Friday, February 13, 2009


(Fresh mussels steamed in white wine & herbs)
~ A favorite simple romantic Valentine dinner (Julia knows)
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
6 quarts scrubbed and debearded mussels
2 cups light, dry white wine
or 1 cup vermouth
1/2 cup minced shallots (or green onions)
8 parsley sprigs
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Bring wine to boil in 8-10 quart kettle with shallots, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, cracked pepper and butter. Boil 2-3 minutes to evaporate alcohol and reduce volume slightly.
  • Add mussels to kettle. Cover tightly and boil quickly over high heat. With thumbs clamped to cover, frequently toss mussels up and down with slightly jerky motion so mussels change levels and cook evenly. In about 5 minutes the shells will swing open and mussels are done. (Discard any that are still closed.)
  • With big skimmer, dip mussels into wide soup plates. Allow cooking liquid to settle for a moment (any sand will sink to bottom). Ladle liquid over mussels, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with crusty French bread, butter and a lightly chilled bottle of dry white wine such as Muscadet, dry Graves, or one of the Pouillys. (6-8 servings)



Almond crust:
9 oz. (1 1 /4 cup) blanched toasted almonds
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup

Grease 9-inch glass pie plate. Chop almonds into 2-3 pieces each. Transfer to bowl with butter and corn syrup. Stir and spoon into prepared plate. Press onto bottom and up sides. Freeze.

10 oz. coarsely chopped white chocolate
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3 Tbsp. creme de cacao
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
2 room temperature egg whites
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups raspberries
  • Melt chocolate and butter with milk in double boiler over simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove and set in bowl filled with water & ice. Let cool until thick and paste like; stir occasionally. Blend in liqueur, vanilla and extract.
  • Beat cream until stiff peaks form. Gently beat in chocolate mixture. Beat whites with clean dry beaters until soft peaks form. Add sugar 1 Tbsp. at a time and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold gently into chocolate-cream mixture. Pour evenly into crust. Freeze until firm but not hard, about 5 hours.
  • Mound raspberries in center of pie leaving 2-inch border. (8 servings)


Roses and Lilacs said...

That is a lovely poem and photo. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Anonymous said...

While yellow roses are my favorite (rose) colour, white would follow closely behind. And their scent is so wonderful. I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate, but THIS dessert looks positively sinful. :) Beautiful rose image, Joey.

joey said...

Thanks Marnie ~ my heart also wishes you a delightful Valentine's Day!

Though hard to capture, guess I have a thing for white flowers, Nancy. I too am more partial to dark chocolate, but create a few white chocolate desserts that tempt me :) Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joey,
You are reading my mind. I've planned Mussels for a Valentine's Day dinner. I found your Mussels Provencale and that's what on the menu! This version also sounds wonderful. I love mussels anyway I can get them! I'm making your White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread today, hoping to cut into heart shapes. Another White Chocolate treat. We think alike.
Made the Cranberry Lemon Cream Scones this week and they were great.
The rose today brings hope for spring, as it is snowing now here in New Baltimore. My daffs are poking their leaves above ground. I hope these little sweeties don't freeze. Can't wait to see their sunshine!
Have a Loving Valentine's Day,

Anonymous said...

Oh Joey I'm sorry. I just reread the Mussels. Is the 6 T butter mixed into the liquid with the parsley at the end?

joey said...

Hi dear Ann ~ I've missed you! Glad you're enjoying the recipes. Mussels Provencale is a perfect choice for Valentine's Day (one of my husband's favorites). As I write this, he's sampling his way through Papa Joe's (20% seafood sale if you have a store near), buying mussels, fresh parsley and shallots for tonight. Thanks for catching the omission of butter in above recipe ... goes in the stock though garlic butter would be great finish also. Ah yes, spring ... since the snow melted not only did my husband find his spare car keys, spit into the garden by the snowblower, but tree trimmers just left after spending all AM pruning several gigantic trees. Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day! (Do you have a site to visit? Been UP NORTH this winter? My daughter and several best friends are on their way to celebrate a spirited Valentine-less Valentine's Day at the lake :)

beckie said...

Joey, Yummmmm! I love white chocolate anything. Will have to try this. The rose behind the poem is a beautiful picture and evokes the softness of the poem.

Niels Plougmann said...

And all these years i have given my platonic female friends white roses! I may have to reconsider after reading this poem. I don´t think I will be making that tempting recipe - I am sweet enough and I gain 1 pound every time I visit your blog!

Gail said...


What a delicious meal for the holiday...the poem and rose are lovely. Have a happy and delightful weekend.

joey said...

Oh dear Valentine Beckie ~ thank you. Though partial to deep dark chocolate, I also love this (what is is that I don't love ... can you help me?)

We just finished devoring a huge bucket of these yummy mussels tonight, Gail. It's been a joy knowing you, sweet Valentine :)

joey said...

You made my Valentine's Day, dear Niels ~ I've missed you :)

Anonymous said...

Yum! What a great recipe, perfect for Valentines :)

joey said...

Thanks Alisa! Wishing you a wonderful Valentine's Day :)

spookydragonfly said...

What a pleasant surprise to come upon this poem that you've posted. For years, I have received bouquets every week from my husband, the blush rose always being my favorite!

joey said...

How romantic, Kim ~ you're a lucky gal! I must have fresh flowers around me and always do, one way or another :)