Happy birth-month, Aquarians!
Aquarius, the water bearer (January 20 - February 18)
Now, I'm merely a cook, and not an astrologer, but here's my advice for your foodcast:
This might be a great year to focus on experimentation in your cooking.
Try new ingredients. Sample new flavor combinations. Pick up some books at the library and absorb an entirely new cuisine or a skill, like gardening, chocolate-making or pickling.
Go this route and you'll satisfy a desire for novelty without spending gobs of money at restaurants.
Who knows? You might even learn you have a real knack for your newfound skill and make a side business out of it.
Since January is an ideal month to enjoy citrus fruit (and a far less ideal month to go outdoors) you can start experimenting now, if you like.
Try an approachable salad of fresh mint and grapefruit. Or a clementine sorbet. Or a salad of tangerines and frisee. Or add oranges into a supremely simplified take on a Spanish-style bouillabaisse, like so:
A Simple Spanish Seaside Stew (Serves 4)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 navel oranges — peeled, segmented and halved crosswise
1-2 lb fish of your choice, cut into 2-inch pieces* (or substitute shelled shrimp)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1. In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the sliced onions, bell pepper, thyme and pepper flakes, sauteing 10 minutes.
3. Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juices and the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes, or until the pepper pieces are very tender.
4. Add the orange pieces and the fish cubes. Gently mix into the tomato mixture and allow to cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until the fish pieces are opaque.
5. Season to taste with additional salt and ground black pepper, if necessary. Garnish with fresh dill and serve with a crisp green salad and/or a crusty hunk of bread for dipping.
The combination of tomatoes and oranges is very common in Mediterranean Spain, and this stew is an easy way to get more fish in your diet for not a lot of money. I find it also makes for tasty lunch leftovers.
Enjoy your birthday and happy eating!