I had a bunch of new potatoes from dad's garden and decided to utilize them in TJOC recipes. I never buy new potatoes because they seem oddly expensive for baby potatoes and I don't think they are worth the increased cost. Getting them for free out of the garden though is perfect.
Because they had recently been dug up, I scrubbed the heck out of them--and they changed color! I am easily amused by things like that.
I thought that Browned or franconia potatoes (p. 297) sounded really good. I boiled the potatoes until they were almost done. I then melted a little butter into some vegetable oil (a perfect use for my small Le Crueset skillet--the skillet you use needs to be ovenproof).
The potatoes were added and the skilled was covered and popped in the oven.
The potatoes were cooked for twenty minutes. The recipe says to turn them occasionally which was scary and dangerous because it was a hot cast iron full of boiling oil.
I wasn't very impressed. The potatoes were good but potatoes are almost always good. They weren't anything special and they were a lot of work and took a lot of time. Has anyone had franconian potatoes before? Is this what they were supposed to be like? The intro to the recipe in TJOC would have you think they are on every menu like French fries.
I found some shrimp and cod on sale at the grocery store and thought that Spicy seafood stew (p. 100) would be perfect. I really hate wrestling my ancient slow cooker out of the cupboard so once it's out, I expect to make several slow-cooker recipes. My mom always makes fun of me because I don't like using a slow cooker. I really hate leaving the slow cooker on while I'm not in the house--I'm very paranoid that it's going to burn the house down. Because of that, the slow cooker is essentially useless--anything I can do in a slow cooker I can do on a stove top (or I could do it even faster by using a pressure cooker).
The recipe starts like so many of TJOC's recipes--sauteing onion, celery, garlic, and a jalapeno in some olive oil.
That mixture was dumped into the slow cooker along with a big can of tomatoes, some bottled clam juice (Josh gave me a really strange look when I added that to the cart), some red wine, a little oregano (from mom's garden), and red pepper flakes.
A pound of cod and a half pound of shrimp was added after the tomato mixture was cooked for four hours. Just a bit more cooking and the stew was done!
The stew was really really good. It was tomato-y and spicy (although not too spicy). It actually reminded me of cioppino. The cod and shrimp was flavorful, which is a surprise because fish usually gets bland in the slow cooker. I think the clam juice really rounded out the flavor (although it's a really bizarre ingredient). If you are looking for clam juice in your grocery store, it's probably around the tuna/sardines/canned clams.