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This is the first Friday of the Lenten season and a tasty seafood soup would be very welcome about now, perfect for any Friday dining. And being Lent, the grocery stores may have good sales on seafood.

Elk Hills resident Jon Ventura has what we may be looking for. His soup was a contribution to a cooking and recipe challenge series of the Sons of Italy Charleston Lodge.

The series was started a couple months ago by Tina Stodola as a way to connect members through their kitchens, especially those who have been long at home and looking for something new and fun.

Ventura says of his soup: “I love seafood, and a couple years ago I created this recipe. It’s a good cold weather recipe that I give a five-star rating. I hope you will enjoy. Keep in mind it is spicy.”

That we will do, Jon. And at the same time we will appreciate the down-to-earth, easy-to-find ingredients of your recipe that go along with a simple prep.

When I’m cooking, I always make it a habit or practice to look at the product containers for recipes using that particular product. Do you?

I found our “Crispy Chicken” as we call it, on a can of chow mein noodles years ago.

The recipe was there only once and I haven’t seen it since, so I’m happy my eye caught it as I was attempting to discard the can.

I spied today’s lemon pie recipe not long ago on the box of Minute Maid frozen lemon juice, a staple in my freezer. I hadn’t noticed the recipe before. It’s so different I knew I had to share it, in case it escaped your glance.

The pie would serve as a great ending to a steaming bowl of Ventura’s fine kettle of fish.

All you would need then would be a loaf of Bake and Take Tuscan bread from Kroger’s bakery, heated as the package directs for a toasty and crisped crust. Don’t forget to dunk slices into the soup.

I have to thank Lia DiTrapano Fairless for putting me onto the bread.

I had to ask about it when she served bites of it as dippers for their outstandingly excellent, family-produced Italian olive oil in the art tent during one summer’s FestivALL.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at