Friday, April 10, 2015

Da Bomb, Da Sausage, and Da Cruise Brain - Mussels with Cajun Sausage and Yellow Bell Pepper

Thursday, Day 27 - Earlier this week, responding to a therapeutic inquiry, I identified my upcoming cruise as the event that would (finally) afford me the opportunity to fully absorb and process my Medical Hell Month and its results.  From experience I know that two days into a cruise my body and mind will unkink rather dramatically, although I sincerely hope that I unkink before then as there are still 16 days to cruising.  (But who's counting?) This will be our fourteenth cruise, the thirteenth on Carnival, and the twelfth since December of 2008.  I can only plead Cruise Brain, then, as the reason I was unable to tell my therapist where I was going, other than "someplace" in the Caribbean, possibly St. Maarten.  I finally checked on my itinerary today, and it turns out we will be stopping at Cozumel, Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Costa Maya.  Well, at least I got the Caribbean part right, barely.

In the meantime, today is the day I set aside to make all those phone calls for even more medical procedures because God knows I did not have enough of those this past month.  Anything worth doing is worth overdoing. I also have to call my PCP's office and the HR lady in Tallahassee.  I'd rather have root canal.  Unfortunately I am having a brain fog day; mental acuity is apparently not on today's schedule, and I am getting irritated with myself.  All the coffee in the world is not going to break through this nimbostratus cloud wrapped around my head like a Praetorian Facehugger.

I need to cook something.  I need some inspiration, like the name of this blog, ha ha.  I need to break out of this fog, damn it.

The news was mostly depressing, but there were a few happy notes: Barry Manilow, my all-time favorite male singer, married his significant other - last year.  But the news just came out, and so did Barry. Good for him, and Jim Nabors, too.

The Magic won last night, and that's no Bull.

The framework of the deal with Iran is pretty shaky, with both sides claiming the agreement said something different.  This is good news.  We have no need to deal with the Devil.  Speaking of devils, a jury convicted Dzhokar Tsarnaev of all counts in the Boston terror bombings.

Anti-semitism is flourishing in Europe. And in the U.S.  It is a way of life in the Middle East.  These are difficult times to be a Jew.  It's also a tough time to be gay in Florida; the House just approved a religious exemption law for adoptions.  I thought we were finally past that crap.

Bobby Flay and his wife, actress Stephanie March, are getting a divorce. So is Giada de Laurentiis.  Bad things come in threes, and make no mistake, divorce is a very bad thing.  So who is next?

There's more, but you get the idea.

I got almost nothing done today, unless you count sitting in the corner of the couch with my head down.  I could not make my calls.  I could not walk out the front door.  I did not even prepare my list.  I did fill out a response card for a friend's wedding, and I did come up with a recipe I am going to share, but really, that's not enough.  Not even close.

Okay, the recipe.  I am really pleased with how this worked out.  Frozen mussels are da bomb, and so is Guy Fieri's sausage.  Hey, get your mind out of the gutter and into the kitchen!

Mussels with Cajun Sausage and Yellow Bell Pepper

1 - 12 oz. package Guy Fieri Cajun Style Sausage, thinly sliced
1/2 of a Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10 cloves of garlic, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup Goya Sofrito (Tomato Base)
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, top and bottom cut off, remaining pepper cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
kosher salt, ground black pepper, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, dried parsley flakes
small amount of sugar (optional)
2 - 1 pound bags frozen mussels
4 tablespoons cold butter

In a large, deep pan, place the sausage and the onion, and drizzle on several tablespoons of the olive oil.  Set on medium-high heat and cook for about 3 minutes, until the sausage starts to release some of its fat.  Add the garlic, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the Goya sofrito and cook, stirring, for one more minute.  Add the yellow bell pepper, cook for one minute.  Add the wine, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, parsley, and sugar.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer.

While the sauce simmers, puncture one of the bags of frozen mussels and cook in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Repeat with the second bag. Taste and re-season the sauce.  Stir in the butter and when it is melted carefully pour the entire contents of each bag of mussels into the pan. Cover the pan and simmer a few more minutes.

Serve with bread for dipping, or over angel hair pasta.  I removed the mussels to another container and stirred cooked pasta into the sauce, just to heat through.  The pasta with the sausage and peppers is moved into a serving pan, and the mussels are placed on top.  Sprinkle on some parsley for a light garnish.

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