Steamed Mussels With Wheat Beer and Basil

There are very few foods that deliver as much bang for your buck as fresh mussels. They are crazy cheap and when cooked well, one of the most delicious proteins that can be plucked from the sea.

Seared Scallops with Chili-Lime Butter, Pea Purée and Crispy Pancetta

Seared Scallops with Jalapeno-Lime Butter, Pea Purée and Crispy Pancetta
Seared Scallops with Jalapeno-Lime Butter, Pea Purée and Crispy Pancetta

Britain is a big old seaside with a few towns in the middle, and while we were there, we often had excellent seared scallops when we ate out. This is our attempt to recreate this dish, served over pureed peas with crisped pancetta.

In the spirit of curmudgeonliness, here’s the real history of Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine

On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., a Roman priest named Valentine was executed.

A little background: Emperor Claudius II (not the stuttering one) had a problem. He was having trouble maintaining a strong… military (not a euphemism, for once). For some reason the men of Rome were reluctant to join an army led by a man whose nickname was ‘Claudius the Cruel’. Go figure.

Claudius presumed it was because of their strong attachment to their wives and families, so he did what any reasonable ruler would do. He banned all marriages and engagements in Rome.

Valentine, hoping his name would one day be synonymous with chalky chocolates and teddy bears holding roses, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

That is until he was arrested and beaten to death with clubs. And then his head was cut off.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Simple and Delicious Fried Rice

Simple and Delicious Fried RiceI might have mentioned that we’ve had a lot of company this summer. Like, a lot. And while we both love entertaining and cooking for a crowd (seriously, we’re so, so nerdy about it), it can be quite draining. So now that summer’s over and we’re back on our own, all we seem to be craving are the simplest, easiest, quickest things we can come up with. I mean quick like a sliced tomato sprinkled with Maldon salt and topped with a basil leaf. Or a slice of bread topped with mango chutney and melted cheddar. That kind of quick.

Though for some unfathomable reason, Matt frowns on my I’m-too-tired-to-even-care dinner, which is frozen peas eaten directly out of the bag. See, it’s genius because they defrost as you chew them. Oddly enough, Matt made that same exact face when he caught me in the… act.

Anyway, for those of you who I haven’t traumatized, I’m going to tell you something shocking. Are you ready? If you have some cold, leftover rice in your fridge, you are seconds away from a delicious, healthy dinner. That’s right. Seconds. Okay, minutes, but making fried rice is still crazy quick.

And once you know the method, this homemade version will be so much better than the greasy, soggy kind that you get free with your Chinese take-out.

Simple and Delicious Fried Rice

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