After much hesitation and procrastination I have finally taken the plunge and begun my food and libation blog.  This blog will be about all things food such as recipes, restaurants, culinary travel, cookbooks, books about cooks, and fiction relating to food.  my goal will be not just to post my thoughts about food, but to supplement any recipes or thoughts with juicy cultural and historical tidbits.  

My first addition to the “recipes” category will be a nice quick fusion take on moules marinieres.  I adapted this recipe from one I found in Yoshoku (which uses clams rather than mussels): a great little cookbook by Jane Lawson.  You’ll need the following ingredients for this crackerjack meal.

  • 500g of mussels (about 3-4 big handfuls)
  • 40ml of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped thinly
  • 1 red chili chopped up
  • 1 small leek chopped finely
  • 30ml of drinking sake (the swill you can find at your local booze-store should do the trick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chopped ginger 
  • pinch of dashi 
  • ground white pepper
  • 5-10g of butter
  • a bunch of cilantro/flat-leaf parsley
  • a pan with a cover (you need that cover to steam the mussels)

Once you’ve cleaned and prepared your garlic and and chili, throw them into a pan  at medium heat with the vegetable and sesame oil.  Brown (do not burn!) the garlic, remove it and the chili with a slotted spoon, and put aside (you’ll need these guys later).

Next, toss the leeks into the pan and saute them until they are soft (about 5 minutes).  After that, you’re in the home stretch.  Crank up the heat, put in your mussels, and then dump in the sake, ginger, dashi, salt and pepper.  Put the cover on your pan and steam those bad boys until the mussels open up (about 5 minutes).  Throw away any mussels that didn’t open (they’re dead and thus unappetizing).  Drop the garlic/chili you kept aside into the pan, and then put in your butter to give your broth a nice sheen and a bit more body. 

Serve this delicious dish with some baguette to soak up all the delicious broth.  This recipe is soooooooooo easy, looks and tastes gorgeous, and if you serve at a dinner party you will be a cooking star.  Enjoy!