Flex your mussels

I had something interesting in my fridge yesterday…

So I haven’t really cooked with Mussels before but after realizing that I hadn’t blogged something I cooked myself that wasn’t potato pancakes for 9 days I decided it was time to take drastic measures. I ambled into Whole Foods and asked for a pound of mussels. When asking how I should store them until today I realized that they were alive (uh, duh) and would need to be in water (double duh). Yep,  I am the awkward party. Anyways, that’s how I wound up with a container of mussels in my fridge.

Then I started thinking about how they were alive. Then I started to psych myself out. I almost named them. Almost.

Tonight I made a dish out of a self published French cookbook my Mom found at a book sale and sent me. Isn’t it cute?

All the recipes look tasty but mussels remind me of New England so I made Mussels Marinara.

The first thing I had to do was get rid of the sand, grit, and breads. I dissolved a tea spoon of salt in warm water. Then I mixed the warm salt water in a large bowl with cold water. I scrubbed the mussels and placed them in the water bowl. When they were all in the bowl I cut a lemon in half and squeezed it into the bowl. Once I was done squeezing the lemon I placed them in the water bowl.

Let sit for 20 mins. After 20 mins take the mussels out of the water and drain the water out. Then I got started on the sauce!

The recipe calls for a basic white wine based marinara sauce.

You will need:

Red pepper flakes, 2 minced cloves of garlic, half a lemon (ignore the S&P), half a stick of butter, half a container of cut tomatoes with no salt added, and a 1/4 cup of white wine.

I used this kind from South Africa (and obviously, Trader Joe’s).

Start the sauce by heating a tablespoon of EVO and sauteing the garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 min, it should be fragrant. Make sure not to burn the garlic!

Then add the butter. Make sure it doesn’t burn.

Once it melts down add the white wine. Let the white wine cook, stirring occasionally, until it reduces. About 4 mins.

Then squeeze half a lemon and add some thyme (however much you like!)

Then add the tomatoes and simmer for 4 mins.

Now, it is time to put on your brave face.

Please note that this is my nervous face. You will see it when I 1) cook mussels, 2) think about the bar exam or 3) hear a loud thump in the middle of the night

I felt like I was committing a small act of genocide. They were opening and for a fleeting moment I thought about keeping one in the fridge as a pet but then I remembered I already have a pet and I just womened up and did it.

I let the mussels simmer in the sauce for four mins and when I took the top off?

Yay everyone opened up!

This recipe makes two servings. Before I made the sauce I cooked two servings worth of brown spaghetti. Once the mussels opened up I combined the pasta and the sauce. Topped it off with parm.

I also played around with some camera effects.

This was a delicious dinner! It was pretty simple to make despite my nerves. I used only one pot so clean up was really simple. The mussels tasted like a summer day in Massachusetts. Using the white wine sauce as a based made the marinara extra special.  The only change I made from my version and the cookbook version was the brown spaghetti. Their recipe calls for angel hair pasta, but I just used what I had on hand. Mussels are a great treat and actually are pretty cheap when purchased by the pound. A nice little treat for the hard studying souls.

Bon Appetit!

Biggggg yawn

This post is titled big yawn because its how I feel right now. It has been an exhausting few days. Mostly I’ve been studying but I also went on a glorious 5.5 mile run yesterday. It felt so good to get out and on a run.

As you can tell, things have been hectic.

That is one destroyed kitchen, hence why there has been no truly blog worthy food.

Yesterday I finally got it together to cook something blog worthy: Potato Latkes! It is Hanukkah after all and while I am not Jewish, I can always get behind a fried potato. This is actually a recipe I made several times pre-blog. Its an oldie but a goody.

You start by grating russet potatoes with a cheese grater. I do it with the skin on because I’m lazy like that.

Oh, and you might want to be careful because if your not you will end up with a cooking injury.

Apply pressure and keep moving.

Once you grate your potato ( I used two medium potatoes, it made 6 pancakes) use a paper towel to absorb the moisture.

