Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Clock Is Ticking

Since I'm at home and Margy commutes to an office, I try my best to have a handle on dinner by the time she gets home.

Not tonight.

Not only was I running late in my attempts to prepare a pretty time-consuming dish for a weeknight, but I also had a last-minute handicap, thanks to ShopRite: I was dealing with almost two pounds of improperly cleaned squid.

ShopRite is my squid destination, and this marks the second time in a week I've had a problem. Well, the first time wasn't really a problem per se -- they were just out of the stuff, and I respect that. But tonight I had to spend valuable time slicing the eyes from the tentacles and pulling the quills out of some of the bodies. All the while I'm thinking, Who the hell did this job, a kid off the street? Clearly the person had never handled squid in his or her life, and I was paying for it, literally and figuratively.

So Margy basically walks in to find a mess. No intoxicating cooking aromas, just me, elbow deep in a pile of squid and in a foul mood. I poured a glass of wine down her throat to help buy me some time.

For her part, she was an angel. She could sense how stressed I was, and so, as hungry as she was rapidly becoming, she never really let on. We cleaned up and did all the dishes while the squid, which by now I had stuffed, was simmering away on the stove. For my part, I rushed things a little, turning off the heat well before I would have preferred.

That meant the squid was a little tough, but it was by no means a disaster. And I'm still excited enough about these wonderful cherry tomatoes we're growing that their presence in my squid stew was enough to keep me from the dark side. They went in whole, just a few minutes before serving, and once again they were like little bombs of flavor, exploding with the sweet and tangy essence of tomato.

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