Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"And that's the way it is"... Mussels in Creamy Wine Sauce with Slipper Limpet Pasta

So I drafted this days ago, and just getting around to finishing it.  If you read yesterday's post, you know why.  I apologize for that dark and dreary post, but unfortunately, that is the nature of the various syndromes that have taken up residence in this frail little body.  It's a wonderful life.  No, it's not.

I was able to pull some weeds this morning before the sun took over that side of the house, which gave me time to think, and chat with a colleague, and throw out a few zingers.  Okay, kids, to start - I can't say enough bad things about judgess.  Apparently others can't either.  Karma.  Wait for it, it's coming. (I could tell you a funny story about another arrogant judge and karma and public humiliation, but I won't, except to remind a certain current member of the bench that it happens, and when it does, you'll get no sympathy).

Also I am very disappointed in both law firms I contacted.  If you need a law firm, talk to me and I will tell you who not to hire.  It is absurd that a website proclaims an "intake professional" will get back to you in one hour, and three days later you are still waiting.

Under normal circumstances I am a patient woman, but this is frankly freaking ridiculous.  Next!

Ah ha!  Saturday night supper for me and my spouse.  My iPad camera became balky at the wrong moment.  Too bad because this really is a photogenic dish. I'm talking about the mussels, of course.

Not a photogenic dish

After dumping another half dozen apps, I regained enough space to start taking photos again.  Anakin was being particularly affectionate, jumping up onto my shoulders and nuzzling me, which let me snag this photo.  I look terrible, Ani looks a proper Jedi Knight.

Now, I'm in a crappy mood, so let's get that declaration of crappiness out of the way.  That's my life, that's my medical condition, and that's the way it is.  So today's ear worm - and it is a pretty one! - is brought to you courtesy of Celine Dion and Walter Cronkite.  No, really.

I can read your mind and I know your story
I see what you're going through, yeah
It's an uphill climb, and I'm feeling sorry
But I know it will come to you, yeah
Don't surrender 'cause you can win
In this thing called love

When you want it the most there's no easy way out
When you're ready to go and your heart's left in doubt
Don't give up on your faith
Love comes to those who believe it
And that's the way it is

Yesterday, I couldn't pull myself out of bed, while today I am up and blogging at some disgraceful cow-milking hour.  It could be the Insane Itching, which is disturbing my peace.  It could be the dog, invading my space. It could be that I am pondering the conundrum of why did four strange men add me to their individual Google-plus circles within the past two days?  

Oh damn, one important thing I keep meaning to record and celebrate is the birth of my friends' third grandchild (first granddaughter!) two days ago. In my mind, we are all still 18 year old freshman at New Paltz, but on my Facebook page, we are all retirement age with long-term marriages, grown children, and in some cases, grandchildren. Congratulations and many blessings to Mark, Sandy, Iris, Jason, and Carrie.  The best days are the days that babies come.

I have Things To Do today, and for days to come. Some of them are important, others are just for fun. Some involve shopping. One involves trying to figure out if those are chest pains or indigestion.  Yet another calls for the exercise of my organizational skills (ha! and ha! again).

First and foremost, despite the lack of a medical doctor's degree, I have determined that indigestion, rather than a heart attack, is causing my discomfort.  What a relief, eh?  All that without the burden of a huge medical school loan.  By today's standards, my law school loan was a pittance.  My undergrad - well, there was no loan.  Regent's Scholarship, state university rates, and my four years at college, including room and board, cost my parents $5,024.  Those were the days.

Nextmost, we are engaged in a losing battle to outrun the rain.  We've got places to go and Necessary Things to buy, but it has turned into frikking monsoon season here in Central Florida, and we haven't had a break for many days.  Looking at the sky ahead of us, this is a losing proposition.  But we're off and running - or hobbling, in my case.

And we made it! Three important stops, good food, a killer cultivator so I can cultivate my garden, even gyro-flavored potato chips. Oh, and a new crockpot the size of Milwaukee.  Will we make it inside the house?  Will it storm on my potato chips?  Mother Nature must have taken pity on us, because we unpacked the car and moved all of our purchases into the house a full half hour before the skies opened.  I even managed to put a cage around the zucchini plant, so maybe it survived the deluge.

I am cooking the chicken thighs low and slow, and if my simple idea pans out, I'll  type up the recipe for tomorrow's blog post.  Today, however, I want to talk about mussels.   Delicious, tender, easy to prepare, reasonably priced mussels.  I buy them frozen, cook them according to the low-end of directions, and then combine them with whatever sauce I happen to prepare. You can use fresh mussels if you can find them, but I've had really good luck with the frozen ones.   

Just a note that "no slipper limpets were harmed in the making of this blog post."  It seems that the pasta called orrechiette (little ears) bears a striking resemblance to the little sea creature called slipper limpet.   Ergo, my name for this dish.  Calling it "little ears" brings up a bunch of bad Van Gogh jokes.                                                                              

Mussels in Creamy Wine Sauce with Slipper Limpet Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 very large sweet onion, sliced
kosher salt
coarsely ground black peppersmoked paprika
6 cloves garlic, chopped

Melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and cook for a full 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another 10 minutes.

3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 cup white wine
fresh thyme to taste
1 pound package frozen mussels

Add the flour to the onion-butter mixture, and stir to make a roux.  Add the thyme.  Cook the mussels according to package directions for 4 minutes, then set aside to cool.  Add the wine to the roux, and stir over medium-high heat until it thickens.  Add the thyme.  

Snip a corner of the bag containing the mussels and pour the cooking liquid into the pan.  Stir, and adjust seasoning.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in 1 tablespoon each of butter and cream.  Add the mussels and cover the pan for a few minutes.

Cook any damn pasta you like - ears, bow ties, little worms, whatever - dress with a little butter - and serve with the mussel sauce over or under or alongside.  Serve family-style and throw a handful of chopped Italian parsely, preferably from my garden, over everything.  Green is good.  So are leftovers.

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