Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Fun: Warhol's Campbell's Soup

50 years after Andy Warhols famous work "32 Campbell's Soup Cans," Campbell's is releasing their tomato soup in cans based off of Warhol's masterpiece. The fun, colorful cans will be available in September at Target.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

U.S. Open Designer Tennis Balls

The U.S. Open began on Monday, and to celebrate, Vogue commissioned custom tennis balls from various designers and one famed player.

Can you guess which designers did them? My fave designs are the ones by Tory Burch and Monique Lhullier. Go here to see a slideshow of all the designs..

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Crispy Chicken Nuggets

When having dinner with my uncle not too long ago, he made a claim to have invented chicken nuggets as a kid when he asked my grandma to cut chicken into smaller pieces when making shake and bake for a higher coating to chicken ratio.

This week, chicken nuggets are the feature on America's Test Kitchen Cooking Through the Decades, citing the invention of the nuggets in the 1950s (before my uncle was born), oh well, I am not related to the inventor of chicken nuggets, but the love for them must be in my blood anyhow.

For a visit to 1983, ATK provides an awesome recipe for some really amazing chicken nuggets, they are moist, flavorful and perfectly crunchy.

Crispy Chicken Nuggets (from America's Test Kitchen)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs, crushed
2 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large egg whites
4 cups peanut or vegetable oil

CUT AND BRINE: Cut each chicken breast diagonally into thirds, then cut each third diagonally into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Whisk water, tablespoon salt, and Worcestershire in a large bowl until salt dissolved. Add chicken pieces and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.

COAT CHICKEN: Remove chicken from brine, discard brine, and pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine flour, bread crumbs, onion powder, remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, and baking soda in shallow dish. Whisk egg whites in second shallow dish until foamy. Coat half of chicken with egg whites and dredge in flour-crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining chicken (don't discard flour-crumb mixture. Let sit 10 minutes.

FRY: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees, Return chicken to flour dish and turn to coat, pressing flour-crumb mixture gently to adhere. Fry half of the chicken until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Drain chicken on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken. Serve with dipping sauces.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Perfect Tee: Everlane

So I think the internet is kind of exploding right now with love for Everlane since A Cup of Jo posted about it, but I couldn't resist adding in my two cents because it is that awesome. They are the makers of amazing, soft tees for men and women with a great fit and a ridiculous price tag of just $15. They also have great accessories like totes, belts, backpacks and scarves (the scarves are currently only available for pre-order).

I placed my first order last week (to gauge sizing- I like a not too tight tee and generally wear XS at places like Banana and J Crew, and went with a small here and it was a perfect fit for me), got it 3 days later and then promptly placed a second order.

Here are some of my favorite Everlane pieces right now, and I can't wait to see what's coming for the Fall:

Have you shopped at Everlane? If not, take a few minutes and check them out and tell me what you love.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Donuts and Quotes

I recently came across As I Lay Frying, a tumblr that pairs pictures of donuts donuts with quotes from great writers (this makes longingly looking at fried food a more intellectual activity, right?).

Here is a small sampling:

"My God, a moment of bliss. Why isn't that enough for a whole lifetime?"
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here.
This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now..."
-C.S. Lewis

"I would always rather be happy than dignified."
-Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Sugar Cookies

I was so jazzed when I won America's Test Kitchen Cooking Through the Decades challenge for Wacky Cake from 1945. One of the prizes I received was a copy of Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts (the other was a really spiffy ATK apron), which I couldn't wait to crack open and get baking. Here's the first thing I made from it, completely perfect sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies (From Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside

Place 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl. Place the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour the melted butter over the sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain). Whisk in the oil until incorporated. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until a soft, uniform dough forms.

