it’s raining and there are raccoons in my wall

You know the creepy growl sound they use so often in film; the one that sounds like a cross between a bobcat and a growling dog? It was that precise sound that woke me from slumber at five o’clock Tuesday morning. I was a little disoriented as you may imagine. Was the sound a dream? My over-active imagination? I heard it again, quite close to my face! It seemed to be coming from the ventilation. The sound of scuffling ensued.

A flashback to a summer long ago when my brother and I found ourselves sleeping under the stars on the shores of Harrison Lake, BC. We had just drifted off to sleep when I was awoken by a growling sound. I dared not move. I whispered quietly “Did you hear that?”

“Raccoons!”

So yes, there are raccoons living in my wall. How they got in there, I do not know. I tried playing a high frequency sound from a speaker set up next to the ventilation shaft. So far it has not worked, but I have not been very consistent in bombarding the creatures eardrums.

They woke my up this morning as well, and though I tell myself that we are separated man and beast, by plaster and wood, I still find it difficult to fall back asleep after I hear the nightmarish growl.

Today we cooked mussels. We then dunked them in a delicious sauce…

Mussels Mariniere

24 mussels

1 tbsp butter

2 tsp minced shallots

2 cloves minced garlic

1 oz white wine

200 mL fish stock

1/4 lemon

1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1 oz beurre manie (equal parts flour and butter, uncooked)

1 tomato concassé small dice

1 oz cream

to taste salt and pepper

First of all, prepare to work fast!!! In a sautée pan heat butter and sautée shallots and garlic. Deglaze with white wine and immediately add fish stock. Add mussels and cover with another, similar sized pan to steam the mussels until they open. Remove the mussels, add the tomato and cream, turn to high heat and bring to a boil. Slowly incorporate beurre manie. When it is a sauce-like consistency add the mussels back in and remove from heat, tossing the mussels to coat in the sauce. The lemon and the parsley are for garnish at the end. 

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After school I attended a “Chef’s Table” event at the college. Basically it’s a four course meal for $15. The theme, being Valentines Day and all, was chocolate. A very hard thing to do right but it was actually quite good! 

Amuse Bouche: Foie gras parfait with chocolate veal sauce

Appetizer: Coco chili crusted pork belly with oyster mushroom polenta

Main: Paprika octopus with saffron rice cake and a white chocolate Spanish velouté

Dessert: Dark chocolate truffle tart with with vanilla Chantilly cream

The best part was the octopus and the dessert of course, where chocolate generally feels right at home! 

The bike ride home was a little miserable as it had started raining. By the time I got home, the rain had soaked right through my down jacket. 

Not to be deterred, I did go out for a walk tonight in the squall to think and to contemplate yet another Valentines day apart from my lovely lady…

 

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