Fish Fry 2

Sorry, you still can’t have any. Same reason as last time.

You remember the last time, when Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba told you how there came to be fish fry in our household.

Junior


Daddy


Specifically, this fellow and his (her?) ten siblings, which are just about a month old now. They remain in the aquarium set out just for them, and they’re still under the watchful eye of Daddy, who has been standing guard since Day 1.

YFNA explained “Daddy” the last time too, how he got stuck with the kids after his mate laid eggs in his shell and then ran off to the bar. On account of because with these fish (Pearly Ocellatus, Lamprologus stappersii – or is it Neolamprologus stappersii, or Neolamprologus meleagris, or … oh, never mind) …

…the parents take care of their fry. Rear cichlids successfully and get a free show, and you have no idea whether you’ll get Leave it to Beaver or Married with Children or Three and a Half Men.

The Lady

Well, there’s a new batch of fry in YFNA’s aquaria, and a new free show. Which is, of course, none of the above. Would you believe “Under My Thumb”, the oh-so-un-PC tune by the Rolling Stones in, like, 1966? (Look, you already knew that YFNA was around when elephants had fur, right?)

“Hold on there, Amoeba!”

“Yeah?”

“You just said that Daddy’s still in the special tank where you moved him, while the Lady’s in the big tank where she started, and where she’s been downing Mai Tais all this time. Shouldn’t we be talking about, like, immaculate conceptions here?”

Oh, yeah, right. Sorry. Y’see, when YFNA moved Daddy and the kids into the special tank, he also moved somebody out. That ‘somebody’ was another male Pearly Ocellatus – who had been placed in exile because, before YFNA put a stop to it, he’d killed off three of the original shipment of six Pearlies. Since he’d already shown that there wasn’t room in the special tank for anybody but him, he got shifted back to the big tank, with fingers crossed that The Lady would survive the experience.

She did, but she wasn’t happy about it. Any time Bully got near her space, she went postal on him, sent him off with his tail between his fins.

At least, that’s what happened with the lights on. When they went off, they must have come to some kind of accommodation (blindfolds, maybe?), because a mere three weeks after the move, there were new fry to guard.

And it was The Lady who was guarding them. None of this night on the town in skanky gowns stuff while hubby staffed the nursery, bottles and Pampers in hand. Uh uh. Bully sat in his comfy armchair in the center of the tank while The Lady huddled in the corner, her hair in curlers and the kids squalling and crawling at her feet.

YFNA doubts that Her Nibs was at all happy about this, but the textbooks, which plainly state that the female guards the brood in this species of fish, smugly consider themselves vindicated.

Now, on the previous occasion, YFNA rescued Daddy and the babies from the big tank, which is full of several other kinds of fish, all hungry, and their frypans. This time – well, YFNA likes keeping fish, but not to the point of bankrupting himself and Quilly. Nor has he any plans to open a fish store anytime soon. So he left this new batch of babies to test their wiles against their cold, cruel world.

YFNA couldn’t offer you a fish fry, dear readers. But the other fish in that big tank sure got one.

Valentine’s Day With Amoeba & Quilly

This morning I went to work with Amoeba. I helped a bit in the lab by doing the non-science housekeeping stuff so he could do science. I washed beakers and did some general clean up. I also watched him work for a bit and put wax seals on petri dishes for him.

At lunch time Amoeba took me to The Hungry Clam. We wanted to eat at Mi Casita, but their winter hours don’t include lunch on week days. When Amoeba suggested The Hungry Clam instead, I couldn’t think of any reason to tell him no, but I thought he was about me make me change my Valentine’s Day dinner plans. He always orders a scallop basket when we eat there — unless we go for breakfast then we both get Eggs Benedict.

Much to my joy and surprise, Amoeba ordered a fish sandwich. I wasn’t going to have to spend the afternoon researching new recipes! After lunch I happily took him back to his Fernald Hall lab, and I skipped off to the grocery store where I bought the ingredients for my love’s dinner surprise.

Speaking of surprises, Amoeba didn’t want me to pick him up from work despite the occasional rain squall and bellowing, nasty, ice-cold wind. On top of that, he surprised me by coming home an hour early. I had been futzing around and hadn’t finished tidying the house. Still, I was tickled to see him early, even more so when I realized he brought me a puppy!

