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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Mussels With Garlic Basil Bread Crumbs

 

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This style of mussels are so delicious. Most importantly, the broth that rests in the bottom of the bowl is heavenly. For this recipe, I’m focusing on the toasted bread crumbs.

To get my recipe for this broth, go to the search button at the top right and type in “mussels”. That will take you right to my post on “Mussels, Updated”

Having the toasted flavored bread crumbs nestled inside the shells gives great texture to the mussels.The fresh herbs and garlic add extra flavor. It’s so simple to make. Let me show you.

I have six pounds of mussels that I’ve divided into two batches. For the first night of our mussel extravaganza, I made them my traditional way. The second night, I thought I’d change it up a bit. Making them with garlic basil bread crumbs. Still using my delicious broth as a base, but instead of using crusty bread along side, I would add the bread into the recipe.

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It’s important to remember to always clean you mussels in advance. Cleaning the beards, scrubbing the shells, and also making sure the mussels discard any sand they may have. To do this, fill up your sink with cold water and add a couple of tablespoons of flour. Mix the flour around with your hands, then add the mussels right in. They will filter out the sand by drinking in the flour that’s in the water.Pretty cool! I usually let them stay in the sink for about 10 minutes.This will prevent any sand from getting into your final dish. You don’t want the mussels to release any sand they may be holding and it ending up in your broth.

Have a large pot on the stove, preheated, on med-high heat. Add the cleaned mussels to the pot. Pour in a whole bottle of white wine. Place the lid on and let the mussels steam. Once all the mussels have opened, they’re done. If you see any that have not opened discard them. I like to stir the mussels once through the steaming process so they can all drink up some of the wine. This whole process happens really quickly.

Yields: 2 servings at 1-1/2 pounds per person
Prep Time for Mussels: 30-40 minutes (includes filtering the sand out in the sink)Prep Prep Time for bread crumbs: 10 minutes
Cook Time for bread crumbs: 5-7 minutes
Equipment: large stock pot
Ingredients:
recipe of the broth is at “Mussels updated”
3 pounds of cleaned mussels
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 stick of melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2-1/2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
5 cloves of garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of Italian flat leaf parsley
1-1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves

Directions:
As I mentioned earlier, I’m using 3 pounds of mussels for this recipe. I start with a stick of unsalted melted butter in a large saute pan, on medium heat. I sprinkle in some Kosher salt and pepper to the melted butter. This will season the bread crumbs. To the melted butter add in Italian style bread crumbs. Using a spatula, toss the bread crumbs through so that they get covered with the butter. Folding the bread crumbs continuously, until the bread crumbs have absorbed all the butter and have toasted up nicely. This take about 5-7 minutes or so. Once they are all nice and toasted,  turn the heat off and set them to the side.

In a food processor, add in some garlic cloves that have been halved. and pulse them until a few times until they’re minced. In a large bowl add the minced garlic. To the bowl add in pine nuts and lemon zest.

Next, for the fresh herbs. I have fresh Italian flat leaf parsley and fresh basil leaves. I add those into the food processor and pulse them a few times just to the point where they are chopped but not minced. I want to see their green color come through when they are mixed with the bread crumbs.

Add the toasted bread crumbs into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together. When ready to plate, ladle the broth into the bottom of the bowl, then the cooked mussels. Finish by generously sprinkling the toasted garlic basil bread crumbs over the top.

 

 

 

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Homemade Chili

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There are times when I crave a bowl of my homemade chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoe peg corn are small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding black beans to chili. Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are just a smoked Poblano peppers that’s been dried. A mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili. Let me start out by showing you how to add these peppers to your chili.

Directions For Reconstituting Chiles:
I start by placing 6 dried ancho chilies to a pot along with 2-1/2 cups of water. On medium heat, I bring the chilies up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. I let the chilies simmer for about 20 minutes. I turn the heat off allowing the chiles steep in their liquid (chili stock) for another 10 minutes before going into the food processor.  While this process is taking place, use this time to prep all the veggies, measure out the spices for the chili, thawing the shoe peg corn, and finally rinsing and draining the beans for the chili.

After the peppers have been reconstituted, stems removed and seeded, I place them into a food processor along with their liquid ( start with 1/2 a cup, add more cooking liquid if needed) to be processed and then set aside. You want the processed chiles to be a thick puree. Yields, 1/2 cup of ancho chili puree

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili always better the second day well… I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little homemade chili, Pico de gallo, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven pot
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 processed ancho chiles, yields, 1/2 cup of ancho puree
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 small jar of processed Piquillo peppers
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 minced and seeded chipotle peppers
1 minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large diced onion
2-28 ounce cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1- 10-1/2 ounce can of beef consomme
2 cups of low sodium beef broth
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans
1 package of thawed frozen shoepeg corn

Toppings:
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
guacamole
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

Directions:
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are being reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili. Start with dicing and mincing of the vegetables.

Diced green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, minced garlic and seeded and minced a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers packed in Adobo sauce. Another ingredient is, I’ve taken a jar of Piquillo peppers and pureed those in a food processor. I have my black and kidney beans drained and rinsed. My shoepeg white corn has been thawed.

By the time all the veggies have been diced and minced, it’s time to seed, clean, and process the ancho chilies.  After the ancho chilies have been processed, then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili. The low sodium beef broth, beef consomme, and the canned San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices that will be going into the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper.

Using a large heavy Dutch oven pot to make chili.  The stove on medium heat, I start with some vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, I add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is stirred and mixed with the spices, add in the minced Chipotle peppers, stirring that through. Continue cooking the meat for another 10 minutes allowing the meat to brown completely.

