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Valentine's Day. The obligatory holiday from the Romantic Industrial Complex that compels everyone to spend money on cards, chocolate and overpriced surf & turf. Or you could stay home. A home-cooked meal far outweighs the experience at a dimly lit restaurant's less-than inspired prix fixe menu.

Thinking about what to do for dinner? You can't go wrong with this easy-to-make Italian-style seafood stew filled with fish, shrimp and mussels in a tomato-based broth. Don't forget to buy a loaf of crusty bread for dipping.



  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 medium white onion, diced

  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced

  • 1 28-oz can of whole tomatoes, hand crushed

  • 4 T tomato paste

  • 1 quart seafood stock or clam juice

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1 lb mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined

  • 1 lb firm white fish fillets, such as cod or sea bass, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 T Italian parsley, minced

  • 1 loaf of crusty Italian bread


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and saute for 10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 2 minutes.

  2. Add in tomato paste, hand-crushed tomatoes, seafood stock, white wine, salt and pepper. Stir and bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover pot and simmer until flavors meld, around 30 minutes.

  3. Add in mussels and stir. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes until mussels start to open. Add in fish fillets and shrimp. Cook for 5 more minutes until shrimp and fish are fully cooked. Season soup with more S&P to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle in fresh parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Bone Apple Tea, as the kids say.