Mr. Muscles Making Mussels

When people ask me how Chris and I met, I say we met 14 years ago before the start of our senior year at Notre Dame. When I first saw him in the parking lot of a bank I thought he was the HOTTEST GUY I’D EVER SEEN. Perfect tan, sparkling eyes, handsome face, strong body. Many years and many kids later, I still think he is the most attractive man on the face of our planet.

This might sound old fashioned, but I love that Chris is strong enough to protect me. Yes, the feminist in me reminds me that I can protect myself, but in a primal way its nice to know that if a saber tooth tiger or woolly mammoth charged towards me Chris would ninja kick it into oblivion. Same thing goes for a drunk loser on the street or a scary home intruder. Seriously, who would mess with these guns?!

Much to our kids’ horror and delight, Chris is strong enough to do push ups with all four of them on his back or lift them up to the ceiling. Mr. Muscles!

Aside from bacon, scrambled eggs, occasional lemon pancakes and about 400 gallons of hot tea a week, Chris doesn’t do much in the kitchen. However, one of his recent specialties is a super delicious mussels recipe from one of our favorite Chicago restaurants, The Publican. Everything on the menu is outstanding, but every time we go we order the mussels, so we were thrilled when we found the recipe on-line. With a few small tweaks Chris is starting to make a version all his own.

Mr. Muscles making mussels makes me merry!

Publican’s Mussels

1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of sliced celery
1 tablespoon of sliced garlic
1 tablespoon of sliced shallot
1 fresh bay leaf
1 teaspoon of picked thyme
½ teaspoon of chili flake
2 pounds of mussels
3-4 ounces of gueuze (a sour beer available at most large wine & beer outlets)- we use any Belgian beer as gueuze is hard to find and expensive
2 tablespoons of butter – we use 4 tablespoons because butter is DELICIOUS
2 tablespoons of chopped celery leaf
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
8-10 minutes before you want to serve, melt half of the butter in a 3 quarts sauce pot over high heat. Add celery, garlic, shallots, bay leaf, thyme, chili flake and sweat for a minute or two.
Add mussels to pot and stir to incorporate the ingredients. Add the gueuze and cover pot until all of the mussels open; about 4-5 minutes. Uncover pot and stir in the remaining butter.
Finish the mussels with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of lemon juice. Sprinkle the celery leafs over the top of the mussels and serve immediately with a hot, fresh baguette.
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