tasty nom nom an exception to the daily meal


Here Fishie Fishie

Happy wet season, E!

While we were munching on raw fish last time, N was on the gulf coast of Florida catching live fish with his pop. He flew home with pounds of just-caught-and-frozen fish. Lucky us!

The week prior, I had turned on Bobby Flay Throwdown in the background while I worked on some code. The battle? Cioppino! I mentioned it to N while he was out of town, hoping the idea would take root. Success!

Cioppino is a family dish for N. I leave it all to him. This time his process was a little different than last time. For the cioppino base, first he sauteed onion and bell peppers in some olive oil, adding a bottle of white wine, garlic cloves, and a can of crushed San Marzanos. To that he added two different types of fish broth: one made with mussels and clams, the other with salmon heads and roasted dungeness crab bodies, salt, and bay leaf.

The last time we had cioppino, I thought it could use more tomato -- this time I thought it had a LOT of tomato and I loved that change.


Seafood wise, N used quite the collection.

60 minutes before serving: black drum, added to add some body to the soup
15 minutes before serving: clams, mussels
10 minutes before serving: re-steam the precooked crab
5 minutes before serving: large prawns (head on, at my request)
At serving: topped with a quickly pan-fried fillet of spotted sea trout he caught in Florida just days before.

While N did not use Bobby Flay's recipe from Throwdown, I did like one of Flay's details. Flay toasted slices of sourdough, spread them with anchovy butter, and placed them in the bottom of the bowls before ladling cioppino over them.

crouton with anchovy butter

So, I tried this too! I'm not sure it really added anything at the bottom of the bowl though it was nice on the side.

Cioppino is a lot of work to eat this way! After we cleared the table of crustacean guts, it was time to drink all! the! coffee! and game.

Oh, Settlers of Catan. Why can't the boys quit you?

With this starting setup, I managed to pull of a heavily-contested, come-from-behind win.

settlers of catan
the win!

You and N were neck and neck at 9 points for a few rounds. I was sitting back at 7. N takes his turn directly before my turn. He performs a few actions, then hands the dice to me and I start shaking them. As I drop them on the table, N says, "oh, I could have built two more roads!"

I replied, "you handed me the dice, too bad, my turn."

At which point I upgraded one of my settlements and built two roads, taking the Longest Road away from N, securing the win, and incurring the wrath of N, who said I cheated by not granting him the ability to continue his turn after he handed me the dice. Ouch!

Boris was nonplussed by all the game drama.

RA next time??!

Filed under: dinner review, games 1 Comment

That looks fishy

Hi J -

Cookery had a bye-week. G chose take out from I Love Sushi. His other choice was Novihos, I reminded him that N will be not join us this week and it may not be fun having us watch him eat... and eat some more.

After a large platter of raw and cooked fish, I wanted to try a new to us game - If Wishes were Fishes  BGG.

The first thing I noticed was the gooey texture of these worms. Ew. It's not often that board game parts feel ... well funny.

Creepy worms in tonight's game :)squishy worms

These squishy worm are used to bait the fishes in the ocean. There are seven kinds of fish, and ten wishes for each kind of fish. Each fish has a corresponding market, and there are four buyers. Moving buyers, thus getting extra bonus for the fish, is one of the wishes.

UntitledBuyers, in white, grey, and black, at the fish markets

We, the players, are fishermen with imaginary boats.

UntitledJ, trying to decide whether to use a worm

In each turn, our options are:

a) catch the fish from the ocean, bring it in the boat

b) throw the fish back (discard), and the fish will grant the wish

c) sell a fish from our boats to the market. The presence of buyers gives the fisherman seller a bonus.
*Once the market is full of fishes, the market is closed.

The bonus granted for the last fisherman to sell the fish before the market is closed,  and the fisherman who sold the most of that type of fish, seems to be good winning strategy. Hoarding worms also seems like a good idea.

Overall, this is a good filler game. I like the art, it is on the light-hearted-child style, reminds me of another Rio Grande filler game Bohnanza.

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The vine maples in the backyard have lost half their leaves. There is a crispy coolness in the air. Bright harvest moon lighted up the night. It is my favorite season - autumn. Dinner was my attempt to reflect these colours: first of the fall squashes and end of the summer tomatoes, along with a chunk of meat.

I have always had tri-tip and did not know until recently that it was not a common cut, outside of Cali. Last time G tried to get tri-tip, he came home with chicken. I marinated the tri-tip in soy, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger overnight. G grilled it simply with some mesquite charcoal. I wanted to try a blackberry red wine reduction. So in a saucepan went about 1/2 cup of blackberries in simple syrup, about a 1/4 cup of Malbec, a couple corners of star anise, bay leave, and springs of thyme, then simmered for a while. I strained and pressed the berries, returned the liquid back to pan, and very gently reduced to a syrup.

For the tomato cucumber salad, I added marinated feta and the flavored olive oil from July, to quartered small tomatoes. Quick pickled the small cucumbers and red onions in vinegar, sugar, and coriander.  Tossed everything all together just before serving.

For the starch, I peeled a sweet potato, yam, and acorn squash, tossed with the same marinated feta olive oil. Roasted at 450°F and sprinkled with purple sage. I learned from the Internets to blanch the squash quickly before peeling. It was much easier and I did not fear for my fingers, or body parts in the food supply.

Untitledblackberry red wine reduction on tri-tip

Sorry for rationing the tri-tip during the first serving, our timing was off. The meat needed more rest and the root vegetables were over done. It makes me sad to see the pool of juice.


This bad lighting of my plate reminds me I really should figure out our dining table's lighting situation. Oops.

After dinner, we managed to agree on Modern Art. Yay.

Untitledsupport your artists

After a practice round, G won by a wide margin. I have yet to figure out how to play this game. I lost track that only three artists scores at the end of each season. Bidding is not my strong skill, hence Ra and other auction style games eludes me.

Untitledleft one pizza un-made

Mama Mia! is always good to end the evening. Speaking for myself, the game is more fun when we don't have enough brain power to count and  reserve ingredients.

Shall we start the count down to Thanksgiving?