Friday, January 28, 2011

Venetian soup for a Venetian virus

My husband and my computer came down with a virus. I would love to say I was an attentive wife, spoon-feeding my husband cough syrup and soup but I paid far more attention to the computer. I have been MIA this week - no commenting, no writing and not a lot of smiling as I obsessed on playing Florence Nightingale to Harold - my geriatric computer.
Harold may be outdated, but a lot of lovely plays were written on that computer and we have history. I can't save Harold but I know a lot about registry files.

I was going to tie in Marlena De Blasi's lovely A Thousand Days in Venice: An Unexpected Romance with my Venetian-inspired soup. You were going to be treated to sumptuous photos of Venice and that's when Harold started sputtering. I clicked on a "creative commons license" for a photo and sent a nasty Trojan into Harold's sytem.
Four days later, I am about to "wipe him out." Yes, he will be in factory condition minus all the photos, music and words that have made him sing. I will be taking away his bells and whistles. I have been putting off doing this all day. In his advanced age of 7, Harold may have to retire.
I did look up once in a while to spy my pathetic husband - chilled and rolled in a blanket. Not the usual for my strapping, flannel-wearing, North-country, Midwestern man. And made variations of soup. For my husband. Harold doesn't like liquids.
This is a simple soup - loaded with fish and light and brothy. It's a caress. Perfect for humans with viruses. It has enough taste to satisfy and is light enough to soothe. Use any combination of dry white wine, clam juice, water or vegetable broth for the broth. I used white wine and clam juice.
Venetian Soup Ingredients- 4 servings
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch or more of red pepper flakes
  • 3 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 8-16 ounces clam juice
  • *If you need or like more broth, add 1 cup water, broth or more clam juice or wine
  • 3/4 pound mild whitefish (I used tilapia)
  • 3/4 pound small scallops
  • 3/4 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley to garnish

Venetian Soup Preparation
In stockpot or Dutch oven, heat your olive oil. When hot, add your shallots, garlic, red pepper flakes and carrots. Saute 30-60 seconds just till softened a bit. Add your broth, wine, clam juice, etc. and boil 6-8 minutes to burn off some of the alcohol and soften the aromatics. Add your whitefish and scallops in chunks. About 2 minutes later add your shrimp. Sprinkle your white pepper and Italian seasoning and simmer untill the fish are cooked through. (The fish cooked in 5-7 minutes.) Sprinkle with parlsey and serve.
If this were truly Venetian, I'd have those wonderful tiny, tiny clams as an add-in. Alas and alack, Minnesota lakes do not provide.
Other ideas: Serve over pasta. make some rice on the side and add that in to the soup. Cook a diced potato with the carrots.
Then read A Thousand Days in Venice - an unexpected, gutsy, honest journey back into love. The twist - the couple are middle-aged and there are bumps (he speaks little English and she speaks only "food Italian") and they will be living in his tiny apartment in Venice. Where De Blasi - a gifted cook - is dismayed to find that the local shops are happy to provide fresh bread and pastas and she is not expected to make all fresh. So says her husband. And in the course of the book, they slowly come to new agreements and carve out a life that is an unexpected as their romance.
I intend to get back on the writing/commenting bandwagon soon - I have a hard time typing on the laptop (keys stick and I make a lot of errors) but Maude (laptop) is all I have right now and we will have to come to some agreements. We travel well together but I'm not sure how she feels about taking Harold's place. She has been getting dimmer and dimmer.

Eat. Live. Be, for a Better 2011
The theme this week are "what challenges are you finding?" So I had to laugh. the virus has been a challenge. The winter - for all has been a challenge, hasn't it? And regular exercise is a challenge. But at this point I have lost 1-2 pounds a week for ten weeks that keeps me going. That and my new-obsession - invest in a new pc or a Mac? Is Mac truly better at warding off viruses? Is it worth the investment? Is pc the better value? Any thoughts? When I told my "slowly-healing husband" the cost of a Mac - I think it released a new virus into his system.
And now I shall go upstairs and restore poor Harold to his original, old boring state. With a glass of wine.


Raw_Girl said...

God, that looks scrumptious!

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I sure hope Harold liked the soup! You could have made some for your husband while you were at it! :-)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Wow, Despite all your computer troubles (believe me I would be crying and probably hospilized if that was me) Your blog and photos look so good Claudia! I want to jump in that bowl, I've never heard of a soup like this, I'm in love! 6 mts ago we bought a backup system on QVC called Click Free, I can now sleep at night.

Jill Colonna said...