For the last couple of weeks I have been telling him I wanted a dog — already house broken and well-behaved, but still a puppy. He kept telling me, “Good luck with that.” He also kept telling me “no” because the lease forbids it. Then he brought me:

stuffed dog

Love Puppy

He’s perfect. He’s well trained, but still a puppy and cute as a button! I have named him Love Puppy.

And then I cooked the special meal I have been planning all week.  I set the table with matching place mats and napkins, my favorite wine glasses and a bouquet of tulips.   We had Maryland Crab Cakes as our starter.  I’d like to tell you I made them, but the truth is, I bought them frozen from Schwans.  I served them piping hot on a ring of cocktail sauce.  No photos, I forgot.  Sorry.

Our second course was a lovely fresh baby spring mix salad with mushrooms, green onion and shredded baby carrot.  We drizzled a Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing over it.

For our main course we had pasta in Asiago Cream sauce (just make your favorite white sauce and stir in shredded Asiago Cheese to taste.  Asiago is quite dry, so make your sauce a tad on the thin side), accompanied by butter sauteed scallops & mushrooms.

The meal was a huge success with both of us.  It was mouthwateringly delicious.  And you’ll be happy to know I remembered to take a picture!

rotini pasta in cream sauce topped by scallops, scallions, garlic & roasted red pepper

Yum!

Check out the little wooden block above Amoeba’s plate. That was my gift to him. It isn’t as cute as Love Puppy, but I bet it is better behaved!

The scallion recipe follows, but I have to warn you, I read recipes as suggestions, so I am going to tell you how I made this, but I rarely measure anything.  If you’re a measuring cook, this recipe will likely frustrate you!

Sauteed Scallops with Scallions, Mushrooms, Garlic & Roasted Red Pepper.

Sauteed Scallops
with Scallions, Mushrooms, Garlic & Roasted Red Pepper

24 oz. Scallops (two 12 oz packages)
1/4 cup (half a cube or so) butter
1 clove garlic, diced
1/3 cup (or so) sliced small crimini mushrooms
1/3 cup (or so) of roasted red peppers (store bought in a jar)
1/3 cup (or so) diced scallion greens
salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter in sauce pan, add garlic, scallions, red pepper & mushrooms, sauté for 3-4 minutes, juice should form from veggies & butter.  Move veggies to outer edge of pan and place semi–frozen scallops in the middle.  Turn the heat to low and put a lid on the pan.  Allow scallops to simmer 7-8 minutes.  Turn over, simmer 3-5 more minutes, serve over pasta with cream sauce*.

~*~

*I made my cream sauce with about a table spoon of butter and a cup and a half of real cream, I brought them to a slow boil and stirred in a bit of flour mixed in water to thicken it, then I removed it from the heat and immediately stirred in 1/4 cup (or so) of Asiago Cheese.

The recipe I adapted this one from called for dill, which Amoeba doesn’t like so I omitted it.  It also called for vermouth, which I didn’t have and didn’t try to substitute anything for.

Lemon was also called for — I was supposed to stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice before adding the scallops to the veggie and butter sauce in the sauté. I had planned to do that but forgot. That is probably just as well since I used cheese instead of dill.

Please Ignore the Walking Carpet

I went to a friend’s house for a birthday party the other night. (His, not mine.) The party was a ton of fun — how could it not be when Ramona and Corey are a ton of fun?  First off, we had a 50th birthday party even though Corey is only 49.  The idea was to get him used to being 50 so next year it won’t come us such a shock.  I must say though that the words Corey used to thank us with were a tad-bit shocking.  LOL!

When I stepped in the front door I automatically took off my shoes and left them by this huge dog bed.  I don’t know why my brain didn’t register that as odd. Ramona and Corey have three tiny little dogs, a Shitzu, a Maltese, and a Pomeranian.  I know from past visits that their dog beds are all in the master bedroom.

