Seafood

Tomato-Fennel Mussels

Mussels

Tomato-Fennel Mussels.

Let me tell you, Folks. This is the kind of dish that I want to enjoy a big ol’ bowl of while sitting on my balcony …. watching the ocean waves roll onto the sand with the sun just barely setting. Oh–and of course with a fantastic chilled glass of Sancerre in hand.

Perfection, right?

September 2017 Fam Din

Only problem is–although the beach is just a short bit away, there are a bunch of pesky buildings and homes blocking my view. How inconsiderate of them, right?

Oh….and I also don’t have a balcony.

So instead, I’ll just sit on the living floor while diving into this scrumptious bowl of mussels and watch whichever show I’m binge-watching on Netflix at the moment.

Pretty much the same right? Just splitting hairs, really.

September 2017 Fam Din
I love making mussels. They’re super easy and quick to whip up for guests or if you’re dining solo. And as far as seafood goes, they’re a great bang for your buck!

I usually make Spicy Mussels in White Wine or Belgian Beer Mussels with Frites as they’re both so low maintenance but these Tomato-Fennel Mussels really do bring such a different profile. Just as easy but the addition of the fennel, crushed tomatoes and clam juice create a rich and an intensively flavorful sauce–particularly when the liquor of the mussels join the party. They smell divine while bubbling away and are perfection when you serve it with toasted baguette or ciabatta to soak up all that goodness. In fact, the sauce is thick enough (but not too thick) that it can be served over linguine or other long stranded pasta.

Whatever the setting you end up having these mussels at, you’re going to love them!

ps. And if you’re anything like my Seestrah, add a few threads of saffron when you pour in the tomatoes. She’s fancy like that! ❤

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Tomato-Fennel Mussels
Serves approximately 4-6

Ingredients:

1 small fennel bulb with fronds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup diced white onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
2 dried bay leaves
5 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
kosher salt
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Cut the fennel bulb from the stalk, reserving the fronds. Dice the bulb and roughly chop the fronds. Set aside separately.

Heat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, butter and swirl around the pot. Once the oil begins shimmering and the butter has melted, add in the onions and chopped fennel bulb. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute until fragrant. Pour in the wine and allow the liquids to come to a boil. Keep stirring until the wine nearly evaporates.

Pour in the clam juice and can of crushed tomatoes with its juices. Stir in the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Partially cover the pot and allow everything to come to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the ingredients for 10-15 minutes stirring once or twice during that time.

Uncover the pot and turn up the heat to medium. Once the items starting bubbling, add in the mussels. Stir a few times so that they become coated in the tomato sauce and place the lid back on the pot. Allow the mussels to steam for 5-7 minutes until they have all opened.

Remove the lid, stir the mussels around a few times and taste the sauce. Add additional salt as necessary. Discard of the thyme stems and bay leaves. Fold in the fresh parsley and half of the chopped fennel fronds. Transfer the mussels and the sauce into a large serving dish. Garnish with the remaining fennel fronds and serve with warm bread.

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Sunday Family Dinner

‘Twas a S’Autumn Fam Din

Sept 2017 Fam Din
‘Twas a S’Autumn Family Dinner….

What’s S’Autumn? It’s when it’s technically Autumn but the weather acts like we’re in the peak of Summer. Which for inland Orange County–that means the mid-90s. Ugh.

It kind of makes our dinner themes a bit difficult which results in a mish-mash of dishes…. a bit theme-less. But delicious, nonetheless.

Or maybe it’s called F’ummer? S’all? Eh, I’ll stick with S’Autumn….

September 2017 Fam Din
I spy our fur babies above! Princess Leia was walking around near my feet and Bella is at her favorite spot–in front of the warm oven. ❤

After doing a little prep work, I got to fixing up a cocktail to match the heat we were having that day – SHANDIES! Shandies are a beer based cocktail that typically combines a wheat beer and a lemonade. That’s it? Yup–that’s it!

