When I was at the unemployment office the other day, trying to find out what other options I had and figure out what I might not be doing right, I struck up a conversation with a fisherman. Specifically, a very out of work fisherman looking for any little day-labor job that might be available. He had a pretty hefty chip on his shoulder, and that's coming from someone who these days wears a permanent scowl and is mad basically all of the time, even in my sleep. Seriously, I wake up with this weird little rage-furrow that's been etched all night into my face and not even Stella's strange antics can get it to budge. Although she has been chasing the screen saver lately and that's pretty funny. I don't believe she's really all cat, I think she's part cat, part alien. But I digress.

After my new fisherman friend exhausted his complaints about his last boss and how this country is going straight to hell, etc. we got to talking about shellfish. I made my usual groan-y puns like "hey, your boss sure sounds shellfish" (Got crickets on that one, btw) and he mentioned that for him there is nothing better than a steaming hot plate of mussels. And I got to thinking hmmm, I agree with that statement. And if a fisherman who knows his shit can make that statement, who am I to argue?

Of course, fresh mussels is strictly the purview of those who have jobs, or at least, families with extra cash or families that have a door on the bathroom, so that route is not in the cards for me just now. Fortunately for me I live close to a great little market run by a nice family that has everything you can think of including an impressive collection of previously frozen shellfish. I picked up 12 gorgeous, over-sized mussels from New Zealand on the half shell for $4. Packed the day before and springy to the touch. Perfect.

After returning some empties (hangs head in shame) I came home with my catch (see what I did there? That one's for you Kevin. You'll get back on the sea) and ran them in their package under cold water just to make sure they were completely thawed. I chopped fresh garlic (2 cloves) and shallots (2 small, thanks shallot!) and some fresh parsley that was in the fridge (keep your fresh herbs in a glass full of water, they last longer. Same for green onions) and a couple Roma tomatoes (the cheapest kind of tomato, you know) and a cup of chicken stock, and steamed the whole mess with the mussels face down until I was satisfied:

I mixed angelhair into the pan and chowed down like it was the last thing I had to do on this earth (there were a lot of parenthesis in that paragraph):

It was absolutely delicious. A little white wine on the side and a sunbeam from the window were my accompaniments. Ah, summer!