Author Archives: aries041158

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Amarena Cherries

Photo Oct 14, 5 20 38 PM LEMON RICOTTA CAKE WITH AMARENA

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone,

Well, here is another recipe to share, Lemon Ricotta Cake.

Recently, Bob and I went to Eataly, NYC to shop and we fit in some time for pistachio gelato too (my favorite flavor).

For those of you who are not familiar with Eataly, it is a 50,000 square foot Italian Market in NYC that has just about everything you could possibly imagine. Fresh pasta, fresh bread, butcher shop, cafes, sit down restaurants and a cooking school. The list goes on and on. It is owned by celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich.

While I was there I spotted a jar of Amarena cherries which are basically the Italian version of a maraschino cherry. I don’t really know how to describe them. They are small but very sweet and intense and come in a sweet syrup that you can put in a cocktail or club soda.

When I was a child my grandmother would serve these cherries over ice cream or she would make the most heavenly cookies with them. The cookies were a combination of the cherries mixed with cocoa powder covered in a sugar glaze. (Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe for the cookies).

The cherries come in a beautiful blue and white jar ceramic jar. As soon as I saw the jar, I had a memory of grandma and I just had to buy them.

Photo Oct 15, 3 11 47 AM AMARENA CHERRIES

When I got home, I tried to find an Amarena cookie recipe like grandmas, but I wasn’t lucky enough to find one. 

However, I did come across this recipe for Lemon Ricotta Cake from one of my favorite Italian chefs, Deborah Mele, of Italian Food Forever and thought this lemon ricotta cake would be perfect to go along with the cherries.

You know that I am not the baker, but this recipe was no fuss and easy to put together and it was lemon, another favorite flavor of mine. So I started to bake. 

Bob and I loved the cake and the cherries were just perfect. I put the photo on DishingwithDiane instagram and immediately received requests for the recipe, so here it is.

It doesn’t have to be topped with Amarena cherries, whipped cream or strawberries; even plain, the cake is delicious.

Try it and enjoy. 

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LEMON RICOTTA CAKE

A simple lemon flavored cake that includes ricotta cheese, keeping the cake ver moist.

ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Softened Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • Zest From 3 Large Lemons
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, Separated
  • 1 Cup Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • Dash of Salt

To Serve:

  • Fresh Strawberries or in this case, Amarena cherries

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 7 or 8 inch spring-form pan.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the lemon zest, extract, egg yolks and ricotta cheese and beat until smooth.
  5. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, and beat into the butter mixture just until combined.
  6. Wash your beaters well, and then beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff.
  7. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter then spoon the batter into your prepared tin.
  8. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester stuck into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Photo Oct 09, 8 02 56 PM sweet potato gnocchi

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

Here is another recipe that was requested from DishingwithDiane’s Instagram page.

Welcome to Fall!

My husband LOVES gnocchi and he loves anything that is made with sweet potatoes. He will always be the one to order the sweet potato fries or the sweet potato pie.

When I found this recipe on Epicurious for sweet potato gnocchi, I knew it would be a match made in heaven for Bob to have two of his favorites combined together.

The recipe called for a brown butter sage sauce and I just added some toasted walnuts (toasted pecans would be good also). 

The end result was a delicious Autumn meal even though it has been 80 degrees here on the Northeast (which I personally LOVE).

Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Epicurious recipe…

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • (2) 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
  • (1) 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2- 3/4 cups (about) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish

Cooks note: I added toasted walnuts.

Preparation:

  1. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
  3. Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.
  4. Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
  5. Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.  (I added the walnuts at this point and let them cook for the 5 minutes).
  6. Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. Empty skillet onto rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
  8. Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers & Potatoes

 

Photo Sep 27, 8 39 18 PM PORK CHOPS VINEGAR PEPPERS - Copy

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

Here is another recipe that was requested from DishingwithDiane’s Instagram page.

When I was a child, my mother would make this dish for the family and I absolutely loved it. I think I was the only 10 year old that loved vinegar.

This dish is fantastic, but I haven’t made it in all the years I’ve been married. Bob is NOT a fan of vinegar. I would occasionally order it in a restaurant, but it never lived up to my mother’s version.

I recently found an article in The Daily Record featuring Chef Peter Bocchieri. He posted his recipe for the pork chops with vinegar peppers. The recipe looked simple enough and it brought back memories of my Mom, so I decided to give it a try. It was delicious, Mom would have loved it. 

Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.

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Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers and Potatoes

by Peter Bocchieri @ thedailyrecord.com

 Ingredients: 

  • 3-4 pork loin chops, center cut, bone in
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups of Pastene Pepperoncini Peppers In Vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar from the jar of peppers
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin ( I used 4 potatoes)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Chefs Note– the brand of peppers listed above is Peter’s favorite brand. You can use any jarred peppers you like or use your own homemade pickled peppers.

Directions:

In a medium frying pan, fry the potatoes in half the oil till golden brown and tender. In a separate large frying pan, heat the remainder of the oil.

Salt and pepper your pork chops and dredge the pork chops in the flour, shaking off any excess flour.

When the oil is hot, with the heat high, brown the pork chops about 3 minutes each side.

Add the garlic and shake the pan to incorporate with the pork chops. Cook about 1 minute.

Add the peppers, reserving the vinegar they came in. Turn and cook the peppers with the pork chops for two minutes. Add the fresh basil and the reserved vinegar from the peppers.  When the pork chops are done, do not overcook, remove them from the pan and place on a platter and keep warm.

Add the cooked potatoes to the vinegar pepper mixture and toss to mix well.

Cover the pork chops with the potatoes and vinegar peppers and serve immediately.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Good-bye Summer 2017

Photo Sep 20, 7 16 17 PM INTRO

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

I know many of you consider Labor Day as the last day of summer, but not me. I want to hold on to this season to the very end and strictly go by the calendar.

This year Autumn starts on Friday, September 22, 2017, so I am holding on.

The nights have been getting cooler with a subtle reminder that my favorite season is saying good-bye; so to pay tribute to summer, I decided to post one more summer tablescape.

As you all know by now, I just love the beach and it is a big part of the summer season for me. The sand, sound of the waves and the peaceful feeling the beach brings. Maybe because I live on an island but the beach is definitely my happy place.

I was trying to think of a theme for this end of summer tablescape, and then I read a newspaper article that some of the local waterfront restaurants here on the island with private beaches, are planting palm trees to enhance the tropical island atmosphere of their restaurants. 

Well, I just found my theme to say good-bye to summer- palm trees. And I have the perfect set of dishes for this theme.

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So lets get started…

The tablecloth…. I am using a tan, sage green, cocoa brown and beige tablecloth embossed with palm trees. I like the muted colors because I have candlesticks that blend perfectly with this tablecloth.

Photo Sep 18, 3 48 10 PM TABLECLOTH

I used outdoor placemats that I bought for the patio table that are made out of PVC covered jute netting. You have probably seen similar placemats, they look like rubber. I bought the placemat in the shape of a palm tree frond.  

(FYI- the material used for this placemat is top rack dishwasher safe.)

Photo Sep 19, 11 25 04 AM PLACEMAT

Along with the frond placemat, I am using my a brown rattan chargers once again. I get the most use out of these chargers.

Photo Sep 18, 3 19 40 PM - RATTAN CHARGER WITH FRAME

The set of “palm tree” dishes was a birthday gift from a friend a few years back and I only had the opportunity to use them once last summer. So I decided to use them for this post and I hope my friend enjoys seeing her gift on the blog.

The dinner plates and salad plates have the same design. A beige background bordered in sage green and a cocoa brown around the rim with two palm trees in the center, also in sage green and cocoa brown.

Photo Sep 19, 3 50 43 PM SALAD AND DINNER

The complete set comes with dinner plates, salad plates, bowls and mugs.

Photo Sep 19, 2 48 36 PM COMPLETE SET

I think the dishes match the tablecloth perfectly.

The napkins are 20″ x 20″ over sized cotton napkins with a tropical leaf pattern along with the cutest gold palm tree napkin rings that I picked up from a great store in Florida that specializes in coastal home accents.

Photo Sep 18, 5 18 30 PM - BANANA LEAF NAPKIN

The glassware are acrylic highball glasses featuring sage green and cocoa brown palm trees with a cocoa brown rim on the top of the glass and a cross hatch pattern on the bottom of the glass.

Photo Sep 18, 2 55 23 PM - PALM TREE GLASS

 The flatware is bamboo. I love using this set for my summer tablescapes.

Photo Sep 18, 2 56 46 PM BAMBOO CUTLERY - 1

As I mentioned before, I have the perfect candlesticks for this tablescape. They are  polyresin palm trees in shades of olive green and brown along with off white pillar candles.

Photo Sep 19, 11 49 06 AM CANDLESTICKS

I told Bob that I was planning on a “palm tree” tablescape and my honey went out and bought me a tabletop palm tree. It’s perfect and I love it; and it is the new centerpiece.

Photo Sep 19, 2 45 48 PM PALM

Complete centerpiece with candlesticks.

Photo Sep 19, 2 44 51 PM CENTERPIECE

My addiction and love for salt and pepper shakers continues and I found the cutest set of palm tree salt & pepper shakers on Amazon that look like the palm trees on the dishes.

Photo Sep 18, 3 48 22 PM PALM TREE SALT AND PEPPER

I added an additional table accent, imitation succulents wrapped in burlap. I am sure with my NOT so green thumb, I could kill a real succulent in record breaking time so I am sticking to artificial.

Photo Sep 19, 11 48 09 AM SUCCULENT 2

I thought an Acacia wooden bowl filled with tropical fruits such as pineapples, mangoes, kiwi, bananas, and starfruit; would be a nice touch for the table as well. 

Photo Sep 18, 3 47 52 PM FRUITBOWL 2

 So to say good-bye to summer, I just had to plan a meal to go along with the tropical feel as a send off to my favorite season, so I chose sticky pineapple chicken served in a pineapple boat with coconut rice and a tropical fruit salad.

Photo Sep 18, 8 41 53 PM PINEAPPLE CHICKEN

My dessert choice was Ambrosia & cinnamon sugar sand dollar cookies.

Photo Sep 20, 5 51 17 PM AMBROSIA

(All recipes at the end of the post)

Well, unfortunately for me, the time has finally come to say good-bye to Summer. See you in 273 days when Summer starts again on June 21, 2018. I am starting to count down already.

Wouldn’t you know, the rest of this week we are supposed to have weather like a hot Summer day. Temperature in the 80’s. 

Thank you Summer for one last hurrah! Now I feel a little better.

Although, I still think I need some pumpkin ice cream and an apple cider donut right about now to ease my pain for Fall arriving tomorrow…

See you in the Fall…

I hope you try some of the recipes on today’s blog and enjoy.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Photo Sep 20, 7 15 13 PM GOOD-BYE BUFFET

Place Setting

Photo Sep 20, 7 10 30 PM PLACE SETTING

Table Details

Palm tree tablecloth from Christmas Tree Shops

Tropical leaf placemats from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Brown rattan chargers from Sur La Table

Palm tree dishes from a friend as a birthday gift

Tropical leaf napkins from Amazon

Gold palm tree napkin rings from Wilford and Lee

Palm tree acrylic glasses from Homegoods

Bamboo flatware from Amazon

 Palm tree candlesticks from Amazon

Tabletop palm tree from my honey

Candles from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Acacia wooden fruit bowl from Homegoods

Palm tree salt & pepper shakers from Amazon

 Succulents in burlap from Amazon

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RECIPES

Photo Sep 18, 8 41 59 PM CLOSE UP CHICKEN

Sticky Pineapple Chicken

 (justataste.com)

Ingredients:

 1/2 cup pineapple juice

 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

 1/3 cup low sodium chicken stock

 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic

 2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 Tablespoon olive oil

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup diced pineapple

 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews (optional)

Rice for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, chicken stock, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, garlic and cornstarch.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup and is the consistency of thick syrup. Set the sauce aside.
  3. Add the olive oil to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and season it with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken, stirring, until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain off any liquids then add the sauce to the pan and stir until combined.
  4. Add the pineapple and cashews and cook, stirring, for an additional 1 minute.
  5. Serve the chicken atop a bed of rice.

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Coconut Rice

 (Allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1- 1/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1- 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 to 20 minutes, until rice is tender.

