Did you know that yesterday was Belgian Independence Day? No, you did not. Did you, like me, think, Congratulations, Belgium! Uh...independence from whom? I mean really, would you know without looking? My guess was France, but it turns out to be the Netherlands. I blame They Might Be Giants for never having written a song about it.
This is exactly the type of tidbit you come across when almost all of your knowledge of the outside world is filtered through food blogs, in this case, the kitchn. I'm usually pretty organized about my weekly menu, but when I saw that post and realized I had some mussels in the freezer, I knew that this year we would be adding Belgian Independence to the list of "extremely tenuous reasons to celebrate with themed food and drink." Seriously, though, Belgium is known as "The Land of Beer and Chocolate." You know I didn't make that up because I could never have even conceived of a world where such a fairyland existed. Why not go ahead and throw July 21st in with St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo?
There are a lot of reasons to like Belgium. A) waffles B) they have like 20 major political parties, and their Green Party has an exclamation point in its name because they are so pumped up about the environment C) the only Belgian I ever spent significant time with had a huge chip on her shoulder about speaking French with a Belgian accent, and as a Texan, I relate (because I also speak French with a Belgian accent) D) THEIR WHOLE THEME IS BEER AND CHOCOLATE.
Anyway, mussels. I had never cooked mussels before, but it's really easy if you just get the frozen package and don't have to deal with cleaning them up. They definitely looked pretty for a first attempt.
I even bought a fancy kind of pepper I had never heard of before.
They were sort of half successful. The flavors were really good together, and the mussels were good if you didn't get any of the broth vegetables in the bite, otherwise it was crazy salty. I think it's possible that Dan and I, being uncultured, were approaching it more like a soup than a salt bath for the protein. I have no idea. It was very salty. I think I would try it again with half the capers and twice the Belgian ale on the side. To...wash down the salt.
All in all, thanks, Belgium! I'll try to remember you again next July.
Anna, who is never sick, is sick. Can you tell?
We had to cancel our first ever playgroup at the house because at this point she's just covering every surface with snot and I don't want to involve any additional surfaces in the form of other babies. I always figured hey, she's not talking or walking or getting most of the food to her mouth, but at least she's healthy as a horse. Now I don't know. "But at least her fingernails grow really fast"? I'll work on it.