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Who wants a salad anyway on cold winter days?

By Chef Danie // 
  • The beginning of a new year is always an exciting time. We are recovering from all of the holiday gatherings, planning and food. It seems that at the beginning of every new year, most of us resolve to go on a diet to make up for our holiday indulging. That diet usually lasts until the middle of January, and then it is cold and we want comfort food. What if we could change our relationship with food this year and eat food that our body needs and wants? What if we never have to diet again? Eating foods that are good for your body doesn’t always mean you are eating a salad. Besides, who wants a salad in January and February? It’s cold and we want something that will warm our belly and not actually make it bigger.
    One of my favorite meals on a cold winter night is soup, and living here on the Gulf Coast we have a ton of fresh seafood year-round. I like to mix a little of my Italian heritage with some Gulf Coast flavor and do a Gulf Coast Cioppino (seafood stew). Soup is also a very healthy option and it always warms the belly without making it bigger.
    So here’s to making better food choices this year! Happy 2015!

    GULF COAST CIOPPINO
    ½ lb fresh gulf shrimp (21-25 peeled and deveined)
    1 c jumbo lump blue crab
    ½ lb crawfish tails
    1 lb fresh mussels or clams in the shell ( can substitute oysters but not in the shell)
    1 c white wine
    2 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
    6 leaves of fresh basil
    Fresh Italian parsley
    2 c tomato sauce
    1 c stewed tomatoes
    1 T granulated garlic
    1 T granulated onion
    Salt and pepper to taste 2 T extra virgin olive oil
    1 c chicken broth (recommend Swanson)
    In a large Dutch oven on top of the stove add olive oil and garlic on medium heat and cook for 1 minute.
    Add mussels or clams to pot and white wine. Cover and cook for 3 min. Chop parsley and fresh basil together and set aside. Uncover the pot and add salt and pepper to the open clams or mussels. Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes and broth to the pot. Stir and bring to a low boil. Once it has begun to boil, add shrimp and seasoning. Stir. Cook until shrimp is done or until it turns orange in color. Add crawfish, lump crab, parsley and basil and stir. Cook just until crab and crawfish is heated through (approximately 2 minutes). Discard any clams or mussels that did not open. If you are using oysters instead of the clams or mussels, do not add them until the end when you add the crab and crawfish.
    Serve with fresh French bread for dipping.
    Let me know what you think at chefdaniecooks@yahoo.com.

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