Mussels in Curry Cider Cream Sauce

Normandy meets the Pondicherry of my post-post-colonial imagination in this improvised dish I made last night.

mussels in cider curry cream

2 tablespoons of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon of minced jalapeño
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 pinch of saffron (optional, I just couldn’t help myself)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
4 pods of cardamom
2 bay leaves
1 bag of live mussels
1 cup of dry cider (I used Cidre Bouché Brut Etienne Dupont, an unfiltered and unpasteurized cider from Normandy)
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup of crème fraîche, I suppose regular heavy cream would work too
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley and/or cilantro for garnish

cidre brut

Clean the mussels and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sauté everything except the mussels and the liquids over medium heat until lightly browned. Take your time with this part to achieve a nice caramelization of the onions.

Add the mussels, cider and lemon juice and simmer until the mussels pop open. Stir in the crème fraîche and serve immediately with crusty bread (or, if you are hardcore, French fries) to soak up the sauce. To drink: the rest of the bottle of cider. Yum!

Serves two people as a main course, or 3 or 4 for an appetizer.

Spanish-Style Braised Hake

spanish-style braised hake


1 pound of hake, filleted and cut into 4 inch chunks (or substitute cod, pollack or similar flaky white fish)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 roasted red bell pepper, sliced
1 handful of green olives
1/2 teaspoon of pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
1 cup of dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon of saffron, soaked in the white wine above
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Minced parsley and/or cilantro for garnish
Olive oil, salt and pepper


Sauté the onions and garlic in plenty of olive oil, until softened and ever so slightly browned (about 10 minutes on medium heat).  Season with salt and pepper and the pimentón.  Add the hake, olives and roasted red bell pepper.  Cover with the saffron-infused wine, stir, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer until the fish is cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).  Season to taste and garnish with the boiled eggs and herbs.  Serve with crusty bread and/or boiled potatoes.

Seared Scallops – Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad – Miso-Lemon Dressing

I think my mind is still in California, or at least my palate.  Maybe it’s this warm sunny weather we have been having.  The theme of this meal is Japanese-meets-Mexican-in-California.  In any case, this was a fantastic dinner for a warm night.

First make the corn mixture: Cut the kernels off a couple ears of fresh sweet corn.  Sauté them up in some olive oil with some chopped onions, bell peppers and/or chili peppers.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Let cool.  Or do this in advance and have it ready in the fridge.

Miso-Lemon Dressing: Whisk together 1 teaspoon of light miso, 1/2 teaspoon of honey, juice of one lemon, and about 1.5-2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Season to taste.

Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad: Mix together some of the cooled corn mixture with some chopped up cherry/plum tomatoes, half of an avocado cut into chunks, some scallion, and a handful of cilantro (fresh coriander).  Add some of the miso-lemon dressing and mix.

Scallops: Choose “dry” diver scallops, which means that they have not been soaked in a phosphate solution that bulks them up.  Also, they are kinder on our oceans than scallops that are caught with chains dragged across the ocean floor.

Rinse the scallops, and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Season and sear on both sides until medium-rare.

Assembly: Put some of the salad mixture on a plate.  Top with some seared scallops.  Put some of the remaining dressing on top of the scallops.  That’s it!

Variation on a theme: Corn, Plum Tomato and Gruyère Omelette

Take some of the corn mixture, add some cherry/plum tomato slices, green onion and gruyère cheese.  Toss it all in an omelette.  The corn mixture also works great by itself as a side dish.

Hanging out in Central Park and Korean Seafood Orgy


I spent the day hanging out with Kris in Central Park, just walking around, people watching and enjoying the nice spring weather. See all the pictures on my Flickr account. Continue reading Hanging out in Central Park and Korean Seafood Orgy