Working with 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls. Working in batches, roll the balls in the reserved sugar to coat and lay on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart, 12 dough als per sheet. With the bottom of a measuring cup or a flat-bottomed glass, press te balls into 2-inch disks. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the remaining sugar, using 2 teaspoons per sheet. (Discard the remaining sugar)

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

my new & adorable cookie spatula

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Fun: Penguin Classics Video Game Cases

JamesBit on etsy has come up with a genius idea for a way to revamp your video game cases. He will custom make cases for you that look like the old Penguin Classics books. I love this idea to give a more cohesive look to a collection. They just look so lovely and organized on the shelf together.

Aren't they just fabulous?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia!

Today would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. It seems only fitting to honor her with a special dessert.

Bon Apetit!

Crème Brulee (from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home)
The pleasure of this deliciously rich dessert lies in its contrast of textures, the soft and creamy custard hidden under a brittle sheet of caramelized brown sugar. The custard is baked and served in small ramekins- shallow ceramic soufflé-type molds, round or oval, with a 1/2-cup capacity. You don't have to crust them, since the cooked and chilled custards can be served simply as pots de crème.

The custards will still be soft when the ramekins come out of the oven. Give them plenty of time to chill and set before glazing.

You can melt and caramelize the sugar with a handheld blowtorch of under a broiler. With either method, watch the sugar carefully, since the lovely dark caramel can turn to burnt ash in an instant. It is best to practice with 1 or 2 custards the first time you glaze crème brulee, to gauge the effect of your blowtorch or broiled. Here we use light-brown sugar, which gives a very nice flavor to the crust, but you could glaze granulated sugar instead. Don't try to melt "brownulated sugar," though- it won't work.

Yield: Eight 4-ounce ramekins

3 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, or 2 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of a large orange
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light-brown sugar, or more if needed

Special equipment
Eight 4-ounce ramekins (small soufflé molds); a wire whisk; a sieve; a mixing bowl and a large (4-cup) measuring cup; a baking pan with 2-inch sides, large enough to hold all the ramekins; a propane blowtorch (optional)

Making the custards
Preheat the oven to 350.

Pour the cream into a 6-cup saucepan, stir in the vanilla bean or vanilla extract and the orange zest, and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, cover the pan, and let steep for 5 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in the mixing bowl for several minutes until the yolks are thick, pale yellow and form a fat, slowly dissolving ribbon when dropped from the whisk back into the bowl.

Remove the vanilla bean from the hot cream (save it- you can use it again). So as not to scrambled the egg yolks, stir by dribbles half a cup of the hot cream into the yolks, stirring (not beating- you do not want to form bubbles). Adding it in a slow stream, stir in the rest of the cream. Set the sieve over the quart measure and strain custard mixture through it to eliminate any coagulated bits of egg and the orange rind. Skim off any bubbles from the surface of the custard.

Arrange the ramekins in the baking pan and pour or ladle 1/2 cup of custard into each, leaving 1/4 inch at the top for the glaze. Set the baking pan in the oven and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the ramekins.

Bake the custards for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are set but the custard in the center is still quite soft to the touch. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven, and life the ramekins from the hot water/ Let them cool briefly, then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 4 hours. Either serve them as pots de creme, or glaze them as follows.

Forming the brown-sugar crust
Loosen the brown sugar if packed and break up any lumps with your fingers. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so over each custard and smooth it gently with the back of a spoon, forming an even layer of sugar that completely covers the surface.

To make the crust with a blowtorch: Ignite the torch and direct the flame downward over a ramekin, always keeping the tip of the flame about 8 inches above the sugar. Move the torch around constantly, shifting the focus of the heat as the sugar melts. Heat each custard gradually- for 10 seconds or longer, depending on the power of the torch- until lightly caramelized all over. If one section of sugar is darkening too fast, move the flame to another area, or start heating another ramekin. When all the custards have been crusted, given them a few moments to harden, then serve.