These refreshing lovies were made with a Hefeweizen and a sweet lemonade. Because shandies are so dandy….yeah–I had to do it.

September 2017 Fam Din
Leia
is still trying to figure out what S’Autumn is.

It means whatever you want it to be, you glorious pug.

September 2017 Fam Din
S.I.L. L was hankering for some duck for dinner and picked up a whole bird from Electric City Butcher in Santa Ana.

She seasoned them up with salt, pepper and dried thyme…..

September 2017 Fam Din
….and then threw it in a bag with some rendered duck fat to sous vide for a few hours. Because after all, she and brother V were the ones who gave me the Anova so it only seemed right for her to take a spin with hit.

The breasts went in at 130 degrees F for 2 hours.

September 2017 Fam Din
While the duck was taking a dip, the girls were giving me this look.

Which interprets to: We’ll smile for the camera but we’re starving so feed us some appetizers before we get hypoglycemic.

And that look is all I need because I have lived through their hangry phases. It’s scawie.

September 2017 Fam Din
I made two appetizers to tie the fam over until dinner. The first was this colorful Heirloom Tomato and Pesto-Ricotta Tart. Isn’t she a beaut????

September 2017 Fam Din
And guess what? It starts with store bought puff pastry–because ain’t no one has got time or patience to make their own!

I then smeared it with a thin layer of a pesto and ricotta mixture — and then shingled it with sweet, ripe tomatoes. The whole thing baked in the oven for about 25 minutes and was finished with large sea salt flakes and fresh basil.

Perfection.

It’s definitely one of those appetizers I make that would be perfect as a stand alone entree on a warm summer day with a chilled glass of white vino.

September 2017 Fam Din
And for my second appetizer, I made a big pot of Tomato-Fennel Mussels served with lots of crusty warm bread to sop up all that goodness.

The base that the mussels cooked in comprised of onions, garlic, fennel, wine, clam juice and San Marzano tomatoes. And once the mussels steamed opened, they released their own sea liquor into the mix and it was divine!

September 2017 Fam Din
Absolutely scrumptious! Definitely another appetizer that could have been a stand alone with just a loaf of bread or even over some pasta.

Then this happened.

V asked out loud: “Where did these mussels come from?”

Maya nonchalantly answered: “Oh…I work out a lot.”

September 2017 Fam Din
The rest of us gave a brief silent pause and then collectively bursted out in hysterical laughter.

That clever, funny girl.

By the way, I got them at Costco. The mussels, not Maya’s fierce muscles….I can’t take credit for those guns.

September 2017 Fam Din
And then the two hours were up!

L dried off the duck and threw them into a cast iron to crisp up the skin and finish them off.

September 2017 Fam Din
A wonderful medium-rare.

Man… that sous vide is the business.

September 2017 Fam Din
She then placed the sliced duck over a bed of greens, orange segments, raspberries, nuts and a light vinaigrette. A great showing of summer transitioning into fall–don’t you think?

September 2017 Fam Din
Heyyyyyy L!

September 2017 Fam Din
And then T was up to bat with the main course!

She took a spin on Jamie Oliver’s Grilled Pesto Pork Chops. Initially she wanted to sous vide them as well (because we’re addicted) but when she picked them up, she found that although they were thick chops, they’d be fine straight on the grill.

September 2017 Fam Din

T served them with this super cheesy Parmesan-Mushroom Israeli Couscous. And I’ve got to tell you, as a super carboholic, I was all about it. It actually resembled risotto and y’all know how much I love me some risotto!

September 2017 Fam Din
And this is the point when we gave in and let the younger munchkins get on their devices. At least they were all playing in some virtual world together, right? Sometimes you just have to make some concessions…particularly while we were trying to hold them over before dessert.

September 2017 Fam Din
Did someone say dessert???!?!!

Yes Nina and V, it’s almost dessert time.

