Mussels with White Wine Cream Sauce

Mussels with White Wine Cream Sauce

Ryan and I made these mussels with white wine cream sauce over the weekend with leftover white wine. I needed some white wine for David Lebovitz’s mustard chicken on Friday night, and since I don’t like to drink wine, I decided to make this quick and easy (and delicious) recipe which used up the rest.

Make sure to eat these mussels with white wine cream sauce with a loaf of crusty bread, since the sauce is packed with flavour. Just a bit of thyme and a bay leaf, in addition to some shallots and garlic, infuses regular white wine. When combined with the mussel liquor and some cream, the result is decadent and absolutely moreish. This is one of those recipes where the whole is greater than just the sum of its parts.

As with any mollusc, discard any raw mussels that do not close when you tap them – these are most likely dead. After cooking, however, the opposite is true: discard any cooked mussels that have not opened. Amazingly, in the two pounds of Prince Edward Island mussels that I bought here, we only discarded two!

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Spice Up Your Oatmeal

Spice up your oatmeal, Kiku Corner (2)

Donatello and I have oatmeal for breakfast on weekdays. We try to at least start our days off healthy. The basic recipe is easy – just instant oats and hot water. Since mornings are always a rush to get out the door, I try to do as much preparation the night before. I also like to keep the pantry well stocked with yummy toppings, though sometimes I need help on those extra busy mornings.

The difficult part is staying inspired every morning, day after day. Sometimes, I’m just bored of everything. That’s why I’ve come up with some favourites that I turn to when I’m having one of those mornings.  I’ve provided the standard recipe below, as well as three of my favourite variations: fruit and nuts, apple cinnamon, and chocolate banana (for those extra tough mornings).

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Roast Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan

Roast Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan This is a quick and flavourful way to prepare asparagus. Over the weekend, we visited Cooper’s CSA Farm in Zephyr, Ontario. For the past three years, we’ve been a member of their CSA (community-supported agriculture) and had shares in their vegetable, egg, chicken, and pork bounty. At the start of the season, the farm hosts an open house where they provide tours of the farm and explain what they’re growing and how they’re raising the animals. Although not certified organic, the farm believes in ethically and sustainably grown food. The farmer (Steve) chooses to fertilize his fields with animal manure, green manure, and crop rotation instead of using chemical fertilizers, and manages pests in a way that uses as little pesticide as possible, if at all.

On our visit this past weekend, I bought some of the Cooper asparagus, which was hand picked the day before (the temperatures dropped to -5 C and frost  threatened the crops that night). Of course I had to prepare this beautiful spring vegetable right away, using this quick and simple recipe. Try preparing green beans in the same manner.

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Wildflowers of the Utah Desert

Utah Desert Wildflowers

Earlier in May, my parents and I returned to Utah for another hiking trip. We went to Zion and Bryce National Parks back in October, so this time we visited Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks.

I love learning to identify things: animals (easy), birds (harder), trees (harder still), and wildflowers. When I worked in Algonquin Park as a student, I got tree identification guides and taught myself to name the forest trees on my days off.

We spent over a week hiking through three National Parks and spent all day hiking the various trails. I got myself a wildflower identification guide and tried my best to name the myriad wildflowers that perfumed the dry desert air. I think I’ve got it right for most of them, but there are a few that I’m not sure of. In addition to the ones I photographed here, we also saw Hopi blanket flowers, Mormon tea, silvery lupine, Eaton’s penstemon, and Harriman’s yucca. I was surprised to see so much greenery – this was a much different desert than the one in which I grew up!

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Nutella Stuffed Cookies

Nutella Stuffed CookiesNutella Stuffed CookiesRyan and I adapted a Nutella stuffed cookie recipe from Kirbie’s Cravings. Ryan bought a Nutella stuffed cookie from St Lawrence Market last week, and it was so delicious that he ate it all without bringing it to my place place to share!

We whipped up these Nutella stuffed cookies over the Victoria Day long weekend and pretty much used up all the Nutella I had. Nutella can be gluey and sticky, so chill it in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to help firm it up – this makes it much easier to work with.

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