I worked with some other volunteers on the trails at Rosaryville this morning. I now know why those trails are so well manicured - because volunteers marshalled by MORE come out and bust their asses to make the trails easy and fun and technically correct, for your riding pleasure. I didn't know what the hell I was doing but they put me to work digging and throwing dirt and chopping up roots and stuff... and the result was pretty good I think. Please consider donating a little of your time, if you get the chance - give a little back. More on the MORE board.
This work built up a powerful hunger that a couple brats boiled in beer and onions didn't fix. Plus, the Giro was on this afternoon, with Benatti tearing it up and edging out Sainted Wife's fave, Paolo Bettini, for the stage win. I needed something hearty but not totally unhealthy for dinner.
Mussels steamed in white wine sauce it was. Here's an easy recipe.
Get 3-5 pounds of mussels. Put them in a big pot filled with ice water, and stir in a half cup of corn meal. Let it sit 3-4 hours. (They eat the meal and spit out sand... better texture when you eat 'em).
Finely chop, and keep in separate piles on a big plate:
- Half an onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- a baseball-sized clump of parsley
- a celery stalk
- a half teaspoon of dried, crushed thyme, or if fresh, 2-3 sprigs
- a half teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
- two whole bay leaves
- a pinch of salt
- 300 ml of white wine (a bit more than a cup. I used a Marini pinot grigio perennial, though any white with character will do)
- 200 ml of cream, or milk (2% works okay, cream is ritcher)
1. Clean the mussels really well, get any beards off.
2. Sautee the onions and celery and garlic in a big stock pot with about 2 tablespoons of butter, don't brown them just cook until soft.
3. Throw in the remainder of the dry ingredients, except for the black pepper and half the parsley. Slide the mussels in. Stir everything well.
4. Pour in the white wine, cover the pot, and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, let it boil ("steam") for 3-3.5 minutes.
5. In the last minute, throw in the milk and black pepper. Stir.
6. Remove any mussels that didn't open.
7. Serve in great big bowls - broth and mussels.
8. Eat with a nice spicy Belgian beer (Qwak or McChouffe would be ideal) and some crusty French bread.
9. Watch some bike racing, and consider how damned good your life really is.