I love eating, cooking and especially reading about all different types of food. Every month I'll try recipes from some of my favorite culinary magazines and cook books, review restaurants and even share some of my own creations. I'll post pictures and let you know what works, how they taste and tips to make them better. I'll also enlist some friends around the country to tell you about some great food finds where they live.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Mussels in White Wine, Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese, Rum and Raisin Cookies, Chocolate-Cherry Heart Smart Cookies

On Sunday we had some guests dining with us, Ed (right) and Sam (left).  Ed and I have known each other for a while.  We met when I was living in Brooklyn about 8-9 years ago.  It's amazing where people end up.  Now he lives about 5 minutes from my place here in SF, and we work for the same company.  I met Ed's friend Sam for the first time last night...he's a sweetheart and very funny!

Anyway, we had a pretty light menu, but the mussels were a lot of work. Let's start there.

Mussels in White Wine from SAVEUR Issue #126

I bought the mussels on Saturday and prepped them for an overnight stay in the fridge.  As soon as you buy them, get them out of the plastic bag.  Mussels are really delicate, so prep them ASAP.  I placed them in a shallow bowl with cold salted water and a little bit of cornmeal.  Place some wet paper towel over the top. This keeps them fresh and the mussels eat the cornmeal and spit out any grit.  The next day, about 1 hour before cooking them, it was prep time.  Get yourself a good food brush and a small knife.  Check each mussel, make sure that it's closed and has no cracks.  Sometimes, if you find one that's open, just give it a light tap, give it a minute, if it closes, it's still good.  If the mussel is no good, throw it out.  Once you find a good one, make sure you brush them really well, get any growth off the shell and pull the "beard" out the side of the shell.  After you clean them, set them aside and start prepping the ingredients in the recipe.  It's really simple!!  The flavor is really delicious.  Make sure you toast some crusty bread because you'll want to soak up all the broth.

Mr. Steele graced us with his famous kale chips as a snack.  These are addictive and really easy to make.

Kale Chips
1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped in half
kosher salt
olive oil

Heat oven to 350°.  Place the kale on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Spray or lightly coat the kale with olive oil and kosher salt.  Bake until ends are crispy and brown. 

My best friend Rona in Memphis requested a vegetarian meal for this week, so I picked a pasta dish.

Rapini is another name for broccoli rabe.  It's got a bitter taste that compliments the tangy goat cheese and the tart lemon.  It's a really easy recipe and would be great as a quick weeknight dinner.  You could easily replace the rapini with spinach.  I added the juice of 1 lemon, used really good extra virgin olive oil and omitted the garlic.


I decided to keep dessert simple and made two cookie recipes.  

Both are quite easy to make, although if you don't have a food processor, the Rum Raisin dough may be difficult to prepare.  Both cookie doughs were not your normal thick sticky consistency.  I used really high quality dried cherries from Michigan that were enormous.  Probably would have been easier if I chopped them a bit.  I also used Ghirardelli chocolate chips which are large.  This also made it hard to form the cookies on the tray.  All that being said, the cookies came out wonderfully.  They were chewy, not super sweet, and had a thick dense texture to them.  Be careful on the Cherry cookies, the bottoms burned easily.  I brought these to work and everyone loved them.

Rum and Raisin Cookies
Chocolate-Cherry Heart Smart Cookies

See you next week!


  1. The whole experience was just ridiculous.
    The mussels were so fresh and the juice they were in made good bread great.
    I ate my weight in mussels and that was just the starter.
    The pasta dish was out of control. The simple yet tasteful combination of the lemon with the goat cheese was to die for.
    My friend Sam had no idea what he was in for when he joined but was beside himself with how good dinner was. And I think we both ate like twelve cookies a piece.
    Thanks J and C.

  2. The cookies were delicious! Jackee you out did yourself again!!!

  3. Thanks J! Making the pasta for dinner on Sunday :-) I'm sure it'll be FAB. Not sure if I'm ready to tackle the mussels..besides can I even get any GOOD ones here in Memphis??? Just don't have access to the great, fresh food you do. SF is such an awesome city for a FOODIE!!


  4. The Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese
    was excellent! I added the lemon juice like you said. The hubby does not have a taste for rapini, so MORE for me :-) It was actually better the next day.

  5. Jackee- based on your recommendation I made the Chocolate-Cherry Cookies. They are excellent! I've now made them twice this week, for two different elementary school celebrations. Thanks for the good lead.
    San Francisco