To make the crust under a broiler: Set the ramekins on a heatproof tray or baking dish (1 or 2 at a time if you are not sure how quickly your broiler will crust them). Turn on the broiled and place the ramekins underneath, so the surface of the sugar is about 5 inches below the heat. Leave the door open so you can watch as the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Turn the ramekins around if one side gets too brown, so that the glaze is consistent all around. Remove the custards as soon as the sugar has turned to a smooth sheet of brown glaze. If it has blackened in spots, set the remaining custards lower or reduce the glazing time. If the ramekins have been heated by the broiled, chill them briefly before serving

this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Julia Child Round-up


All over the country people are celebrating Julia's 100th birthday; the internet feels like a giant birthday party for Julia Child. Here's a round-up of some great tributes around the web:

A blog hop featuring Julia's recipes
Find out which Julia you are with a quiz from PBS
Learn more about her life with one of these books
Read a tribute to Julia from the White House's executive pastry chef
Add a peg board to your kitchen
Visit Julia's Kitchen online at the Smithsonian, and a celebration at the museum
Architectural Digest visits Julia and Paul's home in Cambridge
Celebrate with an all day twitter party tomorrow
Donate to the Julia Child Foundation
Here's a sneak peek of tomorrow's Google Doodle
Epicurious is holding a contest to create Julia's birthday cake

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Monday, August 13, 2012

12 Facts about Julia

PBS put together this fun picture featuring 12 great facts about Julia in honor of her birthday, my favorite is the calculation of how much butter was used during Baking with Julia, it's kind of astounding.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Julia Child's Quiche Aux Oignons

My dear friend Niki (my partner in crime on our shared blog Daily Facsimile)  is moving away from Boston soon, so we had a potluck au revoir brunch  for her. I turned to Julia for inspiration of what to make, and that ended up being an onion quiche with Swiss cheese. It was completely delicious.

It seems like a huge amount of onions (I was shocked when reading the recipe for the first time, but put my faith in Julia and tried it anyhow), but once they are cooked down all the way, it ends up being about a cup of super flavorful, caramelized onions.

Quiche Aux Oignons (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
[Onion Quiche]
2 lbs minces onions (about 7 cups)
3 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
1 1/2 Tb flour
2 eggs or 3 yolks
2/3 cup whipping cream
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
2 ounces (1/2 cup) grated Swiss cheese
An 8-inch partially cooked pastry shell on a baking sheet, page 146
1 Tb butter cut into pea-sized dots

Cook the onions in a heavy skillet with the oil and butter over very low heat, stirring occasionally until they are extremely tender and a golden yellow. This will take about an hour.

Sprinkle with the flour, mix well, and cook slowly for 2 or 3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs or egg yolks in a mixing bowl with the cream and seasonings until blended. Gradually mix in the onions and half of the cheese. Check seasoning. Pour into tart shell. Spread on the rest of the cheese and distribute the butter over it. Bake in the upper third of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until quiche has puffed and browned.

... this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Photos of Julia

The Harvard Coop has a wonderful collection of photos taken by Paul Child of his wife, Julia. They are really fantastic candids of Julia in her daily life and behind the scenes at The French Chef. The prices for prints start at just $15 (or $13.50 if you're a Harvard Coop member), and would be such a wonderful addition to a kitchen.

You can view the full collection and place your order here, these are a few of my favorites (it was almost impossible to choose just a few to share because I find them all so incredibly charming):

at the Cordon Bleu in 1950

kneading dough in 1952

in Alsace in 1955

making a cheese soufflé in 1965

behind the scenes of The French Chef in 1963

on set

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Julia Child's Clafouti aux Mures

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, there is a master recipe for Cherry Clafouti, followed by directions for several variations (cherry with liqueur, pear, plum, apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherry with almonds and pear with almonds). I decided to try the blackberry variety. The tart berries contrasted perfectly with the sweet, creamy 'pancake' around it.

Clafouti aux Mures (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
[Blackberry Flan]
The clafouti (also spelled with a final "s" in both singular and plural) which is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season is peasant cooking for family meals, and about as simple a dessert to make as you can imagine: a pancake batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven. It looks like a tart, and is usually eaten warm.