This looks delicious. Feel transported to Italy by that beautiful photo!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Awe thats horrible about your computer files with the plays. I hope you had them on the other website. I bought another computer (laptop) because it was acting up and I was afraid it had something, it didn't thank god. I know what you mean when you get use to something! I am in love with this new design, lovely! Wow the pictures are really crisp as well looks like you got a new camera! You know sometime I would love to talk to you we have so much in common besides cooking! I love the way you write, the family and this soup again hits home. The fish, veggies, everything exquisite as always, I just want to hang my head over the pot to smell this one too! Glad your back missed you lots!!!!!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely seafood soup Claudia. Great for any state of health you might find yourself. Hope your husband is feeling better. If he's anything like mine, he requires a lot of attention when he's sick.

As for the computer, I cry like a baby and throw little girl fits when my computer goes on the fritz. Poor Harold.

Anne said...

What a yummy simple recipe. I must try it!
Stay warm!
Smiles to you.

Kate @ said...

I'm sorry about Harold :( If he could only have a sip of this delicious soup!
Glad to see you back in the blogging world.

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

Such a beautiful soup, cioppino(sp?)-like. Love it and I could practically smell it. Alas, poor Harold. Glad you're back. Reminds me that I definitely need some back-up for my six-year old.

Wanda..... said...

The photos of your Venetian soup are very enticing.
I went through this same challenge of an elderly computer, not a virus, a few months back. I sympathize, Claudia. I eventually went with a HP TouchSmart 'All In One' Computer, very convenient for where I use it. Hope you find the right match for you!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Claudia - I synpathize with you since my computer is six years old and very slow on the uptake. I think my kids - both Mac users - have convinced me to switch to a Mac. Your Venetian soup turned out beautifully despite your computer woes. The photos are enticing. and I love that book of DeBlasi. I've read all her books but that first one remains my favorite.

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry about your husband and your computer and hope at least one is returned to health soon.

Regarding the Mac vs. PC question; Mac is better, but PC is more has more profitability since there are more programs designed to work with it.

If you stick with PC, use Google Chrome. Their behind-the-scenes virus detection is outstanding for when something is embedded in a web site. Keep it updated with the latest versions of everything, not just the system. That's my advice for what it's worth. Good luck!

Mari Nuñez said...

Hola Claudia,

This looks like a delicious soup. I would love it with rice too! I hope you can fix you PC soon.

Have a great weekend :)

kita said...

That soup looks beautiful!

Beth said...

The soup looks great, and so does the new blog format. Yum!
And thanks for the link to the Minneapolis Examiner. Your roasted garlic-balsamic sauce looks amazing!

Arlene Delloro said...

I've been meaning to read this book. The soup looks wonderful. Poor Harold, RIP.

Anna's Table said...

Claudia, I'm so happy you're back on line. Hope your husband is feeling better. Sorry to hear about Harold, who is destined for computer heaven. I totally understand your frustration having had to bury our own dinosaur last year.
The soup looks delicious with all those wonderful ingredients.

Mister Meatball said...

You do realize that Harold is, like, 238 years old in computer years? Just sayin.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I love fish soups with a light broth, it always seems so soul satisfying.

When my Dell laptop died after 4 years of service, I sucked it up and replaced it with a MAC. No regrets, and I will do it again today. It's such an intuitive, robust and reliable machine.

That Girl said...

I am fairly crippled when my computer goes down too. And that's far too often given that it is SO on its last legs.

Spoon and Chopsticks said...

That's a lovely soup.

Yeah Macs are expensive. I wanted to get one a while ago but couldn't for obvious reasons. If you are careful with your PC, they aren't really bad. Have an antivirus program installed and use Firefox or Chrome as your browser. Never download anything suspicious or from an unknown source. Then you are all good. Take care!

Unknown said...

Lovely soup! So sorry to hear about your computer. I know that when anything goes wrong with my computer it is like the end of the world. Poor Harold...He lasted a pretty good while!

Vibey @ Yumbo McGillicutty said...

Soup is the only thing for when you're sick. Indeed a caress and the best medicine. Love it - regardless of the weather. I also love my Mac. I got one a little over a year ago and never looked back! It's not just the viruses that it doesn't get (or almost doesn't get), it's other things that you learn to live with in a PC that you really shouldn't have to: popup dialogue boxes giving you information about something that may have happened somewhere but you can't to anything about, and it getting slower the fuller it gets. The Mac doesn't slow down, or at least, not in any way that anyone short of a Shaolin monk would notice. It's awesome. Plus, as with everything that Steve Jobs puts his company's name to, it is so incredibly COOL. Can't put a price on coolness!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I've been reading about this terrible virus on your facebook page, Claudia, and was so sad to hear you had to wipe out Harold's files :( It's sad that a computer lasts so few years considering all the important things we put into it. I have an external backup but that sometimes cause heartache as it seems to double some files and photos...not sure why?

