Pining For… Substance

Delightfully Maladjusted

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

When you’re sad

When you’re sad.

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When you’re sad

When you’re sad

sticky pain bubbles up in the dark

sitting in the chaos of your mind

sorting out your heart

makes the light hard to find

air is thick and tears sting

when you’re sad you can’t find a thing

sad songs speak to me

because sad songs see

Beautiful Quiet.

In my world, there are different kinds of quiet. Creepy quiet, sad quiet, happy quiet or beautiful quiet are all recognizable to me.  I had an unexpected encounter with beautiful quiet on a Thursday night in the city. We had company visiting with us in the middle of the week and our original plan was to go check out the new Chihuly Garden of Glass at Seattle center at night to see the glass lit up, but we were disappointed to find out the museum was closed for a private event that evening. Not wanting to end the night so early or waste our parking investment dollars, we went to the Seattle Art Museum. I realized, after moseying around for a bit, that I had never been to a museum at nighttime. I had a great feeling of calm and reflection as I walked among the paintings- usually by myself in room after room. I did not worry about blocking anyone’s view or having to scoot over on the viewing benches. The contrast between the solitude around me and the bright and busy city whirling by through the windows made me feel like I was onto some sort of secret.

I was drawn to the paintings that made me feel calm, like Sleepy Time tea. And even though I had seen all of these paintings and collections before, I was feeling them in a different way. My life has been dark, sad, and uncertain lately. What a reprieve I got among the crisp air, soft lights, and soulful paintings at the museum that night looking back at me with all the wisdom of history in their brushstrokes. There are only a few places in which feeling insignificant I feel better, usually it is staring at stars, the ocean, or a mountain peak. For the first time I felt that way inside of a building, and it was nice to know I could just go there at night and find that beautiful quiet that calms me, if only for an hour- I’ll take it.

 

One sauce two dinners

I must admit I am a bit intimidated to cook with seafood. I always look longingly at the bounty of fresh seafood when we go to Pike Place market, but I never buy any because of two things: cost and inexperience. I am afraid I will ruin it, and because some seafood is pricey, I would feel even more defeated if things went wrong. I make fish on occasion, but shellfish is where I get nervous in the kitchen. I finally decided to give it a go with mussels. Mussels are not too expensive (4.99 per pound at my local grocery store), and depending on where you live, they may be locally farmed. In my case mussels are farmed about an hour north in Penn Cove, but I am fortunate to live in the bountiful Puget Sound. If this is not an option for you, try to purchase mussels that have been produced in the USA (if you live here, of course).

Mussels are a good choice for anyone who wants to take baby steps with cooking shellfish. They are inexpensive, easy and quick. Here is the recipe I followed from submitter Pati at allrecipes.com.

Dinner 1-What you need:

  • 50 fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crusty bread
    * My additions: 1/4 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon lobster base and dash of Holland House white wine with lemon, shake or two of red pepper flake
  1. Place mussels in a large bowl with cold water to cover. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to remove any dirt or sand.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute for one minute, but do not brown. Add the chopped green onion and tomatoes, and cook until almost tender. Pour in the white wine, and stir in the parsley and butter. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover and allow to cook until the shells are opened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large serving bowl, discarding any unopened shells.

The mussels I purchased at the grocery store were already cleaned and debearded- all I did was give them a soak to get any extra grit off the outside.

The recipes makes a lot of sauce, so much that I was able to use it again in a different dish the next night.

Dinner 2- What you need:

Leftover mussel sauce from dinner 1

other half of crusty French bread or whichever bread you used

1/2 box of pasta (angel, thin or regular spaghetti)

1 can of white clam sauce

1 can or jar of fancy clams

tablespoon of sherry

2 cloves garlic, pressed

How to:

simply cook your pasta and reheat your sauce and add the additional ingredients, mix together and top with fresh parsley

serve hot with warm bread, delicious!

The unemployment anthem: UP ALL NIGHT by the Boomtown Rats

The unemployment anthem: UP ALL NIGHT by the Boomtown Rats.

The unemployment anthem: UP ALL NIGHT by the Boomtown Rats

The perfect song for the unemployed. Love the bass too. I do a lot of dancing by myself at 3am, sigh.

 

Chloe Cupcake <3

My little cupcake with her “friend” Pinky.

“Another red head in the house,” John sighed.

Chloe and “Pinky”.

An African Violet doing well in the PNW

An African Violet doing well in the PNW.

An African Violet doing well in the PNW

John gave me an African Violet in August of 2011 for my birthday. Originally, she had a beautiful cluster of flowers, but within a few weeks they withered and died. I kept her watered, sparingly, and found a couple of good places in our apartment with indirect light (not hard to do here!) to make her happy. I didn’t expect her to flower again but this summer–wow, she flowered up nicely! One of the tips I learned, and followed, about caring for African Violets is to water them with warm water, and be sure not to get their leaves wet. I would place a baking funnel directly in to the soil of the plant and water her that way. Also, my plant did not like to be watered all that often, say once every two weeks. Anyhow, I am proud of my thriving African Violet! Have a look at Velvy…yes I name my plants 🙂 And enjoy some bonus pics of our little cupcake, Chloe, who was very interested in what I was up to.

A Chicago dog at home

A Chicago dog at home.

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