Saturday nights. I've never been much for going out. Even in college I was just as likely to be at home hanging out in my dorm, or at the library studying, than out at a party. I've never owned a fake ID, have been to a night club exactly once, and don't really like going to bars because it's too loud to have a conversation. I recently took one of those silly online quizzes and it predicted my age as ten years older than my actual age, based on my answers to questions such as "what do you do when you're invited to a friend's birthday party that starts at a bar at 9:30 at night?" (My answer: "decline, without thinking twice about it.") So, this is all a long-winded way of saying that my Saturday nights weren't very exciting even before Charlotte was born. Paul and I would normally go to dinner and/or a movie, or have dinner with friends, but we rarely stayed out past 11. Since Charlotte's been here, our Saturday nights have gotten even more boring. One day we'll start leaving her with my parents and getting out again (right, mom and dad?), but for now we stay home.
This Saturday, the three of us went shopping, we put Charlotte to bed, and a little after 8 I started on the mussels. The hardest part, by far, was standing and cleaning each mussel. (Did everyone do this? Was it necessary? Mine were farm raised and not actually the least bit sandy or dirty.) After that, the recipe came together very quickly. We didn't have wine open and were too tired to open a bottle (see my above comments on how boring I am!), so I used a combination of apple cider and sherry in its place. Mussels aren't my favorite, I'm not a big fan of the consistency, but I love the flavor they give the broth, and happily ate slice after slice of country bread dipped in broth. I actually ate some mussels too, and for mussels they were pretty darn good. We both liked the flavor the sherry gave the broth. To go with these I made a green bean and sugar snap pea recipe from my new Ottolenghi cookbook. It stole the show. Easy and delicious. I'm really looking forward to cooking more from that book. By the time we finished dinner and dessert it was almost 10 o'clock and time for bed. Another exciting Saturday!
On another note, several of you asked about my brother-in-law's horseradish whipped cream that I mentioned last week, so I made Paul call Scott (or, the brother formerly known as the Kept Dad) tonight to try to get a recipe out of him. Scott and I have opposite cooking styles--I follow recipes obsessively, and Scott's amazingly creative and just whips up things based on whatever he has at the house. (This skill comes in useful whenever we're in town. Paul loves to call Scott and demand he throw us fancy dinner parties on little-to-no notice.) So, of course, Scott didn't have a very precise recipe for the whipped cream. He said to steep some prepared horseradish in some heavy cream (when pressed for amounts, he suggested about 1 tablespoon horseradish to 1 cup of cream, but definitely go on taste) for several hours or even overnight. When you're ready to serve, strain the cream and then whip it. That's it. He said you can serve it on anything: steak, scallops, soup. He does these seared scallops in those fancy appetizer spoons with the horseradish whipped cream on top that are just excellent.