to taste, like the fennel. But it wasn't bad. Nobody had anything terrible to say about this dish, nor any particularly high praise for it. It was a decent fish soup, which I am unlikely to make again.
The recipe in The Book is similar to this one, but the one in The Book doesn't call for clams or mussels.
Only 43 recipes left to go!
Nothing makes you realize how much you work like having someone visit that you want to spend time with. My mom was here this week, and at the end of every day I thought, "I wish I had had more time to spend with my mom." That's not to say that we didn't do anything fun -- we did. We watched the Super Bowl, we had some of my friends over one night, we went to the MSU/Penn State basketball game, we went out to eat a couple times, we did some shopping, we watched a movie... But most days I left for work before my mom woke up and there were several nights when I was still working (although at least from home) at midnight. And I did a lot of multi-tasking -- when I was "watching" the Super Bowl, I was simultaneously writing midterm exams. It was a busy week. On top of the usual stuff, I was giving exams in both my classes. Between writing the exams, grading the exams, and helping nervous students prepare for the exams, it adds up. With just one class (or several sections of the same course) it is pretty manageable, but this term I am teaching two classes that are very different from one another so it was a significant amount of work. I also had research-related deadlines/meetings/goals for the week that contributed to the busyness.
This coming week, I think, is going to be significantly less busy. Looking at my calendar, it seems like it will be a piece of cake! I am hoping to have a productive week and not put off a long list of tasks for the weekend (like I usually do!) because Mike and Tim are coming to visit. They will be here next weekend and I am already scheming about what kind of crazy Book dinner we will make... Sweetbreads are definitely on the menu, and I have been thinking about making some snails too (plus some beef, so that we have something to eat if everything else is too unappetizing!). Fun! Speaking of Mike, it's his birthday today. Happy Birthday to Mike, who is always willing to cook and eat crazy shit from The Book with me! That's a sign of a good friend!