Friday, February 19, 2010

Roasted Mussels with Almonds and Garlic (Page 334)

RECIPE #1103

  • Date: Friday, February 12, 2010 -- 6pm
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Kitchen: Our Temporary California Home
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I picked this recipe as part of the All Seafood All The Time plan. I combined mussels, garlic, parsley, white wine, butter, salt, and pepper in a big pot. I put it in a hot oven, uncovered, until the mussels opened wide. I added chopped, toasted almonds and tossed. That was it! This recipe was super easy. There are several mussel recipes in The Book that all start from the basic idea of: Cook mussels with garlic and butter. Then they each have their other main ingredient. One recipe just adds some white wine. One adds a whole lot of parsley. This preparation was all about the almonds. It was OK, but I preferred some of the other similar mussel recipes in The Book. Part of the problem was that this dish looked pretty unappealing. The parsley was mixed in before the mixture was roasted, which meant that it spent 20 minutes in a hot oven. Cooked parsley takes on a very unattractive color, and there was quite a lot of it in this recipe. The combination of mussels and almonds wasn't bad, but the dish didn't seem particularly cohesive. The recipe was perfectly fine, but I wouldn't make it again.

The recipe is here.

I still have this project I did in Elementary School where we had to answer a bunch of questions about ourselves. One of the questions was what we wanted to do when we grew up. In the blank I wrote: I want to get a PhD from MIT. I am sure the other kids wrote that they wanted to be ballerinas, or astronauts. And I am sure our teacher read all of our answers and giggled. Between when I wrote that at age 9 and when I did start my PhD at MIT at age 22, there were plenty of points when my dream was different, or just unclear. That 9 year-old version of me wanted to go to MIT to become an electrical engineer. An 18 year-old version of me realized that I hated to build things, so engineering might not be for me! It was around that time that I decided to study math. And it was only a few months before starting at MIT that I decided (again!) that I wanted to go there. Now, looking back, it is strangely satisfying to know that I did just what I said I wanted to do when I was little.

Earlier today I had to fill out a survey for some organization that I belong to. One of the questions asked for my long term goals, plans, aspirations, and dreams. I stared at it for a long time. There are a lot of things I would have said earlier in life: find a job that I love, find a wonderful husband, buy a house someplace that I want to live, etc... or more specifically: get my PhD, get a tenure-track job, find a work-life balance that makes me happy... Those were always my long term goals. But now, I have all those things. I am living my dream and I am happy. I stared at the question for a long time, wondering if being happy with where I am in life makes me unambitious. (An ex-boyfriend called me unambitious once and I have felt a little bit sensitive about it ever since.) I do have plans. I would like to have kids someday. I would like to excel at my job. I would like to be a good wife, parent, and friend. I aspire towards all of those things. But my biggest plan is just to continue as I have been, and hope that I continue to be as happy as I am now. Somehow that didn't seem like the answer they were looking for. I left the question blank.

No comments: