Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mozza: Opening Night

Isabel savors Nancy Silverton's mussels 
Well, here we go again. Tonight I made the steamed mussels with tomato passata, chiles and herbs from Nancy Silverton's Mozza and they were fabulous -- garlicky, spicy, salty -- but only my husband and I would eat them. Isabel doesn't like shellfish, so she just ate the garlic toast and some tangerines. Owen dipped the garlic toast in the broth, but wouldn't eat the mussels. I ate the mussels but wouldn't -- well, didn't -- eat the garlic toast. My husband ate the toast and mussels both and washed them down with a big, fattening beer.

At least we all sat at the same table.

It's an outstanding recipe, easy and straightforward and delicious. Cook some garlic and scallions in olive oil, add white wine, tomato sauce, and mussels. Steam for 3 minutes, turn off the heat, and stir in masses of fresh oregano, basil, and chives. Serve with the aforementioned garlic toast. Here's the actual recipe. My one suggestion: If you don't love salt, cut the quantity called for by a half teaspoon. I do love salt and would describe the dish as super salty, which means a lot of people will find it far too salty.

I hadn't been all that excited about Mozza, which looked like just another Italian cookbook. Now I'm excited. Given ongoing slimming efforts, I'm not sure how to handle the pizzas, pastas, and rivers of olive oil running through its pages, but will figure it out as we go along.

Incidentally, Mozza is one of the titles competing in the Tournament of Cookbooks, which starts tomorrow and which I have been eagerly awaiting since the last one ended more than a year ago. Roz Chast is judging; I wonder if her verdict will appear in the form of a cartoon.

Most of you were very patient with The Best of the Best from California. Thank you. It was a horrid book. The minute Isabel chose it, I regretted telling her she could choose. But I could not renege.


  1. i wouldn't overreact to your cranky poster who hated best of california. she's right, of course, about the food. but you're not doing this to build some giant audience so you can sell anti-cholesterol ads on your blog, and most of us enjoy reading as much about your quirky family experiments as we do the food.
    just saying.

  2. I loved the Best of CA posts, all very funny and relatable. Just a note about pasta - my father is a diabetic and can't eat regular pasta. However, he can eat a low-carb brand called Dreamfields and I have to say it tastes like real pasta. 2oz = 5 carbs. I don't know if you have this brand where you are, but if you are trying to lose weight, and still want to include pasta on the menu, this is the brand to try. I think Amazon sells it, it's pricey. I promise I have no stock in the company.

  3. Hubby made clams for the first time in probably a couple of years. I was shocked at how many my 8 year old daughter ate. Maybe 15? They were pretty fishy too. The 5 year old, on the other hand, reluctantly agreed to chew a couple of times before spitting it out.

    So for the thumbs down books like Best of California, do you donate them when you are done? I wonder if your cookbook purchases would be tax deductable now that you are a cookbook author.

  4. Here are some unsolicited suggestions that you are free to ignore! In the "About Jennifer" section, I think the picture illustrating your massive cookbook collection would be appropriate and impressive to new visitors.

    I'd love to see a tab that discusses/illustrates your animal/farm family. I was especially drawn to your blog by your chicken, goat, bee and duck adventures.

    Finally, I would be interested in a post on how you organize that huge cookbook collection. Is it by author, subject matter, willy-nilly?

    I am so happy to read all of your new posts!

  5. Anonymous poster #1: Yes. That, exactly.
    Unless this blog is supporting your family, it's perfect as is. Food has seasons. And if you get one marvelous cake out of a cookbook, that's beating several that I have had.

    Dreaming of a day my kids might try mussels in any form.

  6. I just emailed the editors at Food52, suggesting that they consider you for the next panel of Piglet judges.

    Love this blog -- and feel free to write about your dieting woes. As someone who loves to cook and lives to bake but also wants to zip my jeans, I'm always ready to read about another cook's struggles to keep her body weight within the culturally accepted norms!

  7. What do you fix for vegan dinner guests who announce they are also watching calories?

  8. My pickiest eater went on a school trip to Italy and ate all sorts of things. Mussels was one of them. I don't even like mussels and I like fish.

    As for the vegetarians: quesedillas? I do this alot with my sister and brother in law, who try to eat vegetarian. You could make a quesedilla bar for everyone to put in their own filling, with meat and cheese for those who are not vegetarians and sauteed onions, bell peppers, beans, corn, etc.

  9. Re: Pasta--I boil a pound of whole wheat pasta, then divide in eight equal portions and freeze. This is a tragically small serving of pasta. Whenever I make delicious ordinary white pasta for my family, I save the pasta water and "refresh" my frozen whole wheat serving right after cooking theirs. It helps. The rivers of olive oil I can't help you with. The Mozza pizza is worth the calories.

  10. P.S. Try the ravioli with egg yolk and sage-brown butter. Make your own ricotta for it and use your lovely hens' eggs.

  11. PPS Think of your mom while rolling out the pasta

  12. I have been following the piglet religiously...you would be a perfect judge! I cannot believe Owen tried mussels. He has come a long way :)

  13. I have been following the piglet religiously...you would be a perfect judge! I cannot believe Owen tried mussels. He has come a long way :)

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