I gingerly pick up the giant shards of green glass poking out from puddles of cool water made visible by reflections of light. I am reminded of searching for sea glass, ambling for hours with my head hanging down getting lost in sand sculptures crafted by ocean waves.
I used to stand for hours on the shoreline, double daring the ocean to bury me. I wanted to feel the cool weight of wet sand climb over me, comforting me with its heaviness. I wanted to get stuck there forever, becoming a fixture caked with salt. I wanted to feel my skin tan and then weather like the shore houses. I wanted the sun to change me, to bake my hair into streaks and my skin into wrinkles. The ocean only ever dared to bury my ankles, teasing me as each powerful building swell faded to a gentle push at my feet.
I loved how the wind carried away songs, mumblings, and lunacies, filling my ears with wind and water to protect them from the nonsense which vibrated past my lips. I search the floor for the scattered shards of glass, the faint humming of Jesse in the background.
My meditation ends abruptly by the prancing tap of paws. The culprit. Ears back, tail straight in the air, the cat comes to brag before his kill. A San Pellegrino smashed into pieces all over the floor. I squirt chase him away with a water gun. He has bullied the old orange tabby cat into a spot behind the copper legs of the table. Poor old Charlie looks just like a prisoner there. He follows my movements with his head from behind copper bars.
Shells, shrimp, peas, edamame, pasta salad. East meets Midwest. My father grew up on the east coast and my mother in Wisconsin. What better represents this cultural union than a shrimp filled pasta salad? (a lobster hot dish, perhaps?)
This morning, as we drove to pick up her brother Jesse from the airport, the dawn sky burned with pink. Glowing shrouds of cloud against a pink sky in the early morning make me dream ocean thoughts. Christina spoke love for Minnesota which was contagious, it is beautiful, I thought as we wound around the river sleepy eyed, with the crowning sun at our backs.
Boil some water and cook 1/2 box shells. While the shells are cooking, dice 1/2 onion. Mash and mince 2 cloves fresh garlic.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add onions and garlic. Break 1/2 cauliflower into little pieces into the pan. Add some salt, and give a stir. Add 1/3 cup water and allow cauliflower to cook on high until the water is gone (I like it when it still has some crunch, but is not too hard). Check on your pasta periodically. When it is finished cooking, drain it and rinse immediately with cold water to prevent it from sticking.
Cook ~2 cups peeled de-veined shrimp in 1 tsp butter, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Add a little salt. After about 4 min pour shrimp into cauliflower and remove from heat. Add 2 more cloves of minced and mashed garlic to the mixture. Add in the pasta, 3 diced green onions, 1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup frozen edamame (shelled). Stir well, allow temperatures to even out. The peas and edamame will thaw, the cauliflower will cool.
Pour yourself some coffee. Wash a few dishes. Relax a bit.
Empty the salad into a large bowl and add 1 diced tomato, and liberal amounts of pepper and your favorite seasoning mix (I used some salt free seasoning mix that Christina's mom sent to us). Add salt to taste. Add 1 cup mayonnaise, and 1 1/2 Tbsp salad vinegar. Chill salad and serve!
Christina's vote: "This salad is rich"