Oven-Baked Mussels with Herbed Panko

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Mussels are underrated. Cheaper than clams, but meatier and just as flavorful, they get a bad wrap. Sure, you probably shouldn’t order them in a restaurant (thanks to Kitchen Confidential, I’ll never look at a seafood special the same way again), but they couldn’t be any easier to make at home.

For this dish, it’s essential that you use fresh mussels. Don’t bother with the frozen, pre-cooked variety, otherwise you’ll get none of that good briny flavor that you want to achieve.

Oven baked mussels with herbed panko

Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
2 pounds mussels, rinsed
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring water with mussels to a boil in a large pot, covered, then boil, covered, shaking pot occasionally, until mussels open, about 4 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid, and cool to room temperature.

2. Put the half of the mussel shells with mussels attached in a large shallow baking pan (discard other halves) and drizzle with a little of the reserved cooking liquid.

3. Stir together remaining ingredients, then top each mussel with about 1 teaspoon of mixture. Bake until crumbs are golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread

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this recipe was almost a disaster, as i accidentally placed all the toppings before transferring it to the baking sheet, and in the process of trying to move it made a huge mess. in the end, i resurrected it and it came out wonderfully.

Cheesy zucchini and red onion flatbread

Ingredients:

nonstick spray
1 lb whole wheat pizza dough
3/4 cup garlic and herb cheese spread
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 T chopped parsley
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 thinly sliced zucchinis
olive oil
red pepper flakes

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick. spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2 inch border. sprinkle with half of parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley.
3. fold plain half of dough over filled half. spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
4. arrange 1 row of zucchini down 1 long side of the dough. arrange onion slices in row alongside zucchini. repeat with zucchini and onion until surface of dough is covered. brush vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and red pepper.
5. bake bread until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes. sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

in other news, i finished reading christopher de bellaigue’s in the rose garden of the martyrs: a memoir of iran. considering that most iranian memoirs are written by iranians, it was a fresh look into a european’s take on modern iran, and namely how the revolution and iran-iraq war has shaped it. and with all the headlines about iran lately, i highly recommend rageh omaar’s bbc documentary inside iran. it’s easily one of the best documentaries i’ve seen on the subject.

Crispy Chicken and Kimchi Potstickers

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anyone who knows me knows of my affinity for korean cuisine. and of my affinity for kimchi. and more specifically, my affinity for all things banchan. i can think of nothing better than an array of small plates to complement a plate of bulgogi or japchae. naturally, i relish the taste of kimchi in my dumplings.

Kimchi and chicken potstickers

recipe:

1 t toasted sesame seeds
1/3 c + 1 T soy sauce
1/4 rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey
1/2 lb kimchi, drained and finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 t cornstarch
1/2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 pepper
gyoza wrappers
2 T vegetable oil
1 c water

1. in a small bowl, stir 1/3 cup of the soy sauce with the vinegar, water, garlic, 1 green onion, and sesame seeds.
2. in a large bowl. combine and mix the ground turkey with the kimchi, remaining green onions, egg, cornstarch, sugar, remaining soy sauce, salt and pepper.
3. place gyoza wrappers on a work surface and lightly moisten the edges of the wrappers with water. place a spoon of the filling on one side of each wrapper and fold in half to form half moons. press the edges of the wrapper firmly to seal. repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
4. in a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. add half of the potstickers to the skillet. pour in 1/2 cup of the water, cover and cook over moderately high heat until the water has evaporated, the filling is cooked through and the bottoms are browned, about 10 minutes. transfer to a serving platter and repeat with the remaining oil, potstickers, and water. serve with the dipping sauce on the side.

Nutella Bundt Cake

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i don’t know why this is, but i’ll often not go to the cinema for months and then i’ll suddenly begin going at least once a week for a stint of time before i stop paying attention again. i saw babel on saturday (not enough gael garcia bernal methinks) and marriage, iranian style on sunday (hilarious, and dom was a good sport about the buffooning american character).

and of course i’ve been cooking, but i’m beginning to realize i hardly take pictures of anything aside from food anymore. i’m going to try and change that. until then:

not quite as flavorful as i'd hoped
herb and cheese filled chicken thighs

a good accompaniment to the chicken
saffron couscous

i didn't really know what to expect in making this
philadelphia clam pie

delicious, and i don't even like cake!
nutella bundt cake

here’s the recipe for the cake:

cooking spray
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 16 oz carton low-fat sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted
3 T nutella
1 t powdered sugar

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a bundt pan with cooking spray.

2. place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. add vanilla and sour cream; beat lightly until blended.

3. combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stiring until well combined. add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring just until combined.

4. spoon half of batter into bundt pan; sprinkle with nuts. drop small spoonfuls of nutella over nuts. spoon remaining batter over nutella; swirl batter using the tip of a knife. bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes. cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove cake from pan. cool completely and sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.

Spring Pea Falafel

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khodahafez, taabestaan

a couple of weeks ago i scrambled to make the best of the end of summer produce. although i’ll have loads of mushrooms and squash and beets to look forward to, i’ll miss being able to easily make fresh renditions of these:

this was deeelicious!
spring pea falafel with marinated radishes and minted yogurt

the peanut sauce was too thick
grilled beef sates with peanut sauce and jasmine rice

fresh mozzarella and salami! oh joy!
antipasti salad

too flavorless
corn and jalapeno muffins

not too sweet
watermelon-ginger lemonade

here’s the recipe for the falafel:

1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 T flour
2 T chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t salt
3 T olive oil

1. working in two batches, grind the split peas to a powder in a spice grinder. in a food processor, pulse the thawed peas a few times. add the ground split peas, onion, flour, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, baking powder, cayenne, lemon juice and salt and process until thoroughly combined. form the mixture into 12 falafel patties. refrigerate until firm.

2. in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. add the falafel patties in two batches and cook over moderately high heat until browned, crisp and heated through, about 3 minutes per side.

3. serve the falafel with flatbreads, yogurt, sliced red onions, fresh herbs, and marinated radishes.