Mussels For Two

 

Steamed Mussels in a flavorful white wine broth. A great dish to add to your Valentine's Day menu.

Steamed Mussels in a flavorful white wine broth. A great dish to add to your Valentine’s Day menu.

This is a quick and easy recipe using all fresh ingredients! This is a perfect appetizer to accompany your Valentine’s Day meal. You can serve these mussels in the shell or removed from the shells and over a bed of fresh pasta. Make sure you have fresh crusty bread on hand to sop-up the flavorful broth. Please note, when choosing a white wine, do not buy a “cooking wine” from off of the shelf. Do not cook with a wine that you won’t drink. I suggest buying an inexpensive dry wine that you enjoy and cooking with it. This rule applies to white and red wines. 

Mussels shown removed from shells, served over pasta.

Mussels shown removed from shells, served over pasta.

Ingredients

4 lbs of mussels, butter, red onion, fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine

4 lbs of mussels, butter, red onion, fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine

4 lbs mussels debearded and cleaned

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion quartered and sliced thinly 

5 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

5 sprigs fresh thyme

3 roma tomatoes chopped

2 fennel bulbs sliced thinly 

2 cups good quality dry white wine (i.e. chardonnay)

1 tablespoon salt 

Directions

If possible, buy mussels fresh, the day in which you plan to use them. If you are unable to do so, remove mussels from plastic bag and place in the back of your refrigerator with a damp paper towel covering them, for one to two days. This will allow the mussels, which are alive, to breathe. 

When ready to prepare, place mussels in a bowl and fill with cool water. Allow mussels to sit for 20 minutes to allow them to expel the sand and dirt inside. Begin to debeard and clean mussels. For tips on debearding mussels please visit this site. Any mussels that are opened, do not close when tapped, or chipped, discard (they are not viable/they’re dead). Once mussels are clean place them in another bowl. Do not simply pour cleaned mussels and water into another bowl, for the sand and dirt that was expelled will transfer to clean bowl. You may use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add slice garlic, red onion and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Add tomatoes, thyme, and salt. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Pour in two cups of wine and increase heat to medium high. Add mussels on top of vegetables. Place cover on pot.

Allow mussels to cook covered on medium high for 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir so that vegetables are no longer at the bottom of the pot.

Mussels steamed w white wine, fresh thyme, fennel, red onion, garlic, and roma tomatoes.

Mussels steamed w white wine, fresh thyme, fennel, red onion, garlic, and roma tomatoes.

Cook mussels an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove/discard any mussels that are unopened. 

Serve mussels w some of the liquid in bowl with crusty bread. Provide guests with a plate/bowl for discarded shells.

If serving mussels over pasta, remove mussels from shells and continue to cook in liquid for an additional 5 minutes. Remove all of thyme stems. Pour mussels w sauce/liquid over cooked pasta. 

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Catering and Private Chef Menu

Ebullient Enterprises Catering Menu

Enjoy our delicious soups, main dishes, sides, desserts, and beverages for your next meeting, party or special occasion. Our menu reflects our most common requests. If there’s an item that you’re interested in but it doesn’t appear on the menu, please inquire with one of our ebullient consultants. We offer delivery for a fee, and will return to retrieve the dishes.

                                     Soups
All soups require a 2 quart minimum purchase.

2 quarts (serves 4-6)                               $35

4 quarts (serves 7-8)                               $60

Farmhouse Vegetable

Heirloom Tomato

Southwest Chicken

Country Turkey Noodle

Oaxaca White Chicken Chili

Loaded Baked Potato

Cream of Broccoli

Butternut Squash Bisque

Mom’s Beef Stew

Abuela’s Chicken and Dumplings

Okra Gumbo (Chicken and Sausage)

Seafood Gumbo +$15

                                Meats and Main Dishes

Choice of 2 meats and 2 sides base price $20 per person. 2 person minimum. Pricing a la cart available upon request.