Then add 3 tablespoons of flour, 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder, two eggs, onion (half), thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For the salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme I just eyeballed it.

And then we mix, and I like to mix it with my hands. Dirty, dirty.

After mixing the egg/potato mixture you need to get your pan ready. I used canola oil to cook the latkes, but I imagine you could use something else. I heat the pan to medium heat (you don’t want to burn the potatoes) and let them go, checking occasionally until they are lightly golden on one side. Then flip.

Once they are done let them rest on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

Ah they turned out so pretty. Perfectly fried on either side.

I cooked the rest and then served myself up a plate!

I added apple sauce on the side. There had to be something semi healthy about this meal! I love latkes. There, I said it. These were crispy and warm. I kinda wish that I added more thyme but these were still freaking fantastic! After the latkes I made these. And yes, I ate half of the dough. And tomorrow you get to see where I brought the cookies!

Tomorrow I have a 6 hour long Critical Race Theory final which I cannot wait to get done. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Finals Day 5

Cookies consumed: I lost count

Bagels consumed: 3

YouTube videos watched: 7 (here, here)

Finals taken: 0

Back at it

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving?

Mine was awesome! I took Thursday and Friday 100% totally OFF. I didn’t read, I didn’t outline, and I didn’t blog. All I did was hang out with Catie and her family, ate good food, gave thanks, watched movies, shopped and put my feet up. It felt gooooooood. Sometimes you just want a day or two off. Saturday I got home and ran errands, organized my life, studied and crashed really early.

Good thing too, because guess what tomorrow is? The last day of classes. This is both good and bad. Its great because I will have a lot of very unstructured time, it means the semester is almost over and I’m almost half way done with law school (gah! I can’t even believe it). It also means I have finals. Boo.

Here is what we have to look forward to:

Yup, it all ends on the 16th. Can’t wait!

Tonight I made a very healthy recipe from the Skinny Bitch cookbook: Leek and Sweet Potato Casserole. Casseroles are great when it is chilly. Yes, it was only 55 degrees today. I realize there was a wind chill of 9 in Chicago on Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to hear it. My blood has officially thinned out and a high of 54 is cold. Casseroles reheat well, which is good when you anticipate being short of time. And I really love sweet potatoes. Any excuse, right?

3 leeks. 2 sweet potatoes.

Sliced.

Sauteed (with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic).

Arrange (potato, leek, potato). Top with panko. Add vegetable broth. Bake at 400 for 30 mins.

Yes, I added a thin layer of Swiss. I realize that this isn’t vegan or part of the skinny bitch recipe but I ran 8 miles today and I wanted some cheese. Deal with it.

This was a great, easy casserole. Another reason I like Skinny Bitch is that she lists all the nutritional information after all of her recipes. One serving of this is only 280 calories! It probably ended up being more per serving because I added a little bit of cheese. I ate slightly more than one serving because of the aforementioned run. This was a fantastic dinner and I am already looking forward to the leftovers! Definitely a dish worth repeating.

Hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend!

Roasted Pear and Cranberry Crostata

Yesterday my friend had a Fall theme potluck. I got in the spirit by making Roasted Pear and Cranberry Crostata from the Flour Cookbook. No recipe, buy the book!

Pate Brisee

Roasted pears.

Frangipane.

Cranberries…

So delicious. I have no words. Really, you can never go wrong with the Flour Cookbook. Not only was the dessert stunning to look at but the pear was so soft and lightly sweetened. Melt in your mouth delicious.

Overall, the party was excellent! Let’s just say when your friends with foodies you will never be disappointed at a potluck. There were squash tacos, sweet potato biscuits, pesto pasta, pasta bake, stuffed pepper, salmon dip, roasted broccoli, cauliflower soup, baked brie with jam in puff pastry (so good) and plenty of booze…

Clearly, we hated the food…

And then I rolled home.

Butternut Squash Risotto

I cannot lie. I love butternut squash.

