Summer Prep 102 Rainy Days

Grey clouds and thunderstorms in the summer months can put a damper on outdoor plans, but there’s no reason to let unexpected showers spoil your fun!  Here are 2 rainy day suggestions that can provide hours of entertainment…

Dark ‘N Stormy Cocktails + Cioppino

Dark N Stormy

Dark N Stormy

A Dark N Stormy is a highball cocktail that is actually trademarked by Gosling’s.  I looked at their recipe, and I didn’t like it as much as the ones I make at home.  The required ingredient however, is Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.


Gosling’s Black Seal Rum -or- you can use Myer’s (shhhh)

Ginger Beer – Any kind, just don’t use ginger ale cuz it’s not the same at all or make your own



Fill a highball glass all the way to the top with ice.  Add the ginger beer until the glass is half full ;-), then float the top with the rum. Cut a lime into quarters, squeeze two of the quarters into the drink, then slice the other two quarters halfway to add to the side of the glass as a garnish. You can stir it up if you want, but I think it looks great to see the ingredients in layers. It will mix on its own anyhow. Stick a straw in there, while you’re at it. Serves 1



Cioppino (pronounced \chə-ˈpē-(ˌ)nō\, or chuh PEE no) recipes make people loopy.  Just go through some of the reviews on any recipe website, and you’ll see just how people get defensive and pissed off.  Hubs took me to a restaurant in San Francisco (from where cioppino originates) a few years ago on the 4th of July. It is called Scoma’s.  That link will get you to their recipe and their video, and they are known for having some of the best. Oddly yet fortunately enough, we were able to see tandem fireworks that evening at Fisherman’s Wharf, although San Fran is known to be often foggy. San Franciscans don’t mess around about their sourdough, and they right as rain don’t joke about their cioppino. For my taste however, buying bottled clam juice makes me twitch (although I know it’s great for Bloody Marys, etc.). I make mine without it, but if you don’t mind it, Giada has a good recipe. In the Midwest here, it’s a challenge to find the freshest seafood. I use the best that I can find, and I make substitutions where one type may be void or lacking.


2 T. extra virgin olive oil -or- extra virgin coconut oil

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced lengthwise…you can save some of the fronds for garnish if you’re fancy

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed – or- as many cloves as you’d like, to your taste

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1  (6-oz.) can of tomato paste

1 (28-oz.) can of diced tomatoes in juice

1 cup of dry white wine, one that you wouldn’t mind drinking

3 (14.5-oz.) cans of chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 pound of clams, scrubbed

1 pound wild halibut, or any other wild firm mild white fish that’s available – monk fish, or “poor man’s lobster” is also great

1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Sourdough bread slices, toasted, on the side (optional)


In a large stockpot over medium, heat the extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.  Add the fennel and onion, a pinch of salt and a grind or two of black pepper, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook the fennel and onion until they are beginning to caramelize, which could take 20 minutes or so. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Raise the heat back up to medium, and add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and juices, white wine, chicken broth, and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a slow bubble, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add mussels and clams, stir gently and make sure they are submerged as much as possible, and continue cooking for 5 minutes more.  Add the fish and shrimp, then cook until opaque and until clams and mussels are open, which should take another 5 minutes. Don’t eat any mussels or clams that didn’t open.  They could make you sick, I mean, really. Throw them away (the ones that didn’t open), and don’t look back. Serve in bowls garnished with fennel fronds on top, and sourdough bread slices on the side. Serves 6

If you don’t like the cioppino, drink another Dark N Stormy.  Make sure to invite friends over, because it always seems like it’s quite a bit of food. Enjoy it, and remember that at least you found something tasty to share this summer, away from the grill, and satisfyingly indoors away from the rain.

*Dark ‘N Stormy photo by Elizabeth Cecil


2 thoughts on “Summer Prep 102 Rainy Days

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