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Recipe: mussels in white wine sauce

My dad skyped me this evening and I was all giggles because Jeremy and I had already broken into the champagne. Even though we stay up past midnight most evenings, we usually turn in before the year flips on New Year’s Eve. We enjoyed a bottle of bubbly with our dinner tonight.

i know this is a favorite of squid, barbara, and mollie

The typical thing to do at the close of the year is to reflect and perhaps list favorites or tick off milestones of the year. I feel I got a very good look at 2008 during 2008 – like traveling the road with my face 2 inches from the pavement. All of the bad times are quite fresh, but more importantly all of the good times are also vivid in my mind. I am really happy to not only be alive, but to be more or less healthy (it’s hard to really know), and definitely living on my terms. In volleyball, we always used to tell each other, “on your toes!” so you’d be ready for anything the offense would dump over the net – a dink, off the block, hard line, cross court, six-pack in the face. I feel as if I live my life “on my toes” now. That comes with the territory when you lose someone close to you or don’t know if you will survive your disease or experience one of those curve balls (I like to think of it as a wicked floater serve instead) that life pitches and sends you sprawling on your ass. Keep your eye on the ball.

back to breckenridge with my honey

After picking myself up a couple of times now, I have learned to travel light. This may sound horrible, but it’s actually good – I didn’t go out of my way to be nice to everyone during my cancer treatment because some folks just suck the life out of you and will continue to be a black hole. According to my resident astrophysicist, “they never stop sucking.” And then there are some folks who just plain suck. Either way, life is better without the assholes. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I think it’s lame and arbitrary (when I resolve to do something, I do it – be it March, June, or whatever), but the close of 2008 seems to coincide with the end (I hope!) of my major cancer treatments… so in 2009, I plan to continue to keep assholes out of my life, but without the excuse of cancer treatment. I’m fine. You suck (not you, my readers, but You as in the Suck-ers). You are not a part of my equation.

kaweah enjoys the balmy 40°f after a little walkie today

Jeremy and I spent the afternoon grazing on seafood, as that is our wont. Various courses were casually spliced into our day because we had things to do like culinary projects, Kaweah’s maintenance (nail clipping and filing, ear cleaning), compost redistribution (it’s generally a giant compost popsicle in winter), poop detail in the yard, cleaning the dog nose smudges off the back windows of the cars…

nibble on some shrimp cocktail

sweet, sexy king crab legs

I feel that I’m in a good place now. Better than where I was a year ago when I had no idea what to expect of 2008 other than “it’s going to suck”. Despite the suckage, I think all in all, it was better than I expected and while I shook off the jerks in my life, I acquired several new and improved friends. I have my life and more importantly, I am surrounded by many loved ones. Whatever time I’ve got, I’m just going to make the most of it. Happy New Year to all of you.


Oh, you’re still here? Well good. Because I have a quick and easy recipe for one of our seafood grazing dishes we noshed on tonight. I give you…


and pinot grigio

Wine and seafood are so fundamentally amazing together. I rarely drink wine for the sake of drinking wine. I am not a drinker per se (hence Tipsy Jen after one glass of bubbles). I like wine with food. I’m always about the food. Food food food food food. And some wine or booze. Desserts with booze. I’m all over that one.

dropping mussels into boiling water and wine

removed from the water as soon as they open

I had picked up two pounds of mussels from Whole Foods and patiently waited while those awesome fellas made sure every single one was live. They packed them on ice and handed me the lovelies. These mussels were tiny, but sweet. Perfect.

adding wine to sautéed onions and garlic in butter

pouring the sauce over the mussels

Jeremy and I order mussels occasionally in Boulder and they always come in a little pool of fantastic sauce. After making our own mussels in white wine sauce tonight, I had an epiphany, “The restaurants use an ass ton of butter!” Well, it’s easy to make at home, much cheaper, and dare I say it – healthier and just as (okay, almost as) delish. It’s terrific with some toasted baguette slices for sopping up the precious sauce.

it’s like a party in my mouth!

Mussels with White Wine Sauce
[print recipe]

2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter (I used a half, but I really believe 1 whole stick will send you to happy land)
1 bottle Pinot Grigio
salt to taste
parsley, minced (optional)
lemon wedges (optional)
baguette, sliced and toasted (optional)

In a large pot, bring water and 1 cup of wine to a boil (enough volume to cook all of the mussels). Toss out any mussels that have opened. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over high heat. Add onions and garlic to the melted butter and sauté until translucent. When the water has come to a boil, carefully pour in the mussels. Once the mussels open, remove them from the water to a large serving bowl (if you pour the whole pot into a colander, be sure to reserve 1 cup of the broth). When onions are cooked, pour 1 cup of the mussels’ boil water in with the onions. Pour in 1-2 cups of wine. Let simmer. Add salt to taste. Stir in the parsley and remove from heat. Pour the sauce over the mussels. Serve immediately with toasted baguette and lemon wedges.

