This last week I was in Los Angeles for coffee training and to visit the coffee roasters we are going to use in our new coffee shop. It was a nice change because for once in a long time, we actually got to feel like things were progressing for the coffee shop. The last few months in San Antonio, things have been at a standstill dealing with the city trying obtain permits needed for construction. We still have not been able to start any construction work at the new retail location and it sometimes feels like it will never happen –which is quite depressing and stressful since we have a lot of money and time invested in this endeavor. I am sorry I have not been blogging much. Life has seemed so gloomy and with all the coffee shop stress and it’s been hard to find time to blog about decorating inspiration. :( I know things will get better — I just hope it happens soon.
Los Angeles was a much needed get away and a very positive experience. I got to spend quite a bit of time with my best friend there, Dave Young, who own’s Dave’s Catering. Dave’s Catering is an innovative catering company in Hollywood that puts on spectacular events including celebrity dinners, parties and weddings. Dave started Dave’s Catering 4 years ago when I first met him and it’s inspiring to see how much it’s grown since inception. Even since I last moved from Los Angeles 7 months ago, Dave’s Catering has progressed exponentially including having more than 30 events during December!! 30 parties in one month is insane!! I am so happy for Dave because he’s a risk taker and a hard worker and Dave deserves all the success he’s achieved! Hopefully all our hard work in the coffee shop will start to see positive results soon as well.
While I was staying with Dave in LA, Dave gave me some great cooking tips and we even cooked a few meals together. I took lots of pictures and notes and will be sharing all with you!
One of my favorite meals were Dave’s mussels. I had always wanted to cook mussels at home but was hesitant. Even though it only takes a few minutes, cooking seafood hidden in shells seemed risky. I am glad Dave showed me how because it was easy! And it’s also a relatively cheap meal to make which is a plus. The mussels for the batch we made cost $6. And since Dave already had the remaining ingredients in his pantry and fridge, there were not any additional costs.
- 1 Pound of Mussels
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups of wine or champagne (Dave usually uses champagne but we used leftover white wine for this time)
- 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/8 cup butter
- 1/8 cup olive oil
Step one: CLEAN, ClEAN and CLEAN! The only small hassle with cooking mussels at home is cleaning them. The exterior of the shells have hair and dirt and must be cleaned thoroughly since the shells are cooked in the broth that will be consumed. Clean the mussels with a brush or abrasive sponge removing as much dirt and hair as possible. Then soak for 15 minutes. Repeat this process 1-2 times until as clean as possible. Remember to leave the shells closed since they will pop open when cooking. Also be careful because the sides of the mussels are sharp. Dave actually cut himself making these. It was just a small paper sized cut but regardless…be careful.
While the mussels are soaking, prep the veggies by chopping the garlic, shallot and tomato.
Melt butter with olive oil on medium heat in medium to large pan on stovetop. One of Dave’s tips to avoid burning is to always add a dash of olive oil whenever using butter. Dave says the olive oil helps reduce the volatility in butter.
Once melted, add the garlic, shallot and tomato. Continue cooking on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the wine or champagne.
Cook for one minute and then add cream.
Cook for 2-3 more minutes. (Optional addition at this point: salt and pepper. Taste and see if it is necessary or in line with your taste buds. We added just a dash of salt and pepper.)
The next step is important…COVER POT WITH LID!!! Covering with lid creates a steam which cooks the mussels thoroughly.
Keep pan covered with lid but check every minute on progress.
Immediately some mussels should start opening up.
Within about 5 minutes, all mussels should open up. Once they are all opened, this is an indicator they are cooked completely and ready to eat.
Eat and enjoy!
One of the things I enjoy most about mussels is dipping bread in the sauce! And Dave made homemade bread because he is of course AMAZING!
Doesn’t that look unreal!? What until you try to make these mussels yourself.! So easy. And the best part is most of the ingredients can be substituted. The beauty of making mussels is that the sauce is very forgiving and flexible. Feel free to use whatever leftovers you have. We used white wine but champagne or even red wine could be used. Also we used shallots for this version but onions certainly could have been utilized. And lastly, tomatoes could have been substituted for something else or omitted completely.
I can’t wait to share all the other recipes Dave taught me with you. Just to tease you a little here are some of Dave’s recipes I’ll share with you the next few weeks…
Homemade bread, Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Onion Soup Pot Roast, Brown Onion Gravy, Roasted Eggplant Chips, Homemade Mozzarella and Caprese Salad and Coconut Pudding.
If you are in the Los Angeles area or just want to know more about Dave, check out his blog here.