2014/01/24

In for a penny... (French Fridays with Dorie: Moules Marinière)

Sometimes, you head down a path and realize that if you are going to take that journey, you have to be ready for what is at the end - kind of like choosing the inside-out/ upside-down/ stand up roller coaster vs. the kiddie coaster with its barely bumpy ride.

If you are going to do it, you just might as well DO IT.

This was one of those weeks.


When I saw mussels come up on the menu, I knew that I was in for a challenge on the home front. The only person that professes to like mussels is Moi. Me. Myself. And I. Of course, I immediately take this as a throwing down of the gauntlet. I am going to make him like them - or at least go down trying.

I determined ahead of time that if I could keep the element of surprise on my side, my chances of success would be far better. I also had a Plan B - just in case...

It went down like this.

Saturday night, The Dude asks "what's for dinner tomorrow". Me "I am still figuring it out".

Sunday morning: "What's for dinner?" Me: "I am still figuring it out."

The Dude runs off on errands for the afternoon. I run out and go shopping, get all the prep work done before he gets home and then get him settled in with a football game. Oh, the things we do.

As I mentioned above, I had a Plan B going just in case the mussels were a show stopper (chicken breasts rolled with pesto, prosciutto and Asiago). I also figured that the presence of the chicken would make the mussels less threatening (they were an "optional" part of the meal, not mandatory).

You know, I think one of the great take-aways from this whole French Fridays adventure is increasing my skills in kitchen diplomacy. Over the past three years, I have had to sell some pretty questionable dishes in the name of French Fridays with Dorie. Yep, I am at least a Junior Level Kitchen Diplomat. Since I will probably never be able to sell the idea of anything liver related to the peeps, I will have to content myself with the Junior Level ranking. A girl can dream though, can't she?

Lets talk mussels. First up, a whole bunch of aromatics (onion, shallots and garlic) spent some time getting loved by butter. Once they were all buttered up, they were joined by herbs (thyme and parsley), some lemon peel and a healthy dose of wine (I doubled up on the Sauvignon Blanc). Once that mixture was simmering, it was time to get those mussels into the pot (wild, Maine mussels and they were absolutely beautiful). After a brief sauna (although, quite a bit longer than the 6-7 minutes noted in the recipe), they were ready to go.

I wasn't sure how these drunken bi-valves were going to go over, but I was ready (chicken rolls, pumpkin-cornmeal bread and roasted sweet potato wedges).

The verdict? Score one for kitchen espionage and diplomacy. These were a hit!

Moral of the story: the kitchen is a battlefield and if you want to win the war, you better have a good strategy.

Peace out. XOXO

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.

23 comments:

  1. lol Well played, Cher. Well played. (Applause).

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  2. Kitchen diplomacy. Perfect. My politics included announcing three days in advance that Wed. was mussels night. "Be hungry" and if you won't even try them then get ready to run out and buy a roast chicken for yourself AFTERWARDS. My brand of diplomacy was to be more like a bully. But it worked.No roast chicken necessary. It helps to have some REALLY good bread on hand.

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  3. I agree with E…well played! I am one of those people that don’t eat clams or mussels…well maybe one or two…and that’s a maybe! Last night all 2 pounds went to Mr. Bill and he loved them! I enjoyed the bread and broth! I would have much rather dined on your chicken and sweet potatoes!

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  4. You need to address the UN. You diplomatic skills are brilliant!

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  5. LOL - good for you! These mussels tasted great.

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  6. Great planning on your part Cher. Your mussels look delicious, but I
    think the chicken sounds even better with all those wonderful ingredients.
    Have a great weekend and try to stay warm.

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  7. Your powers of persuasion are WAY better than mine. Glad these were a hit!

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  8. Ha-ha! Great post. High five!!! Your whole dinner sounds absolutely fabulous Cher.

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  9. This is a fantastic Post which should go viral.You are so clever and Joe????, way to go, Joe. I think you really gave a flavor boost to your broth - I needed some of your "stuff". Nice job. Glad you enjoyed.

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  10. Wow, you have great mediation skills :D
    And love the mussels my friend!

    Cheers
    CCU

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  11. Too funny. Kitchen diplomacy indeed. But I think that your plan B should have been something a tad less fantastic sounding, so as to encourage acceptance of plan A.

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  12. Cher, another wonderful post and your moules marinières look fabulous! Your "side dishes" sound equally delicious and I am glad that you all enjoyed the lovely feast that you prepared!
    Have a nice weekend!

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  13. Very crafty indeed… but I really want the chicken dish. It sounds delicious.

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  14. Well done Kitchen Diplomat! You played the game and won!

    Great post, the chicken sounds pretty tasty also -

    The Waffle book came - Cilantro Waffle Chips just might be finding their spot at the table. Darn you Cher!

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  15. Great strategy! Glad these were a hit.

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  16. Yay! You are quite the trickster, um, I mean kitchen diplomat. I'm impressed these passed the test. Great job! The rest of the meal sounds delicious too. We only had mussels with crusty bread to sop up the broth. Hope you had a respite from the cold this weekend. It was over 30 here today, felt like a heat wave, but the polar vortex is on its way back. Ugh. Keep on baking!

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  17. Great kitchen diplomacy. This was a great recipe - one of my favorites.

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  18. Cher I live with a diplomat and I can tell you that you are fit for a big promotion!!

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  19. Congratulations on your Kitchen Diplomacy Cher! Glad they were a success but I really like the sounds of your backup plan too!

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  20. Hooray! And congrats -- loved your diplomacy play by play. Savvy.

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  21. Good job! I knew that no level of diplomacy would get a mussel into my husband's mouth, so I just threw up my hands and didn't even try. Your chicken rolls sound wonderful too!

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  22. Your whole dinner sounds incredible. I'm so impressed that you made all of that, and glad you both enjoyed the mussels.

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