Next, add in all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, some tomato paste. I stir all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon,  start breaking them up. To the pot, add in the beef consomme and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, let everything come up to a bubble. Turn the heat down to med-low, stirring occasionally, let simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, some shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some guacamole!

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California Style BLT With Avocado

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A Bacon Lettuce And Tomato sandwich is a staple in American cuisine. Having only a few simple items means, I need to use the best ingredients I can find. That way I can take this sandwich to a different level of deliciousness. A thick cut apple smoked  bacon, thick sliced heirloom tomatoes and leafy greens makes for a great sandwich. Avocado gives this sandwich a taste of California.

Then there’s the bread. It has to be one that compliments what’s inside. I think buttered and toasted Ciabatta bread is the answer.

Ingredients:
8 slices of thick cut apple wood bacon
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
leafy greens
1 sliced avocado
pesto mayo

Directions:
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F.
Place the rack in the lower third of the oven. I use a foiled covered baking sheet with a rack. This makes for crispier bacon because it cooks the bacon from all sides.  The bacon should take anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Check the bacon progress after 12 minutes. Once fully cooked, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.

On medium heat, in a cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Then rub one side of the bread in the butter and flip it over and rub the other side. Once both sides have butter on them I let them toast upright in the pan. I’d say about 2 minutes per side.

I like to spread a light coating of *pesto mayo on each the top and bottom slice before placing the lettuce down first, then the bacon, then tomato, with a very light sprinkling of Kosher salt, and then the avocado with another sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper. Finally finishing off with the top slice of buttered Ciabatta. This is my secret to making a great BLT With Avocado.

*pesto mayonnaise
Mix 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of fresh basil pesto.

 

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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I have to believe that one of the most beloved dishes ever made is Pot Roast. I’ve never come across anyone who didn’t adore this one pot meal until now. That’s right until now! Steve doesn’t like stews of any kind. I thought… how can I turn him around? This challenge is one I’m up for! One things for sure, you won’t need a knife for this Pot Roast.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Equipment: Cast iron skillet, Slow Cooker
Ingredients:
3 pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of black pepper
2 onions chopped in quarters
5 cloves of sliced garlic
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 quarts of unsalted beef stock (reserve 1/2 cup for slurry)(Note: the liquid may vary depending on the size of the slow cooker. You want the liquid to come up 3/4’s of the way up the sides of the meat)
2-6 ounce packages of chopped organic baby colored carrots (cut into thirds)
5 medium size quartered Yukon gold potatoes
2 pints of cleaned whole Cremini mushrooms
Slurry: 1/2 cup of unsalted beef stock whisked together with 3 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch

Directions:
I needed to start with a pan that could take this 3 pound piece of chuck roast over the top. Yes, an affordable yet so forgiving piece of chuck roast. I compare this piece of meat to the Boston pork butt of the beef family. Lots of marbling and fat running through it. Cooking low and slow, this fat will melt and add so much flavor to the finished chuck roast. I’m not a fan of meat having a lot of fat, but for this dish it’s necessary. Later in this post I show you how I get rid of a majority of it before the dish is ready to serve.

First, I start with a cast iron skillet. I like to take a piece of paper towel, pour a few drops of Canola oil on it, then wipe the pan with the oiled towel. Place the pan on the burner and turn it up to a med high heat. Just as it starts to smoke, lay the meat right on it. Now matter what, don’t fuss with it. The meat will let you know when it’s ready to flip. How can you tell? Well after about 4-5 minutes, take you tongs, and try to lift the piece of meat up. If it gives you no resistance, then it’s ready to flip. Repeat this process for the other side. Once both side are beautifully caramelized, set the chuck roast onto a plate and set aside for a minute. Note: while the meat is searing, cut up the onions and garlic.

The next phase is the slow cooker. Start by layering the quartered onions at the bottom of the pot, along with sliced garlic. To the slow cooker pot  I add in the meat, nestled just right on top,  with tomato paste and two sprigs of fresh rosemary. Then for the liquid, I add unsalted beef stock to the meat and onions. Just enough to where it comes up 3/4’s up the sides of the chuck roast.  Place the lid on, and set the time for 4 hours.

Three and a half hours in, I start chopping up the vegetables that I’ll be adding to the pot. Yukon gold potatoes that I’ve quartered, organic colored baby carrots cut into thirds, and whole Cremini mushrooms that have been cleaned. At this point, I remove the chuck roast and place it on a cutting board. Place all the potatoes in first, then carrots and mushrooms into the slow cooker. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.

What I like to do at this point is… the meat is starting to get somewhat tender. I’ts easy enough at this point to remove any connective fatty pieces. I trim those all off and cut the meat into large chunks. Place the meat back in over the veggies and continue cooking for another 2 hours.

During this part of the cooking process, the veggies will release their water and the meat will submerge back into the juices.

After the six hours is up, the slow cooker is at a nice slow boil. This is when I make a slurry. This is a thickening agent.  This is when you mix cornstarch together with liquid. In this case I whisk it together with unsalted beef broth. Remember, my goal is to make the most delicious pot roast ever and to get Steve to agree. Thickening the broth will make the sauce a little thicker than just an Au jus style broth.

Add the slurry right in, give a gentle stir to combine, and let the cornstarch work it’s magic. Another 10 minutes is all it takes. Turn the slow cooker to the warm setting until your ready to serve.

To serve, I like add the potatoes and vegetables in the bottom of the bowl first. Place the meat on top and ladle that delicious sauce over everything. This dish does not require a knife. The meat is so tender that it will break apart using only a fork. After Steve took his first bite, he said, “This is the best pot roast I’ve ever had!”

 

 

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