36 nibbles at “bubbles”

  1. Mrs Ergül says:

    Happy New Year to you Jen! May 2009 be without any suckage for you and me! Now, I will be buying those mussels the next time I see them at the market! Take care ya?! xxoo

  2. Nate says:

    If not butter, then heavy cream. But the wine cancels it out ;-)

    Happy New Year!

  3. Pearl says:

    Happy new year!

  4. Rosa says:

    Happy New Year and all the best to you and your loved ones!

    I know what you mean about those “black holes”!!! I had to get free of many life suckers (close family) around me and, believe , me it wasn’t easy. These toxic people just vampirize you and NEVER stop…

    Great food! It looks like you had a wonderful evening!

    Nice portraits too…



  5. Flo Makanai says:

    We’ve never met and don’t know each other, but I like coming sometimes to get a look at your beautiful pictures and I like the way you write, so HAPPY NEW YEAR for you, the man you love, and your oh-so-cute Kaweah, and above all may HEALTH be with you!

  6. barbara says:

    Definitely my favourite bubbles Jen. I’m glad we found each other. Happy New Year.

  7. Amy says:

    Happy New Year, Jen! :) I hope 2009 is a great one for you.

  8. Fiona says:

    I can’t wait to see what you do in 2009 – whatever for 2008. Your supper looks delicious, but I admit what I really envy is all that sunshine you guys get. When I see pics like the shrimp cocktail, part of my brain is all “What a nice sunny house. What a nice sunny town. Grr!”

    Happy New Year, and thank you for all the great photos and recipes last year.

  9. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    This is almost exactly the same way my Mom has been making mussels for years and years. They are super cheap here (RI) and she serves them quite often. Makes me hungry for them now.

    Wishing you the best in 2009.

  10. Bebe says:

    I feel compelled to tell you that I so enjoy your blog.
    Though there are many food blogs that I check daily (for the recipes and the know-how), yours is the only one that has intrigued me enough to make me want to respond. I find both you and your writing very interesting. It’s possible that it’s because we share many interests: food, skiing, dogs, hiking, nature, the outdoors, but I suspect that were our paths to ever cross, we would become great friends.

    Here’s to a new year for both of us – one filled with love, peace, and fun. No suckers allowed!

  11. Lezel Safi says:

    Yes, yes, yes…that is my favorite champagne, though I can only do a bout a glass, I end up drinking more because I don’t want that bottle to go to waste at that price! Good excuse huh? And I too discovered Barefoot Wines about 12 years ago and such great wines and they are sooooo cheap! We too are saying good bye to the assholes, life is just too short! Happy New Year!

  12. Bridget says:

    That’s a beautiful picture of the champagne in glasses. I bought a bottle Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label several years ago to celebrate my husband and I getting engaged. Sadly, we’ve been too cheap (or poor, I suppose) to buy it again. We usually make do with Gruet, from New Mexico, which is actually pretty awesome.

  13. Cynthia says:

    Jen, I have had fun this year reading your blog. It has been one of my best “finds” of the year. The blog and my Canon G9. Good luck with keeping the assholes out of your life. (let us know how you do it here) that would make good reading;)Happy New Year!

  14. Tony says:

    Happy New Year! I wish you and Jeremy all the best for 2009! I’m not going to lie… those are some pretty sexy legs :)

  15. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy says:

    Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009 for you, Jen, (with absolutely no suckage allowed)! I wish you a year full of endless possibilities and wonderful adventures! I know I’m a sap, but it comes from my heart. Take care.

  16. Anita says:

    Happy New Year Jen! Here’s to 2009 not sucking as well! On this shiny first day of the year, I’m completely convinced that good things will happen, so I’m sending all those good vibes over to you. Big hugs from California!

  17. Nicisme says:

    Happy New Year! I wish you alll the best for 2009 – healthy, happy and peaceful!

  18. Nicole says:

    Happy New Year!

  19. Asianmommy says:

    Great recipe. Happy, Happy New Year!

  20. sara angel says:

    beautiful pictures! happy new year!

  21. escondido123 says:

    I just started reading your website and I love your writing and photography. I was curious as to why you boil the mussels until they open and then do the rest? I learned to scrub the shells well–whether clams or mussels–and then add them to a large skillet that already has garlic and/or onions sauteed until soft in butter/olive oil. Big glug of white wine and lid on. Once they start to open I pull them out as they do and put into big bowl. Once all are opened I throw away any that haven’t, put the rest back with chopped parsley, lemon zest and butter or cream. Lid on tight, some good shakes so everything gets coated and into bowl. No flavor is lost that way because all the juices are either in the pan or bowl. Wish I could have some right now. Happy New Year.

  22. Hilda says:

    Yeah, it’s always a good thing to “fire” the people who suck it out of you.
    I hope your new year is filled with health first and foremost and lots of happiness.

  23. Lisa says:

    Happy New Year Jen! Wishing you tons of good health, good food and good snow!! And give that puppy a hug for me… SUCH a sweet face.

    Looking forward to reading more in 2009!


