Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mussels and Fries or The Princess and the Prince



 You probably saw this coming, right? The truth is that I made these months ago, and never got around to posting them. I still haven't had my fries BUT we did hear from HR, formerly known as the officedom of WussMan. WussMan quickly became a hero after recovering from the flu, and now is ready to eat some fries. Just kidding. But he did send the offer. Finally! And it is good and soon my Manservant will be gainfully employed. Not that he wasn't working hard already. Manservant is a workaholic-he barely comes up for air. He is a man that loves to work and lives to work. They will love him!

Yes, this means we can finally start getting back to the land of the living. Focusing on anything is tough when one has to worry about how to survive the day to day. (Manservant says I am being a bit dramatic here. However it is my blog and I am known for drama anyway.) Thankfully, our family and friends have stood beside us and not abandoned us to the side of the road. It happens. It has happened. Life has a way of still moving, even when you are stuck in the mud. I always tell myself to never judge until you have walked in that person's shoes. No, I'm not very good at the whole light at the end of the tunnel thing, but I do believe that one has to keep walking. Standing still never does anyone any good.


Damn! Enough philosophy for the day. My head is all over the map, but my belly still wants fries! These photos will have to do me. Yes! These are garlic fries. Very garlic fries. And this is their story:



Once upon a time a Princess found herself at the grocery needing dinner. After perusing the offerings she landed at the seafood counter where fresh Prince Edward Island mussels were awaiting her. (No green lip mussels for this princess. She will only eat PEI's!) Checking with her Manservant, via her handy cell phone, he confirmed that mussels would make a perfect dinner. They are easy to prepare, totally loaded with more protein than steak, and so filled with the sweet and briny taste of the sea.


Upon arriving back at her palace, the Princess encountered her Prince Manservant and asked him how he would like his PEI's served. Would he like them with pasta? Would he like them with rice? Would he like them in a bowl with a big giant spoon? The Prince Manservant replied that French Bread would suffice.



Alas! The Princess did not hear the words French Bread spoken. Would their be trouble in the kingdom? To work the princess went. But not too much work, for she was a Princess and mussels are so easy to prepare. She cleaned her mussels, which were quite clean already, and dropped them into ice water sprinkled with a touch of cornmeal. She then proceeded to select two hearty Russets and quickly  peel them. They were rapidly dispensed into the requisite French Fry cut and soaked in more ice water. After being quickly dried they were ready to fry. Not once, but twice. Then they were turned into a beautiful golden French fry!


The manservant prince soon arrived at the dining table where he proclaimed that his palace smelled so good. "Ah", said the Princess, "It is the smell of the golden French fries." Whereupon Prince Manservant asked "But where might be the French Bread?" Looking puzzled, the Princess asked, "What do you mean-French bread? You said French fries". The prince objected. "I said French Bread, not French Fries!" But upon tasting the golden French fry and seeing the princess's happiness at having French fries, he no longer needed his French Bread.


The Princess and her Prince Manservant dined happily and the kingdom survived another day.  THE END.




Mussels in White Wine

Yield: 2-4 Servings

Total Time: 20 minutes or less
From: Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook
Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs cleaned mussels
2 T butter
2 T finely chopped onion
1 T finely chopped shallots
1 minced clove of garlic
2 T finely chopped parsley
3/4 c dry white wine
Directions:
Clean mussels and remove any beards by pulling them off. Usually you don't find many. Discard any mussels that won't close or any with broken shells. Put them into a clean bowl or sink with ice water and a spoonful of cornmeal until ready to cook.

Heat the butter in a large pot (with a lid) and add the onions, shallots, and garlic. Cook until wilted and add the mussels. Add half of the parsley, and all the wine. Cover closely and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mussels are opened. Serve with pasta or rice or French fries! And some French Bread to sop up all that savory broth.


French Fries
Yield: 2-4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 large Russet Potatoes
Oil for Frying 
1 T finely chopped garlic
Garlic Oil for drizzling (optional)
Garlic Aioli Mayonnaise

Directions:

Peel if you'd like, your two glorious Russets. Cut into the size of French Fry you prefer. Soak in cold water-the longer the better. This helps get rid of the starch that clings to them. Remove from water and let dry on paper towels. Blot the top and try to remove all moisture.

Heat  a few inches of oil to 300 degrees. I use my Dutch oven. Gently place potatoes in hot oil and fry until just taking on a bit of color. You are basically softening the potato and not frying it all the way through. You want a crispy French fry, don't you? You may have to do this in two batches. This keeps the potatoes from overcrowding which makes for limp fries and also takes the fries longer to cook. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.


Now raise the temperature of the oil to 400 degrees. Place the fries into the hot oil and fry until golden and crispy. Sprinkle with lots of salt and toss with garlic. Drizzle with garlic oil if you have it. Serve with ketchup. However, I usually serve mussels and French fries with aioli, not ketchup. You get an extra dose of garlic this way!


More to try on a cold day:
Pantry Bean Soup
Red Chile
Chili Three Ways
Shrimp and Grits with Tomatoes
Brazilian Coconut Lime Shrimp Stew
Cap'n Crunch Meat Loaf
Pasta Chicken Gratin
Chicken, Artichoke, Mushroom Casserole
Not My Mama's Chicken Pot Pie

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32 comments:

  1. Yay! WussMan resurfaces! And all this time, the poor guy had the flu!?!? Well, hurray for the job offer - HUGE CONGRATS to you and Manservant! :D Gretchen and I have such a backlog of recipes to post, too! Glad you got around to this one - double yum!!! And of course, I love your princess story! "It is the smell of the golden French fries"!!!! - You are a total riot!

