It’s been 28 days since the accident and despite the fact that my doctors say my legs are looking good, I still feel like I could be an extra in a zombie movie. All I can imagine when I look down at myself is some generic scene from a horror movie in which a girl wakes up and finds herself in a dingy basement having been attached to another victim with surgical staples and fishing line. Although in my case it was pieces of my own skin that were sewn on me not another person. The feel of the new skin is also hard for me to get use to even though its my own. I know that someday the texture and color will even out but for the time being when I am putting one of my various vitamin E creams on my legs it feels like I am massaging a baby alligator. The skin and scar tissue underneath is also very tight. Which means that any moment of inactivity gives it the chance to tighten resulting in a painful pulling sensation with I do move around. It’s terribly uncomfortable.
So in an effort to keep moving I figured out a few small cooking projects. I say small because although I am suppose to move about a bit, to much movement results in terrible swelling of my feet and ankles that also pulls at the skin grafts and is very painful. So I came up with some recipes that didn’t require to much time and that would allow me to sit down for a minute if needed, which I did need!
Part of my physical therapy has been to practice walking correctly. What that means is that right now the way the skin is healing it gets very tight around my ankles making it hard for me to put my feet flat on the ground. I generally end up walking on my toes with my left foot. There is a park two houses away from my own house and its a perfect distance to walk, not to far but far enough. So in the evening when my husband comes home we take a little walk to the park and sit and watch the sun set. It was during one of our park outings that I came up with the idea for a picnic there and maybe invite some friends to join us. So we did…
Like I mentioned I needed/wanted to make something super easy but I was craving two things steamed mussels and Bloody Mary’s. Thus Bloody Mary Mussels were born. I took all the flavors of a Bloody Mary and made an awesome broth to steam the mussels in. I did cheat a little… I used pre-made Bloddy Mary mix. Like I said I needed to make this super easy. To the mix I added chopped celery, olives and sliced peperoncini and added some chopped parsley right at the end. Delicious and only had me on my feet for about 20 minutes.
I also made a Chocolate Cream pie earlier in the day. Again a super easy recipe that had me on my feet for maybe 30 minutes all together. I used a basic chocolate cream pie recipe but I substituted yogurt in place of half of the milk mostly because I didn’t have enough milk and also because I really needed to use some of the hoard of yogurt I had accumulated. But the tang of the yogurt was a nice addition to the recipe. It gave the traditional chocolate cream pie a little twist that everyone really enjoyed. I also made the crust from the “Milkbar” cookbook by Christina Tosi. Ridiculously easy. For that recipe I used Black Cocoa powder instead of the regular cocoa powder it called for giving it more of an oreo cookie flavor.
Bloody Mary Mussels
5 lb. mussels, cleaned, I use about 1 lb per person
5 stalks celery, diced
2 bottles bloody mary mix, use your favorite brand or you can totally make your own, you would need to make about 4 quarts of mix
1 cup mixed olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup peperoncini, roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tbsp Aleppo or red chili flakes, optional
2 sticks butter
In a large pot add the bloody mary mix, 2 cups water, celery, olives, peperoncini and chili flakes. Bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and place a lid on the pot. Steam for about 10 minutes or until all the mussels have opened. Add the butter and parsley. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Stir the mussels gently during that time to incorporate the butter and parsley. Salt the broth to taste, it may not need any salt depending on how seasoned the bloody mary mix is.
Serve immediately with crusty bread.
Chocolate Cream Pie
Pie crust adapted from Momofuku Milkbar Cookbook
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cups cocoa powder ( I used black Cocoa for an Oreo cookie flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine the flour. cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and sali in a bowl. mix until thoroughly combine. The author suggests mixing this in a stand mixer. But mixing it by hand in a large bowl will also work.
Add the butter and mix until the mixture comes together in small clusters. If using the mixer, mix on a low setting.
Spread the clusters on parchment paper or a silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes moving the crumb around carefully to break up any clumps. The crumb should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point. They will dry and harden as they cool.
Let the crumb cool completely before making into the crust.
Pulse the crumb in a food processor until they are sandy and no sizable clusters remain.
Transfer the crumb to a bowl and with your hands toss with the sugar and salt. Add 1 tbsp melted butter and knead it into the crumb until it is moist enough to knead into a bowl. You may need to add more butter, if so add 1 tbsp at a time.
Transfer the mixture to a 10-in pie pan. Press the crust firmly into the tim, making sure the bottom and sides of the pie are evenly covered.
Now you are ready to add the filling.
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk and then the yogurt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes. the mixture will thicken quite a bit. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate pieces and vanilla until smooth.
Pour filling into the cooled crust and chill. Cover the filling with wax paper or plastic wrap if you want to prevent a skin from forming. Let the pie chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Just before serving top with a generous amount of sweetened whipped cream. I also drizzled a little chocolate sauce over the pie just as an extra garnish but its totally optional.