🌺Cottage Dining and Fish Stew🐟

This is our dining room at our Cape Cod cottage…It is the site of many dinners with family and friends!!  IMG_0677 2We bought this table unfinished, I stained it, put many coats of polyurethane on the top and painted the legs the same green on the other furniture in the dining room and living room!  My dad made the bookcase, the chest on the far left and even the birdhouse on the bookcase…the chairs came with the house when we bought it…I covered the seats with fabric that matches the pillows in the living room!!!  I made the curtains from pale yellow sheer fabric to match the woodwork and Victor made the wooden dowel curtain rods…IMG_0673From time to time I like to bring in a potted plant from my patio…I think it adds a rustic charm🐿  Also, a little peek into our kitchen…IMG_0652I chose this wallpaper because it reminded me of the ocean, with the blue and green swirls that look like waves and flowers the color of sand and coral…  Another peek of the kitchen through the mirror:)IMG_0656This is a view of the dining room, facing the ladder going up to the loft (a future post🤔)  When VJ, my son, was a young boy, the loft was his bedroom and there were many times we would have this view with lots of little legs hanging down from that hole, while he and his friends would be looking at their baseball cards:)  The pantry cabinet was bought unfinished and we painted the sides green and stained the doors and top to match the table.  IMG_0660I painted this chandelier with flowers, many years ago, to match the previous wallpaper….recently, to help bring it up-to-date, I sanded it to make it look worn… in other words to make it look current, I made it look old🤣IMG_4168As I said before, this dining room has been the scene of many family gatherings…from left, Gina (taking the selfie), Mike (Christy’s longtime boyfriend), Victor, VJ, me and my niece Christy:)  Sometimes real plates, but this time paper plates…that’s what we do in a beach house:)

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And more happy gatherings…We always celebrate my August birthday at the cottage… The middle photo is last year, Gina surprised me by decorating the cottage for my birthday when I returned from taking care of my mom:)





I often make Fish Stew at the Cape, it was a favorite of my father to make and now I’ve carried on the tradition for our family!!  Most times I cook it on the grill, first I make the broth on the stove and then pour it into a deep aluminum pan, put in all the fish, cover with foil and cook until all the shellfish are open…But this time I made it in a big deep saute pan on the stove…


These are the ingredients, they all work nicely together to make the most delicious aroma and taste…It’s the same ingredients for Bouillabaisse, but I leave the water out, and it’s more like a stew than a soup, with a richer flavor too…



   1/4 cup olive oil

   1 cup halved grape tomatoes

   1/2 cup chopped onion

   1/2 cup of fresh fennel

    2 large garlic cloves minced

    1 bay leaf

    Grated orange rind from a whole orange

    1 handful of fresh basil

    Salt and pepper, to taste

    1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (ground in mortar and pestle or rub between    

    hands to bring out the flavor)

    8 sprigs of fresh thyme

    Pinch of Saffron

    1/4 cup of white wine

    8 oz jar of clam juice


     1 lb. cod

     2 cups of shrimp

     1/2 cups scallops

     6.5 oz can of minced clams

     12 mussels

     8 littleneck clams

     Meat of 1 lobster (optional)

You can really use any fish you want!!


 In a large deep sauté or frying pan heat the oil and add fresh fennel, onions, garlic, grape tomatoes, in that order, about 3 minutes apart and stir as you add each one.  Then add orange rind, fennel seeds and a sprinkle of salt and pepper cook for about 5 minutes more.  Now add wine and clam juice, cook stirring often for about 10 minutes.  Add shellfish and cook until open, then add all other fish and fresh herbs and cook until just done. Serve with crusty bread and corn on the cob!!!    


Top left are the sauteed vegetables, top right is the Microplane scraping the orange rind, bottom left a hand full of basil, right are the 8 sprigs of thyme…



Left is the stew with all the ingredients added before it is cooked, right is the finished stew, ready to serve…

IMG_0760 2My bowl of Fish Stew with crusty toasted bread and corn on the cob…a traditional Cape Cod meal…yum enjoy!!!


I love to cook, and I love to have all my family around the dinner table.

Julia Roberts

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