Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tabasco Mussels

Lately I've been cooking a lot of mussels so while my last post was about mussels, today I'm throwing in another recipe, just because!!! ...... I see an obsession on the horizon .. which is a good thing, right?

Twenty eight years and I can't say I've learned how to control my "obsessive" personality, which is odd since on the opposite extreme I have very good self control (diets have never been a problem, cutting out soda or a specific food was as easy as making the decision to)  I'm very black and white/opposite extremes in many ways.

My family on the other hand know me all too well. I'll usually eat the same thing consecutively for days to weeks until even the sight of it makes me want to throw up so they learned to cut me off early with a couple of warnings and then just taking it away all together.

 My poor husband is still learning this strange quirk of mine (can we call it that?)  I have no doubt that he must have wondered why we're eating Asparagus every single night during Ontario Asparagus season or how I can eat chestnuts and guzzle eggnog for the entire Christmas season and then complain about how much I can't stand it and never want to look at it again (until next year of course!)
Some seasonal foods I can pick up the next year, other foods just get the boot and I will be absolutely done with them for a while until years down the road when they get picked up again.
I do have my strengths though like my dislike for most desserts sweets and chocolate, you'll never have to worry about hiding chocolate from me, if it's sitting around in plain sight I'll probably never touch it but with all those other foods hubby has learned to "save" them from being ruined for me by just not let them follow me home from the store. :)

So mussels... as I mentioned in my other post, they're just so good on their own but when someone mentioned "Mussels and Tabasco sauce" during a little Christmas party chit-chat around the seafood platter I thought "I GOTTA TRY THAT!"

Mussels and Tabasco, as easy as the last recipe because it's only 3-4 ingredients.  I served it with homemade oven baked fries on the side.

-1 tub fresh Mussels

- Glug of olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic. pureed or minced
- 1/2 cup water or white wine
- Big sprinkle of kosher salt

1.Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic in a large pot until fragrant

2.Drain the mussels from the sea water in the tub and remove any broken/opened or dead ones (most of them may appear open but after a couple of minutes close up so give them a bit of time and don't chuck 'em out too soon)

3.Add the mussels to the pot, throw in the salt and add the liquid. Cover and steam until mussels open. You could open the lid and stir them with a slotted spoon or shake the pot with the lid on just to get things moving.

Once open they're done!

Plate and cover with Tabasco sauce or put the sauce in a small platter for dipping on the side. YUM!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Garlic Mussels

Give me a big bowl of mussels and a crusty baugette and I'm happy! Seriously.   Mussels are one of my favourite foods, so easy to make (literally takes seconds) and can be flavoured in many ways.

Think Mediterranean with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion or something completely exotic like a green curry with coconut milk, or just keep it simple, garlic and parsley or just GARLIC and lemon then you can truly savour the flavour of the sea!

If you've been eating mussels at restaurants and perhaps baking the frozen ones at home you need to upgrade and start making these in your kitchen, I promise, it's super easy!

All you need:

Fresh live Mussels that smell of the sea (Costco has them in a 2 Pack vacuumed sealed tub, just bring them home, pop them in your fridge and cook in the next couple of days) One pack makes one bowl that you see above, perfect as a meal for one person or to share as a side or "snack"

First sort your mussels and make sure they're all nice and closed, sometimes it takes a bit of time for them to wake up if they're cold from the fridge. Nearly my entire tub was good, maybe with the exception of 2-4 mussels that I threw away.

Other ingredients:
- Big drizzle of olive oil
- 2-4 large cloves of garlic, chopped in a fine dice
- Salt

In a large pot add olive oil to the bottom, on medium high sautee the garlic until fragrant. As soon as you get that garlicky whiff add your mussels in the pot.  Turn the heat up to high, sprinkle a nice amount of sea salt.

Now for the liquid, most people use white wine but you can absolutely use water, I just drizzle 3/4 of a cup or so and cover the pot with the lid.

It helps to have a glass lid to see what's goin' on but as soon as the mussels open up they're done!  To help them along I grab a tea towel and use it to hold the lid down and give the pot a little shake and place back on the heat just to get all of them opened up (kind of like if you've ever done popcorn on the stove)

Transfer the mussels to a large bowl and pour over those delicious juices.

Grab the bread, a couple of lemon wedges and grab your friends! ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lebanese Zucchini in Yogurt

There are many many different ways to make this dish, this is just my spin on it, and you all know I like to keep things as authentic as possible but feel free to share your ideas. Also I will definitey try the different recipes in the future to see how they taste.

Lebanese Kousa BLaban (Zucchini in Yogurt)

- A couple of small lebanese zucchinis, tops removed and hollowed out

For the filling: 
Ground lamb
Rice (I use calarose)
Salt and pepper
Arabic 7 spice or a dash of allspice

You can either fry the lamb and mix it with the raw or cooked rice or you can use raw lamb as I did stuffing the zucchinis lightly.

Add the zucchinis to a large pot, laying on their sides and cover with hot water or stock. Cook until tender and rice is cooked through. Remove the zucchinis gently at this point from the liquid and set aside.

To create the Yogurt sauce mix Plain balkan yogurt with water and a tbsp of corn starch, whisk it well and cook in a saucepan bringing up to a boil.

For the topping: 

Heat some olive oil or butter in a small saucepan and add pine nuts toasting until nice and golden. Remove them from the oil and add a clove of grated or ground garlic, lightly cooking the garlic until fragrant.

To serve: Pour the yogurt sauce over the zucchinis and sprinkle with the pine nuts.


Exploring Uxbridge, Ontario

An amazing day exploring Uxbridge, Ontario! A couple of highlights of the day were stumbling into an all Gluten free bakery! The owner splits her time between the bakery and her restaurant "Frankie's" down the street. An all gluten free restaurant and bakery, pretty cool! If you're ever in the area drop in, I know I plan on eating there the next time I'm in town.

If you're a passionate foodie like me you can't miss this stop, The passionate Cook's essentials 
 It is a foodie's dream in there, the pantry is well stocked with all kinds of spices, condiments and interesting ingredients, I picked up a small bottle of local Canadian birch syrup, something I've been on the hunt for since my trip to Iceland.  Upon walking in you can't miss the large open concept kitchen with gorgeous granite counter top,  this is because they do cooking classes on site!  How fun would it be to book a pasta making class with your significant other or perhaps explore something new and exotic like a Moroccan cooking class with your girlfriends, they even do a brie cheese class and you get to take home your own mini brie wheel!

And last but not least the local Soap Shop Savon Du Bois! It's not just soap in there, upon walking in you can't miss an entire wall of tea inside.  The ladies I met are super passionate and educated about the Silk Road teas that they carry from British Colombia. Very high quality stuff and if you don't want to commit to a big batch you can simply pickup a convenient 10 cup little flat tin from the many varieties that they carry.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they carry the Pixie Glass pendants, so now you don't have to order them all the way from Alberta, just visit the store and you can choose from the many styles that they stock, including the aromatherapy oils and accessories.

I am already dreaming of going back!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Poached Sugar Pears

Vanilla poached sugar pears, locally grown. Recipe courtesy of David Lebovitz 

These pears are almost candied and perfect on a cheese or charcuterie board!

Happy November!

Autumn is so beautiful, a couple of shots from over the last month!