I don’t mind sharing with you guys the fact that I’m feeling a little dogpiled these days. New drama has unfolded – an enormous laundry basket of it – all over my already tipping plate. Family stuff – Mike’s family (and thus mine – why did I not carefully screen potential in-laws and select some who love to cook and have a house in the south of France?) – and of course I just can’t get into it all without laying down so much background it would take a year to bring you up to speed. And you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway, but it would make a fabulously addictive reality TV show. Can’t we ALL just meet up for (spiked) coffee somewhere sometime and have a big ol’ chat? OH THE STORIES I COULD TELL YOU.
So we’ve spent much of the past few days in and out of the hospital, dealing with grown-up stuff that makes me want to curl up on the couch in my legwarmers and eat peanut butter toast in front of Happy Days. How did I get to be the adult here? Isn’t there some boss of me around to tell me what to do?
But besides all that, Sue and I have a book due in three weeks. An actual, real, crazy-long manuscript that has to be finished June 1. Which is very exciting of course, but the homestretch is always a little daunting. Of course in that same stretch of time (3! weeks!) I have (many! big!) stories due for Swerve, Avenue, Dogs in Canada, Parents Canada and City Palate. I have a two-day foodstyling gig and a cooking segment of my own on BT on the 17th. (And three to five other TV spots, some in Edmonton, which I haven’t yet booked.) I have meetings as part of the Slow Food Calgary steering committee, I’m teaching a class at the Cookbook Company, emceeing the Art for the Senses event at the Glenbow on the 27th (the same night as W’s kindergarten orientation-sniff), I have board meetings and work to do to organize the upcoming Gallery Calorie party in the park (you should come to that – seriously – eating and drinking and shopping on a Saturday afternoon for great causes) and ditto Ramsay Rocks, and I’m helping (sort of) rejuvenate the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmers’ Market. (As I type brownies are baking for the CSA Movie Night tomorrow – which is free! The movie and the brownies, that is. I’m hoping there will be some left.)
Of course I still have a weekly CBC show to do, and write here, and at the Family Kitchen. We have friends who are moving and we’ve offered to help paint, and others having a CD release party. We’re going to the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival this weekend, and a birthday bash. Edgar Farms is having their asparagus festival. And somehow my days wind up filled with minutiae. Can you drown in minutiae? Hey, that’s one of those words that starts to distort itself when you say it over and over: minutiae minutiae minutiae minutiae. I wonder why I’m not getting any work done?
And a four year old. Did I mention I have a BOOK due in three weeks?
(Whitecap: Please don’t have a heart attack. I’m totally on it.)
Which is not to drone on about how busy I am – everyone is – I just don’t have high hopes for dramatic and interesting meals on our own table in the coming weeks. They’ll most be experimental and bean-based, others for stories and so not really sharable here. Dinners this week have been blurry – last night my sister ordered Chinese, and tonight she made a cookie sheet full of cheesy nachos I couldn’t get enough of. In between we’ve eaten huge bowls of almond-heavy Ichiban salad, quesadillas, the last of Aaron Douglas’ soup, and plenty of avocado sandwiches, on account of a bagful that all got ripe at the same time.
But I came across this recipe for mussels, which I made last week in under 15 minutes not realizing everyone had to scatter for soccer, meetings and miscellaneous after dinner stuff. I promptly forgot about them and never posted the recipe, but my sister has hardly stopped talking about them. I’m not a huge mussel fan, but I run with mussel fans, and it’s great to see how easy it is to make them happy. I had no idea how simple they were to cook – it would never have occurred to me that a wide, shallow bowl full of brothy mussels would take ten minutes to throw together. Seriously – this is ridiculously easy, and looks ridiculously not. I love that.
Mussels with Garlic, Tomatoes & Lemon
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
1 Roma tomato, finely chopped
1 lb. fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
a splash of white wine (optional)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
chopped fresh Italian parsley or basil, for garnish
In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
Add the lemon juice, mussels and the wine and cook for a minute, to reduce the liquid; add the cream and cover. Simmer until the mussels are opened, which will take about 5 minutes. Discard any that don’t open.
Stir in the tomato and divide between wide, shallow bowls; scatter with chopped parsley and serve immediately with crusty bread. Serves 2.
May 05 2010 11:50 pm | seafood