amateur hour.

Bleh...I've just been cooking in the laziest way imaginable, using the fewest steps possible to generate something that is generally mostly edible. Not a winning mission statement, that.

This lame directive usually results in "sandwiches", by which I mean taking a single piece of bread out of the bag, plopping something in there (some sardines in tomato sauce; a cut tomato, mayo, and mustard maybe; the "i'm not high, really!" peanut butter and ginger marmalade combo, etc.), and chomping it down in 45 seconds or less. Dunno what's up.

I did try to actively cook yesterday, but results were mixed: the soupish item pictured above was actually quite satisfying...it's basically a clam broth with bay leaves, a little crushed red pepper and saffron, the star of the show is not corn (as it appears in the photo) but fregola, one of my new favorite pastas.

At least I think it's fregola. I buy it at Bario Market downstairs (the Turkish guys), and while it really looks like fregola, it won't actually come out and admit to it, on the bag it just says "semolina pasta". It also looks quite a bit like Israeli couscous. And so yet another food nomenclature mystery unfolds at our sleepless narrator's grotesquely large feet...

Whatever this mystery pasta really is, it sports a highly attractive toothsomeness...I haven't been able to cook it past al dente (not that I've really tried), and it's just fun to eat. There, I said it. And the whole clam/saffron thing was a lovely match, making for a downright comforting lunch.


Then I totally spazzed out for dinner. I bought 8 scallops at the fish girl, and some Calvados, and was going to make some recipe off of Epicurious, but then when I got home and looked at it again, I was like "meh, boring" and was all of the sudden planless.

Something I have been wanting to try was dusting my scallops with some sort of floury substance to allow them to pick up a better sear and not give off so much liquid. Tonight I chose cornmeal, because everyone knows that scallops and corn love each other to death, don't they. I also had some "duck bacon" in the fridge (thin, bacon-like strips of smoked duck breast) and some spinach I wanted to use up. Thus, the plan was: cornmeal-dusted scallops over smoked duck greens with a drizzle of reduced apple cream with a touch of unfiltered apple juice from Friesland and splash of Calvados.

Yes, it sounds great but too fussy, doesn't it. It might even have been pretty good, but an unforseen problem arose: this is very very similar to the way I've been cooking catfish about once a week for the past 4 months. And, it turns out that while it's perfect for catfish, it's a bit much for scallops: they were overwhelmed by the "dusting" (just rolling them in fine cornmeal) and the spices (thyme, cayenne, pepper).

Ultimately it mostly reminded us of (and compared unfavorably to) my catfish, except with the added bummer that it was actually wasted scallops. The greens were good. The cream sauce was too healthy (no actual cream used).

Ah well. Back to catfish tonight.

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