Swim lessons began Monday. We do a six week session that runs for an hour, first thing in the morning. It gets us ready for the day early, and the boys get good exercise right off the bat. I get to have an hour with nothing to do but read, and cast an occasional sidelong glance toward the parent-infant class, giving a quiet sigh of relief that I’m not there anymore.
The rest of the day seems to be a continuous stream of preparing food and cleaning up.
Tuesday, we had a couple of siblings from the neighborhood over to play. When I asked whether they’d prefer a sandwich of tuna, PB&J, or grilled cheese, the older one told me, “My brother doesn’t eat. But I’d love a PB&J.”
Yesterday, a neighbor and a hockey teammate of Abbott’s were over for lunch, and the boys immediately ate the cantaloupe I’d sliced in silent concentration. The rest of the meal stretched out around their chatter. As I loaded the dishwasher they managed to sneak up on, and capture in a jam jar, an unlucky lizard sunning itself on our deck. I was happy to overhear Abbott being very clear: “We can’t bring it in the house!”
Whenever I take Cal grocery shopping with me, we come home with seafood. He loves it all: oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, all kinds of fish. Last night, I cooked five pounds of littleneck clams he'd picked out, with butter, garlic, shallots, and white wine. We ate them over couscous, which soaked up the brininess.
I made a clean-out-the fridge, ad hoc meal of spaghetti and kale for tonight's dinner, and had a flashback to a memory from nursing school, when I did a two month psychiatric rotation on a post-traumatic stress unit at the Veterans Hospital. My responsibilities included attending a meeting facilitated by a psychiatrist. I was barely old enough to vote, and there I was in a group of much older men who had weathered a lot. One night, as we waited in a circle of metal folding chairs for the meeting to begin, my neighbor to my left said, “I think you ate better than I did.” My cheeks burned as I realized the garlic in the salad I’d eaten earlier must be oozing out my pores. Once again, I've had my quota of garlic for the week, between the clams last night and the spaghetti tonight, but it has been worth it.
Lemony Spaghetti with Kale
1 pound kale, washed, tough stems removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti
¼ cup plus two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (the juice from about 1 lemon)
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and cook for 2-3 minutes, until tender. Scoop the kale out of the water, drain it well, and transfer it to a bowl.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the kale and the lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked spaghetti and the remaining ¼ cup olive oil; toss to coat. Stir in the lemon juice, followed by half of the cheese. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the pasta, top with the remaining cheese, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings