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Verses from my Kitchen: My Family Dinner

August 22, 2010

My Family Dinner

Sunday nights are becoming increasingly more meaningful for me. It signifies the last day to spend with the people you love and the last chance to create one more weekend memory. Most of all, Sunday is now a very important food moment in my life. The great family dinner. 

Over time I believe the Sunday family dinner has lost its way. It's been pushed aside by hurried lives, weekend errands and a shorter attention span. We're losing our grip on the last bastion of family routines. But I've decided to push back against the grain and create my own family ritual. And it started last week. And it will continue as long as I have a say in the kitchen. The meal may stay consistent or it may stay varied, but the day will remain the same.

For now my family consists of my wife and myself. No kids, yet. Maybe ever. Maybe someday. But that's good enough reason to create our own memories and spend some time remembering the weekend that was and the week that still isn't.

Today was cool. It wasn't cold, but it was surely cool enough to warrant my mind dreaming of soups, stews and Fall goodies. Whenever the thermometer dips and the clouds open up I automatically think of foods to keep us warm. And I often start craving for mussels. There is something comforting to me about delicious mussels and a hot flavourful broth.

I happened to be in the grocery store today when that craving took over, so I didn't have to go far to quench it. The seafood counter was filled with PEI mussels that looked like they were delivered fresh today. I grabbed a couple dozen and a fresh loaf of carraway rye. While I often turn to a french loaf for mussels, the rye seemed like a perfect fit tonight. I picked up some scallops as well. This was going to be a light meal, but it was going to pop with flavour.

I set out all the necessary ingredients in front of me and chopped and poured. I scrubbed the mussels and removed the mussel beards. Luckily there were no broken shells and all but one were fully closed. I like to switch up the way I make mussels and tonight I felt like making Steamed Mussels with leeks, garlic, shallots, jalapeno, broth and butter. I also made bacon-wrapped scallops with a splash of lemon juice.

The meal was a perfect chance for my wife and I to reminisce about our weekend. We sipped on a glass of wine and took in the blessings of life. Sunday dinner is the perfect chance to talk about life, plans, and your future. To absorb in each other and the food we're lucky to enjoy. And it's the perfect time to start creating our family tradition.

I've included the recipe to our most recent mussels noshing. Enjoy!

Steamed Mussel Recipe:

  • 2 pounds of mussels, beards removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, chopped finely
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Directions:

Rinse the mussels under cold water while scrubbing with a veggie brush. Remove the beards by pulling with your thumb and index finger back and forth as you wash them. Discard mussels with broken shells. If any are open, tap on them to close. If they don't close, discard.

Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the leeks, garlic, shallot, and jalapeno and cook until soft, roughly 5 minutes. Add the mussels and give it a good toss to mix all the ingredients. Add the broth and cover the pot to steam over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the mussels are opened. Stir once in a while to ensure mussels are in contact with the heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter and a drizzle with olive oil to the remaining sauce and allow to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle parsley over top to garnish.

Meanwhile, heat broiler and place rack 4" from the top. Cut rye into thick slices and broil on baking sheet for 2 minutes. The bread should brown and look crusty. Serve with mussels.



2 Comments:

At August 23, 2010 at 4:25 PM , Blogger Rosemary said...

even though you wont get mussels in my mouth - your receipe and picture looks very inviting

 
At August 24, 2010 at 6:17 AM , Blogger Wendy Lewicki said...

This was by far, your best mussel recipe yet Michael.

 

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