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    1. Thanks Shelley! WussMan-how did I ever come up with that? It will be a tough readjustment though. Happy to have him working but he'll be travelling around the world 50% of the time. So we are told. And don't know where yet. He is used to the travel, but I do get lonely. French fries are golden, aren't they?

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  2. yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you. Hope 2014 gets better and better. cindy

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    1. Thanks Cind! I hope it will be a good one for you, too! And I am counting on it getting better and better and seeing my favorite cousin again!

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  3. I just love mussels and have never made them and not sure why. After our trip for fries; the next must be to Ya Ya's Happy Hour one day. BEST apps including mussels. They are enough for dinner for about $5...that's probably why I've never made them myself huh?

    Tell me; why cornmeal? Inquiring minds want to know!

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    1. Cornmeal is supposed to act like sand. Since mussels are still alive when you buy them they will breathe in the water. You can see bubbles, though they are small. If it swallows the cornmeal it will supposedly spit out any tiny rocks or what have you into the water so you won't get a rock in your mouth. Can't say I've ever had this happen since most mussels are farmed now and very clean when you get them, but I still do it!

      I haven't been to YaYa's in years but we used to love that place! And mussels are worth making but you need at least two people. Guess we'll have to do that together!

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  4. You cannot tease me like this Mom!!! I am starving on my commute home. Luckily my co-worker gave me a clementine because I always comment on how yummy his smells. Your bloggie friends are so sweet! Love and miss you.

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    1. I'm so glad you have a clementine. But, my little princess, you should carry one with you! And a protein bar. My bloggie friends are sweet and I love them, too. But not as much as I love you!

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  5. Wuss man is a hero! Poor guy, I feel bad now him having the flu and all. A big congrats on the job! I've never eaten mussels....I'm afraid I'm allergic to some shellfish but I don't know which one, and I'm too scared to find out which one. I guess one day, I'll be brave and have 911 handy.
    Your fries look amazing! Much better than Good Times :)

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    1. I believe in happy endings, Nazneen. Except in China! Don't find out if you are allergic-just stay away! My advice...Eat the French Fries! Thanks for the congrats!

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  6. Congrats to the Manservant! That's great news. And If I had these mussels to eat, that would be great news too. Never thought to try them with French fries (glad to see them included in this recipe!). And now that I think about it, it's been ages since I've made them. Gotta do them again, and soon. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, John. It is really great news and he is looking forward to it! These mussels are so easy to make. Serving them with French fries is a Belgian, French tradition. I think it is a great one, as it gives me an excuse to make fries! I love curried mussels, too! Make them soon! Your photos will be better than mine!

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  7. Oh boy, your pictures are making me drool in front my computer screen! I absolutely love mussels and fries. They are the must whenever I visit my local Belgium restaurants. Those fries with garlic oil must taste so good! Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

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  8. french fries just get finished off the plate as soon as served at home...your recipe and scrumptious pics have just made us crave them now,thanks for sharing :-)

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  9. This looks like a great meal. We only tried mussels for the first time last year. I don't know why we waited to long, because they were really delicious!

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  10. This is exactly how mussels are eaten here and in Uruguay during the summer! People go nuts for them. And with french fries, isn't that how they eat them in belgium? Anyway, glad the job situation is sorted out!

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  11. That's a great news, and I am so happy for you, Abbe. Those fries look super crisp.

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  12. Hi, Abbe! What a perfect combination: Mussels in white wine and fries...It is to make one dance in the rain!!! Have a marvelous weekend!!!

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  13. girl you did the french fires right!
    amen!

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  14. Mussels and fries do sound delicious.

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  15. I definitely laughed out loud. I've done something like this in the past and John likes to remind me.

    Congratulations on the new job and getting back into normal life. Been there, still have the scars.

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  16. Hi Abbe ! So glad I dropped by :D I couldn't keep the grin off my face while reading your post ! Mmmmm the Princess must be an awesome cook lol Congrats to your hubby !

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  17. Ohhh! well congrats on the job and great way to start the year! the mussels and fries look amazing! simply love them
    mary x

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  18. Hello from Northern Colorado!! This is one of the most delightful blog posts I read today. I was giggling all the while. The mussels look great but I will probably start with the French Fries!!

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  19. This pretty much is my ideal meal! I love mussels!

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  20. Awesome post, Abbe! I'm a fan of mussels too & they taste real yummy in wine. It's brilliant to add garlic oil to the fries! I've added you at Twitter (blackswanst) & Pinterest & would love to have you follow me too!

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  21. This looks like such a great meal! I haven't had mussels in so long so I'm just craving it!

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  22. I made mussels last week...but had to have another meal for the hubby :/ Dorie's recipe is almost exactly like yours...so, soooo good!

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  23. This is a very cute post and great looking recipes! Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Saturday Night Fever (last Saturday!), and I'm so sorry for just making it over here to say so. This week got away from me ;)

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  24. One of my favorite combinations and a recipe from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks! Love the garlic-aioli with the fries--I can just taste them...yum!

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  25. Hello Abbe Odenwalder,
    This post is very nice. I love the Mussels and Fries recipe. It is very delicious to look at. Thank you for sharing the ingredients and recipe. Hope your next recipe will published soon.

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