Wednesday, February 1, 2012


January has been a cold one.  We hit -50º F for the first time in 6 years.  It's bad enough that it is so dark and cold, but to break cold records is really not anything anyone wants to do.
One of the joys of retirement and my new job is the time and temperature sign across the street.  I see it from my window.  Every day about 11:15 I check the temperature and get so much satisfaction out of the fact that I'm not doing indoor recess duty or if it is -19º or warmer, outside recess duty.  Kids in Fairbanks go outside for their 30 minute recess until -20º.  One of my friends said they have had indoor recess for 24 days now.  I think my co-workers got tired of me announcing the time and temp. every day with the comment "It's 27 below, I don't have to do indoor recess duty." or "It's 18 below, I don't have to do outside recess duty."
My husband complains every evening about the fact that he has to bring wood in for the wood stove. (I guess it is kind of like his recess duty!)  I'm sure it gets old, bundling up, going outside and carrying several armloads of wood.  He usually does it twice a day.  I felt sort of sorry for him, so I planned a nice warm Cioppino.  I don't eat bi-valves and I don't really like shrimp, so I made the soup base, cooked the fish, scallops and clams separately, then put the fish in the bowl and covered with the soup base, then added the scallops and clams to his bowl.  We rounded the meal out with a crisp salad and warm crusty bread from the oven.  It was heaven.  Now that I warmed him up, he can go outside and bring some wood in.

adapted from Cooking Light, January 2012


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup organic vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 (35-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) yellowtail snapper fillet, cut into 8 (1-inch) cubes
  • 4 sea scallops (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 medium peeled and deveined shrimp (about 5 ounces)
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 1 minute. Add garlic; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine and next 5 ingredients (through tomatoes); cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
2. Sprinkle snapper and scallops with black pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add snapper and scallops; cook 90 seconds on each side or until golden brown. Add snapper, scallops, shrimp, and clams to broth mixture. Cover and cook 4 minutes or until clams open; discard any unopened shells. Stir in parsley and lemon juice.

I used a can of diced tomatoes with basil.  It is what I had in my pantry.  The soup was a little thicker than a traditional Cioppino because of it.  Drain the tomatoes for a more broth-like consistency.

I cooked the fish separately due to food allergies and my aversion to bi-valves.  It was easy to do and would be very doable for a family where kids could build their own bowls with a selection of seafood.

I used Halibut for our fish, you can use any white sustainable fish you like.

February 1, 2012     Daylight  6 hours,  51 minutes,  56 seconds     Current Temp. -25 º F

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