Today, on the second day of Advent, I got up early to get to the pool by 7:00 am for the first day of a 2-week Advanced Crawl swimming class at the local pool. There were 7 of us, 2 women and 5 men all with varying amounts of interesting tattoos (one has some very Maori tribal ink down both arms and another has his entire back covered in very Japanese artwork) I was a bit worried about this because I don’t believe in my heart that I’m good enough to be advanced, and because this class is taught in another language on top of it. But the instructor knows me and she said I’d be find, so there I was.
You know how in every class, there’s one person who has to be last? Yeah. That wasn’t me. Actually, it turns out that I can outswim this entire class. The guys started getting out of my way, saying “Ladies first” so that I didn’t catch up with them and pass them. So huzzah for ego-boosting swim class. After the class ended, I stayed around for an extra 15 minutes, just swimming by myself and feeling comfy in the water. I haven’t swum alone since deep in the high volume weeks before Ironman, so it was nice and peaceful not to be looking out for anyone else and having to set an example. I was so peaceful and in the zone that I swam directly into some guy who magically appeared out of nowhere in my lane, backstroking right towards me. Oops! Overall, it was a fun and new experience to be the fast kid in class. I could get used to it!
Possibly, my swimming has improved since I obsessively do about 300 meters of technique exercises at the start of every swim. Here are some of my favorites:
Anyway, might as well stay under the sea for today’s recipe. The other week, the Wife brought home 2 kg of fresh mussels from the local fish shop. We didn’t have any white wine on hand for traditional Moules Marinières so I improvised.
- 2 kg fresh mussels
- 3 Tbsp Olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 can chopped tomatoes in juice (or 1 cup fresh tomatoes, skinned and diced + 1 cup water)
- 1 Tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tsp dried basil
- Fresh or dried parsley to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Rinse the mussels in fresh water and remove beards and barnacles. Discard any obviously dead ones (Like ones that are already open and don’t close again when you poke at them or very obviously broken shells.)
- In a large heavy sauce pan or stockpot heat the oil over medium heat
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, try not to burn the garlic.
- Add the wine and cook an additional minute
- Add the tomatoes plus a cup of additional water
- Add the spices
- Bring to a low boil
- There will be about three waves of mussels. Make sure each wave is wearing the appropriate color swim cap…Cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes or until most of them have opened. Send them to T1 and add the next batch. Repeat until all mussels are cooked and the broth is rich and tasty.
- Add all mussels back into broth (or serve mussels in separate bowls and spoon broth over them)
- Serve with garlic bread.
I used the leftover broth the next day to make vegetable soup with spinach, mushrooms, and pasta. It was pretty salty so I had to cut it with more water for the soup.
And now let’s hear from some folks who met someone who’s 6’4″ and full of mussels…
This is especially for the Wife and the theme of rock musicians playing flutes. We’ll continue with that theme tomorrow.
And now for your daily cat. At the Christmas market we got a cat surprise treat bag that contained a catnip treat. The cats turned it into a tiny, sodden pillow soaked in cat spit in short order. While I don’t have any pictures of them fighting over it, falling over in a kitty stupor, and subsequently getting the munchies, I do have a picture of them covered in ribbons, helping us take down last year’s tree.