Tag Archives: Mussels

One Pot Wonder

22 May

Well folks, since I haven’t seen one saved soul floating up towards the sky today, it looks like the rapture is off. Oh, well. I celebrated the possible Last Day yesterday with plenty of sunshine, a sunburn, a Bike to Work Day pancake feed, live bands, copious bike riding, and a one pot dish that fed my faith in humanity (or food, whatever).

I had met with my buddy Dave (hi, Dave!) and over a drink at the Beaver we discussed what I might make for dinner.. and he was all OH MAN I’VE CREATED THE BEST ONE-POT DISH EVERRRR. So I wrote down what he said, substituted a few things (went for mussels instead of scallops, lobster ravioli instead of spinach, etc) and added a dash of this and that, and suddenly I was poised with my fork halfway to my mouth to watch C’s reaction to my dinner. Watching people eat what I make is perhaps even better than tasting it myself. I improvised a recipe as I went along, so here it is!

Dave’s One Pot Wonder (as interpreted by my mussel loving self)

1 lb live mussels
1 package (two servings) lobster ravioli
1/3 lb prawns
3/4 of a naval orange
2 Tb finely chopped shallots
3 cloves diced garlic
1/3 C heavy cream
1/2 lb asparagus
4 Tb shredded mozzerella
3 Tb shaved parmesan
dash of cinnamon
dash of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro 

First, rinse the mussels, remove the beards, and set aside. Rinse the shrimp too, since that water that accumulates in the seafood department bags is foul. Prepare the asparagus by bending each stock gently with two hands until it snaps in two. Get rid of the lower, woody ends of the asparagus and chop the asparagus on a bias, in 1/2 inch pieces. Save the tips of the asparagus separately, since those get cooked last to avoid any mushiness.

In the pan, over medium high heat, saute the asparagus in some butter. After it has gotten slightly tender, turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic and shallots and squeeze the juice out of the orange into the pan. If you need to, add a touch of water to allow a bit of extra liquid for softening.

Once the asparagus is al dente, add the cream, the cheeses, the cinnamon, red pepper, and s&p. Simmer for a bit to help encapsulate the flavors and soften the asparagus a bit more (about 5 minutes).

Next, add the asparagus tips and the ravioli. This ravioli wasn’t pre-cooked, but since all it needed was a bit of liquid and some steam, I just covered the pan for a little while. Once the ravioli starts to puff up you can add the mussels and shrimp. Cover again (you can add the rest of the orange’s juice if you like) until the mussels have opened up and the shrimp is a soft pink color. Garnish with the cilantro, and VOILA!

Actually, I had asked C to chop some parsley for me, but instead he accidentally chopped cilantro. It turns out that the cilantro worked really well with the subtle heat of the red pepper and the spicy mulled flavor of the cinnamon, which lent the whole dish a very beachy Moroccan (or maybe Caribbean?) flavor. It sounds like a weird flavor profile, but I promise (and so does C) that it was really killer and totally Impress-Your-Date worthy.

Between that meal and our outdoor, sun-infused pancakes of the morning, I was feeling like if all HAD ended today, I might have been pretty satisfied.

Then again, I’m 1000% unprepared for the apocolypse since I don’t own a first aid kit or even a flashlight (let alone a flame thrower, any heavy artillery, or a stockpile of beans or dog food or whatever it is you nut jobs plan of eating for the rest of the End of Days). Looks like I have some work to do.

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Shellfish epiphanies

24 Aug

Until recently I hadn’t much dabbled in shellfish, probably because my mother has a deathly allergy to scallops and even though I know allergies aren’t hereditary, I had an inexplicable fear of my throat closing up and having to shell out (pun! pun!) ghastly amounts of money in emergency room fees lest my body suddenly decide to reject any and all sea creatures. But I put that fear aside and yesterday C and I drove down the coast to Taylor Shellfish Farms, a place I’d overlooked over the years on my numerous drives up the winding Chuckanut Drive. I had to drive 25 minutes and coerce my car into a tricky 4-point turn on a busy road to get there, but as we pulled up to the mudflats and surveyed the scattered industrial remnants of the historic farm, it was well worth it. Behind the oyster baths and muddy crab cages, wedged between a tiny and deliciously mysterious lighthouse and a trawler dubbed something hilarious like “Ellen,” (though I can’t remember the exact name) we entered the retail shop. We bought a modest pound of pink sea scallops and two pounds of mussels, dropped a whopping $12.50 (mussels are so cheap! Why don’t people eat them every day!?), and headed home.

We were hankering for a restaurant-worthy fancy Italian meal, so we boiled up some fresh linguine and C whipped up a sauce from heavy cream, parmesan, garlic, parsley, shallots, and white wine.

We sauteed up some mushrooms with halved cherry tomatoes and steamed the mussels and scallops in more wine and more garlic. Over the past year it has become wildly apparent that all you really need to make a fancy-ass meal is fresh ingredients and LOTS of garlic and LOTS of white wine. Everything is better when cooked in white wine. Why is that?

Suffice to say our meal was TOTALLY RESTAURANT WORTHY. And holy balls, are mussels pretty to look at. Pretty, and overtly sexual, YOWZA. I asked a coworker today why he and so many others were turned off by shellfish, and he told me that he thinks it’s the sliminess, but I think ya’ll are just PRUDES.

Don’t tell me that’s not something you wouldn’t pay for at a fancy Italian restaurant. Ok, well realistically I wouldn’t, but I would order it if my dad were taking me out for dinner. Or if I had a sugar daddy. Or if I were on a date with someone I recently realized was a total creep, but it was too late to leave and I already had the menu in front of me. Then I’d be like, “BAM I WANT THE EXPENSIVE STUFF. AND ALSO A BOTTLE OF WINE, SUCKER.” Which is probably why boys don’t take me out on dates.

Pretty, pretty! And the cream sauce! OH GOD THE CREAM SAUCE. If I keep up like this I’m totally going to gain a hundred pounds and then C is going to be all, “gross, woman, you used to look okay and now you look like an oompa loompa.” But it’ll be all his fault because he encourages my unhealthy obsession of drenching all dishes in copious amounts of heavy cream. As far as I’m concerned, there’s really no other way.

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