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Photo Sep 20, 6 35 30 PM AMBROSIA CLOSE UP

 Ambrosia

(thecountrycook.net)

Ingredients:
  • 1 8 oz tub of whipped topping thawed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1- 20 oz can pineapple tidbits drained well
  • 1- 15 oz can mandarin orange segments drained well
  • 1 cup red or green seedless grapes sliced in half
  • 1- 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1- 1/2 cups mini marshmallows – (see note)
  • 1- 10 oz jar of maraschino cherry halves drained very well
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and sour cream.
  2. Add in coconut flakes and marshmallows.
  3. Then gently fold in pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes and maraschino cherries and nuts (if using).
  4. Once combined, put some plastic wrap on it or put it in a bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

COOKS NOTE: You can make this dessert look more festive if you can find the multi-colored mini marshmallows.

 

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Photo Sep 20, 5 48 24 PM SAND DOLLAR COOKIES

Cinnamon Sugar Sand Dollar Cookies

(sally’s baking addiction)

yield: 2 DOZEN COOKIES

Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir the rest by hand.
  3. Scoop a large section of dough (about 1 Tablespoon of dough each) and roll into balls. Make sure the balls are taller, rather than wide.
  4. Make the topping:   Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Roll each dough ball into the cinnamon sugar. Press 5 sliced almonds onto the tops of each dough ball, as pictured above. Chill the balls of dough for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. This step will prevent spreading in the oven.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Arrange cookies 3 inches apart on baking sheets.
  6. Bake chilled cookie dough for 10 minutes. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes and move to wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Cookies stay soft & fresh for up to 1 week at room temperature. Cookies freeze well. Cookies may be rolled into balls and frozen up to 3 months to bake at a later date. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

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palm-trees-beach- thetreecenter - blog

photo courtesy of thetreecenter.com

 

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

 

Photo Sep 11, 1 51 06 PM SPINACH ROLLS

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

Here is another recipe that has been requested from DishingwithDiane’s Instagram page.

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Very easy to prepare. 

In the photo above, I sliced the roll ups in half and paired it with grilled chicken sausage that was made with spinach and garlic and served this for lunch. A side salad can be added.

For lunch or a buffet table,  I slice the roll up in half. I think it makes a nicer presentation to see the filling.

For dinner, I serve the entire roll up which is one lasagna noodle and an additional vegetable or protein.

Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

*******************

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups 

(recipe from: taste of home website)

Ingredients:

  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2-1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (I used whole milk mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) meatless pasta sauce OR HOMEMADE SAUCE. (I used my own marinara sauce).

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Cook and drain noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, mix eggs, spinach, cheeses and seasonings.
  • Pour 1 cup pasta sauce into an ungreased 13×9-in. baking dish. Spread 1/3 cup cheese mixture over each noodle; roll up and place over sauce, seam side down. Top with remaining sauce. Bake, covered, 20 minutes. Uncover; bake until heated through, 5-10 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

I topped the roll ups with grated cheese.

 

 

Mussels – Four Ways

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone, 

Before I start making pumpkin bread and beef stew for the fall, I decided to have one of my favorite summer meals once again – mussels.

After the summer, I personally don’t make mussels again until Christmas Eve and the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

There is no set rule for this. It is just what my mother did and I can’t seem to break the family tradition.

I prepared “Drunken Mussels” in garlic, white wine, lemon and butter and then I set out to find a few more mussel recipes to add to my repertoire.

So I bought mussels and mussels and more mussels, and began to test recipes. After 10 lbs of mussels, I wanted to share my results with all of you. I hope you find a recipe that interests you and give it a try.

Here are my recipe choices for Mussels, Four Ways.

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Before you start, here are instructions to properly clean and debeard mussels.

On a personal note. I always soak my mussels in cold water with sea salt for 20 minutes to release some of the sand and grit before cleaning.

Cleaning Mussels (courtesy of serious eats)

“Farm-raised mussels are thankfully quite clean to begin with and don’t require the rigorous individual scrubbing-under-water that wild mussels do, but you’ll still have to give them a quick once over.

20141026-mussels-how-to-food-lab-02.jpg

Mussels attach themselves to stable surfaces using thin, sticky membranes referred to as “beards.” Again, most farm-raised mussels will come debearded already, but the odds are good you’ll find a couple of stubborn beards left over.