I think that it is my new fall favorite! I have gotten a butternut squash every week since the end of September and I love coming up with new ways to enjoy it.

Like ravioli…

or honey roasted…

or on flat bread.

Le sigh. Love affair ON!

I continued to celebrate my love of butternut squash with Butternut Squash Risotto from Everyday Food. I was running low on ingredients so this is an “eating for one” type of deal.

You need 1/3 cup of arborio rice, 1/4 of a shallot, 1 clove of garlic and 1 cup of vegetable broth. For the broth I boil water and pour into a liquid measuring cup and combine with the broth.

In a pot saute the shallot in EVO with salt and pepper for a few mins until tender, add the minced garlic for a min. until fragrant. Then add the rice and stir consistently for a few mins.

Add 1/4 cup of white wine until absorbed. Add the broth and butternut squash. For the squash I peeled the top of a small butternut squash. Then I roughly chopped it.

Put a lid on that pot and stick it in the oven, heated to 400 degrees for twenty mins.

After twenty mins take out of the oven, stir and top with Parmesan.

Delicious.

Yum. Creamy and butternut squashy. I love anything with both butternut squash and parm. It was also so easy and quick! Definitely a new fall staple for sure!

Things to be Thankful For

Hey Blog World! Today was a good day. I have had such high energy this week and today I was reflecting on all the wonder things I have to be thankful for.

For example: I have great friends, I can run 10 miles and will soon be a half marathoner, I get to study race at a top institution with a one of the kind program, I can and do make choices to make myself happier everyday, I help those around me, and I get to blog for fun. How lucky am I and how is this my life? Things always turn out so much cooler than I could have ever imagined.

And on top of that I sorted out my situation for next summer and took a job offer. Wahoo! This demands a celebration so I went to Susie Cakes (obviously).

Seasonal Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

Soft and moist, with light seasoning. The cream cheese wasn’t heavy at all. Simply delicious. The best celebration treat ever!

I might have gotten a cookie for lunch tomorrow to. So shoot me.

Its just too cute.

So you’ve had a cupcake treat, what are you going to make for dinner? Answer: a creation from the brand new, yet to be released Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook. This book is completely vegan and emphasizes local, pure food. What do I mean by pure? No preservatives. While I am not vegan I do eat mostly local (all local produce) and eliminated almost all preservatives from my diet in order to lose weight and fuel my runner’s body.

I used the pasta that I had, cut down the recipe, and substituted some major ingredients but I kept it vegan and let me tell you: best white wine sauce ever! In the past when I made white wine sauce I’ve use butter. Let me tell you, this is better. Did I just say better than butter? Why yes I did.

I don’t want to post the recipe because this book literally just came out. Buy it here! I will say that the sauce had grape seed oil, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, spinach (swapped with arugula), white wine, and vegetable stock. I wouldn’t have thought about the veggie stock but it was a great addition and gave the sauce a lot of flavor.

So the deal with the pasta: I didn’t have spaghetti. It ended up being a mash up of whatever I had left over but I think it looked pretty good.

As I mentioned above, this white wine sauce was better than the sauce I made in the past with butter. I am still in disbelief and will most definitely be making more from this book. If you are a vegan or just want to eat delicious wholesome food you should get this cookbook. There is tons of basic information about healthy eating and living a more healthy lifestyle. Left Coast Approved!

Cheddar and Scallion Scones

Another day, another amazing creation from the Flour Cookbook. These scones are delicious and super easy to make!

It’s as simple as combining the dry ingredients…

combining all the wet ingredients…

I am having a love affair with Creme Fraiche. So much more amazing than sour cream!

Combining the two together and placing them on a baking dish is a circle…

Brushing with yoke…

Wipe the drool with your apron…

and bake. Wait and wait and wait while your apartment starts to smell like cheese. These babies smell ah-maz-ing! And then, they are ready. Everybody out of the oven.

Again, wipe the drool off with your apron. Cut them up and enjoy the best breakfast ever.

