One thing I loved about my job as a freelancer was that I constantly challenged myself in the kitchen. Because the site I wrote for relied heavily on social media networks like Pinterest for traffic, we were constantly having to come up with extremely unique and innovative recipes. Now that I’ve quit the world of freelancing and am just cooking for pleasure, food and my blog, I’ve sort of hit a creative wall block when it comes to inspiring ideas.
Instead of scouring cookbooks, Pinterest, Food Gawker and G+ for ideas, I find myself reverting back to classics that don’t need a laundry list of ingredients or a whole lot of time. That might make me sound lazy, but when you’re working close to 50 hours a week for a very exhausting, creative job, a classic is all you can handle.
That or frozen pizza, which is what I ate yesterday, shamefully.
However, I will say I’m trying a lot harder to inspire myself to step outside of my comfort zone in the kitchen. As part of my goals, resolutions or inspirations, I’m trying to make blogging something I do for the love of it and something I do far more regularly than I used to. I’m happy it’s not something I rely on for a source of income, but I also want it to be something I’m proud of again, something that reflects who I am as a person, a cook and a foodie.
This recipe for garlic glams with butternut squash bisque isn’t new, in fact, I made it months ago for my Gluten-Free cookbook. Sadly it never made the cut (we already had too many mussel recipes) and I completely forget it existed. Can you believe that?This soup is the creamiest, smoothest and most amazing bisque I’ve ever had. Paired with buttery and garlic mussels, it’s like a dream team when it comes to flavor. In fact, I’m going to remake it this week for a fun little date night in. Too bad my husband doesn’t like seafood, more for me, I suppose!
Garlic and Butter Mussels over Butternut Squash Bisque
Serves about 4. Soup adapted from All Recipes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
For the mussels:
- 3 pounds fresh mussels
- 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- Cracked black pepper
- Fresh sea salt
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup chopped onions
- 1/4 cup chopped leeks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped orange carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow carrots
- 4 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish
- Cracked black pepper and salt
- To make the soup, heat the butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic and onions. Stirring constantly, heat the vegetables until soft and fragrant, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add in the carrots and squash. Heat another 3 – 5 minutes, or until they just start to soften.
- Pour the chicken broth, salt and pepper over the vegetables. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, or vegetables are extremely tender. Remove from heat and pour into blender in batches until smooth and creamy. Whisk in heavy cream.
- To make the mussels, rinse them under cold water and scrub lightly to remove dirt and excess film from outside of the shells. Remove the mussel beards (or those loose hairs on the shells) and discard.
- In a large dutch oven or pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat. Add the green onions, garlic and leeks. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the mussels and toss with some tongs. Add in the white wine and the broth. Cover and let steam for about 10 minutes, or until the mussels start to open up. *While the mussels are steaming, it’s important to stir them around so the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom and the mussels are on contact with the heat.
- To serve, ladle the soup into four large bowls. Top with a hefty spoonful of mussels and drizzle with remaining melted butter (from the mussels. Garnish with fresh herbs.
Nutritional information per serving:
Fat: 22.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 26.25 grams
Fiber: 2.8 grams
Protein: 32 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 11