September 2017 Fam Din
Wowsers, N! Now that’s some frosting! Cream cheese frosting that is—one of my faves!

September 2017 Fam Din
N ended up making this Hummingbird Cake which is a traditional southern goodness with pineapple chunks, bananas, vanilla and lots of spices. It may seem odd if you haven’t had it before but the pineapple just gives it the lightest sweetness and moisture—essentially it tastes like a kicked up spice cake with lots of cream cheese frosting.

Yes please!

September 2017 Fam Din
Now please Mother Nature… turn down the thermostat so that we’re back at our normal 74ish degrees for Fall.

xoxo

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This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Shandies, Various Wine
Appetizers: Heirloom Tomato and Pesto-Ricotta Tart, Tomato-Fennel Mussels
Entrees: Grilled Pesto Pork Chops
Sides: Seared Duck Salad, Parmesan-Mushroom Israeli Couscous
Dessert: Hummingbird Cake

Seafood

Belgian Beer Mussels…. You’re Welcome.

Belgian Beer Mussels

We have been having some truly strange weather in San Diego these past few weeks. I’ll wake up to a chilly sea mist and drizzling skies. By late morning, it becomes overcast, muggy and humid. The sun may peak out for an hour or two before sunset. By bedtime it is hot has heck, that if you don’t crank up the AC or turn on the fans, you’ll be drenched by morning.

Eww.

It’s the type of weather that makes you feel a little scattered and you definitely don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen over a hot stove.

But a gal has got to eat. So I need dishes that are quick, light and still bring the feelings of summer. Since seafood, particularly shellfish, take practically no time at all to cook, mussels are the perfect choice.

Belgian Beer Mussels

Although I haven’t made my way to Belgium yet (but you know I definitely will!), I have a very strong feeling that I would be spending a good amount of time in friteries –little spots you can pop into to grab cones of piping hot fries. And what else will I be consuming with my Belgium fries? Lots and lots of mussels!

This little number is so simple and quick, you’ll be wondering why you don’t have it every week. Instead of white wine, I cooked the mussels with a Belgian wheat beer. Once the mussels release its liqueur, the salty sea flavor mixes with the rich, hoppy beer. Fantastic.

If you don’t want to crack out the deep fryer to make the fries, serve the mussels with crusty, toasted baguette to soak up all that goodness and enjoy the plump little shellfish. The cherry on top? This dish can be done in about 15 minutes.

You’re Welcome.

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Belgian Beer Mussels
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup diced shallots
½ cup diced leeks, washed and thoroughly dried
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ounces Belgian wheat beer
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
kosher salt
black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges

Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Once the oil is heated and butter is melted, add in the shallots, leeks, garlic, thyme, and red pepper. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes until the aromatics are softened but not browned.

Add in the beer and tarragon. Once the liquids come to a boil, add in the mussels. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the mussels have opened.

Leaving the liquid in the pot, transfer the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large serving dish. Remove and discard any mussels that have not opened.

Turn the heat to high and whisk in the remaining butter to finish the sauce. Season with salt and pepper before pouring over the mussels. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with toasted baguette or frites along with lemon wedges.

Giveaways · Pork · Seafood · Sponsored

Spicy Mussels with Andouille Sausage + Nambé GIVEAWAY

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Man, oh man……

This is a doozy.

You might as well just jump through the screen and hug me now.

Not only do I have a DELISH recipe to share with you but we have a FABULOUS GIVEAWAY!!!!! Oh yes, it’s another Win-Nguyen Situation!

Our generous friends at Nambé have offered to give one of our readers a STUNNING Cradle Pasta Bowl. I’m not kidding friends. When I took mine out of the box, I literally gasped! Forget about calling it a “pasta bowl”, it’s a work of art!