This scone is really very light and had cheese melted in the middle. Does it get any better than that? Nope. I am surprised by how easy the recipes in the Flour Cookbook really are.


The treats are special and decadent but totally do able. It just goes to show how little ingredients, like creme fraiche, can make a dish unique and even more delicious.

Melted cheese, soft interior, and crispy crust.

I realize that this is like foodie torture, making such a good savory breakfast item and not sharing the recipe. There is a cure! Order the book and make them for yourself!

I am off to a pumpkin patch so that I can pretend like its really fall! Hope ya’ll are having a happy Sunday!

Butternut, Chive and Cheddar Flat Bread

Good Evening! Today was a low key, but busy day. I managed to squeeze in an 8 mile run in around 1:15 mins. But I couldn’t totally tell because I just used the clock on my ipod. It was nice to only run 8 miles (as opposed to say, 10) and I felt great afterwords. I drank watered down Gatorade and took two shot blocks at mile 4. It’s kinda awesome that I can run 8 miles pretty easily. Next weekend is a 12 mile run. Ah!

When I got back I was starving and enjoyed a cold chocolate milk and then Butternut, Chive and Cheddar Flat Bread. I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust, rolled it out with flour. Then I took roasted butternut squash, chopped chive, lettuce, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and grated cheddar cheese and combined in a bowl with a dollop of EVO. I spread the mixture over the dough and baked at 425 for 14 mins.

Delicious post run treat; This recipe is a keeper! We know that I love to put butternut squash on anything but the addition of the lettuce was a brilliant move. Cheddar is always amazing when melted on pizza dough. MMMM. Wonderful. The best part of finishing a long run is indulging in a nice treat.

There is something wonderful cooking in my oven right now. The smell is heavenly! Lets just say I’ll have a savory treat for breakfast tomorrow and to ship to my buddy Carolyn!

The Dinner Dance

Tonight my little friend engaged in the “dinner dance”. The dinner dance happens between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm, at which time she is actually fed. Literally, if I readjust on couch, yawn, turn a page or make any movement of any kind Izzy goes running to the kitchen making all kinds of noise. She leaps from precarious positions just to get a bite of food.

Exhibit A: Notice the open mouth, indicating loud complaining.

Exhibit B: trying to guilt me into giving her food.

I did manage to make a nice dinner despite the little distraction nipping at my heels. I wanted comfort pasta so I constructed a red sauce with roasted tomatoes, EVO, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.I cooked the onion and garlic and mashed the tomato.

And the final product:

Yum. It hit the spot. I used the leftover Tagliarelle. I generally eat brown pasta (unless I make it myself) so having white for a change was nice. I love putting red pepper flakes in pasta sauce. It gives it that little extra spice.

I also had roasted Brussels sprouts, broccoli and the last of my leftover butternut squash.

No dinner in my apartment is complete without some roasted veggies!

Hope you had a good Monday! Mine was kinda blah but I used my universal cure to raise my spirits:

I’m still a believer. A manicure can cure anything. Don’t you agree?

10 miles on 10.10.10

Hey there world! Is there a better day to run 10 miles than 10.10.10? I don’t think so! I put on my running legs and completed the run in 1:35. Yahoo! I want November 14th to be tomorrow!

 

Pre-run I had a piece of peanut butter toast (Ezekiel bread).

 

Mid-run I walked for a block and had a shot block.

And I drank Gatoraide. Word to the wise, water down your gatoraide. I didn’t and it kinda made me nauseous.

 

Post run I enjoyed my favorite recovery beverage:

Chocolate milk, and yes, I put salt in it 😉

 

For dinner I made roasted butternut flat bread. I used the leftover butternut squash and combined it with onion, garlic, oregano and EVO. I used TJ’s whole wheat dough, topped it with goat cheese and let it bake for 10 mins at 450 degrees.

Yum! This was delicious. I will be making more. Is there any dish that can’t be improved by butternut squash? I didn’t think so.

 

Hope everyone had a fun, restful weekend!