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  • Melissa Orquiza

Mussels with Passata Di Pomodoro,Chiles,& Herbs, Human Connection,Gesualdo,The Ronettes & Lil Nas X

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

Mussels with Passata Di Pomodoro, Chiles, & Herbs. Quick and easy! Perfect for having a midweek or Fri date night without the fuss!

Mussels with Passata Di Pomodoro, Chiles, & Herbs Slideshow

Mussels with Passata Di Pomodoro, Chiles, & Herbs, Human Connection, Mafia Cooking, Gesualdo, The Stones, The Ronnettes and Lil Nas X

As more and more businesses open up, and prepandemic life is warily rebooting, I’ve relished the fact that this time has given me the luxury to take stock of the most important people and choices in my life. I never took to Zoom meetings. Thinking something was wrong with me, apparently the layout of so many people staring through the screen triggers a “fight or flight” response in most individuals. (That explains why whenever I’m in front of a camera, I have to really fight the urge not to make people laugh….) It’s so easy to do something ridiculous in front of the camera (or in real life) to illicit a response! It’s one of life’s great pleasures… making and watching people laugh!

So, when my laughing husband sent me this article, we both wondered…what causes someone to forgo “freedom” and take unnecessary risks?

Mafia Fugitive Caught After Posting Cooking Show on YouTube

I mulled and tried to understand a differing point of view and this is my answer. He and his wife were exiled, lonely and needed desperately to connect. Here is an article on social & non social thinking and how we’re wired to go from one to the other, instantaneously.

This article’s research suggests that the idea of “self is more of a Trojan horse, letting in the beliefs of others, under the cover of darkness and without us realizing it.” Hmmm… that explains tribalism thinking. As a parent, I found the idea of the social brain in relation to children’s education, peer age- staggered learning and learned happiness fascinating.

Why We Are Wired to Connect - Scientific American

In a strange way, it makes sense. He needed a sense of community (he missed Italy but avoided the Italian community in the Dominican Republic for fear of getting caught), loved the food but couldn’t help showcasing his cooking skills on a vlog (peer to peer learning), and since he was from Calabria (omg… the chiles) and also the head of one of the world’s most powerful organized crime groups, he probably was indoctrinated into a way of thinking that seemed “normal.” In no way do I think what he allegedly did was morally right. I just understand why if you’re exiled and marooned in a foreign country, you might miss comforting food and people and resort to doing silly things to recreate community.

On that note, I hope this made you laugh, think, and recreate your “new” sense of community after this crazy time. Hopefully, the people whom you love and care for the most, are right alongside you, both mutually cheering each other on. If not, this time has made us keenly aware of what we value and whom we value most. Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was one messed up dude. Between the “homicide” of his first wife and lover, the abuse of his second wife, an Este who wanted a divorce, suspected killing of one of his sons, depression, multiple affairs and wanting to be beaten daily by “special” male servants, I’m wondering if his crazy was only exacerbated by privilege and all the lead and poisonous metallurgic materials in his dinnerware. Like many celebrities today, the interest in his music is partially fueled by his ridiculous personal life (and his innovative use of chromaticism and mixed modalities).

Here’s Classical Nerd’s informative and humorously accurate take on music history. I’ve never heard a lecture about plainchant, Renaissance theory, triadic mediants and chromatic resolutions in relation to social elitism, in a more interesting way.

Carlo Gesualdo: Composer & Murderer

Here's a quick primer on his innovative use of vocal chromaticism along with a score.

Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigals, Book 6

Look at how young they are!

The Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil

Like Gesualdo, his music and personal life, is eliciting a sensationalist reaction from conservatives and liberals alike. Both were embroiled in a moral frenzy concerning the church and state. I didn’t know what the fuss was about until now. (Um...I feel like an old, conservative, grandma watching this!)

Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) (Official Video)

Here is American music producer, Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" in action. Too bad his musical legacy, like Gesualdo's, is marred by murder.

The Ronettes - Be My Baby - live

Thanks for reading! I hope this makes you laugh, think, and helps you make sense of the world… or bring up more questions, like "Why are musicians kind of nuts?" Wait. Don't answer that. Lol! I hope you have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

Steamed Mussels with Passata di Pomodoro, Chiles, and Herbs. Totally easy and doable for a date night! Fancy!

Steamed Mussels with Passata di Pomodoro, Chiles, and Herbs

by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño from “The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes from Los Angeles’s Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria”


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

16 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

4 scallions, thickly sliced on an extreme bias starting at the green ends and moving toward the root ends (white and green part)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

2 lbs Prince Edward Island mussels or other fresh mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups Passata di Pomodoro or tomato sauce

1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

40 chive spears, cut into 2 inch long batonettes

1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves

4 Crostoni Bagnati


1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, scallions and salt in a large saute pan over medium- high heat, and saute until the garlic starts to brown slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, mussels, white wine, and passata and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat toe medium, cover the pan, and steam the mussels for 3 minutes.

2. Uncover the pan to check for doneness; if all but a few mussels have opened, discard those that did not open. If many mussels remand unopened, steam them another minute. Turn off the heat, add the basil chives, and oregano, and stir to combine.

3. Spoon the mussels into four large bowls or soup plates, dividing them evenly, and ladle the broth over and around the mussels. Cut each crouton in half diagonally, place the two halves on the side of each plate or bowl, and serve.

Crostoni Bagnati

Per the cookbook: The difference between crostoni and crostini is that crostoni are big and crostini are small. Here, both are bathed in olive oil.


4 1/2 in. slices from a loaf of pane rustic or another large, flat loaf of rustic white bread, such as ciabatta; or 8 slices from a batard, or a fat baguette, cut on an extreme bias to yield very long slices

Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing the brad

1 garlic close

4 tablespoons finishing- quality extra-virgin olive oil

Maldon sea salt or another flaky sea salt, such as a fleur de sel


1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or preheat a sandwich press.

2. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet, brush the tops with olive oil, and bake them fo 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown and crisp. Alternatively, brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil and toast them in a sandwich press.

3. Remove the crostini from the oven and rub the oiled sides of the crostini with the garlic. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the finishing-quality olive oil over each crostono or 1/2 tablespoon on each crostini, and sprinkle liberally with the sea salt.

Passata di Pomodoro


2 28 oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes, including their juices (preferably San Marzano)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar, plus more as desired

1 scant tablespoon kosher salt

1 heaping teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Pass the tomatoes, including their juices, through a food mill into a large bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium- high heat until the oil is almost smoking and slides easily in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree slowly as it will splatter when it hits the oil. Stir in the sugar, salt, and pepper and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. Use the passata or set it aside to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to several days or freeze for up to several months.

#musselswithpassatadipomodoro,chiles,&herbs, #mozza, #whywerewiredtoconnect, #sa, @gesualdo, @rollingstones, #sympathyforthedevil, @philspector, @theronnettes, @lilnasx

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