Last Sunday was Oscars night, since I was very young, that is one Sunday night that I do absolutely nothing, but watch the awards ceremony. I love movies! For me watching a movie is about transporting myself to a different place and time, it’s fascinating. Every year when the Oscars nominations are announced, I make it a goal to watch as many movies as I can in a matter of weeks. I usually discuss my predictions with 3 people: my husband, of course he is my movie partner too; my friend Eric who is the only other crazy person I know that watches as many movies as he can before the awards (beats me to it every year); and my sister, who is in the middle of her second master degree to become a screenwriter in Spain. Every year we go back and forth on why this actor, director, or movie should win. I guess I can say I love talking about movies as much as I love talking about food! This year I was only able to watch 3 out of the 8 movies nominated for best film, plus another 3 nominated in other categories. I was incredibly happy (along with the rest of the world) to see Leo win his well deserved first Oscar; as well as to see Iñarruti take home the award for best director the second year in a row.
There is so much more I could write about the movies or the show itself, but we are not here to talk about movies, we are here to talk about the food I eat while watching the Oscars. See, I don’t watch football, so for me the Oscars is the equivalent of the super bowl, ha! I prepare a bunch of delicious food, open a bottle of wine, and sit with the family to enjoy from the red carpet until the best movie is announced. Ok, kids will eat and go do their own thing until bed time, but you get the picture.
This mussels with chorizo and sweet peppers recipe is one that my kids love. Sometimes I use bacon instead of chorizo. I normally leave the mussels in their shell, and serve them in the broth to eat with crunchy bread on the side. This time I was inspired by one of my absolute favorite TV shows, Mind of a Chef, to take them out of the shell, and reduce the broth until it was syrupy and super concentrated. Oh! They turned out great! The mussels were soft and creamy, the marinade was very crisp from the lemon juice, a salty and spicy edge from the chorizo, then you get a subtle sweetness and crunchiness from sweet peppers, truly a perfect bite. Served on top of toasted bread, very yummy! I tossed the leftovers with spaghetti the next day for dinner, perfect fideua!
As for the rest of the appetizers I prepared, I visited some of Wisconsin Whisk local blogs to get some amazingly delicious recipes. If you haven’t checked Whisk yet, well you should, especially if you live in Wisconsin. Whisk is a collective of local food bloggers, where you can find a little bit of everything made mostly with seasonal local ingredients. Everyone has amazing recipes, it’s really hard to choose. I will leave a link to the recipes I made, and I highly encourage you to try them. Let’s get cooking some mussels!
Serves 4 to 6
2 lbs. mussels
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 shallots, minced
3 Spanish chorizo, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 large sweet peppers, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt & pepper
Submerge the mussels in cold water, scrub with a brush removing any beards. Rinse out one more time and drain. In a large heavy bottom pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat, add minced shallot, cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add diced chorizo, and cook stirring occasionally until browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, add mussels, increase heat to high, cover the pot. Cook shaking the pan a couple of times, until the shells are open, about 5 minutes or so. The mussels should be cooked but tender. Remove into a bowl using a slotted spoon, return the liquid in the pan to the stove, there will be some chorizo and shallots in there. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, until the liquid has reduced by a third becoming thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.
When the mussels are cool enough to handle, take them out of the shell into a bowl (my kids were thrilled to do this part, while eating them along the way). Discard any mussels that didn’t open. Add sweet peppers, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, smoked paprika, cilantro and the reduced liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top. Serve with toasted bread or crackers. Enjoy!
I also made:
Sun dried tomato and walnut tapenade from Sweet Phi – This spread is absolutely delicious and requires no cooking whatsoever, if you love sundried tomatoes, you must try this recipe.
Marmalade D’oignon from Inspired by the Seasons – OMG! This recipe is truly amazing, if you love onions as much as me, this onion marmalade will leave you dreaming. I can’t wait to use this marmalade on top of everything!
Baked Asiago Artichoke Dip from All Food Considered – if you love creamy, cheesy dips with a zing, this is it! My husband’s favorite was this one. Perfect for a party!
Fig Manchego cheese and honey pastry twists from Wisconsin from Scratch – I had this yummy sticks from Sarah at one of our bloggers get together. They are super yummy, and they make the perfect snack!