Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hey Mussels, I love you.

Moules et Frites is one of my favorite items to order while dining out at the moment. While I claim to be a veg-head in some of my posts, that isn't entirely true. I try to stick to the fruits and veggies most of the time, but ultimately, I am a pescatarian and I do enjoy mussels.

In the planning stages of this meal we started with the mussels and added sweet potato fries with truffle salt. Then came garlic toast and sauteed kale. It was our first time cooking mussels so we did some research. We went with Ina Garten's Mussels in White Wine recipe. Although we were a little confused about soaking the mussels in water with flour, we followed her recipe and they came out beautifully. When I discussed the recipe with my Dad, he said that due to the fact that they are bivalves, the soak in water & flour helps clean out any sand left inside (good to know...thanks Dad).

For the sweet potato fries we sliced raw sweet potatoes and covered the slices in olive oil, salt & pepper and baked them at 500 degrees on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Perhaps I cut the fries too thin, but 500 degrees for 30 minutes turned out to be entirely too much time and some of the fries came out a little toasty. I'd recommend 450 at the most and keep watching and turning those potatoes. Truffle salt was sprinkled on the fries - ultimate decadence.

I had a loaf of La Brea Bakery rosemary bread and I followed the recipe for garlic toast on the packaging. A mix of butter, garlic, shallots, salt and red pepper flakes was spread on the slices before a dusting of grated Parmesan cheese. I put the toast in the oven with the fries 10 minutes before the mussels were finished at 450 degrees.

The kale was made Kind Diet style. Sauteed in olive oil with minced garlic and tossed in balsamic vinegar before serving.

Dipping the toast and fries in the white wine sauce from the mussels was incredible. All of the flavors complemented each other so well. Truffle salt, red pepper flakes & Parmesan cheese on rosemary bread and white wine with garlic and butter...need I say more? This meal was amazing. I can't wait to make it again.

Farm Stand Dinner

Visiting Long Island on the weekends has brought back a ton of childhood memories from the times my parents would take me on weekends to visit my Uncle at the family beach house in Sag Harbor. Farm stands with sweet corn and cantaloupe were a part of every one of those visits and I’m thrilled to revisit them.

When I left Los Angeles, I knew I’d miss the fresh produce and farmers markets, but these Long Island farm stands are filling that void. For our first dinner at Roman’s new place we made roasted corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini, roasted tomatoes with basil and stuffed baby bella mushrooms. I have to admit, we cheated on the mushrooms…they were pre-made from Wild by Nature. They were pretty good, but more breadcrumbs than we wanted. I sauteed the zucchini in olive oil until it browned and the corn was roasted in the oven (husk and all). I got the tomato recipe from Ina Garten via the Food Network. Since Roman just moved in, he didn’t have sugar, so that was missing from the recipe but otherwise I followed it completely.

Roasted Tomatoes (via Ina Garten/Food Network)

  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (I didn’t use the sugar since we didn’t have any and they came out well without it - I’m sure this would help them caramelize more)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Arrange the tomatoes on a cookie sheet, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to caramelize.