Saturday, June 26, 2010

Crazy Cioppino, Cedar & Cypress

What's up with all the C's? First off I'm back home after a foray into the wilds of Florida. I'm cooking the tomato sauce for cioppino and the smell is intoxicating simmering away on the stove. A few weeks ago in the frozen section of Sam's Club I found a bag of mixed shellfish and seafood and immediately thought of making a seafood soup. Strictly speaking I think cioppino has fresh shellfish in the shell, but I like to experiment so I've made up my own recipe; let's call it Crazy Cioppino.

Crazy Cioppino

2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
1 large shallot chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
3 cups of water
1 cup of dry red or white wine
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 bay leaf crushed small
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
couple of pounds of mixed shellfish & fish pieces

Saute the garlic and shallots in the olive in a large stock pot till translucent. Add the canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water and turn the heat up to high. Add in the rest of the ingredients and when it's just about boiling turn down the heat and simmer. While the pot is simmering, you can post to your blog, like I am now.

What? You want to know how it tastes in advance. I've made up thousands of recipes and they've all been good. You'll just have to trust me on this one. After simmering at least two hours add in your seafood and cook about 10 to 15 minutes till tender and serve immediately in your favorite cermamic bowl.

Driving back from Chiefland, (there's another C for you), where I visited a private sawmill, I was in heaven smelling fresh cedar shavings and some beautiful cedar and cypress wood I picked up. I needed some wood with character because I have several mixed media pieces using wood and ceramics I'm working on. More about that later.

While we were in Chiefland, we decided to visit Manatee Springs. These are different springs than I mentioned in a previous post. These springs feed the Suwanee River. There are wonderful bald cypress growing along the banks and their knees are pushing up through the damp soil in search of air.

That's it for now, I've just got to get into the studio to see what I can do with the ceder and cypress wood, after I have a second helping of that crazy cioppino. See how the sauce is a brownish red, rather than pinkish red, that means it's simmered just enough to meld the flavors. Oh boy is it good! I just know there are lurkers, oops, readers, out there; please make some comments, I'd love to hear what you think and have an opportunity to know about you.


  1. Linda, I read you every day; love your wit and intellect. I am allergic to fish and seafood but yes it looks yummy. I could make with chicken maybe or some sausage.Keep those Florida stories coming. I love your pin cushion pots.. maybe your best yet!!!

  2. Hi Joan, thanks, I was wondering what happened to you, thought you must be at some bead shows on the West coast. Try it with chicken, heck even just rice or a pasta, this sauce is really easy and tastes so good, so rich and tangy but not hot. Thanks so much about the pots; wait till you see what I have coming up, the pieces of wood I picked up today are wonderful. Thanks again Joan, hope you and Lana are doing well.

  3. Oooh...that sounds so yummy! Thanks for the recipe. I think I'll try that this week.

  4. Yumm, sounds like you've had a week of good smells! I'm off to see what seafood I have in the freezer and give your recipe a try.

  5. oh- one of my favorite food to eat.
    i have never met a seafood stew that I did not enjoy.
    And doesn't it all taste better in a hand made bowl?

  6. Hi turquoisemoon, thanks, it is so good even better the next day.

    Hi Alison, thanks, seafood or anything would be good in the sauce.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, it does seem to taste better in a hand made bowl.

  7. Hi Linda, it was lovely of you to leave a comment so I could find your blog....I am always amazed at the ability of ceramists and potters to see a humble lump of clay and draw out the most stunning objects of beauty, your white bark sculpture on the right is just stunning, cheers katherine

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  9. Hi Kathrine, thanks about the bark sculpture and thanks for stopping by I love visiting your blog, such fresh ideas and wonderful photos.

  10. Hi 許紀廷, thanks for stopping by.

  11. Your not so crazy Cioppino looks wonderful and things that look that good are usually quite delicious. I also loved the photo of the cypress tree. It will be interesting to see what comes out of your studio as a result of your trip. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  12. Yay, a new recipe, I can't wait to try this, it sounds delicious. I may wait until some of my tomatoes in the garden are ready and sub those for the canned.

  13. Hi Mary, thanks, it tasted even better the next day. The photo of the cypress tree, I might think about having that blown up and mounted on canvas. It has that dark dusky feeling like an oil painting. I have a couple of ideas mixing clay and wood, hope they turn out.

    Hi Lori, thanks, fresh tomatoes are so much better. Years ago I used to can 30 quarts of tomatoes each year and they definitely made the best sauce. I saved my tomato squishing machine and canning supplies, maybe I'll use them again some day.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment