Unfortunately I missed out on the big northeastern blizzard Nemo this weekend (I'm visiting my sister in snow-less D.C.), but I've still got wintry foods on the brain. Contrary to popular belief, winter meals don't have to be heavy, meat-and-potato-laden affairs. This weekend I made a hearty veggie-filled lentil stew one night (which was just as delicious re-heated for lunch the next day) and Dijon-honey-roasted salmon with quinoa and a baby kale, red cabbage, and avocado salad. But one of my favorite cold-weather dishes I've made recently is this Spicy Seafood Stew. I love the combination of fennel, garlic, and seafood, simmered in a spicy tomato saffron broth. I used cod and shrimp (though it would be delicious with mussels, too), adding them in at the end so the seafood is just cooked through and infused with the flavors of the fragrant broth.

A few weeks ago, we had our good friends Victor and Becky over for dinner (along with their puppy Bruce), and I made a pot of this soup to share. Victor and Becky are two of the most amazing people we know–he's a stunt man and she's a talented accessories designer–but we have an especially unique bond with them, as they were in Paris several years ago to document our engagement (see their beautiful pictures and video here). Now they are married as well (yay!) and we are so grateful for their friendship.

Victor, a bit of a renaissance man, has recently taken up bread-baking and–to my extreme excitement–brought us a WARM loaf of his homemade bread!! Inspired by the rustic loaves of Sullivan Street Bakery, his bread was insanely good, and was the perfect compliment to the seafood stew. So much so, that the four of us ate all of the stew and nearly all of the bread. (I had to save just enough to toast for breakfast the next day!)

Bruce (their dog) and Nouka (one of our cats) sniffed each other suspiciously. Not sure they would be considered friends quite yet, but they at least tolerated each other!

Stay tuned for a future post on Victor's magic "Paguia bread," but for now, I've included my recipe for seafood stew. Be sure to serve it with a loaf of crusty bread, a big green salad, and a dry, minerally white wine like my favorite Picpoul de Pinet, a crisp white from Languedoc that's perfect with seafood (it's also a steal at $10).