My daughter has a Mac and loves it but it has not been problem free as she had a hard drive problem that was luckily fixed under warranty. A friend who has a mac also had her one year old hard drive crash! So it is not a miracle computer by no means.

I love this soup! Anything seafood wins with me. I've wanted to read that book for a long time but can't find it in my local library. I may have to order a copy from Amazon. I love of my favorite cities in the world!

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Poor Harold, I mean your husband! He He I hate it when we have PC problems. I've owned both and I prefer the mac for some things, but like my PC better for our office. Just have to keep up to date virus software. Love this soup. So glad you are back!

Jen_from_NJ said...

I am so sorry about Harold- devastating! Your soup looks just wonderful and healthy too! I can't wait to give it a try. I hope that your husband is feeling better.


Fantastic Soup, Claudia! And your blog looks great, nice change!

Monet said...

I would love a bowl of that soup right now. It looks and sounds delicious. I'm so sorry about your computer woes. I'm sending good thoughts your way...I hope they get fixed very soon! Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. Bring on the seafood!

denise @ bread expectations said...

Oh my Claudia! I am sorry about Harold, but now you've got me thinking about my 6 year old deskstop and whether or not its days are numbered! It has been acting up the last few months but we're crossing our fingers *sigh*

Love this soup - pretty sure it would make me feel better! Hope the poor hubs is better too :) Btw I do like your makeover!

denise @ bread expectations said...

Oh my Claudia! I am sorry about Harold, but now you've got me thinking about my 6 year old deskstop and whether or not its days are numbered! It has been acting up the last few months but we're crossing our fingers *sigh*

Love this soup - pretty sure it would make me feel better! Hope the poor hubs is better too :) Btw I do like your makeover!

Emily Malloy said...

I love all of the spices in this soup! Yum!!

Island Vittles said...

The colour of that soup is so striking!

I hope you got everything important off of Harold, and that nothing is lost. May he RIP.

(Oh, and I hope your hubby gets better soon too.) ;) Theresa

FOODESSA said...

Your specialty soup looks so incredibly appetizing. Surely looks better than how your Hubby must be if feeling...I do relate.

Claudia, hopefully, you'll be able to make sense of all of it and get used to something new and better in the long run ;o)

Have a wonderful week figuring everything out...including how to help Hubby feel better.

Ciao for now,

Angie's Recipes said...

This is a soup to die for! I mean, look at all the seafood ingredients you used for the soup....all my favourites and they are delicious!

Magic of Spice said...

Oh no, I am so sorry about your computer...hope it works out OK! And hope your husband is feeling better soon.
This soup however is just fantastic!

Unknown said...

That soup sounds delicious, I love putting any kind of seafood in soup because the flavor gets distributed so well throughout the broth. About the computers, Macs are definitely an investment purchase, but they're well worth it. I have had a Macbook Pro for about 4 years now and haven't had any virus problems, ever. It runs smoothly, quickly and doesn't ever freeze. A regular Macbook laptop or iMac computer is all the average blogger needs, unless you are doing heavy video editing for podcasts, in which case you might want to invest in a Macbook Pro or a Mac Pro for their processing speed. Best of luck with your computer purchases!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

I feel completely identified !!! I laughed so much reading your post..I would do exactly the same...don't feel guilty. My kids tell me the day I die, I will want my I-phone in my coffin, to check my mails...
Oh, I love your soup!! I don't know if I would be in the mood to cook if my comp..excuse me!, husband were ill ;D

Reeni said...

Your soup sounds incredibly delicious Claudia! I hope your husband is feeling better. And poor Harold...I've had to restore mine's never easy with the thousands upon thousands of photos I have stored on it.

OysterCulture said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Harold, I hope he is on the mend as I write this and the same goes of course for your husband. This soup looks stellar and all it took was a mention of Venice and this soup to have me sighing with memories. Thank you and I'll be having the taste of Venice soon thanks to you.

Heather S-G said...

I hope that hubby feels better...this soup sounds AMAZING! I know it would make me all better :D

Anonymous said...

Aww, poor Harold; viruses on a computer is just no fun to deal with. The soup looks spectacular, very flavorful and delicious with all that seafood. Hope it made your husband feel all better!

Vimitha Durai said...

Mouth watering cake.. I love that glaze...