Y'know, there's very little that's more satisfying than making delicious food in a traditional style from the Old World, and finding out that it's actually really easy. Tonight was Portuguese fish stew night! I started with this recipe from Recipezaar. I used 2 lbs of cod, substituted a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes for the whole tomatoes (given that the recipe wanted me to mash them anyway and I believe in simplicity), and added some oregano and sugar (to counter acidity as the tomato cooked) at the same time as the tomatoes went in (I put the salt and pepper in at the same time, instead of at the end of the recipe). The cans of tomato sauce that were available at the supermarket had slightly less than a cup, but whatever. And of course, while I didn't measure how much cayenne pepper I put in, it was almost certainly more than 1/2 tsp.
The product was frikkin' amazing, even right after cooking! I had two bowls and put the rest in the fridge to mellow overnight; I'm bringing it to my mom's for dinner tomorrow. I can only imagine how excellent it will be by then once the flavors have had some time to marry!
On the cost side, the most expensive part was obviously the fish; two pounds at $8.99/lb came out to $18. I had most of the other stuff already, and the ingredients I needed to buy (tomatoes, sauce, and green bell pepper) were of negligible expense. Luckily, my dad had an opened bottle of white wine in the fridge, so I didn't have to buy that. But given that it's a fish dish, white wine could be served alongside the meal.
Using the two pounds of fish, the recipe made almost 3/4 gallon of stew -- easily enough to serve a few people. You could probably serve it over rice to feed even more people for negligible expense, though I didn't try it.
Anyway, trust me; this recipe is definitely worth it. It's really easy to make, and is one of those meals that will make white people admire you for your worldliness.
Because I love you, Sarah...