TasteBuds Seven Fishes Cioppino

Cioppino, our Feast of Seven Fishes

Our Feast of Seven Fishes has been a tradition since TasteBudA and I have been together. Even though neither of us are Catholic where this tradition stems, on Christmas Eve we gather and enjoy our version of a Feast of Seven Fishes, but we do it in one pot – a Cioppino.

Read The Making of a New Christmas Eve Tradition >>

TasteBuds Seven Fishes Cioppino
Pittsburgh TasteBuds Seven Fishes Cioppino

So, after 4 years of making it, it’s time to document the recipe.  In 2013, this resulted in the best recipe because we made the broth, then went to a candlelight Christmas Eve mass.  Upon returning from mass, heated the broth to boil and added the fish.  The more time your broth has to simmer, then sit, the better the flavor develops.

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Christmas Eve Cioppino 2012

P(Gh)osts of Christmas Pasts

Christmas Eve Cioppino 2012As I searched the Pittsburgh TasteBuds blog history today for the recipe that I used for our traditional “Feast of Seven Fishes” Cioppino that TasteBudA and I have adopted as our Christmas Eve tradition.  The only remnant was The Making of a Christmas Eve Dinner Tradition. I’m puzzled. I have taken pictures of our Cioppino each and every year.  Have I been slacking that much?  Apparently, yes.

Each year I think I’ve gone through the same motions: Find recipe.  CHECK! Select 7 fishes. CHECK!  Combine and cook. CHECK!  Take a photo. CHECK!  Post about it.  Oops.

This year will mark the 4th year that we will have made our Cioppino, but apparently we never really blogged about our experience making it.  As I go back through the timewarp that is my photos folder, I share with you what little I found today.


TasteBud Rosy Sangria

Pitcher of red sangria at Kaya
Pitcher of red sangria at Kaya

It has come to my attention that I have a great Sangria recipe that I’ve morphed into something special and I’ve been requested to share my secret to my “rosy” sangria.  It’s “ROSY” because it uses both red and white wine.  Note that this makes a fairly large batch, so I serve it from my Creativeware 3-Gallon Unbreakable Beverage Dispenser.

2 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, or similar
1 bottle of Pinot Grigio, or similar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup triple sec
1 pt fresh berries (blueberries recommended)
2 granny smith apples
1 or 2 oranges
1 liter lemon-lime soda

  1. In a small container, prepare your apples and berries into similarly sized chunks, about the size of a whole blueberry. Pour triple sec over cut fruit and set aside.
  2. In beverage dispenser, add all three bottles of wine together. Add sugar and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Thinly slice oranges removing all seeds. Stir the soaked fruit and triple sec into the wine mixture carefully.
  3. Layer the orange slices on top of the wine mixture. Pour the lemon-lime soda over oranges and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
  4. Serve as-is or over ice.

Twists and Tips:
– Don’t forget to wash your berries thoroughly. You don’t want the small seeds floating in your sangria. I typically use blueberries because they are simple to clean and pair well with the sangria bath.
– More soda can be added to stretch the mixture to serve more and reduce the potency of the drink.
– Have spoons handy to make eating the alcohol soaked fruit easier. Consider using Spoon Straws

A Spice Rack Taco Seasoning, simple and homemade

So tonight, I found myself in need of some grocery shopping but little motivation to do it.  With just a pound of hamburger in the fridge and several tortillas left, I started to crave some tacos.  Looking around my kitchen, I had the cheese, lettuce and onions, but no taco seasoning.  Knowing that the seasoning blend is really just a mix of spices that I likely had in my spice cabinet, I figured I’d try a DIY, homemade seasoning.

Thanks to WholeNewMom.com, I made a wonderful taco seasoning using just the spices I already have on hand.

Homemade Taco Seasoning
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper

This mixture will make enough seasoning for a few meals, so store it in an air-tight container to use later. If you are used to a pre-mixed seasoning, you can mimic its method and add about 2-Tbsp of seasoning and 3/4 cup water per pound of cooked ground meat and simmer. Though, personally, I used just a little less seasoning.

Chipped Ham BBQ Sauce

In Pittsburgh, PA, it is traditional to buy Isaly’s Chipped Chopped Ham and add your favorite barbecue sauce to it.  While you can just go to the store and use BBQ sauce right off the shelf, it’s much better if you make my family’s Signature Homemade BBQ Sauce.

I made it for the Super Bowl.  Although the Steelers didn’t win the Super Bowl, but our Ham barbecue sandwiches were a true winner!  This sauce is finger licking good!


Signature BBQ Sauce for Isaly’s Chipped Chopped Ham

1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 36 ounce bottles of Heinz ketchup (from Pittsburgh, of course)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups water

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and simmer for 30 full minutes.

I had to adjust the recipe because I only had 2 lbs of chipped chopped ham.  My recommendation is to cut all the ingredients in half except for the onion and celery.  You can add as much or little onion and celery for your liking. I started off with a 1/2 a cup of water, but added water as needed based on if you want a thicker sauce or not.
Remember that the meat will soak the sauce up, so be prepared to make another batch if needed.  Its suppose to be a big sloppy mess while eating!


Summer Grilling – Hot dogs with zucchini

This is our first posting on things we enjoy at home. To start off the summer right we decided to have 2 friends over for a small cook out. Chips, drinks, and ofcourse hotdogs! But sometimes hotdogs a lone need a little kick. To try something different, we decided to add grilled zucchini slices to the hot dogs – much like you’d add lettuce to a hamburger.

The menu:

  • Grilled hotdogs with zucchini strips
  • Baked Steak Fries
  • Grilled Veggie Mix: Diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and a cubanelle pepper bathed in a white wine, parsley flakes, light salt and pepper.
  • Regular potato chips and cheese flavored potato chips.

We started off cooking the hotdogs slowly on the grill with a layer of aluminum foil. At the same time Tastebud B put the veggie mix together in a pie plate and put those on the grill. We let those begin to cook then added thin sliced zucchini.

As everything started on the grill, we threw some steak fries in the oven. It just worked out that everything finished around the same time. It was good timing – for not planning it. The menu was a success and although it looked like we spent days planning it, it really was just thrown together. The zucchini slice with the hot dog was the biggest surprise taste of all. If you are a fan of zucchinis then i would recommend trying it. And the meal goes great with a nice summer beer!