Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spanish-style Mussels with Spinach

I am blessed to have so many incredibly wonderful and supportive people in my life.  So many of these friends have been taste testers, recipe finders, and words of encouragement when I needed it most.

None so much as my family.  This group of people truly embodies what it means to put family first.  In some ways the "family" I see every day is a bit unique in that not all the members are actually my "blood relatives".  This group of 10 people come from different parts of the country, different religions and different generations, but there is one common thread and that is the love we share for one another.

Our two families came together almost two decades ago (yep I am dating the eldest sons) when my older brother met one of his now best friends his freshman year in high school.

Since then our families have grown together, loved together, mourned together and supported one another unconditionally.

Since we were all going to be in town for a brief moment in time we decided it was time for Emory to take a trip to see the amazing Christmas lights around Nashville after which the "family" would sit down to a feast together.

The lights were a hit and the food was to die for.  Michael had brought in fresh scallops, mussels and salmon from Pike's Market in Seattle so while one crew took the baby to see Christmas lights the rest of us hung back to get dinner ready.

What a meal it was!

 Back in the kitchen with Michael was a true treat for me and something I had been looking forward to since we made these plans.  Pan seared scallops with browned butter, smoked salmon, baked salmon with tomatoes, shallots and olives, a spinach salad with goat cheese and candied pecans and these......these delicious little treasures!

I am a huge mussels fan....I really like most any kind of shellfish, or really any kind of seafood for that matter, but never have I had mussels that melts in your mouth quite like these!  Absolute perfection!
With a heart full of love and gratitude one thing I am most thankful for this holiday season and all year long is the love and devotion shared between the Huggins and Jones'.  Much love to you all!

Spanish-style Mussels with Spinach

2 lbs Mussels
2 jalapeno peppers
1 lime
1.5 c coconut milk (unsweetened)
10 oz frozen spinach 
1 bunch cilantro (optional)
2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1/4 cup fresh oregano
1 cup vegetable stock
Pinch black pepper

Scrub mussels under cold running water, discard any open or with broken shells.
Wash and slice jalapenos in half, removing seeds. (wear gloves to do this)
Wash and zest the lime, and cut it in half.
In a medium pot, add coconut milk and greens, cook 3-5 minutes until the greens thaw and separate. 
Stir in cilantro if using, jalapenos, and lime zest. Squeeze the lime juice into the pot. Add the tomatoes, oregano and pepper and bring to a simmer. 
I added about a cup of vegetable stock to mine to thin it out a little bit.
Add the mussels, stir, and cover the pot.  
Let cook 4-6 minutes until the mussels have opened - discard any which don't open.
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