Archive | May, 2009

Classic French Mussels

19 May


I grew up right on the beach. To my friends who grew up in a city or in the plains of the Midwest, it sounds strange that my sisters and I used to collect mussels and my mom would steam them for dinner.

When my youngest sister told me she made this recipe, I was impressed. She insisted it was easy and she was right. The end result seems very fancy and exotic, and yet it’s so easy to put together. Despite some flavors I may not have liked when I was little, it brings me back to summers on the beach.

If you’ve never cooked mussels, this is a great starter recipe and the flavors are really delicious. Serve with crusty bread for dipping!

Classic French Mussels
recipe courtesy of The Food Network (and thanks A for sharing!)


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I only used about 1/4 cup. I used fat-free half & half once and light cream once. Both worked.)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I omitted)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Crusty bread, to serve


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mussels, wine, cream, butter, and parsley and season well with salt. Give it a good stir, cover the pot, and cook until mussels open and are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Divide the mussels and the juices between 2 bowls and serve with the crusty bread.


Chocolate Valentino

18 May

Blog Pics 292

I have so many things to blog that I don’t even know where to begin. The extent of the backup is made clear by the fact that this is a cake I made for Passover. Yes, early April. Whoops.

Passover desserts, at least in my family, have never really amounted to much. It made for some sad birthdays when I was younger and couldn’t have a decent cake. This year, I made several attempts at finding a stellar Passover dessert, and this was the clear winner. This cake is incredibly rich – a smaller sliver is enough for even the most die-hard chocolate fan. I had it with a little Cool Whip, which was delicious.

This is not technically a Passover cake, so feel free to whip one up whenever you’re in the mood for something super chocolatey! I was actually pretty proud of myself because this is a bit more sophisticated (and slightly more challenging) than my normal cooking or baking adventures!

Chocolate Valentino

recipe from Dinner & Dessert (but this was a recipe from the group Daring Bakers, so it can be found on a lot of blogs in February!)

16 ounces (1 pound) semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling, butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment. (I used a springform pan)

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140. If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.