What makes one person enjoy cooking while others do it with gritted teeth or avoid it all together? (um, poor DSP Lovey gets another shout out!) I’ve been cooking most of my life. I cook every day and love doing it. You might even say it’s an obsession. I’ll watch food shows with the same enthusiasm as Monday Night Football. My kitchen is my happy place and my gadgets are my toys.
But how did I get this way?
Even in my childhood I loved cooking. In fact, my sisters and I used to play “restaurant” for fun. We would make and color menus and take turns serving the “specials of the day”. Of course, the specials were usually something like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
My sister and her family recently came to stay with us for a few days in sunny southern California (sorry about the sunburns). It was the first time they were able to make the long trek south since I moved from our hometown six years ago. Consequently, it had been a long while since she had seen me on my own turf, in my own kitchen. As I was running around the kitchen putting together a fun family dinner, my sister kept telling me not to go to too much trouble. I just answered, “Please. What trouble?” Special dinners are fun for me. I thought she knew me.
“Do you like cooking?” I asked. “Not really,” she admitted, “I wish I did.” Then she fired back a few more oooohs and aaaahs as she anticipated our upcoming dinner. Really, it was no big deal…Moules Frites and roasted garlic aioli with a crab, fennel, and grapefruit salad. Before you panic, it’s actually an easy dish to make (especially for the Count!). Moules Frites is the fancy French name for mussels and french fries, and aioli is a pretty word for mayonnaise. Yes, this dish has a lot of moving parts right before serving but it’s not terribly difficult and it’s tasty.
Moules Frites a la DSP Jacques
2 Pounds Live Mussels-Scrubbed and de-bearded (grab the “stringy stuff” and pull)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Fennel Bulb-Sliced
2 Garlic Cloves-Chopped
1 Teaspoon Fresh Chopped Thyme (Dried works ok)
1 Tablespoon Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley (Dried works ok)
1 Bottle of Dry White Wine (Chardonnay Works Well) – 2 if you are DSP Dixie
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bag store-bought frozen french fries (If you feel like making your own, feel free.)
Heat a large pot over high heat and add the olive oil. Toss in the onions, shallots, fennel, salt, and pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes stirring to prevent browning. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for one more minute. Pour in the bottle of wine (um, not into your mouth, DSP Dixie!) and bring to boil for two minutes. Add the mussels. When they open, add the parsley and dinner’s ready! Serve with crusty bread and roasted garlic aioli to mix in the broth and for dipping fries.
*The ingredients in this recipe can be pared down. The important pieces are mussels, onions, salt, pepper, and wine. Grab a loaf of French bread and knock yourself out.
View all posts by: DSP Jack.