Mussels Stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan

We did seven fishes for Christmas Eve this year.


  1. Smoked salmon platter
  2. House smoked tuna dip
  3. Lobster bisque
  4. Caesar salad with anchovies
  5. Mussels Stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan
  6. Shrimp with mayo, lemon and red onions
  7. Crab Cakes

The smoked tuna dip and mussels were new recipes and both were great.  Here’s a couple Xmas Eve photos and recipe for the mussels – great because you can make them totally ahead, pop them under the broiler when ready to serve and they’re super tasty.

Xmas eve mass… church asked everyone to take photos before mass started
posing girls

Owen was the Xmas Even entertainment

opening presents

Xmas jammies 2017
girl power

Mussels Stuffed with Spinach and Parmesan

Fine Cooking Issue 14

  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (omit if fresh isn’t available)
  • 28 medium mussels (about 2 lb.), sorted and cleaned

for the stuffing:

  • 2 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups lightly packed, washed, stemmed, and chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the wine, 2 Tbs. of the shallots, pepper, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, and thyme in a pot (with a lid) large enough to accommodate the mussels when their shells have opened. Bring to a boil, add the mussels, cover, and steam until just opened, 2 to 3 minutes. Try not to steam the mussels longer than necessary, because they’ll be cooked again later. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth and reserve.

For the stuffing—Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan. Add the remaining shallots and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach, cover, and cook briefly until the spinach wilts. Uncover and cook until the liquid from the spinach evaporates, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the strained mussel liquid and cook until the mixture is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and again cook until the mixture is almost dry, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper; the mixture should be quite peppery.

Heat the broiler. Remove the mussels from their shells. Make a bed of rock salt or crumpled foil on a baking sheet (to steady the shells) and arrange as many half shells as you have mussel meats. Put a mussel meat on each half shell and spoon a teaspoonful of the spinach mixture over each. Top with the grated cheese and broil until golden and bubbly, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve with small forks and bread to soak up the rich juices

12/2017 note: I made a double batch – with about 4 lbs of smallish mussels – way over 100 – and two reg bags of fresh spinach.  I ran out of spinach for the last bit so would make more spinach next time.


Peanut Sauce

A good dip for crudites.  We especially like it with blanched cauliflower.

  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts (abbout 2.5 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T creamy peanut butter (do not use old fashioned style or freshly ground)
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 T (generous) seeded minced jalapeno chili
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/2 t chili powder

Grind peanuts in processsor

Add remaining ingredients and process until well-blended

(Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover and chill.  Serve at room temp.)

Buffalo Cauliflower… Clambake 2015

I have made this a few times now and everyone always loves it.  A healthier option to satisfy your buffalo wing cravings.

We got two HUGE beautiful cauliflowers at Sun Plum
cauliflower still life
I didn’t get a picture until they were almost gone.  They are a crowd pleaser.

Buffalo Cauliflower

  • One head cauliflower
  • One stick butter
  • 1/2 cup of Frank’s Red hot sauce (plus or minus how spicy you like)
  • Blue cheese dressing

Cut up cauliflower into little pieces.  Steam for 5 minutes.  I do this ahead of time.  When ready to serve.  Melt butter and hot sauce together.  Shake sauce with cauliflower in a big bowl.  Roast in hot 450 oven for 5-10 more minutes.  Serve with blue cheese dressing.

I brought this to the clambake last Saturday which was on a perfect October day on Lake Erie.  Here’s some pix.

Hanging out by the clambake
Looking good
The Master
Grace timed her Fall Break just right
picture perfect day
All my girls
the ceremonial pour
and a beautiful sunset to top it off

Tomato Jam

tomato jam on pita crackers

Our supply of tomatoes continues to occupy our kitchen window sill.  A friend at work gave me this recipe after we discussing all the different things we do with tomatoes.  It’s a nice easy way to use up the smaller ones that seem to be all that is left now…and is also very tasty.

our window sill tomatoes
lots of nice spices
the tomatoes as they started to cook. such a nice color.
about an hour and a half later

Tomato Jam

Meg Guncik – who got from New York Times

  • 1 ½ lb good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated or minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 jalapeno or other pepper(s), stemmed, seeded and minced (or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste)

1.         Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2.         Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, @ 1 hour, 15 minutes.

3.         Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use.  Will keep at least a week.

Meg’s notes:

My Roma tomatoes were so small, I didn’t bother to core them, but I did coarsely chop them.

I usually double this recipe and end up with 2-3 small/medium sized jars.

If you want, after cooking for the hour and 15 min, you can run the mixture through a strainer to get rid of any skins and/or cores.  I did not do that – I used an immersion blender and made it smooth that way.

A few times, I needed to cook it longer to continue to reduce it to the right thickness.

I think it keeps longer than a week.  It’s very good on melba toast or water crackers -it’s not necessarily a breakfast-type jam.

Shrimp with Red Onions, Lemon and Mayonnaise

This is an old family recipe that only seems to get made for special occasions.  It sounds kind of gross, but it is one of the best tasting, and simple appetizers around.  Talking to my Mom, they got the recipe from a friend in California over 40 years ago.  We went to Blossom on Saturday to hear the Cleveland Orchestra and this is one of our favorite things to bring to Blossom.  We also made corn and avacado salad, and teriyaki marinated sirloin skewers with red peppers.  It was a great night.

lot’s of onions. that’s the best part.
like most things…tastes better with wine
enjoying the shrimp at blossom
it was a beautiful evening at Blossom
our other dates for the night…Sophie and her pals
the cleveland orchestra was great as always


Shrimp with Red Onions, Lemon and Mayonnaise

  • Peel and boil as many shrimp as you are going to use.
  • Chill completely
  • Thinly slice LOTS of red onions.  Add to chilled shrimp
  • Squeeze a fresh lemon or more and add to shrimp and onions.
  • Add mayonnaise to get to the consistency that you want.  Creamy, but not too much.
  • Add just a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Let chill for several hours, the flavor develops as it chills.