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I had so many different dishes I wanted to display in this beauty but finally settled upon a flavorful and easy summer meal– Spicy Mussels with Andouille Sausage. I often steam mussels in white wine with tons of citrus and herbs but wanted to kick up the flavors a bit this time around. The spice and richness from the Andouille were perfect! The broth is extremely satisfying as it melds the earthiness of the sausage with the briny goodness from the mussels and clam juice. I think it’s best enjoyed with a hunk of crunchy bread and a glass of crisp vino but it would also go well with some linguine. Exquisite!

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But as delectable as these mussels are, I’m sure you want to know how to win the lovely Cradle Pasta Bowl, right? Well the good news is that you have FIVE (5) separate chances to win! To enter:

  1. Leave a comment and tell us what the first thing you’ll serve in the Cradle Pasta Bowl;
  2. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  3. Like the Nambé Facebook Fan Page and leave us a comment here indicating so (If you already “Like” Nambé, leave a comment and let us know); or
  4. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  5. Follow @CulinaryChron on Twitter (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so).

The deadline to enter is Monday, April 23rd at 12pm (PST) and the winner will be announced the next day.

Best of luck friends and THANKS so much Nambé!

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Spicy Mussels with Andouille Sausage
Serves 6

½ pound Andouille Sausage, casings removed
½ cup diced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
1½ cups dry white wine
1 cup clam juice
1 32-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup chopped Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
5-6 lemon slices
4 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
vegetable oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Heat a heavy bottom pot with 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add in the sausage and use a wooden spoon to crumble up the meat while it’s browning. Once cooked, remove the sausage to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium and cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes until tender but not browned. Add in the garlic, chili flakes and cook for an additional minute. Turn the heat back up to high and add in the white wine. Deglaze the pan with the wine and use the wooden spoon to scrape up the brown pits. Reduce the liquids by half. Add in the clam juice and tomatoes (with its juices). Once the liquids come to a slow boil, carefully add in the mussels, thyme, parsley, and lemon slices. Stir in the cooked sausage and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the mussels have opened. Remove the mussels to a serving dish. Check the broth for seasonings and adjust as needed with the kosher salt and pepper. Ladle the broth over the mussels and garnish with additional parsley and lemon wedges. Serve immediately with warm bread (baguettes or ciabatta).

Seafood

Spicy Mussels in White Wine

Spicy Mussels in White Wine


You often hear that you should eat “light” during the warmer months. And in truth, I totally agree with that. But I don’t necessarily define “light” as in portion size—I equate it to eating by the season. For example, you won’t catch you me whipping out my lovely dutch oven in the middle of July to make stews. Instead, you’ll find me preparing weekday meals that are easy and will not leave you with the feeling of needing to find the nearest cave to hibernate for the next 4 months.

The following Mussels dish is the perfect example of such an ideal summer dinner. Quick, not heavy on the tummy, and most importantly—NOT light on flavor. It’s also quite fabulous since we were able to use the Early Girl Tomatoes and Flat Leaf Parsley that we grew–SCORE! Pair it with a nice loaf of warm, crunchy sourdough bread to sop up the great broth and you’re in for a treat. And heck, a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio won’t hurt either!

So with that Friends—Here’s to Eating “Light” on the TUMMY but not on the YUMMY! 🙂

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Spicy Mussels in White Wine
From Bon Appetit

1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
4 Large Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 Teaspoons Fennel Seeds
1 Teaspoon Dried Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Dry White Wine (can substitute with Clam Juice or Vegetable Stock)
2 1/4-inch-thick Lemon Slices
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley or Sweet Basil
2 1/2 Pounds Fresh Mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/2 Cup Chopped Seeded Tomatoes

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and salt; sauté until onion is light brown, about 4 minutes. Add wine, lemon slices and 1/4 cup parsley; bring to boil. Add mussels. Cover pot and cook until mussel shells open, stirring once to rearrange mussels, about 6 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open. Using slotted spoon, transfer mussels to large shallow bowl. Boil broth in pot until reduced to 1 cup, about 3 minutes; season to taste with pepper. Pour broth over mussels. Sprinkle tomatoes and remaining parsley over.