In the hustle and bustle of life, it pays to slow down for a second to remember the beauty in what we have. I’m grateful for my many blessings…
…One blessing, out of many, is the chance to make a difference with the food that I cook. It’s certainly not always perfect, but I’m grateful for it all the same.
When it comes to living a simple lifestyle we can start with taking cooking back to basics.
I find cooking is therapeutic. For me it’s unplugged. When I’m in the kitchen it’s a place for me to create something with my hands (best tools are your hands for cooking) — something delicious. It’s a daily DIM (do it myself) that may go unnoticed, but it’s definitely beneficial to my psyche. Therapists are tapping into these benefits with cooking classes used to help treat people with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues (The Wall Street Journal [wsj.com]).
We hear a lot about “clean eating” (fitnessmagazine.com), how we should not include any processed ingredients in what we eat and be mindful of how our food ends up on our plates. But long before the trend of “clean eating” happened I’ve always associated it with using foods in their most natural state and not covering up a homemade pasta or ribeye steak with a fancy sauce; rather let the pasta or steak be the star of the show.
My mother taught me to cook. We’re Italian and my parents were born in the South of Italy. I visited with my mom, sister and our daughters, and you can’t get more simple, rustic and basic than San Nicola da Crissa, which is a municipality in the Province of Vibo Valentia in the Italian region Calabria. It’s amazing to me how my mom’s recipes are timeless. She cooks with fresh and simple ingredients.
One of my favourite recipes and a star for me are mussels. Mussels remind me of the oceans and places I’ve visited and where I’ve dined. I love mussels as an appetizer or a meal, cooked in a quick tomato and white wine sauce. Try my recipe and tell me if it’s not delicious and simple to make. Of course if you don’t like mussels then I’ll have to share another favourite recipe in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
I just made this recipe for my family on Easter Sunday.
Mussels in tomato and white wine sauce
Be sure to rinse and scrub mussels clean before using, discarding any that remain open after tapping them or if they’re chipped or broken. Did you know mussels must be alive when you cook them? Most people don’t eat the unopened mussels after cooking, so you can toss those too (I read this is a myth; you can still eat unopened mussels – Dr Karl, ABC Science).
- In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and you could add 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion, salt and pepper, cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1/2-1 teaspoon of pepperoncino (chili) flakes (optional if you want a kick or some heat) and 2 chopped tomatoes (you could use the canned ones too) and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
- Add a cup of wine, chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried) and bring to a boil.
- Add the washed mussels, cover and cook until the shells open, about 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Transfer to a large deep bowl and serve immediately.
Make sure you have spoons for everyone to scoop up the broth and lots of crusty bread to dip. Enjoy!
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