Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Raising Foodies Cooking Group 2--Belgian Steamed Mussels
Even though it technically does not qualify as a new recipe for us, I really wanted to make Belgian Steamed Mussels this weekend and share it with the group. I haven't made it in over a year, so I think it counts since I'm reintroducing it into our repertoire of recipes. Also, for the record, I've been very inspired by all the great recipes the group has made and have tried several new dishes in the past week so don't feel at all that I'm cheating!
This is an easy but impressive dish that we love even more because french fries dipped in a mayo and mustard sauce are the perfect side dish to it. Also, we love that you must have lots of bread with it to dip in the broth. A Stella Artois won't hurt either. Children can stick to soda water mixed with grenadine.
I know a lot of people might be gasping that my young children eat mussels. Not only do they eat them, they love them. I wanted to kick off the weekend with a festive meal, and to the four of us there are few things more festive than seafood. Put something in a shell on our plate and we're ready to party. And one of my cooking goals is not only to nourish my family well and expose them to new foods while having fun and being creative myself, but also to bring a sense of festivity to our meals that is sometimes painfully absent.
It's true. Too often we rush through the cooking, Patrick eats while loosening his tie, the girls bicker and immediately want to be excused, I shush them and pick up random bits of food from the floor and hope for someone to tell me what a great meal I've made. Patrick and I desperately try to have a conversation or at least get the girls to converse with us. The phone rings, the water spills, we say a quick blessing, encourage a few more bites, someone cries, we start picking up and then it's over. It's not always like this, but it is like this too often for my taste.
It's my theory that for this very reason we escape to restaurants so often, because we get to sit for an hour or two and enjoy each other while relaxing in a way we just don't at home. It's kind of sad.
But what if we could have that same experience at our table and make our own home the destination of choice? Of course it takes planning and a certain type of meal, but I've decided that on weekends I will make an extra effort to find those meals that just say "party" to us. It's different for every family. To this day, waking up to the smell of paella being prepared for Sunday lunch by my parents will make my sister, brother and I giddier than Mimosas for brunch.
I'm curious, what are your family's festive foods?
I photographed the recipe from the Everyone Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook, which I got the year we got married... which happened to be in Belgium. Come to think of it, the fact that we got married in Belgium is probably the reason we love this recipe so much.