Additional meat + $3 / Additional side + $2

Pork Chops (fried, smothered, or w chutney)

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Turkey Breast

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Salmon (Ginger Glazed or Jerked) + $3 per person

Shrimp (Etouffe, Curried or Grilled) + $3 per person

Jambalaya (Chicken, Andouille or Turkey Sausage, and Shrimp) + $3 per person

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Ham, Sausage, and Shrimp OR Crab and Shrimp) + $3 per person

Lasagna (Beef, Turkey, Eggplant, Cheese, or Seafood)

Bourbon Baked Spiral Ham Market Price 

                             Sides

2 quarts (serves 4-6)                               $20

4 quarts (serves 7-8)                               $40

Greens (mustard, kale, collard, or mixed)

Callaloo

Braised Kale and Cabbage

Cabbage (smothered and fried)

Roasted butter or sweet potatoes

Broccoli (steamed or roasted w or w/o parmesan)

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Vegetarian Black beans and Rice (white or brown)

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Dahl

Jasmine, Basmati or Vegetable Fried Rice (white or brown)

Dressing (Sausage +$5)

Homestyle or Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Potato Salad

Platanos Maduros

Curried Eggplant

BBQ Baked Beans (Sausage + $5)

Corn Bread or Muffins (Regular or Jalapeño Cheese)

Breakfast/Brunch Selections

Quiche (various combinations available)                                                                                                      $23- $43

Breakfast Hash (Ham, Pork Sausage, or Turkey Sausage)                                                                    $15 per quart

Cheese Grits                                                                                                                                                                $15 per quart

Salmon Croquetts w Remoulade                                                                                                                        $2 per piece

Chicken or Tuna Salad (Fruit, Curried, or Plain) w/ an array of crackers and breads               $25 per quart

Kale Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette or Salad Dressing                                                                     $15

Sauces and Accompaniments

Peach Tamarind BBQ Sauce                                                                                                             All $10 per pint

Remoulade Sauce

Habanero Hot Pepper Sauce

Seasonal Fruit Salsa

Homemade Croutons

Grilled Cheese Croutons

Desserts

Croissant Bread Pudding w Rum Sauce                    $30

Banana Pudding                                                                 $25

Praline Cake                                                                         $25

Beverages

Flavored Lemonade (Mango, Passion Fruit, Watermelon, or Peach)                        $20 per gallon

Sangria (White or Red)                                                                                                                  $50 per gallon

Sorrel with Rum                                                                                                                               $40 per gallon

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Mother White’s Gumbo Lesson (Recipe*)

Mother White's Gumbo with Potato Salad.  Rest in Peace Mother, knowing that your cooking style will live on and bless friends, family and most of all strangers!

Mother White’s Gumbo with Potato Salad.
Rest in Peace Mother, knowing that your cooking style will live on and bless friends, family and most of all strangers! Mother White was a true servant of God who served ALL of God’s people.

My grandmother was known for creating large elaborate meals when given short notice that company was coming or when guests would simply “stop by.” Mother White would call this “throwing together a little la-la.” “La la” could be anything from a rib eye steak cooked atop the stove, a pot of red beans, and of course a pot of gumbo. Why gumbo? Gumbo is a great meal for a large crowd. Now, when most people make a pot of gumbo, they might do chicken and sausage OR shrimp and crab. My grandmother’s gumbo was usually all seafood, but boy was it delicious! Gumbo crab, lump crab, shrimp, and oysters all fresh from the gulf coast.

A pot of gumbo is not complete on its own. Oh no! When preparing a pot of gumbo one must also prepare side dishes of steamed rice AND potato salad, and of course dried parsley and gumbo file powder (sassafras leaves used for thickening) sprinkled over the gumbo before serving. I’m not posting a potato salad recipe, because everyone thinks that their mother makes the best. LOL I suggest using Blue Plate mayonnaise, a little bell pepper,  a little green onion, a little creole mustard, a little sweet relish… you get the idea. But use Blue Plate mayo (found in New Orleans), it’s the best!

Often, people are hesitant about making gumbo because of the first major step, which involves making a roux. The roux is what thickens the gumbo and adds a necessary depth, which simply thickening with okra will not accomplish. Roux is often made with butter and flour, but for gumbo use vegetable oil. A large stock pot full of gumbo requires approximately 2 cups of roux, which is made from 3 cups of vegetable oil and 5 cups of all purpose flour. I will show you how to make roux below, but for now I’ll tell you that roux can be various colors from light brown similar to apple sauce to dark brown like chocolate. The color simply depends on the length of time that you cook it, I like my roux somewhere between a rich peanut buttery color to a milk chocolaty brown. In many families, mine included, the rule is that the color of the roux should be the same shade of the cooker’s back hand side (smile).

This roux is a medium brown color. To accomplish this, I cooked roux for almost an hour on low, mixing very often.

This roux is a medium brown color. To accomplish this, I cooked roux for almost an hour on low, mixing very often.

