I have been working on chopping out a stump in my backyard. We had a tree cut down and they ground the stump but they missed part of it because it was buried under all the sawdust. So I have been slowly hacking away at it. Matt thinks it is hilarious and he has taken videos of me swinging the axe but he has been having technical problems.
Why chop? Because it feels damn good. I cannot explain how satisfying it is to physically overcome an immovable object or to just whack. I could spend hours digging and chopping. My hands don’t like it of course. When I first started doing it, I would wake up and my hands would so stiff I could barely hold a fork. But they are getting used to it now. I pretend I haven’t had rotator cuff surgery. My doctor assured me that he would sew me back up if I did anything to blow it out again. He was talking about swimming. I say, hey, swimming chopping, whatever.
After all that chopping I was powerful hungry. I bought some smoked mussels from the seafood counter at Whole Foods. I decided to use them in a Jacques Pepin dish–Mussels with Saffron. He uses fresh mussels. I just used what I had. The sauce is a basic tomato sauce flavored with saffron. Once that cooked down I stirred in the smoked mussels and served it over brown rice.
This turned out pretty good even though I did not have mussel broth. I used to not like the flavor of saffron. It always tasted a bit soapy to me. But I find that if I use just the right amount it has a pleasant flavor.