3 cups blackberries
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
An electric blender
A 7- to 8-cup lightly buttered, fireproof baking dish or pyrex pie plate about 1 1/2 inches deep
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar in a shaker

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place [milk, 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour] in your blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.

Pour a 1/4-inch layer of batter in the baking dish or pie plate. Set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from heat. Spread the blackberries over the batter and sprinkle on the sugar. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Place in middle position of preheated oven and bake for about an hour. The clafouti is done when it has puffed and browned, and a needle or knife plunged into its center comes out clean. Sprinkle top of clafouti with powdered sugar just before bringing it to the table. (The clafouti need not be served hot but should still be warm. It will sink down slightly as it cools.)

... this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Julia Child Restaurant Week

In honor of Julia's 100th birthday, many restaurants throughout the United States are celebrating with Julia Child Restaurant week, which begins today and runs through her birthday (in most cases, check the exact dates with participating restaurants). The restaurants are featuring Julia inspired prix-fixe menus that all sound divine. You can view the full list of participating restaurants here, many have already put their special menus up on their websites too.

I'm still trying to decide which restaurant I want to go to for Julia Child Restaurant week. Will you be visiting a restaurant near you to celebrate?

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese: Julia Child Style

While Julia offers no official recipe for macaroni and cheese (which I was heartily craving recently), her books do offer the makings for all the perfect components, even the bread crumb topping. The only change I made to the sauce mornay was to add more cheese (but that's sort of my life philosophy...more cheese).

Macaroni and Cheese: Julia Child Style
Sauce Bechamel (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
A heavy-bottomed, 6-cup enameled, stainless steel, lined copper, porcelain, or pyrex saucepan
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
A wooden spatula or spoon
2 cups of milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt heated to the boil in a small saucepan
A wire whip

Salt and pepper

In the saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour, and cook slowly, stirring, until the butter and flour froth together for 2 minutes without coloring. This is now a white roux.

Remove roux from heat. As soon as roux has stopped bubbling, pour in all the hot liquid at once. Immediately beat vigorously with a wire whip to blend liquid and roux, gathering in all bits of roux from the inside edges of the pan.

Set saucepan over moderately high heat and stir with the wire whip until the sauce comes to the boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring.

Remove from heat, and beat in salt and pepper to taste. Sauce is now ready for final flavorings or additions.

Sauce Mornay (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
2 cups of medium bechamel
1/4 to 1/2 cup of coarsely grated swiss and finely grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Optional:  pinch of cayenne pepper and 1 to 2 tablespoons softened butter

Bring the sauce to the boil. Remove from heat, and beat in the cheese until it has melted and blended with the sauce.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and optional cayenne. Off heat and just before serving, stir in the optional butter a bit at a time.

Bread Crumb Topping
2 slices of pain de mie
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Pulverize bread in food processer or blender. Mix in melted butter and stir with a fork until well combined.

1 16-oz box of cavatappi pasta

Boil pasta to al dente in salted water, drain.

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a baking dish.

Toss pasta in Sauce Mornay and pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with prepared bread crumb topping. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10, or until top has browned.

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Julia Child's Bread Machine Pain de Mie

I think we all know how much I love my bread machine. So imagine my delight when I came across Julia's method for making pain de mie (a traditional french sandwich bread) in a bread machine. I knew I wouldn't be able to resist trying it.

I opted for the method of baking the loaf in a traditional pan just because I like the way it looks.

Baking in the Bread Machine: White Sandwich Bread-Pain de Mie (from Julia's Kitchen Wisdom)

"It's not always easy to find good sandwich bread, and when I need just one loaf I enjoy using the bread machine. I don't bake it in the machine, because I don't like the look of the loaf, but it's neat and easy for mixing and rising. Here's my formula, made in any standard-size machine.