  24. jenyu says:

    Mrs E – thank you sweetie. I hope you have a really good 2009. Keep cooking!

    Nate – ha ha, that’s what my dad likes to think too ;) Happy new year!

    Pearl – thank you, you too!

    Rosa – ahhh, we seem to have encountered similar types. Well here is a toast to living life without the extra baggage of black holes :) All the best to you for the year, hon.

    Flo – thank you so much, that is so nice of you. I hope the coming year brings you all good things :)

    Barbara – Big hug right back to you, love. xxoo

    Amy – I hope it’s a great one for the both of us, sweetie. Lots of hugs and good wishes!

    Fiona – Sounds like you need to move to Colorado (we get A LOT of sunny days). There are houses on the market in my ‘hood :) Happy new year to you and your family. Hope 2009 is awesome for ya.

    Lisa – oh, I bet you get some gooooood seafood in RI. *sigh* Thank you and all the best for you too.

    Bebe – thank you, and I’m flattered that you find my mindless drivel and rants entertaining ;) I hope your new year is off to a great start.

    Lezel – ha ha! I think that is the allure of champagne, because it won’t keep until the next day, so you drink it up and feel very… bubbly! :) Happy new year to you too!

    Bridget – After drinking various champagnes, I have to say that I really do love this one :) It’s so easy and smooth and balanced. I just don’t drink it often.

    Cynthia – thanks. Hope you have a great 2009!

    Tony – you’re such a sweetie – happy new year to you too. I love those crab leggies :)

    Susan – you may be a sap, but I love your sappy self. You are such a treasure, hon. Someone with real heart. All the best to you and the SGCCs in 2009 and beyond. xxoo

    Anita – awwww! Hugs from CA, especially from you, are the best! I’m wishing you and Mike (Mr. Hottie!) all the best for 2009 and then some. You are so sweet!

    Nicisme – thank you! All the best to you too for 2009!

    Nicole – thanks! you too!

    Asianmommy – thank you, and happy new year right back at you.

    Sara – thanks. Happy new year!

    Escondido – sediment. I have found that there is silt or sand that gets into the broth, so I like to cook them separately. Happy new year!

    Hilda – ;) Thank you, I hope your 2009 is awesome as well!

    Lisa – thank you, hon! Happy new year to you and your loved ones, including that adorable baby puppy of yours. xxoo

  25. peabody says:

    We busted out the bubbly as well but I am a Perrier Jouët girl. I also added some marrionberries and simple syrup to the bottom of mine.
    All of it looks fantastic as usual.
    Hope 2009 brings you much happiness and much HEALTH!

  26. Mollie says:

    You are a sweet and dear heart. :) Glad you enjoyed the bubbles…. ymmmmm… veuve… and the muscles look fab! Sounds like a great day all in all… and K got her day of beauty too. yay! :) Happy happy new year my dear… and good riddance to 2008, the year of suckage…

  27. Manggy says:

    Happy new year Jen! I hadn’t realized it till now but I was one of those links!!! I’m blushing really deeply, and the only thing keeping me from exploding is the fact that I got a wonderful friend in you too!! :) I’m all about the food too, and *definitely* about teh seafood (I now have at least TWO internet friends afraid of seafood– what do we do about ’em, Jen?!) and your Moules au Vin Blanc (uh, NO idea if that’s correct, I’m just winging it) look excellent– always what I order when I want something light :)

  28. pasta with broccoli, sausage, and roasted red peppers « The Way the Cookie Crumbles says:

    […] New Years Resolutions are seriously unpopular this year. While I understand that January 1st isn’t a magical date where you get to start […]

  29. jenyu says:

    Peabody – mmm, marionberries! I love those. I searched for champagne grapes, but… out of season :( Wishing you all the good stuff in 2009 and beyond, hon!

    Mollie – :) Thanks! 2008 didn’t suck THAT much, at least I made some friends, right? :)

    Mark – tsk tsk, what will we do about those seafood-fearers? Mr. Graeme needs an intervention, me thinks ;) Very glad that I found you!

  30. Chez Us says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! What a wonderful and romantic way to spend the last day of the year and the beginning to a better one!! Wishing you much happiness, health, love & adventure this year!

    Denise & Lenny

  31. Jenny says:

    Happy New Year, I really hope that 2009 is a good one for you, you deserve it. Looking forward to lots more amazing photos of colorado and your amazing cooking.

  32. jenyu says:

    Chez Us – happy new year to you both!

    Jenny – thank you and I hope you have an awesome 2009!

  33. Lex says:

    Wow, I really love you picture taking ability! I’m studying in chef school and made this once in class before, so now I was just having a look to see how other people does theirs..and yours look really high class from start to finish! I feel ashamed now..haha.

  34. jenyu says:

    Lex – thank you, you’re very kind.

  35. Mussels in White Wine Sauce says:

    […] adapted from use real butter […]

  36. Cheryl says:

    After making your Cioppino for Christmas dinner this year (which was amazing, by the way) I had some mussels left and made this tonight for myself and hubby. It was better than when we order it out.

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