Friday, August 3, 2018

Mussels Roasted in Almond Garlic Butter

Think back to your favorite meal or dish that you ever had. The one you dream about. The one you can taste if you just close your eyes and remember. The one that reminds me of the best tagline I have ever seen - "You only live once, but if you dine well once is all you need."

I've asked my husband his favorite meal and he consistently says "the mussels from Fore Street."
Fore Street is a cozy and rustic restaurant in Portland, Maine that has been on many lists, including landing a spot in the top 100 in the world! And after finally getting there myself several years ago, the restaurant is now in my top 5.

My husband has been lucky enough to get back there a few times when traveling and of course he orders the mussels.

So what's a girl who loves to cook to do when she wants to really take care of her man? Recreate his favorite dish, of course! My husband has been traveling non-stop over the past 10 months, only coming home for quick 40 hour weekends. He deserved some spoiling.

I knew if I was making mussels it would have to be the Fore Street recipe. Luckily I found it without any trouble.

Having tasted them before I knew they were roasted in a garlicky butter sauce, but was surprised to read that almonds were the main ingredient in the sauce. I guess that explains the richness in the sauce.

Now, I have never prepared mussels at home and wasn't sure what was meant by debearding the mussels (and honestly I was a bit scared to find out!!). Turns out it is simply removing the tag, or the beard, from the side of the mussel. Click here for a great demo.

This is a very easy dish to pull together - all you need is a food processor, an oven-safe skillet (or cast iron pan), 25 minutes of prep-time and 12 minutes of cook time. 
Making the sauce is simply combining the almonds, butter, garlic and other ingredients in your food processor until creamy. Dollop that over the mussels, roast the mussels (while you cut the bread and pour the wine), and that's it. Sometimes the most amazing and sophisticated things you eat really are the most simple. Back to basics, true, good food. 
Mussels Roasted in Almond Garlic Butter
Adapted from: Food and Wine (via Fore Street Restaurant)
Notes: the original recipe called for 4 pounds of mussels for this amount of sauce. I used 2 pounds of mussels and the same amount of sauce - we definitely wanted extra for sopping it up with bread. Also, I used a lot more garlic at my husband's request. Glad I did! 

  • 2 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 c salted roasted almonds
  • 1 stick unsalted butter quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno 
  • 1 tsp finely ground pepper
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1/2 c dry white wine 
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees farenheit
  • In a food processor, grind the almonds until they are mostly fine with some larger pieces. Add in the butter, minced garlic, parsley, shallot, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until blended. Season with salt. 
  • Place the mussels in a large, oven-proof skillet. 
  • Pour in the wine and then dollop the butter all over the mussels, making sure each area of the pan has some of the butter. 
  • Roast the mussels for 12 minutes, stirring once and shaking the pan a few times. Discard any mussels that did not open after 12 minutes.
  • Serve with crusty bread.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Hello Again!

Hello my friends! 

My, it sure has been a while. Nine months, to be exact when I published this Ramen recipe. And while I love the recipe and make it at least every 2 weeks (my husband actually cooks it more than I do - he rocks!!), I'm getting a little tired of seeing it as soon as I open my blog. New recipe coming tomorrow!! 

I knew I'd always come back to this blog, I just had to take some time to focus on me. 

Back in December I had some health issues that led me to explore cutting gluten and dairy as well as focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet at the recommendation of my doctor.  For the first few weeks I completely cut all gluten and dairy out and quickly lost almost 20 pounds.  I did miss cheese so much, but came to realize that I was addicted to it. I depended on it. I always turned to it for some quick protein instead of taking the time to make breakfast or prep lunch. And while I have been able to eat very small amounts of cheese every now and then, but any more than that and I'm in pain and bloated! This makes me think back to so many times in my life when I thought I was sick, but it was probably all food based.

As for the gluten, I can mostly tolerate it, but because of the weight loss I now focus on avoiding carbs such as bread, pasta, waffles, flour tortillas, etc. I haven't had pasta since December!!! And pasta is another thing I'd turn to for a quick and easy dinner. 

Throughout the process I learned that I don't need to replace everything I removed with a gluten free or dairy free option. There are a few things that I do buy when I want to indulge - like Trader Joe's gluten free sandwich bread when I want a good BLT, gluten free panko for chicken cutlets (I actually now prefer the GF panko over regular!!), or Lotus Foods Gluten Free Ramen noodles when I make ramen. But overall I just eat differently. 

I also learned so much more about food allergies and how dangerous they can be for many people. So while I feel lucky that I can tolerate these foods to a point, I have serious empathy for those who cannot. This post is not in any way about a food allergy, but simply my quest to use food as medicine and to focus on being healthier. 

So as I move forward with this blog I'll share what I'm eating but also things I cook for my family. After a few months it became really easy to cook pasta or bread for them and not crave it, so at this point my cravings are pretty much gone and I like the way that I eat.

I look forward to sharing many new recipes with you!! 

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