It is driving me around the bend that I can't find the cable to connect my camera to my computer to make the pictures of last night's glorious dinner visible to all. However, our apartment is not enormous, and it must be here somewhere. I have looked in all the likely spots, and will root around some more, later.
Anyhow, dinner! Mike and I now have diametrically opposite schedules, and really are only able to see each other for any length of time on Wednesday and Friday nights, and considering the fact that there are other people in the world that I would like to see sometimes, too, we've reserved Wednesday nights as our 'date' night. Which, last night, amounted to a glorious dinner eaten as a picnic on the floor, watching the recap and season premiere of 'Lost' (a television programme that totally rewards commitment. It started to suck at the beginning of season 3, but if you muscle through, as I did, you'll rediscover how rad it really is.)
Glorious dinner (sadly, with no visual aides) was:
P.E.I mussels steamed in white wine, with a garlic, thyme, fresh tomato and butter sauce.
Prosciutto-wrapped chicken breast stuffed with arugula and chèvre, with lemon asparagus and potato cake.
2 kinds of gelato, coconut and lemon, with starfruit. The gelato was purchased, expensive, and kind of crappy. Homemade is much better, and that'll teach me to be lazy.
Mussels are awesome. They are inexpensive, fun to eat, and when perfectly fresh, are sweet, tender and slightly briny. Plan on purchasing only as much as you want to eat immediately, and pick through them, discarding ones that have broken shells. You want to cook only those mussels that are still alive in their tightly closed shells, as mussels become toxic very soon after they die. If any shells are open, whack them against your counter. A living mussel will draw its shell closed when disturbed, which a) is pretty neat to watch, and b) makes me feel a bit bad for disturbing the thing in its home.
Splitting a kilo of mussels among 2 people for an appetizer is plenty, but given how delicious they were, I kind of would have preferred to have had more, and maybe a smaller main course.
Get a pot large enough to accommodate all of your mussels, with a tightly fitting lit. Get the empty pot good and hot on the stove top, and then pour in 1 cup of dry white wine and throw in 2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
When the wine comes to a boil, dump in your mussels, and put on the lid. Mussels steam in a matter of minutes, and while you don't want to overcook them (they get rubbery), some of the shells are stubborn. You'll want to discard steamed mussels that don't open their shells, yet you don't want to have to throw out mussels that are perfectly good, but slow to open.
When the mussels are open, scoop them out with a slotted spoon, and to the cooking liquid and mussel liquor, add 4 cloves chopped garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato. I used quartered grape tomatoes, but anything will do. Cook until the wine reduces, the garlic gets tender, and the tomatoes start to disintegrate. Remove from heat, swirl in 1/4 cup of salted butter, and ladle the taste explosion over the steamed mussels.
You'll want to have acquired a nice baguette for sopping up the sauce, which is wicked tasty.
Mytilus edulis, I love you.