Cod, shrimp + chorizo stew {All is fine no matter what the outcome}

Saffron is one of my favorite ingredients.

Saffron adds a tang and some warmth to a seafood stew.

I told myself I would never be one of those moms you hear about, the crazy ones obsessed with getting their child into a great kindergarten. But over the past couple of week I’ve gotten immersed in the craziness of kindergarten admittance here in NYC.

If you haven’t heard of this level of insanity, you can take a peek at these Youtube videos in which 3 families are profiled as they aim for the top choice schools for their 4-5 year olds. The statistics are dizzying for this age group: at one private school 700 kids are aiming for 40 seats. (And okay, I’m really not as crazed as those parents.)

I was all set for darling S (who turned 5 earlier this month) to attend a certain elementary school nearby.

That was until one early morning 2 weeks ago when I received an email that could change our course of action: she scored high on the gifted and talented test, which means she’s eligible to apply to 5 specific citywide schools. She’s in the mix of over 2,000 students—out of over 13,000—vying for 400 kindergarten seats.

I’ve been going on tours, talking to teachers, principals and other moms. I’ve seen art studios, chess rooms, libraries, science projects and students in class.

There’s one school I’d absolutely love for her to attend. It starts in kindergarten and goes all the way through high school. Students learn Mandarin, play chess, work on art projects, play instruments, learn Singapore math, go on enriching field trips and so much more.

But it’s a lottery. Names are spit out of a machine by the Department of Ed. Getting in is based first on one’s score, then entirely on luck.

 So I’m hoping for luck. I am putting out the intention, yet detaching. There is nothing I can do other than wait.

Whether she gets into one of the 5 schools or attends the local one, I know one thing is certain:

All will be fine no matter what the outcome.


Enjoy this easy-to-make stew I made for dinner last week. Its flavor combination is one that I think you’ll love: saffron, orange, tomato and chorizo. Serve with a glass of wine and some sourdough bread.

Music: Samba Saravah by Stacey Kent
Wine: Aveleda Quinta de Aveleda Vinho Verde 2011 Click here to get a coupon code to buy wine on

Cod, chorizo + shrimp stew

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Gourmet, Serve Hot
You'll just love the combination of orange, saffron, chorizo and tomatoes in this tangy stew. Feel free to add other seafood you love, including clams, scallops and more.


  • Olive oil (to coat pan)
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of chorizo (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of orange rind (chopped)
  • 6-8 red bliss potatoes (halved or quartered, depending on size)
  • 12 shrimp (peeled + deveined)
  • the juice of 1 orange
  • 3 (or so) cups of white wine
  • 1 jar of stewed tomatoes
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound of cod


Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once it’s heated, add shallot, chorizo and orange rind. Simmer for a couple of minutes until shallots are translucent. Add the potatoes and shrimp and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add orange juice, a cup or so of wine, stewed tomatoes, saffron and bay leaf, and simmer for 5-6 minutes, adding more wine if necessary. When potatoes are almost soft, add the cod and cook for another 5 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cod is cooked through.

Serve with your favorite bread, perhaps sourdough or a baguette.

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