Day 26: Preparing Octopus!

I love seafood and in particular, shellfish. Totally love it. And Portugal is the place to be if you have such a passion, since roughly half the country is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean… and the Portuguese know how to prepare fish!

Our mission Steiger ended up providing a place for Denny and I to stay together last night, so I was easily convinced to remain in Spain after the concert and face the drive home today. I didn’t have the best night’s sleep and after yesterday’s long day, I was most definitely feeling the fatigue this morning.

Photo on 6-4-16 at 3.13 PM

As I headed back to Faro, I thought about what I could eat for dinner tonight that would be easy to prepare, yet yummy. I love to cook, but since eating alone is not very appetizing to me, I haven’t really had many decent meals this past month. Today, all I wanted to do was get home, snuggle our attention-starved animals a bit, and park myself on the couch for the remainder of the day to recover. The wheels of my Fiat turned, as did those of my mind, mentally taking inventory of what I had in the fridge that would be tasty yet require little work.

As the kilometers rolled on, I realized that what I was really craving was seafood. And since every self-respecting supermarket in Portugal offers a nice selection of freshly caught, reasonably-priced fish (and the personnel who work there will clean and prep it however you ask), my plan for the evening began to take shape. I’d stop at our city’s Pingo Doce and buy some pre-cooked, fresh shrimp, and then see what else might be on special.

I was elated to discover that the shrimp was on sale. And then I spotted the octopus at 25% off! Before Denny and I went on our honeymoon to Greece 31 years ago, I had never tasted octopus. But man, could they prepare it on the Greek islands: freshly caught, grilled with some garlic, lemon and herbs – it was so delicious. I think we ate it 4 or 5 times a week while there!

Since those days, I’d only ventured to prepare it myself once or twice – most recently for Christmas Eve, the last time all our kids were here with us in 2014. I’d been pleasantly surprised to discover that it was actually quite simple to make in our cast iron grill pan on the gas stovetop. This would be perfect: just what I was longing for and simple, too! A whole octopus was a bit much for just me to eat, but I’d cook half and freeze the rest for another time.

What made it even more wonderful was that I could season it with lemons from our tree and cilantro from our garden… accompanied by a salad, whose ingredients were also home-grown. All those fresh fragrances wafting through my kitchen make for one happy girl.

So cheers, my friends! Here’s to Day 26 of My 30-day Challenge: exhausted but savoring the life I’ve been so blessed to live! Now excuse me while I enjoy my dinner…

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But we rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,

and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,

and hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

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