Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pasta with Mussels and Chorizo (Page 216)

RECIPE #1095

  • Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Chris
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Emilee, Brian, and Sam
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I made this recipe for dinner at Em and Brian's as part of my All Seafood All The Time plan. I started by cooking finely chopped chorizo with chopped shallots in olive oil. I added minced garlic then white wine, and simmered until the liquid had reduced by half. Meanwhile, Chris helped me scrub and debeard the mussels. I brought a mixture of wine and water to a boil, then I added the mussels, covered the pot, and steamed them, stirring occasionally, until the mussels opened wide. I cooked some pasta until al dente. I added the chorizo sauce and the mussels to the pasta, along with some cilantro, parsley, and water (which was meant to be pasta cooking water, but I forgot to reserve it... so it was just water). I cooked it all until heated through then added lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This dish was received with mixed reviews. My special gentleman and I both thought it was fine -- not wonderful but not terrible. Emilee, on the other hand, really hated it. She inquired, "What is the lowest grade I can give it if I didn't spit it out?" She finally settled on a grade of D (or maybe D-), complaining that it was a terrible waste of calories. I was surprised by her reaction as I found it generally inoffensive. I thought the combination of mussels and chorizo was interesting. The pasta was a bit unnecessary. I wondered if I wouldn't have liked it more if I had just served the mussels and chorizo sauce with crusty bread. I didn't think there was enough sauce and chorizo for the quantity of pasta, so the pasta itself was a touch bland and didn't seem cohesive with the rest of the dish. As it was, I wouldn't make this recipe again, but I did think that the shellfish and sausage combination had potential!

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except in The Book the mussels aren't shucked before adding them.

My college roommate used to say that sometimes she couldn't tell if I was working or daydreaming (and I would often wonder how much difference there really was between working on theoretical mathematics and daydreaming...). I would often lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling when I was thinking about a difficult problem. I spend so much time with mathematicians that such behaviors (staring off into the distance, tuning out the rest of the world) seem normal to me. As I write this, my special gentleman is standing in the middle of the room, staring at a blank wall. He hasn't moved in several minutes. I could ask him what's going on, whether or not he is ok, but I know what the answer will be. He'll just say, "I'm thinking." And that's enough explanation. I understand that feeling -- being so deep in thought, holding so many ideas in one's head, that you lose awareness of everything around you. In our relationship, the phrase, "I'm thinking," is code for, "Please don't interrupt me." We have the following phone conversation frequently:
"Hi, how's it going?"
"Good. I'm thinking."
"Ok, call me back later."
One of the nice things about being married to another mathematician is that he totally understands that deep-in-thought, please-don't-interrupt-me feeling.

My special gentleman seems to have stopped staring at the wall now, so perhaps I will put away my computer and hang out with him!


Jessica said...

I have noticed that ideas seem to clarify during the night as I sleep--I came up with one of my best ideas on my dissertation research riding an escalator and daydreaming :)

I don't know any mathematicians though--the closest I come is watching Numb3rs.

Teena said...

I have also had that experience where my thoughts have clarified tremendously in my sleep!