Indian Curry Mussels

PrepI’m lucky enough to live in an area where the simple question “Where do you wanna go to dinner?” can result in an hour long discussion. The culinary scene in Downtown Jersey City is amazing and getting more impressive by the day, so it seems. This recipe, however, was inspired by a restaurant on the other side of the Hudson; a restaurant that my boyfriend and I visit more often than we’d like to admit, for their endless variety of mussels and homemade donuts!

If you’re in the NYC area you need visit Flex Mussels. Start with oysters, share a few different kinds of mussels with friends, and end with their homemade donuts – you will not be disappointed. The recipe below is my attempt to recreate their “Bombay Mussels”, cooked with Indian curry, garlic, white wine, and coconut milk. It is packed with flavor, a little heat, and a ton of great texture. This is not your classic mussels with tomatoes and garlic – don’t be afraid of these delicious, bold flavors.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1 13oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1 large or 2 small onions (about  a cup and a half), finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • About an inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbs. Curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 star anise pods
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro, sliced scallions for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cinnamon stick and star anise. Season with salt and sauté about 4 mins. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another 2-3 minutes. When the onions, garlic, and ginger begin to soften, add the curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

After about 4 minutes, you’ll notice the spices sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the clam juice and white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up all those spices. Allow the liquid to simmer about 3 minutes, then add the coconut milk and stir until well combined. Allow this to simmer about 8-10 minutes – you really want to cinnamon and star anise to permeate the broth.

After 10 minutes, dump in the mussels and cover until the mussels open, about another 8-10 mins. Lift the lid and give them a stir a couple times.

Garnish with a ton of sliced scallions and cilantro leaves.

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Dustin’s Brown-Sugared Salmon and Strawberry Tacos

 

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Today all the credit goes to my boyfriend, Dustin. I am sharing his not-your-average fish taco recipe, which highlights the difference between him an I in the kitchen. Risk taker vs. Safe route. Guess who’s which?

They’re everything you want in a fish taco: simple, light, fresh, and packed with flavor. The ingredients below will make 4 small tacos.

ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of fresh salmon
  • 1/2 of red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 6-7 strawberries, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs chilli powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • a couple tablespoons of strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. If you can’t find it, regular balsamic vinaigrette is fine

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Brush the salmon with olive oil. Mix together the sugar, chill powder, and salt. Sprinkle and rub the mixture all over the salmon and set aside on a baking sheet. Prep the red onion, jalapeno, and strawberries. Put the diced strawberries into a couple tablespoons of the balsamic vinaigrette and set aside.

Put the salmon in the oven for 7 minutes. The brown sugar rub will caramelize and coat the flesh. After 7 minutes let the salmon sit for about another 3 minutes.

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That’s all the cooking required! Assemble the tacos by flaking the fish with a fork and placing in the center of a flour tortilla. Top the fish with the sliced jalapeno’s, sliced red onion, balsamic marinated strawberries, and tons of fresh cilantro.

Bon Appetit!

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Peach, Tomato, & Burrata Salad

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After a heavy Fourth of July weekend, this salad is a midsummer night’s dream. The only thing that might make this better is a chilled glass of Sancerre. Sweet Jersey tomatoes, juicy peaches, and creamy burrata. Use very tender greens and a light dressing of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic to allow the fruit and cheese to shine.


Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of watercress
  • 3-4 ripe peaches
  • 3-4 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 ball of burrata cheese
  • 10-12 basil leaves
  • white balsamic vinegar (regular will do, but won’t look as pretty)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Slice the peaches and tomatoes however you want – I like them in little wedges. Toss the watercress with a drizzle of EVOO and white balsamic, season with salt and pepper, and arrange in a thin layer on a platter. Nestle the peaches and tomatoes in the watercress, then pull away pieces of the burrata and drop them around the fruit. Drop whole or torn basil leaves around the platter, drizzle with a little more EVOO and white balsamic, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Get a book, pour a glass of wine and enjoy.

