Friday was “euuuuwwweee” night at our house. Every few months we both man a pan and cook a dish each of us enjoys that the other does not. On such occasions Rick often indulges his passion for organ meats (hence the euuuuwwweee) while I break out the scallops, a seafood not on his list of favorites.
Growing up in Nova Scotia seafood was a mainstay at our house. As a child often I accompanied my grandmother to the fish market. Walking hand in hand along the pier, fishing boats would be lined up one after another many still unloading their catch of the day. Inside the massive market area itself, fish of every color and description lay on beds of ice, some so fresh they still showed signs of life. A huge bank of aquariums lined the back wall housing lobsters of all sizes. Once a selection was made, your purchase was wrapped tightly in butcher paper or newspaper and tied with a piece of string. The overwhelming smell of the sea often lingered in our clothes hours after leaving the building.
I digress (as usual). As I was saying, euuuuwwweee night was on the calendar. I had decided to bake my scallops to make life easier. Company was arriving over the weekend so there was much to do outside of the kitchen. Rick had an appointment in the afternoon but assured me he would arrive home in plenty of time to get his half of the program on the road. Yea.
At around 5:15, the time I expected Rick to roll into the driveway, the phone rang. An unfamiliar number around dinnertime was probably a robocall so I waited to hear the caller identified. It was Rick. Picking up, he told me he was calling from a massage parlor (a discussion we’d have later) because he’d forgotten his cellphone. The SUV, it seemed, had gotten hung up over a curb in Nevada City. The streets in the historical mining town are narrow and when he’d backed up the rear tires dropped over leaving them spinning. Our insurance company had been alerted and a towing company was on its way.
Shortly after hanging up the towing service called. A snippy sort of woman explained they had been trying to call Rick to have him verify his ability to cover the $80 charge for sending a truck out. I explained he had forgotten his phone and road service is covered under our insurance. Apparently deaf as well as difficult she again asked if we could pay. Politely (no really) I suggested they send someone out to find Rick and he would straighten out the payment situation on their arrival.
In the interim my potato was cooking in the oven and Rick wasn’t due in for some time. Hmmmmm. Easily a half an hour later the tow company number showed up again. Really? On answering the same woman informed me her driver couldn’t find Rick at the location given. She asked me to call him and get further details. Hello? Once again I explained he’d forgotten his cellphone (a concept she couldn’t seem to process) and I could not call him. Nevada City is a small town with about ten streets in the downtown area. How many irritated looking men pacing in front of a red SUV hanging over the curb could there be? My potato at this point was beginning to look a bit prunish and my stomach was beginning to growl.
Twenty minutes later the woman and I were once again on the phone. One more call and we were going to be picking out china patterns. Still no Rick on the horizon. Outside it was turning to cold and beginning to get late. Hanging up, I pulled on a pair of jeans, grabbed my cell phone and waved goodbye to my potato now completely imploded in the oven. Sigh.
Not having been to this location before I programmed the address in my GPS and headed north. Twenty minutes later I turned up a street to find Rick as expected pacing in front of the SUV obviously listing to one side. “How did he do that?”, I wondered, but decided this along with the massage parlor issue would be a question best left for later.
Finding a parking place outside of the building I noted on the plaque the exact address I’d given to the tow company. Rick explained no tow truck had ever shown up. Grabbing my cell phone to dial the road service number it powered down out of juice before I could complete the call. Are you kidding? Luckily two twenty somethings were walking by. What nice guys they were, though they made me cold in shorts and tank tops. I swear if there’s a hint of spring in California people rub on suntan lotion, pull on flip-flops and throw themselves on the ground waiting for the tan lines to show up. Anyhow they were good enough to loan us a phone. Once again on the line with road service it appeared the original tow truck company had cancelled the call, unable to locate Rick. Now how did I go directly to his location with my GPS if their driver whose business it is to find people couldn’t seem to do so? Another time.
Sure enough a sign reading “Massage Parlor” hung to the left of the building. One question answered. Shortly the proprietor came out and handed Rick his phone. Apparently his was the number Rick had originally called the road service company from and they were calling back. Secretly I hoped nobody was half massaged inside.
Finally just before dark and nearly three hours into the program a tow truck showed up. By this time both twenty somethings had joined us as well as the massage parlor proprietor. A guy with an enormous dog had stopped by to offer suggestions for dislodging the SUV on his way out to walk the beast and on his way back. A myriad of walkers and passersby stopped to chat along their route. It takes a village.
In the end the car got towed, we got home, new friends were made, and the scallops the livers remain untouched and uncooked waiting for tonight.
This was my first attempt at asparagus soup. A friend gave me four bunches of beautiful fresh asparagus. We have seen it in every way but on a burger this past week. This was smooth, creamy deliciousness.
Creamed Asparagus Soup
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 onion, chopped
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice
Crumbled crisp bacon for garnish (optional)
Add asparagus and onion to deep skillet and pour 3/4 cup vegetable oil over top. Bring to boil and then reduce heat partially covering. Cook for 6-8 mins. or until asparagus is tender (check often and add water if liquid gets to low). Cool slightly and then puree in blender.
Melt butter in same pan. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 mins. stirring constantly (do not brown). Whisk in remaining 1 1/2 cups of broth and bring to boil over med-high heat.
Whisk in asparagus puree, half and half and milk. Add sour cream and lemon juice. Continue cooking 3 mins.
Top with crisped bacon bits if desired.