Sunday, July 26, 2009

She Sees Seashells

This is a true story.
Because, not all the other stories are always true, y'see? This one's true.
I awoke the other morning straining to figure out how I could get a stack of empty mussel shells. I have a little DIY project going on, some embellishment to the hem of curtains, and it needs lots of clean, pretty (and lightweight) shells.
There's this guy I sort of know, the GM at a seafood restaurant. I imagined calling him and asking if the kitchen would mind setting aside shells for me. Then I imagined his answer: "Jayzuz, woman! Hell, no! They will not do this for you. By the way, please come in for a drink."
I know my hobby store does not sell mussel shells.
What to do? The only way to get mussel shells seems to be... Oh smack me with a mackerel! Eat them yourself.
That very day we dropped in on our French bistro and each of us ordered the Moules Florentine. Ohgod. Dozens of specimens in each bowl, too many to eat at one sitting. Delicious.
(And this was my first restaurant foray since foreswearing gluten. It seemed to work, and I didn't even have to bug the waiter.)
So now I have a fridge full of stinky, empty shells. I'm going to wait a day or two longer, so they're really ripe, and all the animal matter just slips off when I wash them.
No matter how clever I think I am curtain-wise, though, I believe eating the mussels was the better experience. Maybe we won't have enough shells for this project. We'll have to go back!


dancingmorganmouse said...

Or you could just leave the shells outside and let the ants to the work for you!

cookiecrumb said...

Bingo! That's what I told Cranky I was going to do.
He said, please, no.
Doesn't want to encourage the ants.
(We're not very anty in this corner of N. Cal. I believe I was channeling memories of Hawaii, where I'm afraid of volcanoes and there are ants, oh boy, are there.)

Sweet Bird said...

Sounds like a good plan to me. There's a place in DC that makes the most amazing mussels in an applewood smoked bacon cream sauce. Last time I was back east I ordered two whole plates of them and polished off every last teeny tiny morsel.

And I want some more now.


denise said...

I was going to suggest putting them outside too, but for the sun to bleach away the smell, not for the ant assistance. I wasn't thinking about ants, that might not be so fun, but I don't recall any ants ever going after our oyster shells when they were piled up in our yard. The dogs were interested, but no ants. Have fun with your project!

dancingmorganmouse said...

Given the hassle we have with ants each summer, I can't say I blame Cranky - but I've done something similar right down the every end of the back yard, not near the house.

kudzu said...

Boil them. Really. Won't hurt the finish and it will remove any, umm, redolence.

And of course you're not telling which bistro you went to, are you?

Kailyn said...

Thanks. Now I have Squeeze stuck in my head.

cookiecrumb said...

Sweet Bird: But really, aren't you in Mussel Central right now (if not for much longer)? Run down to the pier and scrape off a few... Heh. Or, go to the Fishwife; they have green-lip mussels steamed in wine. :)

Denise: More than an ant problem, we would have a cat problem. I could put the shells in kitty-proof cages, but -- oy.
Oyster shells in your yard? Was that in Pt. Reyes? Cool.

Mouse: Not near "THE" house, you say, but possibly near the neighbor's?

Kudzu: OK, I'm thisclose to boiling them. Thanks for the nudge.
And... the bistro was Le Rive Gauche. Naturellement.

Kailyn: It could be worse! You'll thank me.

Zoomie said...

Clever, clever way to get Cranky to take you out for dinner!

denise said...

yes, oyster shells in the yard in point reyes, post-bbq. it's not all that interesting though, we were just saving them for an unknown project that we might figure out one day. it just seemed a shame for them to go to waste when they could be a part of some great "?" one day...

Heather said...

Man, where was I where I saw a gajillion shells? Fisheries usually don't let you have them because they use them for anchoring the spawn to grow more mussels. You can always cop out and buy a bag of shells at a craft store. Pre-cleaned and all.

Me, I'd rather just eat piles and piles of mussels. With skinny French fries and garlicky aioli.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Oh, the poor man. He's been dying to eat out, but I've been "indisposed" or "afraid." This was a breakthrough. Happy indeed.

Denise: First, "point" taken. You spell out Point Reyes, and I know that, but I lazied out. :D
Second, I would keep a shellmound, too. Just in case, you never know! It's so... rural! (And Miwok.)

denise said...

Hey! I wasn't correcting you. Pt. works just fine : )

cookiecrumb said...

Heather: My craft store (fricken Michael's, thank you not) only has scallops, cowries and sort of tropical shells. Fine, but not mussels.
So, hellyeah. Eat the damn mussels, save the shells. These were cooked with spinach, onions, some fabulous green pesto, and loads of butter and wine. I couldn't sop up the juice with bread, so I drank it. I died. Good. Oh, and skinny french fries, ho yeah.

Denise: You are kind. xxx!

peter said...

I've been on kind of an oyster tear lately, but the shells are kind of gnarly and rustic; I fear that they would offend your dainty, ladylike sensibilities else I would fedex them right over.

Anna Haight said...

Gluten awk! I really feel for you, that's a tough one and I can see how it would really put a damper on going out. I'm glad you've found a delicious place to enjoy! Le Garage has some spectacular mussels! The bowl is so big, you could probably curtain your whole house with one serving ;-)

cookiecrumb said...

Anna: Thanks for the empathy. At this point, I'm waiting to hear from my doc. She probably thinks I'm nuts, so that's not helpful.
Anyway, we still haven't been to Le Garage! I MUST go there. Thanks.