Cooking my way to happiness with Rachael Ray

Cooking Venetian-Style Cioppino on Christmas Eve

I was not in a very good mood this morning as I ran last-minute errands because my Christmas Eve deadline was fast approaching and I felt like I was behind in everything.  It seems like at every holiday I go thru a lot of trouble just to make sure everyone else has good food and a good time.  It’s easy to forget to enjoy it yourself, too.

It would have been really easy to skip cooking with Rachael Ray today but that means I would again put off something that I enjoy.  I am really trying hard to not let my joy disappear because I am just too busy with everyone else’s needs. Today I am making Cioppino, a sort of fish stew.  I was excited for a new adventure.

I cheered up the second I started grocery shopping.  I am cooking with fennel today, a produce item I have not ever tasted.  I would have to describe it as tasting and smelling a little bit like licorice.

As I buy a pound of mussels the lady behind the counter says “make sure you take the lid off when you put them in the fridge so they don’t suffocate.”  What?  Not only am I buying produce I have never tasted but I’m also buying live animals.  I just have to laugh.

The recipe didn’t list garlic in the ingredient list but used it in the instructions.  Luckily I have tons of garlic on hand.

It is Christmas eve so I spurge on good shrimp only to learn from mom that you don’t remove the tails when you cook with the good shrimp.  Apparently you pay more to have the tails on and for the experience of deveining it yourself.  Worth the money?

After cooking with mom all week in her kitchen, she is now in mine and is complaining the whole time. ” I can’t believe you are cooking that Christmas Eve.  We have plenty of food”. She doesn’t like mussels and we usually just have appetizers so this is a break from tradition for her, she’ll get used to it.

Saffron reappears on my ingredient list, too.  If your following this blog you remember the whole saffron ordeal.  Long story short, saffron is practically the most expensive spice in the world.  It is also difficult to find.  That is where your fellow desperate housewives can help.  It turns out that my friend Amy has some in her pantry that she had bought while she was traveling.  This seems sort of like a desperate housewife drug trade.  I picked up two pinches worth in a baggy from her house. I feel so special to have it in my presence and she didn’t even charge me for it,  love ya Amy.

Dinner was not difficult to make, is full of high quality ingredients and white wine.  My kind of meal! As I cooked, teen Tyler and favorite daughter Kayt actually tasted the fronds from the fennel (the leafy green part).  Tyler spit it out, Kayt liked it.  I was just thrilled they were trying it.

I bought really great focaccia bread to soak up all the juice and had the whole extended family was over to try it.  It was the hit of the party!

My kids now know they love mussels.  Really, wow!  If I had not cooked Rachael Ray today these moment would have never happened.  This is the true joy of cooking.  Everyone gave it a 9.5 or above.  I think I will make it every Christmas Eve.

And guess what, one of my presents tonight was my very own cast iron skillet.  Rachael cooks in a cast-iron skillet all the time so this is a dream come true.  Mom says it will outlast me.  Well we’ll just have to see about that!

What will tomorrow bring?

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  1. * Tiffany Kopp says:

    WOW! That’s the word to describe this Fab meal and it was totally Fab and I will definitely be adding this to my “favorite to make recipes”. It inculded all my favorite ingredients and more that I had never experienced. The flavors combined on my palate like a sunset on the beach with a great bottle of cabernet. FYI to all that read: This meal would be a hit for a New Years celebration with a fresh loaf of bread and EVOO with balsamic, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt and parmesan cheese. Your special bottle of wine or bubbly and throw in a dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake! Thats my plan and I’m sticking too it!!!! Way to go Tracy!!!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 2 months ago

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