Sunday, January 6, 2013

Experiments in Shell fish

For Christmas I went a little off the beaten track for Americans and made Paella.  No I'm not the least bit Spanish.  But I did live there a couple years and my daughter got off the plane from Spain 2 days before Christmas.  Plus, I rock at paella.  Spaniards have told me so.

Anyway, paella (the recipe I use, from Penelope Casas who is by far the most amazing Spanish cook/traveler I have ever found) requires all manner of fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, meat.  The recipe calls for 18 small clams and 18 mussels.

Two days before Christmas, while the Captain and I were attempting to go grocery shopping only one more time for the 11 people occupying my house for a week we went to Costco.  I was shocked to see they actually had the exact types of clams and mussels I needed.  But 18?  No I had to buy 5 pounds. Of each.  I briefly considered adding a trip to the local fish market to my already over-taxed life and decided the hell with it and bought 10 pounds of clams and mussels.

Enter the frugal, cheap Girl Next Door.  The Girl who can't throw food away, who despite being "comfortable" financially believes part of the reason she lives there is because she believes "waste not want not."

SO?  I threw the clams and mussels in the freezer for another day.

Enter Friday night.  Captain and I alone  (ALONE!) in our house.  First Friday night in ....a month?

Pour a glass of rum to share over rocks...the first alcoholic drink all week and this is a major improvement over the holidays.

Decide maybe we are hungry.  Pull out the clams.  Boil water.  Google, "Can you freeze clams and then eat them?"  Decide we can.  Chop up garlic, make garlic butter, find baguette bread in need of eating, add butter, cheese, toast.  Steam clams.  THEY OPEN!!!!!  pull out meat, drop in garlic butter mixture, grab toasted cheese bread.  Grab shared glass of rum.  Put on movie, bring food to living room.  Eat.

OMG this is awesome.  If we had planned it, it could not have tasted this good!  Score one for the Frugal girl!

Fast forward Sunday night.  Day of beach, putting away final Christmas lights, doing laundry.  Dinner?  "Hey Captain the clams worked, what about the mussels?  Get some cilantro, tomatoes, I have jalapenos, onions, get some wine, steam them.  Let's try it.  Worked for the clams!"

So I chop this and that and get it all going, buy fresh baguette bread but toast it anyway (sans cheese); make salad "just in case."

Boil mixture, put mussels in....wait.....wait.....wait.   Hmmmm they are not opening.

Well a few seem to open.

Time's up.  Pull out mussels that didn't open.

That would be 90%.

Mussels that did open?  Not sure they are technically "open."

Eat one....ewwwwwwww.  Dump the entire concoction in the trash, carry immediately outside.  Eat the salad.  Eat the bread.  Hope the one bite of mussels doesn't erupt into a more interesting evening.

SOoooooo shell fish 1  Us 1.

Good to know.


ChiTown Girl said...

Yikes! I hope there weren't any ill effects from the bad mussel.

I'm with you, I HATE to waste food. Hell, I hate to waste anything!! Glad the clams were a success.

Happy New Year!!


Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my gosh....well, you live and learn. Your first two dishes sounded amazing though; worth the waste?