Thursday, June 9, 2011


As promised, I did in fact prepare a simple dish with mussels, after buying a 2 lb. bag and using only half of them in my paella.
But not before, well, a lot of them kicked the bucket.
And man,

These guys stink.
They made my refrigerator stink.

They made everything in my refrigerator stink.

That stank could turn milk into yogurt.

Imagine if a moribund sea creature just washed up into your crisper.

They made my ice cream smell like the ocean's rotting armpit.


But the several live ones really were still really fresh and good.
I just had to separate them out and scrub their shells really hard without hurling.
Damn you, land-locked state!

Just playing, Bluegrass. Y'all know I could never call anywhere else home.

Beginning and end of story, I made mussels and spaghetti with a white wine and butter sauce.
And it was good.

What an enticing aroma after your nose has been accustomed to death.

Nothing has ever tasted better.

Best enjoyed with some crusty french bread, curled up watching seasons of Arrested Development. Life's such a treat.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Paella for Cheapasses

Paella, a Spanish dish, = rice + stuff.

Usually you see it with mixed seafood and vegetables, although I am sure that if you were in Valencia you would find all sorts of varieties.

I was trying to figure out something to do with all this leftover fish. The day before yesterday we had grilled up a gigantic Steelhead trout, which tasted good but was too unremarkable to blog about--
(save for a momentary crisis when Teflon started flaking off our nonstick grill pan and we were for sure going to die of polytetrafluoroethylene...

...until this Go Ask Alice! article quelled our fears. Good to know, but maybe it is time to get a new grill pan.)

Anyway, there was a ton of leftover fish, but since it wasn't fresh off the grill anymore I didn't want to eat it just by itself.

Hence, paella.

Cheap Ass Paella
1/2 lb. wild caught shrimp, $2.99
1 bag live mussels, $3.99
leftover fish fillet, free
1 pack Mahatma Saffron Yellow Rice, $1.29
Then, there are a some things that I just keep on hand. Garlic, shallots, cooking wine, tomatoes, carrots, and frozen peas.

By the way, I highly recommend this brand of rice. Spanish cooking requires a lot of saffron, which is one of the spendiest herbs if you live in the U.S.
This rice is cheap, pre-saffron'd, and delicious.
Next time I want to toast the rice in a pan to get a nice nutty texture on it before it simmers. [That's a trick I learned from Bobby Flay but have not yet tried.]

First I rinsed the mussels and threw away all the open ones, because that means they're dead.
I thawed the shrimp in ice water, and then shelled n' de-veined them. That was a lot of fun and not at all disgusting.

Steamed the mussels in olive oil, then removed them to a bowl. Steamed the shrimp and did the same. Then I used the same pot of oil to brown some garlic and sliced shallots, and then made a broth out of white wine and chicken stock. Added diced tomatoes and carrots, then rice. Simmered for about 15 minutes, and then finally finished with the peas, diced fish fillet, shrimp, and mussels.

I would like to add that this is my first time cooking, or even eating, mussels.
I'm a fan.
They also come in gigantic 2 lb. bags, so I know what I'm having for dinner tomorrow. Stay tuned.