Friday, November 27, 2009

We're a Hot Mess and we're cooking for you

Hi All -
This kicks off the first official blog of HOT MESS cooking. This blog is a combined effort of my mom and me. Through this blog we are going to be sharing Healthy Outrageous Tastes with all of you by Mixing Everyone's Secrets Successfully. Yes, HOT MESS cooking and you better believe we have some secrets to share, generations and generations of them! We are also hoping to demonstrate that cooking, if done properly, can be more fun than going to a rock concert. Don't believe me? Stay tuned...

Could there be a better day to embark on a new adventure than Thanksgiving? I didn't think so and I happen to love my family's tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving on the Friday after. This leaves room for us to eat something decadent on Thursday without all the chaos of the entire family flying around, plus gives us an extra day of cooking and an excuse to avoid Black Friday.

This year we decided to cook Bouillabaisse because what could be better than a bowl full of lobster, crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, and oysters. I am a seafood enthusiast and my mouth started watering at the thought of all that seafood mingling in one place!

This year we had set up the table for dinner for 5 using my grandma's best china because somehow using her china brings her to the table even though she has been gone for over 5 years. As all good cooks know people magically appear as if the smells from the kitchen had beckoned them to the front door, or the back door if they are regulars. So just as we were plating the Bouillabaisse and serving it with the Rouille my aunt, uncle, and cousin came to join us. So dinner for 5 grew to dinner for 8. We all sat slurping up the seafood and the broth and using our bread as another utensil in order not to miss out on one single drop of the delicious broth and Rouille.

After dinner, the men were assigned the task of starting a fire as we four women cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes. As it goes, we women believe that cleaning as well as cooking, can be fun. So we turned on our favorite mowtown mix and began dancing while doing the dishes and putting them away. We all simultaneously began dancing together with plates, towels, and leftovers in our hands in perfect harmony. Okay it wasn't perfect, but pretty damn close. There was a sisterhood that spanned generations and we left all of our insecurities outside the kitchen as we danced and laughed together. My aunt summed up the spirit of the day perfectly as she said while holding a plate in one hand, a kitchen towel in the other and dancing the Charleston, "I love coming here," with a huge smile on her face. These moments are what I am thankful for this year.

Oh and my mom, she's thankful for chocolate and Bloody Marys on Sunday, and of course, the family and friends she is blessed with.

So please enjoy this recipe and each other and create magic in a bowl with this bouillabaisse. You won't be disappointed.

Bad Ass Bouillabaisse

5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 bulb of fennel chopped
1 white onion chopped
2 bay leaves
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups Chablis white wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
2 lobster tails chopped
1 lb. snow crab chopped
1 can of clams (with juice reserved)
1 lb. frozen shrimp
2 fillets of cod/firm white fish
Fresh or frozen oysters, scallops, and calamari can be added as well
1 teaspoon of saffron
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary chopped

Place the onion, garlic, fennel, rosemary, thyme, and saffron in a large soup pot with olive oil drizzled along the bottom. Sauté the vegetables until the onions are translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Then add the broth, white wine, canned tomatoes, reserved clam juice or fish stock, lemon and orange juice, and bay leaves to the soup pot to join the sautéed onions. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes and the flavors combine and things will start smelling happy. You'll know because you'll be happy too!


While the broth is simmering, use this time to shell all of your seafood. Make sure that the crab, shrimp, and lobster have been removed from their shells. Also, this is the time to prepare the Rouille.

Once the broth has simmered and flavors melded drop all of the seafood into the pot. You can use any seafood that is your favorite. I have listed our favorites above, but please feel free to have fun and use whatever you like best! Once the seafood has been added to the broth you have about 5 more minutes of cooking. The time is now to set the table because you are almost there!

Rouille

2 whole jarred roasted red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

To create the Rouille put all ingredients listed above in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. This sauce should be the consistency of a creamy spread.

Once the Bouillabaisse and Rouille have been completed, it is know time to serve. Place the Bouillabaisse in deep soup bowls and top with a dollop of Rouille on each bowl and serve with fabulous crusty French bread. The bread can be used as an additional utensil to sop up every inch of the broth and rouille. For a special treat, serve additional rouille in small bowls on the table so everyone can use their bread to enjoy the magic of this delicious creamy delight. Serve this with a dry white wine such as a Chardonnay or it pairs great with a light red wine. Our favorite light red wine is Chianti.


Mental Health Tip: This is a great meal that warms the heart and lifts spirits in the middle of a long, dark, and cold winter. My mom and I struggle through the cold and dark winter months. We often can't stand winter one more minute and begin researching relocating to a warmer climate. That’s when we realize that it costs a little more money than we have, okay a lot more money. So this is our substitute for a tropical getaway during the winter months. Let it be yours, too!
All love and cooking,

"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the Kitchen :)