For an 8-cup fairly straight-sided loaf pan

Proof 2 teaspoons yeast, 1 1/2 tablespoons tepid water and a pinch of sugar in a cup (see box, page 81). Meanwhile, melt 1/2 stick roughly sliced unsalted butter in 1/2 cup milk, then cool it off by adding 1 cup cold milk. Pour into the container of the machine along with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 3 1/2 cups plain unbleached all-purpose flour, and the proofed yeast. Start the machine and follow directions for "dough." After its rise, remove the dough, flatten it, fold into 3, and return it to the machine for a second rise. Then the dough is ready to form and bake.

Either bake as in "Baking in a Loaf Pan" on page 84 [section reads: Butter a 2-quart loaf pan. Pat the dough into a rectangle slightly smaller than the pan. Fold in half lengthwise twice, as for long loaves, to form an even rectangle. Place seam down in pain, press flat into corners. Let rise until dough has doubled in volume. Meanwhile, slide rack onto lower-third level, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slash top of loaf lengthwise down the center with a razor, and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 400 degrees. When done, turn out of pan and cool on rack.] or, for a flat-topped, evenly rectangular loaf, fill the buttered pan by no more than a third, and let rise to slightly more than double. (Form any extra dough into rolls or baby loaves.) Cover top of pan with butter foil, and set in the lower-middle level of the preheated 425 degree oven. Set a baking sheet on top of the pan, weighting it down with a 5-pound something, like a brick or metal object.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the dough has filled the pan and is browning well. Then uncover the pan and continue another 10 minutes or so, until the loaf comes easily out of the an. The interior temperature should be 200 degrees."

this recipe is also shared at some of my favorite food blog hops

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Etsy Love: Julia Child

Etsy is full of lovely things that pay homage to Julia Child as well as many vintage copies of her books and pieces of the flame orange descoware that she loved.

Here are some other unique items that I just adore:

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Julia Child's Moules á la Marinière

August 15th, 2012 would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. In honor of this, from August 1st until her birthday, my posts will feature Julia, my foodie idol.

First up are Julia's Moules â la Marinière. These are absolutely delicious, and the best part (in my opinion) is the flavorful broth sopped up with a good and crusty baguette.

Moules á la Marinière (from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
[Fresh Mussels Steamed Open in Wine and Flavorings]
Here is the simplest version of this most typical French methods for cooking mussels. They are steamed open in a big pot with wine and flavorings, and it takes only about 5 minutes. Then the mussels, shells and all, are dipped out into soup plates, and the cooking liquor is poured over them. Each guest removes the mussels one by one from their shells with fingers or a form and discards the shells into a side dish. In addition to shell dish and fork, provide your guests with a soupspoon for drinking up the mussel juices, a big napkin, and a finger bowl. Along with the mussels serve French bread, bitter, and a chilled, light, dry white wine such as Muscadet, dry Graves, or one of the Pouillys.

2 cups light, dry wine or 1 cup dry white vermouth
An 8- to 10-quart enameled kettle with cover
1/2 cup minced shallots, or green onions, or very finely minced onions
8 parsley sprigs
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 quarts scrubbed, soaked, mussels (see here and here for some great how-tos)
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley

Bring the wine to the boil in the kettle (I used a large, wide dutch oven) with the rest of the ingredients list (except for mussels and 1/2 cup parsely). Boil for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate its alcohol and to reduce its volume slightly.

Add the mussels to the kettle. Cover tightly and boil quickly over high heat. Frequently grasp the kettle with both hands, your thumbs clamped to the cover, and toss the mussels in the kettle with an up and down slightly jerky motion so the mussels will change levels and cook evenly. In about 5 minutes the shells will swing open and the mussels are done.

With a big skimmer, dip the mussels into wide soup plates. Allow the cooking liquid to settle for a moment so any sand will sink to the bottom. Then ladle the liquid over the mussels, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

... this recipe can also be found at some of my favorite food blog hops

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