20141026-mussels-how-to-food-lab-03.jpg

When you find one, grasp it between your thumb and forefinger and pull it downwards towards the hinged-end of the mussel shell. Pull firmly until it comes out and discard. If you have trouble gripping the beard with just your fingers, a dry paper towel can help.

Mussels, clams, and other bivalves tend to gape open when they’re dead, but not all gaping mussels are dead yet. Some of them are just relaxing

20141026-mussels-how-to-food-lab-04.jpg

If you happen to spot any gaping mussels in your bowl, you can check for signs of life by picking them and squeezing them a few times or knocking them with another mussel, clack clack clack. The mussel should slowly close itself back up. If it doesn’t, you’ve got a dead one on your hands. Toss it in the trash and move on with your life.

20141026-mussels-how-to-food-lab-05.jpg

And that’s it! Your mussels are ready to cook in any number of recipes.”

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STORING FRESH MUSSELS
  1. Remove from plastic bag and store either loose or in mesh bag.
  2. Place in bowl or unsealed container.
  3. Cover with clean damp cloth or paper towel. …
  4. Store in fridge (up to a few days and make sure they smell like the ocean)
  5. Drain daily any water that collects in bowl/container.

***********************************************

Recipes

Drunken Mussels

I always serve this with spaghetti with the broth from the mussels.

Photo Sep 13, 6 58 44 PM DRUNKEN MUSCLES

Recipe By: Chef John ( allrecipes.com)

“This seriously delicious drunken mussels recipe is one of the quickest shellfish preparations known to man. Bring a flavorful, wine-based broth to a boil, add mussels and cover; cook until they open, and eat. That’s it!”

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 cups white wine
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 slices bread, grilled
  • 2 lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Season with red pepper flakes and lemon zest, stirring for about 45 seconds.
  2. Quickly pour in wine into the pan and season with black pepper. Bring sauce to a boil, stir in mussels, and cover immediately. Shake pot and let boil for 1 minute.
  3. Stir mussels, replace cover, and let boil for 2 more minutes. The shells will begin to open. Stir in parsley, cover pot, and cook until all shells are open, 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Serve with grilled bread and lemon wedge.

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Beer-Steamed Mussels with Bacon

Photo Sep 12, 11 45 07 PM - USE THIS PHOTO- M- IN BEER, BACON AND MUSTARD

Recipe by: (serious eats.com)

Ingredients:

  • 4 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup Belgian-style ale, or witbier
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed clean and beards removed
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Crusty bread, for serving

Cooks note: I reduce the mustard to 1 tsp. so it wasn’t that strong a flavor.

Directions:

Place the bacon in a large stainless-steel skillet set over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Set bacon aside.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and the garlic just begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the thyme to the pan and stir in the beer, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the beer begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cleaned mussels to the pan in a single layer. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, check the mussels. Using a pair of tongs, remove any mussels that have opened and transfer to a large bowl. Cover the pan again and simmer for another 5 minutes, transferring any opened mussels to the large bowl.

When all the mussels are opened and transferred to the bowl, whisk the Dijon mustard into the sauce in the pan. Taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Keep in mind that the bacon, as well as the liquor given up by the mussels, are both salty, so not much additional salt may be needed.

Pour the finished sauce over the mussels, then sprinkle on the reserved bacon, as well as the chopped parsley. Serve the mussels with crusty bread and cold beer.

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Mussels with Spicy Sausage and Tomatoes

* this was a favorite

Photo Sep 12, 7 23 32 PM MUSSELS A USE THIS PHOTO -USE THIS PHOTO

Ingredients:

2-3 hot sausages – casings removed and broken into 1 inch pieces

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. butter

4-5 garlic cloves- sliced

 1 container cherry tomatoes – sliced in half (or 1 cup san marzano tomatoes- roughly chopped)

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 stalk celery or fennel – diced (optional)

1 tbsp. flat leaf parsley – chopped

1 tsp red pepper chili flakes

Lemon slices

1 cup white wine

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

2 lbs mussels – cleaned and debearded

Directions:

  1. Heat a large stainless steel pan over high heat. Drizzle the olive oil into the hot pan. Add the butter. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Remove from the oil and set aside.
  2. ADD the garlic, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, thyme (and celery or fennel-optional). Cook for a few minutes. ADD the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. ADD the broth, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil
  3. ADD the mussels, cover and cook until the mussels have opened- approximately 2-4 minutes
  4. Plate the mussels in a bowl
  5. ADD the heavy cream, sausage and parsley to the sauce and mix well. Pour over the mussels and garnish with lemon slices

Serve with toasted ciabatta bread

Clams and shrimp can also be added to this recipe.

