Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grandbury weekend

Mike's side of the family gathered in Grandbury TX this weekend and had a great time......

Who wouldn't want to shop in a town decorated like this:



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cioppino style soup with lentils

I was watching Bobby Flay the other night on "Throwdown" and he challenged a chef to a "Cioppino" throwdown. Cioppino, which means "little soup" or "chopped" is, as I understand it, an Italian seafood soup made from a variety of seafood. In the "old days" the fisherman would all pool their catch to make this dish. I had to try to make a version. Here in central Texas, I was limited to the type of seafood I could buy. Traditional Cioppino has wine, clams, lobster, fish etc. I had shrimp and calamari. The traditional version has tomato sauce but I used organic canned tomato bisque, and no wine. Then I threw in some lentils to make it heartier. And guess what-it was delicious!

Cioppino style soup with Lentils

2 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 pound of raw, peeled shrimp
1 pound of calamari, cut into pieces
4 cups water
1 can organic tomato bisque soup (I used Amy's brand)
1/2 uncooked lentils
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Saute onion, bell pepper and carrots in the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the shrimp and garlic. Cook until shrimp are lightly browned. Add the water and let simmer to make a stock. Add the calamari and tomato soup. Cook until calamari are done (about 3 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the lentils and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. I served mine with cornbread but Bobby Flay made toasted garlic, cheese croutons with his.

The stock made with onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, butter, olive oil, garlic, and shrimp is a rich golden color.
Adding the bisque makes the broth even richer, with a light tomato flavor.

Now the broth is an orange color with the addition of the tomato bisque and calamari.

You can see the chunks of seafood, as well as the vegetables in this hearty Cioppino. The lentils and cornbread make it a full meal.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our Night at MSC OPUS

We did enjoy To Kill A Mockingbird last Wednesday night. It had a great set and the play included some funny scenes as well as dramatic ones. I think the 2 most dramatic ones were the one where rabid Tim Johnson (a dog) is shot by Atticus and of course, the one with Boo Radley rescuing Scout and Jem.
We had a pre-play meal at our favorite local Italian Restaurant-Fritellas. My sister had never been there before and we knew she was going to love it. I think one thing she really enjoyed was the breadsticks, which are actually fried strips of bread dough. They are delicious!

Here I am, and my is sister on the right, at the restaurant. Mike moved his beer bottle in front of us to be funny. He is the only one who likes beer.
This is our daughter, Ky, and her dad. That look on her face comes from the fact that he moved the beer bottle in front of her right before I was going to take the picture. She quickly moved it back and gave him "a look". She's 19.

We couldn't bring the camera inside the theater, so here is one of me and Mike relaxing outside the theater right before the play.
Our next MSC OPUS event is next month when Riverdance has a performance. Mike isn't interested in that one so is will just be the girls in the family.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Looking Forward to This!

We are attending this event tomorrow at Texas A&M. To Kill A Mockingbird is my 2nd all-time favorite book. I have read the book about 50 times and read it aloud to my 8th graders when I was still teaching. I also have seen the movie with Gregory Peck, so I am really looking forward to this event. It sold out immediately back in May. The season ticket holders got first choice and I wasn't even sure I had tickets until August. I'll let you know on Thursday what I thought about the play. In the meantime, if you haven't read the book, I highly encourage it.