Anyway, I guess I was too busy looking around for friends and checking out the buffet table — stuffed mushrooms, yum! — to give two thoughts to the giant puppy mattress in the living room.  That’s why I was so startled about 20 minutes later when a huge chunk of shag carpeting trotted through the room.  Everyone was startled.  Conversation stopped.  We all stared at this humongous flokati rug as it plowed through the crowd, birthday boy in its wake, and shot out the front door.

When Corey and the dog disappeared from view we all turned our eyes toward Ramona.  She said, “That’s Winston. We’re dog sitting. He’s an Old English Sheepdog.” Of course the normal rounds of jokes ensued — “Didn’t look old to me!”  “Are you sure that was a dog?”  “I thought the carpet threw up!” — and the party noise resumed.

Moments later one of the party guest let out a shriek.  She’d just realized she was sitting in Winston’s bed, and she was totally covered in long gray and white hair.  Luckily she was good natured and laughed about it.  She said something I have always known — large dog beds make great floor pillows, but only if they don’t actually belong to large dogs!

The Short-Cut

I heard the delivery truck pull away and went to the front door to collect my Avon order.  When I opened the door, Diablo, the neighbor’s black cat, ran out from under a car at the curb and jumped on top of my boxes. I greeted him in surprise.  Unlike our fluffy, orange “Rent-A-Kitty“, Diablo usually isn’t socially minded.  I was even more surprised when he let me pet him and scratch under his chin.  I said, “What’s gotten into you?”  That’s when he leapt from the box into my house, shot between my legs and across the living room.  I thought, “Oh great,now I’ll have to chase him through the house and under the beds.”  I followed him.  He was sitting at the kitchen door waiting to be put out on the back deck.  The neighborhood cats have taken to sleeping out there on the chair cushions.   Since it is pouring rain outside, the quickest and driest path to our covered back deck was through my living room.  And we call them dumb animals.

Rent-A-Kitty

[Um, not a paid post. ‘Case you were wonderin’.]

Pet owners, and those who perceive an advantage from agreeing with pet owners (veterinarians, pet shop people, cemetery operators, Stephen King, psychologists – and not just the ones that treat the animals), constantly extol the virtues of having an adorably furry ball of unconditional love follow you around the house. Especially when you’re working the can opener.

The challenge, for the discerning human, is how to obtain these advantages while minimizing the side effects.

Like, fur. Everywhere.

Like, competition for favored places. The bed, for example. The whole bed.

Like, the cost of pet food. Including the cost of finding a pet food that the pet will actually eat.

Like, the litter box. Not to mention the missed litter box, or, worse, the ignored litter box.

The solution, once you think of it, is obvious. Why buy when you can rent? It seems to be working for the folks who sell bourbon.

That’s pretty much what we’re doing at the Q & A residence. We’re a pet-free household (Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba has had all the experience of missed litter boxes that he requires, thanks). But pretty much every day, a neighbor cat comes to the door, howling and scratching until somebody pays attention. One or both of us come out, pick up the cat (if we don’t, he’ll try to jump up), and there follows several minutes of purring and rubbing and cooing and scratching. And then the cat goes away. Rent-A-Kitty. It’s perfect.

Of course, we are talking about cats, here. There are serious questions about just how much renting a cat will tolerate. I reckon it’s much more like a free-agent market:

“Yo, Al!”

“Hey, Fred. What you got?”

“There’s a house over there, and they ain’t got a cat!

“So?”

“They also ain’t got dogs or kids. Unlike my current place. Hsssss.”

That‘ll make your tail happier. Perks?”

Great rubdowns.”

“Meow. Food?”

“Not much. Water. Though I prefer to drink from the plant boxes. Freaks ’em out.”

“Scope out the house?”

“Won’t let me in. Believe me, I’ve tried. What I’ve seen is cool. I could turn their sofa into fluff in seconds. But they keep talkin’ ’bout a lease.”

“A leash?!?

“Not a leash, dummy. What kind of silly kitty do you take me for? A lease.”

“What’s that?”

“Dunno. But it seems to be anti-cat, and the union’d be looking into it if it’d listen to me.”

“Sounds like a lot to put up with for a few strokes.”

“Shows how much you know. Besides, look at me.”

“Hard not to, fatso.”

“Back o’ me paw to you too. So, you think this is the only gig I got going?”