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Mussels Marinara or Fra Diavolo

Photo Sep 13, 7 21 45 PM MUSSELS MARINARARecipe by: (tasteloveandnourish.com)

INGREDIENTS:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry, crisp white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio
  • 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • pinch of sea salt and a few cracks of black pepper
  • about ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes if you’d like Fra Diavolo
  • 4 pounds mussels (I use Prince Edward Island Mussels)
  • ½ bunch of fresh parsley
  • 1 baguette, warmed, for serving

Cooks note: I used 2 pounds of mussels

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes, being careful not to brown it. Add the wine and bring the heat up to high. Bring the wine to a boil and simmer for another two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes (I crush the whole tomatoes out of the can by hand, removing any hard stem end and discarding those. Then, pour the remaining sauce from the can into the pot as well). Add the salt and the peppers.
  2. Once the sauce is at a light simmer, add the mussels, give them a stir, raise the heat to medium and cover the pot. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until all of the mussels have opened, then stir in the parsley.
  3. Serve with the warm baguette or over pasta, if desired.

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Oh, and for the record, from Sydney Seafood Market health and safety questions…

Is it OK to eat Mussels that don’t open when they’re cooked?

When cooking Mussels, there are often a few stubborn shells that don’t open regardless of how long they’re cooked. Traditional wisdom was to discarded these (as they may have already been dead prior to cooking), you can, however, pry them open away from the plate of food, and if they smell good, they’re good to eat. If they are bad, your nose will tell you!

It’s still important however to discard any Mussels prior to cooking that aren’t closed and don’t close when gently tapped, as they’re not alive and it’s impossible to tell how long they’ve been dead for.

And remember to remove Mussels from the pan as soon as they open so as not to overcook them.

Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Beans

Photo Sep 07, 9 59 45 PM RICE AND BEAN STUFFED PEPPERS

(Click PHOTO to enlarge and then back arrow to return to original size).

Hi everyone. 

I just wanted to share a recipe with you that I put together last night.

It was very easy and came together fairly quickly in case you are looking for something to have for a school night. The rice can be made ahead of time.

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I just don’t know what to cook for dinner and I need a few changes from the usual favorites.

I had previously posted my traditional stuffed pepper recipe with ground beef on the blog (September 20, 2015); but for this recipe I changed the beef to black beans.

Very good for my vegetarian members too.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Have fun cooking and enjoy!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Beans

Ingredients:

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 medium onion –sliced

3 garlic cloves –minced

5 bell peppers- whole

3 TBSP olive oil

2-3 cans “no salt” 8 oz. tomato sauce … (3 cans will make it juicier)

2 cups cooked brown rice – (follow package directions)

1 TBSP Italian seasoning

4 TBSP plus of grated cheese

8 oz. of shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the tops from 5 green peppers; discard the seeds and the membranes
  • Dice the tops in pieces for the rice filling – set aside
  • Cook the whole green peppers, uncovered in boiling water for about 6 minutes; invert to drain well
  • Start to prepare the rice in either a steamer or stovetop
  • In another saucepan over medium low heat, add the olive oil
  • Allow the oil to heat up for a few minutes and then add the diced peppers and onions, a pinch of salt and cook for approx. 7 minutes stirring occasionally to soften
  • Add the minced garlic to the peppers and onions and cook for 1 more minute
  • Add the 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained – cook 1 minute
  • Add the 2-3 cans of tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and 2 TBSP of grated cheese
  • Allow this to cook on a lower temperature for 15-20 minutes with the cover ON until the sauce is done
  • Add the cooked rice, mix well and add the remaining grated cheese
  • Stuff the peppers with this mixture and top with additional grated cheese and mozzarella cheese
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to melt the cheese then serve

Depending on the size of your peppers, you will have leftover filling for a quick lunch the next day.