The second aspect of gumbo making that often scares people away is not knowing what to add. With most Creole cooking you always start with the trinity: bell pepper, celery, and onions. So, gumbo starts with the trinity with a few additions such as garlic, bay leaves, homemade (or purchased) shrimp/chicken stock, among other seasonings and meats such as andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, oysters, and crabs depending on what type of gumbo you’re making. I usually add okra ti my gumbo no matter if it’s seafood or chicken because I love okra.

Holy Trinity of Creole Cooking with a few Additions

Holy Trinity of Creole Cooking with a few Additions

The final thing that you should know about gumbo is that like any other soup or stew, it tastes much better as it continues to cook and of course tastes amazing on the second, third, or fourth day (if you can wait that long lol).

*Please find my “recipe” for gumbo below. Now, full disclosure- this is not a typical recipe like the others you’ll find on this blog. You see, every single time that I make gumbo I make it differently. Also, like many of my other recipes I don’t measure. If I was to create a “standard recipe” for this it would not be correct because sometimes the roux is too thick and may require more stock. Sometimes the gumbo may taste like flour so you may need to increase the cook time. Therefore, what you’ll find below is simply a recipe guide. This “recipe” serves 10-15 people.

Ingredients 

3 cups prepared roux

2 whole yellow onions diced

5 stalks celery peeled and diced

2 green bell peppers seeded and diced

5 cloves garlic minced

2 lbs okra cut into 1/4 inch slices (ends and tops discarded)

4-6 chicken thighs (skin removed)

2 lbs andouille sausage cut into 1/4 inch circles

2 lbs lump crab claw meat

3 lbs gumbo crabs (found on the gulf coast)

1 lb oysters in their “liquor”

2 lbs shrimp (heads and shells removed and saved, deveined)

20 cups (5 quarts) of chicken AND/OR shrimp (seafood stock) – to make a stock boil 20 cups of water with shrimp heads or raw chicken pieces (1 whole chicken cut up) and 1 whole onion quartered, 4 stalks celery coarsely cut, 1 tablespoon of salt. Boil for 10 minutes, then simmer for 3-4 hours without top on pot. Strain. Allow it to cool and if using chicken skim fat off of surface.

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

5 bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoon dried parsley

1.5 tablespoons Creole seasoning such as Tony’s or Slap Your Momma

1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

Directions

Prepare your roux by placing a heavy pot over medium heat. Add 3 cups of oil and heat until almost smoking. Whisk in by the 1/2 cup full the flour. Whisk to fully incorporate each 1/2 cup before adding next cup. The roux will become smooth and thick. Keep whisking constantly. Once all flour has been added, use a spoon to continue stirring over medium low heat. Cook until roux is the desired color. Cook light brown color cook for an hour or so. For dark chocolate colored roux cook for almost two hours. Please note, times will vary based upon your stove.

oil 1

oil 2

oil 3

Remove 3 cups of roux and add to large heavy stock pot. Heat over medium high heat. Roux will be thick. Add diced yellow onions, celery, and bell pepper (the trinity). Stir to incorporate seasonings and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Slowly pour in 15 cups or 4 quarts of stock, whisking as you add. This will prevent lumps from forming in your roux.

oil 4

oil 5

In a separate pan, brown sausage. Remove sausage using spotted spoon and add to roux/stock mixture. Stir. Ass bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings.

gumbo meats

Bring pot to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly scraping the bottom of pot.

Meanwhile, in the same pot where sausage was cooked, add 2 lbs of sliced okra (fresh or frozen) over medium heat. Okra will be slimy, which is alright because slime will cook off once added to roux/gumbo pot. Too reduce slime, dice up one tomato and add to okra. The acid will reduce the slime. Once okra is tender add to pot with roux and other ingredients.

After 5 minutes reduce pot from boil to simmer. Cook on low with top off of pot for at least one hour. Taste it. If it still tastes like flour continue to simmer and add remaining 4 cups/1 quart of stock (liquid). Cook another 30 minutes. It should no longer taste like flour.

In separate heavy pot brown chicken thighs in a little oil with skin removed. Once brown, remove chicken thighs and set aside to cool. Once cool, shred chicken meat from bones. Add shredded cooked chicken to gumbo pot. Stir. Add all crab meats, oysters, parsley, and thyme. Stir. Add more Creole seasoning if needed.

gumbo chicken

Lastly, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Taste. If more seasoning is needed it, add it. Gumbo should look like a medium thick gravy. This is how I like my gumbo, not soupy.

Place gumbo in bowls. Sprinkle with extra dried parsley and file powder. Serve with rice and or potato salad.