How to Beat the Winter Blues: Have More “Gatherings” and Learn a New Culinary Skill!


A Cozy Icelandic Evening from Gatherings, Casual-Fancy Meals to Share. Photo courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

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The holidays are behind us, the more formal and traditional menus are put away and spring is calling. But there is still some winter left.

To keep the so-called winter doldrums at bay (and the partying going!), may we suggest you grab a copy of the new book, Gatherings, Casual-Fancy Meals to Share and start planning some impromptu meals with friends and family. The rest of the winter will surely fly by.

Through the pages of this more than 300-page beautifully photographed cookbook, 26 of America’s Test Kitchen cooks and writers share their personal recipes and ideas on how to entertain. The book was designed for those who love to cook but offers simple, informal, delicious ways to entertain.

Gatherings, Casual-Fancy Meals to ShareYou will find ideas for gatherings as small as four people on up to 10 to 12 and for all seasons.

Looking for a theme? Try their Midwestern Brunch, Modern Tenderloin Dinner, Appetizers for Dinner, Gumbo Weather Get-Together, or Winter Comfort Dinner.

One of my absolute favorites is Executive Editor Lisa McManus’s “A Cozy Icelandic Evening” of Icelandic-Style Creamy Fish Soup, Simple Crusty Bread, Easiest Salad, Ever, and for Dessert, Tjoruhusio-Style … strong hot coffee with high-quality chocolate squares.

What drew me to this menu was her personal story of the best fish dinner she had ever had at a restaurant in Iceland, an 18th-century wooden shed with beamed ceilings, benches, and your choice of colorful cushions. Here is one of the recipes … subscribe to see more!

Icelandic-Style Creamy Fish Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds cod filets, 1 to 11⁄2 inches thick, cut in 11⁄2-inch pieces
1 pound jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 leek, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed –
thoroughly (1 cup)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sweet sherry
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3⁄4-inch pieces
2 tomatoes, cored and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional)
Pat cod and shrimp dry with paper towels and sprinkle with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt; set aside.

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 12 to 15 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to prevent browning. Stir in tomato paste and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in sherry and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, partially cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir cod and shrimp into soup and bring to gentle simmer. Partially cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until cod and shrimp are opaque throughout, taking care not to stir vigorously or break up the fish. Off heat, gently stir in cream and let sit until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle individual portions with parsley, if using, and serve.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Reprinted with permission from Gatherings, Casual-Fancy Meals to Share. Copyright © 2023 by America’s Test Kitchen
This content is offered exclusively to Healthy Aging® Magazine subscribers.

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