Cat Capers and Ceviche

September 13, 2012




Our little Aria has already provided us with quite a bit of excitement here at Chez T. Two days after bringing her home (with much fanfare), she began sneezing constantly. Was she allergic to us?

Turns out, she had a kitty cold. I had no idea that cats could get colds. Apparently, it’s common if cats are kept in close quarters (eg: an animal shelter) but on the plus side, humans can’t get kitty colds–only felines. For this I was grateful, because I’ve already got the hands of a washerwoman. The Minxes brought home fresh colds after two whole weeks at school and I’ve been following them around with a Costco-sized canister of Clorox wipes, deathly afraid that I’ll be afflicted. I fear them, but not the kitty. They are GermStores.

Day three of her residency here, I didn’t see or hear Aria all morning. This was odd, because Aria likes to chat in the morning and rub her whiskers on any accessible legs. After depositing the girls at the bus stop, I scoured the house for her, to no avail…I also realized that I need to vacuum under the beds more often. Horrifying stuff, I tell you.

Awesome Stepkid Ro came shambling down the steps around 10 am, and when I mentioned that I hadn’t seen or heard a thing from Aria, he stopped dead in his sleepy little tracks.

“Oh, man,” he said, rubbing a hand over his hair. “I didn’t think about it at the time, but last night, when I was going upstairs to bed, I noticed that the front door had blown open.”

Readers, I felt awful. We adopted Aria with the very strict warning that she’d never been outdoors. Like me, she’s an indoor kind of girl. I was particularly agitated because of the recent Decapitated Bunny Capers around these parts. Aria’s about the size of some of those bunnies, so the possibility that she was fox food was…well, possible.

I did what I always do when I’m scared shitless: I called my mother. She wasn’t home, so I dialed my husband, who wasn’t worried at all. “Cats find their way home all the time,” he said.

“But Aria’s an Outdoor Virgin!” I cried. “And look at the critters we have around here! I might as well have thrown a freaking sandwich out in the yard. That cat is lunch!”

“You’re going to drive yourself nuts about this, aren’t you?”

Hmph. As if.

Okay, yeah.

I spent the next several hours pacing the house like a caged animal, talking on the phone and emailing anyone and everyone who I thought might give a rip about my predicament and casing the neighborhood, calling “kittykittykitty.”  I’m pretty sure all parties involved were certain I was nuts.

I called my husband again. “Cats get out and come back home all the time,” he said.

“But she doesn’t even really know that this is her home yet,” I whined. “What if she’s like me and has a really shitty sense of direction?”

And then I cried. I knew Miss M. would be crushed, and I felt guilty, and I have no idea how to dispose of a cat carcass, and the only pet we’ve ever had with a shorter lifespan than Aria was a purple betta fish who only made it an hour before bobbing up to the surface, toten.

My day was pretty much shot to Hell. Luckily, after much “kittykittykittying,” Aria finally emerged from underneath a neighbor’s rosebush. We both were exhausted, and she must have cried all night, because she has a severe case of kitty laryngitis. She opens her mouth to talk but only a little squeak comes out, which is hilarious and sad at the same time.

Clearly, we are too irresponsible to own animals.

I wasted so much time pacing and being a puddly freak over our feline jailbreaker that dinner didn’t happen.  Hooray for pizza parlors everywhere. I love you.

I tried to make it up to my dudes later in the week by making ceviche. I may or may not have slipped Aria a few renegade scallops. That girl’s a survivor, and survivors deserve seafood.

The nights are cooling down here, but we’ve still had some pretty scorchy days. It doesn’t help that my husband is a stealth cheapo and turns off the air conditioning when he thinks I won’t notice.* But at some point, it gets Hella Hot in the house and I notice. Then I curse him and make ceviche, which is the only thing worth eating when I’m steamed.

Our summer girls from Mexico–Lore, Dani, Ale and Paola–taught us so much about the beauties of ceviche. There are a bazillion different riffs on the recipe, but lots of lime and chile are a must. I had a grapefruit languishing on my counter, so I also tossed in some juice from that, and I liked the clean flavor the juice added to the dish.

Ceviche also doesn’t killa the ass, unless you eat an entire bag of chips with it, which I practically did. Hey, kitty drama makes a girl ravenous.




Green Ceviche

serves about 3, if it’s your dinner


1 pound bay scallops, halved and patted dry with a clean towel

1 minced shallot

1/3 cup cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced

1/2 cup finely diced, seeded cucumber

Salt, pepper, ground cumin and chile powder to taste

The juice of 1 fat grapefruit and 2 limes

Tortilla chips, for serving


Place the cut, dry scallops in a non-reactive (not metal) bowl. Pour the citrus juices over the scallops and toss well. Add remaining ingredients except for tortilla chips. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. Remove ceviche from marinade with a slotted spoon. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.


*If your partner has any little cheapo annoying habits, I’d love it if you’d share! I’d feel so much better!

Also, don’t worry about eating ceviche–the marination of the seafood in the citrus juices “cooks” the fish, so it’s not really raw!

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