Fish Fridays! (a reprise of More Yummy Food and Julia)

Since it’s Friday, and we abstain from meat on Fridays to remember that Christ died on Good Friday, I thought I would re-post (and revise a bit) “More Yummy Food and Julia” from my old blog.

A little addendum: the abstaining from meat on Fridays, especially on those during Lent, doesn’t mean we gorge ourselves on lobster and caviar. That totally misses the point. Lent is a time of penance. Of uniting our sufferings with Jesus. Of sharing with the poor our blessings. So while there is shrimp and crab in the recipe below, it’s canned and cheap. I try to make tasty but inexpensive fish based meals so that my picky eaters will eat, and that we’re not being wasteful or over indulgent by cooking two meals.

Who doesn’t like Julia Child? I, for one, love Julia Child. I love her voice, her quotes, and the drama of her way of cooking! She would have turn 100 on Aug 15th (2012)! PBS celebrated with “Cook for Julia“.  Her cooking shows, along with The Cajun Chef, The Frugal Gourmet, Jacques Pépin, Yan Can Cook (really any PBS cooking show), and my dad’s love of cooking has molded me in to the adventurous eater and home cook I am today. When I get my dream kitchen, I will have a cookbook bookcase full of PBS cookbooks!  What can I say, I love all things food. (I should say most because I am still leery of haggis)

I am passionate about cooking and food! Joe loves to grill and get creative in the kitchen too. We have fun when we cook together. Tasting and perfecting, chopping and boiling. It’s one of the things that keeps our relationship healthy. The kids get in on the preparing of meals too. And they help clean up. It’s now Ginny’s turn to be my silverware unloader. Clara thinks she should too, but usually runs off with a spoon.

We try to make most of our meals from scratch. Sure, there are some short cuts, such as boxed noodles, canned veggies, tomato paste and sauces (Yay Aldi!). It works for us. Don’t get me wrong. We have mac and cheese and hot dog nights. And chicken noodle soup when somebody doesn’t feel good.  And occasionally, I will resort to hamburger or tuna hand man box meals, but even with those I prefer to make my own. We do carry-out about every now and then, because it’s nice to have a night off every now and then. Whatever is on our plates, we sit down as a family to eat.

I think it is really important for families (with and without kids) to sit down and enjoy a meal that they have prepared together. It gives you a chance to catch up with each other. It’s a moment to unwind and relax.  It brings us closer together. It’s fun. And I know it’s not always easy with kids. They become a picky eaters. But it’s usually a phase, and then they chow down on everything on their plates. And yes, sometimes it is a pain with a picky eater (or 5) but, we still do it for family time.

But that’s enough of that! On to why I really am writing this.

In honor of Julia Child’s 100th Birthday Celebration, I will share my twist on a bisque, melding both the crab, shrimp, and cream based definitions. And this time I thought ahead and took pictures before I ate it!

(quick note, I don’t measure when I am cooking. I can eyeball olive oil and milk pretty well.  The onion, garlic, tomato, butter, condensed milk, tomato paste are dead on. The measurements of the spices are eyeballing guesses.  Make sure you keep tasting while you are  adding the spices, you may not like garlic as much as we do. I also added a link on how to make a rue, which after many trials, I can just do. Cooking is an art form, make it your own!)

Pasta with Crab, Shrimp, Tomato Bisque SauceYummy

Serves 4

  • 1 box of long pasta, I like fettuccine
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup of cream
  • ½ cup of milk (or you can use 1 1/4 cup half & half to replace the milk and cream)
  • Water (to thin the sauce to your liking)
  • ½ a can of tomato paste
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes drained or 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 can of lump crab meat, drained
  • 2 cans of baby shrimp, drained
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of each: cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh basil to garnish


Prepare noodles according to directions on box. (I drizzle a little olive oil on the noodles so they don’t stick together.)

  1. In a large deep sided sauté pan, heat the olive oil and butter. Sauté the onions until soft, then add the garlic. Try not to burn!
  2. Once onions are softened and slightly browned, add flour to make a rue and slightly brown. Again, don’t burn.
  3. While constantly stirring, add cream and milk. Thin with water to a thick oatmeal constancy. (Start with just a little water. You can always add more, but you cannot take it away!)
  4. Turn the flame down to medium-low.
  5. Add diced tomatoes.
  6. Then stir in tomato paste until reddish-orange color.
  7. Add cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. (Remember to taste! Same rule for water apply! You can always add more, but you cannot take them away!)
  8. If needed, thin the sauce with water to your liking.
  9. Add crab and shrimp. Stir very gently.
  10. Serve over pasta with garlic bread. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

I mixed peas into mine after I was done cooking to add a little more color to my plate and to get some veggies into the kiddos. Lima beans would be good too.

This would also be awesome as an appetizer if you kept it on the thick side and spooned it into some mini filo dough cups, topped with parm and bake!

Thank you Julia Child for being an inspiration, aspiration, pioneer, and entertainer.

(Don’t forget to check out #CookforJulia)

“Bon Appetit!”

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” – Julia Child


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