Mussels with Swiss Chard, Tomatoes and Sparkling Wine

IMG_5709

I love mussels.

They are like a blank canvas and come to life from so many types of flavors.

Sometimes I will ask my mother, who also loves mussels, “which country would you like to go to?

It could be Asian, French, Italian, Indian – the choices are endless really.

This time my assignment was to use the Swiss chard that mom had brought from the farmer’s market.

Challenge accepted!

I started with some olive oil, heated it in a large wok and added dried red chilies and sliced garlic. Cook this for a few minutes on low heat to draw out the flavor from the garlic. Next add a sliced red onion and the stems of the Swiss chard. Save the green tops for later.  Season with salt and cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes.

IMG_6487.jpg

I took this picture at Whole Foods to show you the Swiss chard. Chop the red stems and cook them first, then add the greens later in the cooking to preserve their vibrant color.

After the onions have browned and softened, add the greens of the chard and I used halved cherry tomatoes. You can use any tomatoes – they add a nice sweetness to the dish.

 

Now add the washed mussels, juice of a lemon and a cup of sparkling wine or white wine. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use chicken or vegetable broth. The wine adds a lovely tangy flavor.

Cover the mussels and cook on high heat. Check in 3-5 minutes. The dish is done when all the mussels have opened. Discard any that didn’t open.

 

I like to finish the dish with a pat of cold butter. This is of course optional if you are counting your calories – but this one pat of butter rounds off the flavors in the sauce and gives a wonderful mouth feel. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Ladle the mussels, the sauce and the vegetables in large bowls and serve hot.

I like to serve the mussels with slices of crusty baguette to sop up the delicious sauce and of course a glass of the cold sparkling wine I added to the dish.

Please add mussels to your repertoire – they are economical, healthful, delicious and they can be cooked in endless ways.

Until I cook again!

Advertisements

Spicy Shrimp Curry – Simple and Healthful

IMG_6216

I have been making this curry for many years. It is so simple and satisfies each time.

It is also very low in fat and healthful.  Substitute other seafood if you like.

Don’t get scared with me calling it spicy – you can control the heat level of any dish.

As a rule it is best to do your mise en place– just a fancy french way of saying gather your ingredients and have them in one place.

It makes your life easier in the kitchen and you are set up for success.

1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined ( I like to keep the tails on for appearance and makes them look bigger)

1 large onion, sliced (I like red onions)

As many green chilies as you can stand, sliced length wise  (these are serranos and I admit I put a couple too many)

4-5-6 garlic cloves, crushed

1-2 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced

Tomatoes – I like using a combination of fresh and canned. (2 large tomatoes diced, or 2 cups of crushed canned tomatoes)

1 tbs. black mustard seeds

Salt to taste

Cilantro for garnish

1 tbs. oil

2 tbs. coriander powder

1 tbs. cumin powder

2 tbs. white vinegar

1 tbs. sugar (optional)

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the green chilies. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. They will spatter- keep a lid around to avoid the mess. And be ready for a little coughing 😁 when the chili cooks.

https://weighinggame.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_6185.mov

When the mustard seeds stop popping, add the sliced onions and salt. Cook on a medium high heat for about 7 minutes or till they are slightly browned.

How brown you like your onions is your choice – it will change the appearance of the end product and the browner they are, the more intense will be the flavor of the sauce.

I like them medium brown for shrimp and other seafood as their flavor is subtle.

https://weighinggame.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_6186.mov

Next add the coriander and cumin powder. Cook, stirring well for a couple of minutes. It is essential that spices cook enough to lose their raw flavor.

Add the tomatoes – I used 1/2 can of whole, peeled tomatoes and one fresh tomato, diced.

Next add the garlic (I love my garlic press) and 1/2 the ginger. Stir well, making sure nothing burns.

https://weighinggame.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_6189.mov

Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to develop the flavor. Add the vinegar and sugar ,and taste for seasoning.

https://weighinggame.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_6191.mov

Add the shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes, depending on their size. Be careful to remove from the heat as soon as they turn pink and not to over cook them.

https://weighinggame.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_6195.mov

Garnish with lots of chopped cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro, you can use mint or even dill.

Serve over boiled basmati rice or pasta if you like.

Until I cook again!

Simple and Spicy Chana (chickpea) Masala

IMG_6091

Chickpeas are a delicious and nutritious protein to add to your meals.

You can use dried chickpeas which I do often, or use the ones from a can – either is fine really as long as you cook with them.

IMG_5801.jpg

Last weekend I had the yen for a traditional Indian breakfast which included these chickpeas, potato curry indianculinarycenternyc.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/quick-spicy-potato-curry/ and Kulchas (a bread which I will post the recipe for another time).

For the chickpeas:

2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1/8 tsp. ajwain**seeds (optional)

1/4 tsp. Nigella seeds

2 Tbs. Tamarind Paste or the Juice of 2 lemons/limes

2 green chilies, sliced (or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper)

Salt to taste

2Tbs. ground coriander powder

1Tbs. cumin powder

Thinly sliced ginger and scallions for garnish

Heat the oil in a pan and add the nigella and ajwain seeds. Cook for about 20 seconds or until you smell their aroma and then add the washed and drained chickpeas. Add salt, cayenne or green chilies, cumin and coriander powder. Stir on high heat.  Add the tamarind paste and a splash of water if the chickpeas are sticking.

Stir well and taste for seasoning. Add the lemon/lime juice in the end if not using the tamarind paste.

Garnish with sliced ginger and scallions.

Serve hot.

 

(Ajwain, ajowan (/ˈædʒəwɒn/) Trachyspermum ammi, also known as Ajwain caraway, bishop’s weed or carom, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It originated in India.

Until I cook again!