Grilled Kobe-Style Wagyu Beef Boneless Ribeye with Parmesan & Truffle Butter Hasselback Potatoes

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This is not your average steak and potato coupling. If you read my last post (Smoked Duck Bacon Wrapped Scallops…) you know that I was gifted a credit to D’Artagnan by my sister for my birthday, and while I wanted to cook everything as soon as the box came, I decided to freeze my delicious gifts and plan my attack for each ingredient. Today from D’Artagnan I am using a 14 oz. Kobe-Style Wagyu Beef Boneless Ribeye and White Truffle Butter. What better to accompany steak and butter? Potatoes.

How To Not Mess Up A Wagyu Ribeye? I did some research and ended up in the trusty hands of Australian cattle rancher Greg Norman. Here’s what he has to say…

  1. Allow the steak to reach room temperature before cooking.
  2. Preheat a dry heavy grill pan on high for 4 minutes.
  3. Add rock salt directly to the hot pan (The sizzle of rock or sea salt combined with Wagyu’s natural fat produces a mouth watering caramelized crust).
  4. DO NOT USE OIL OR BUTTER! Cook in a dry pan. Sear each side for two minutes on high.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until medium rare.
  6. Serve immediately on pre-warmed plate.

I did exactly that except my cut was fairly thin so I only did an additional 2 mins per side after the 2 min sear.

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For the Parmesean & White Truffle Butter Hasselback Potatoes:

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Cut the potatoes into thin chips but do not go all the way through!
  • Drizzle with olive oil and salt
  • Put in the oven on a baking sheet for 35 mins
  • After 35 mins sprinkle with parmesan cheese and dollop with truffle butter. It will seep into the cracks and sink into the potatoes while the cheese gets crispy and brown.Cook for another 10 mins.

Life is short. Treat yourself!

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Smoked Duck Bacon wrapped Sea Scallops with Fresh Chili Cilantro Oil

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If you ever find yourself searching for the perfect gift for a foodie, do as my sister did and give a gift card to D’Artagnan. It would be a rarity for me to come across what they have to offer in my local markets, and tough to justify their purchase if I did. You would have thought I was selecting the coffin in which I’d be buried in. After a highly considerate, 60 minute session full of self doubt, I ended up with a Kobe-Style Wagyu beef ribeye, white truffle butter, an assortment of striking wild mushrooms, and uncured smoked duck bacon, as well as the challenging resolve to bundle everything into one never-ending meal.

That didn’t happen.

Rather than bite off more than I could chew (pun intended) I froze everything the day it came and plotted my attack. Today I bring you Paprika-Rubbed Sea Scallops wrapped in Smoked Duck Bacon with a Fresh Chili & Cilantro Oil. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see how the rest of my bounty is used.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of smoked duck bacon (pork bacon is just fine)
  • 8 sea scallops
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 green hot pepper (about 2 generous Tablespoons), finely diced
  • 1/2 red sweet pepper (about 1 generous Tablespoon), finely diced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • handful of fresh cilantro, minced

Preheat a cast iron skillet on a 475 degree oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the oils, red chili flakes, and garlic clove. Heat over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes, or until tiny little bubbles start to form around the flakes and clove. Set aside.

Finely dice the two fresh chilis, mince the fresh cilantro and combine with the red chili oil.

Sprinkle the paprika over the sea scallops and toss with your hands until evenly coated. Wrap each scallop with a piece of bacon and secure the bacon with a toothpick.

Once the cast iron skillet is at 475 degrees, place the bacon-wrapped scallops in the pan and put the pan back in the oven for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes flip the scallops and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove the scallops from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Spoon the fresh chili oil over the scallops generously. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Light, packed with flavor, and a total show-stopper.

Enjoy!

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Great Grandma Nora Rattigan’s Secret Ingredient Irish Soda Bread

Bacon Fat. Yes, there is bacon fat in my great grandmothers Irish Soda Bread.

I posted this recipe last year and heard wonderful things from those who decided to make it. It is the best Irish Soda Bread I’ve ever had. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have for as long as I can remember.

Food for thought today: Is Irish Soda Bread just called Soda Bread in Ireland? Hmm.

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This Irish Soda Bread recipe has been in my family for generations. My mom, Catherine Tierney, makes it every year because her mom, Catherine Ruane, made it every year because her mom, Nora Rattigan, made it every year. I think about my Nana and her rosy cheeks, that I always remember plumped with joy, whenever I eat or make this bread. And although I never had the opportunity to meet my great grandmother, I can imagine her in a homey little kitchen in Galway, frying up bacon in a cast iron skillet and collecting the fat for just this reason. That being said, I’m not changing a thing! I’m going to pause here to allow my four Tierney Aunts to grab a tissue, I know their hearts are warm with the thought of their mother. This one’s for you, Nana.

The bacon fat keeps the dough super moist and the raisins and caraway seeds add a sweet and savory element. It’s perfect.

The perfect bread warrants the perfect butter. If you’re feeling really ambitious and would like to make your own butter from scratch, click here to check out one of my past posts!

Everything in moderation, including moderation. I latched onto this motto like white on rice when I first heard it. In other words, shut up and eat this delicious bacon fat bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbs caraway seeds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 Tbs bacon fat
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Measure out 1 cup of milk in a liquid measuring cup and add the 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar to it. Set this aside. The milk will begin to curdle…that’s good!

In a large bowl mix together the first 5 ingredients.

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Add the bacon fat to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to work the fat throughout the flour mixture. Once it is all combined you should have a consistency that looks like the picture below..

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Ok, here’s the strange part. To another liquid measuring cup add the teaspoon of baking soda. Pour a few tablespoons of the milk/vinegar mixture into the liquid measuring cup that has the baking soda in it and stir to dissolve and encourage bubbles! We want to make a lot of bubbles. Pour the milk/vinegar mixture into the baking soda mixture and then pour the entire mixture back and forth between the two liquid measuring cups at least 10-12 times. You should begin to notice the baking soda and vinegar reacting and creating lots of little bubbles. Thank you, Mom for the excellent demo.

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Once the milk mixture is good and bubbly pour it all into the flour mixture.

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Stir the mixture until fully combined. Butter and flour whatever baking dish you are going to use. Typically Irish Soda Breads are made round, but we’ve been using this same ceramic loaf pan for as long as I can remember and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

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Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins-1 hour. A wooden skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.

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I hope you enjoy my family’s recipe as much as we do. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

“May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long”

Crostini with Homemade Ricotta

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You definately don’t have to make fresh ricotta to whip up this lil’ snack, but I had the time and I was in the mood to play with my food. Plus I wanted to show you all how easy it is to make fresh ricotta cheese in your own kitchen! I saw this on tv, tried it myself, and I am never going back. (Okay, never say never…)

I have to credit my boyfriend with the second half of this recipe, who has also become my sous chef since moving in together. He suggested adding a piece of speck to the crostini as a bed to the fresh cheese. I’m a lucky girl. It. Was. Amazing. Speck is smoked prosciutto. If you’ve never had it, you should go find some.

We garnished the crostini with lemon zest and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. If it weren’t for the sounds of traffic outside I would have thought I was in Tuscany. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, Extra Virgin, 2011

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of whole milk
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice, plus the zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • **3 slices of speck, optional

Lay three layers of cheesecloth over a colander.

1.  Add the milk to a large heavy pot and place over medium-high heat. Stir in the lemon juice and salt and heat until an instant-read thermometer reaches 175 degrees F. The milk will begin to just bubble and start to steam. At this temperature you’ll begin to see the curds separate from the whey. Be mindful of over stirring the ricotta while the curds are forming, you don’t want to make your ricotta stiff. Let it sit for 5 minutes undisturbed and you will be left with a very creamy and pleasant finished result.

2.  Gently remove the curds from the pot to the colander. Use the side of the cheesecloth to very gently release some of the liquid. Tie up the curds using butcher’s twine and let drain for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the cheesecloth and place in a bowl. Serve warm on toasted bread with lemon zest and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.