To Know You Exist

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“Sensual vitality is essential to the struggle for life.”
-Adrienne Rich

Each week, I write myself into a new skin.

The week, wilting with exhaustion by Wednesday, folds into itself today, and regenerates.

“…putting up there in public words you have dredged, sieved up in dreams, from behind screen memories, out of silence – words you have dreaded and needed in order to know you exist…” -Rich

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And I write, I keep writing, if only for this blog. Writing – about the tender, spicy scallops with eggplant confit we made for dinner last week, or the warm cup of sun in a snowy field on Sunday, from which I drank, voraciously – restores the molecules of my body. Writing keeps me real. Writing keeps me.

The pizza The Guitar Player made for me on Sunday – I was working too hard, towards a deadline, to even think what ingredients there might be in the cupboard – bready, like focaccia, with pesto and cherry tomatoes and boconncini – was a love letter, more meaningful than any words.

But the words are necessary too, grasping at nothing, or everything.

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The avocado, cucumber, cherry tomato (there were a few left over!), lime and parsley salad I managed to create out of the refrigerator’s scant offerings yesterday was a small victory. A glass of Portuguese wine. A conversation with a friend, about work: “You always figure things out. You always find a way. You always do.”

A pattern of branches on snow, like an art installation.

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This city’s jagged, constructed horizon.

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A snow angel.


Moroccan Grilled Scallops with Eggplant Confit

(lifted from the spring issue of LCBO’s Food and Wine Magazine)


This turned out to be delicious but quite rich-tasting. If I made this again I’d halve the amount of spices that go on the scallops, to let their sweet taste come through in better contrast to the acidity of the confit. We had it with Moosewood Cookbook’s (
Moosewood at Home) coconut rice, which was fantastic, and Beaujolais-Villages wine, which was light and lovely.

1 medium Sicilian eggplant (I have no idea what a Sicilian eggplant is. I used a skinny Asian one because it was all I had in the fridge, and it was fine).
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups chopped tomatoes (can be canned)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
12 large scallops (we used twice as many medium-sized ones)
2 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices. Brush with oil, bake 20 minutes until soft, remove from heat, cool and dice.

3.Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions & garlic, saute for 2 mins. Add 1/2 of spice mixture, cook another 30 secs. Add eggplant & tomatoes, stir together, reduce heat, cook slowly for 25 mins until thick and tasty. Stir in lemon juice, parsley – season w salt and pepper to taste.

4. Sprinkle scallops with remaining spice mixture, season w salt & pepper. Heat butter in nonstick skiller over med-high heat. Sear scallops, 1-2 mins per side.

5. Spoon eggplant mixture onto separate plates, top with scallops.

Serves 4.

4 Comments

  1. Gawd, I love scallops. I wonder if the restaurant at Fergussen Point in Stanley Park is still there. Many years ago I took my Mom to Sunday Jazz brunch there and had my first taste of Coquilles St.Jacques. It sounded good on the menu! That fairly started a passion for seafood.

  2. “Sensual vitalilty is essential in the struggle for life.” I found that quote about 10 years ago and it made such a change in me…and it hits the back of my mind about 2 or 3 times a week. I randomly typed it into google and saw it again….thanks! Glad to see culinary art as sensuality again. Thanks for your words here and you sharing them among the google masses!

  3. Hey there Paul,

    Thanks for your post, and welcome to my blog! Yes, there are certain Rich quotes that become mantras to live by. I’ve always remembered her phrase “the film archive of friends”.

    Stop by anytime.

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