Archive for May, 2012

May 12, 2012

Mussels in White Wine

This is a quick post. Just a reminder to myself to make mussels more often! I love the aroma of the white wine cooking and the massive amounts of bread I allow myself to eat so that I can soak up every last drop of the broth. To be honest, the broth is my favorite part, but that doesn’t mean I don’t inhale the mussels as well.

IMG_2232

Next time I hope to add it to some pasta with an addition of scallops, clams, etc. Or try baking them in the oven with possible addition of butter and cheese for a different approach. Or maybe try it with a marinara sauce instead. They aren’t too expensive and now that the weather is warming up, there’s nothing like a light, simple meal for dinner!

IMG_2234

Mussels in White Wine

(From here)

  • 3 pounds cultivated mussels
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon good saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup good white wine
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. If they’re dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut.

    In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

    Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot.

    May 11, 2012

    Basics: Basil Pesto

    IMG_2210

    I have a really simple recipe to share, it’s embarrassing how easy it is. However, sometimes it’s good to go back and re-learn a simple recipe! Maybe I will help remind you that you should stop buying pesto at the store. Ok? Stop it. You control the ingredients in this recipe. You don’t even need to follow my recipe exactly, change whatever you like! swap out basil for arugula or spinach. Change the cheese to romano, use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Fine! I don’t care. Ok I do…tell me if you find something that works well together!

    My favorite way to use pesto is on a grilled cheese sandwich but there is a lot you could do. Pesto can be used instead of mayo on sandwiches, tossed with hot pasta, layered on pizza instead of tomato sauce, Use it as a marinade for chicken before throwing it on the grill, and a lot more! I don’t know, Google it!

    textboard

    IMG_2222

    IMG_2225

    Pesto

    • 2C fresh basil, packed
    • 1/2C freshly grated parmesan-eggiano cheese
    • 1/2C extra virgin olive oil (add in slowly, you may want to use less)
    • 1/3C pine nuts (also called pignolia)
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt & Pepper to taste

    Combine pine nuts and basil in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for a few seconds. Add in the garlic and process 25-30 seconds. With the processor running, slowly pour in olive oil and process until pesto is finely pureed. Add in the cheese and puree for about a minute. Add in the salt and pepper to your liking, mix and serve immediately or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

     

    Gotta run! Enjoy.

    May 8, 2012

    Simple Smoothie

    I wanted something healthy yesterday. No, I needed something healthy. Believe me, it’s been awhile since any sort of fruit or vegetable has made an appearance on my plate. Enter the smoothie. Smoothies are really simple and always make me feel better after I consume one. Summer is right around the corner and that is when I enjoy an ice cold smoothie the most so I need to start practicing.

    I desperately need to go to the grocery store but even with a near empty refrigerator/freezer I still managed to whip this together with a few {freezer burnt} ingredients. It simply has baby spinach, frozen mixed berries and water. I do enjoy a smoothie with more ingredients but even this was satisfying and made me feel a little better about the junk I’ve been consuming.

    smoothie2JPG

    There is no real recipe here. I got out the blender, added a large handful of baby spinach, the remainder of my frozen mixed berries (approx. 2-3 cups worth). Then I threw in some water and blended until I found the right consistency, adding more water as needed.

    IMG_2165

    A lot of people turn their nose up at the idea of adding spinach to their smoothies. I don’t blame you. I am a spinach lover but even I thought it was a crazy idea. And! It doesn’t help that most of the time the end result is a very green colored smoothie. Who wants to drink something that looks like a blended up grass mixture? Here’s a quick tip, you can use dark colored berries to mask the color.

    I promise that you don’t taste the spinach once everything else is mixed in. You would need to add a massive amount of spinach before you start detecting any taste of it. With all the health benefits of spinach, why would you want to leave it out?

    Side note: Sorry… I need to stop linking to Wikipedia when I want to give you the facts. That’s just laziness on my part. But as Michael Scott once said, “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.” Ha!

    Here are a few of my favorite combinations. I included measurements on the first one to give you an idea but experiment on your own to see what you enjoy. Add the following ingredients into a blender {does not to be a high quality fancy pants one} and blend until desired consistency.

    • ~1 cup total of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, {You can buy a bag of frozen mixed berries at most grocery stores}, 2-4 cups spinach, 1 frozen banana {peel and cut before freezing} ~1-2 cups water or milk of choice
    • Pineapple, mango {You can also buy frozen at the most grocery stores}, water or milk of choice, Spinach
    • Frozen banana, 1 tbsp peanut butter, chobani greek yogurt {flavored or plain}, milk of your choice, spinach

    These are just examples…the possibilities are endless!

    Feel free to use fresh fruit also. Frozen is my favorite because it’s cheap and you can buy any variety you like. And since they are frozen you don’t need to add ice cubes.

    Enjoy!

     

    *Thank you for the positive feedback about my site so far (via Facebook). I am still figuring out how I want the site to look so bare with me if/when I change a few things here and there.

    %d bloggers like this: