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Jacques Pépin’s Mussels in Hot Sauce

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This quick-and-easy mussels dish is from celebrated chef Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook.

I love mussels most when they are plump and full. The season may vary depending on where you live, but usually the shells are really full in late spring. Store-bought mussels are cultivated, usually grown on ropes, and they are quite clean.

I like medium-to-large mussels (about 18 per pound), as heavy as possible, which is an indication of quality. In this recipe, mussels are cooked until they open and then the empty halves of the shells are discarded. The juices are turned into a spicy sauce flavored with cilantro and the mussels served on the half shell with the sauce poured over.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds mussels (about 30), full and heavy
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tsp. Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. potato starch, dissolved in 2 tbs. water
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Wash the mussels in a bowl of cold water, rubbing them against one another, and remove the beards, if any.

Place the mussels in a deep saucepan along with the wine, hot sauce, oils, and soy sauce. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, shaking the pan to move the mussels around. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until all the mussels have opened.

Pull off the empty shells, discarding them, and arrange the mussels on the half shell in two soup plates.

Add the potato starch mixture to the juices in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, and stir in the cilantro. Pour over the mussels and serve immediately.

Excerpted from JACQUES PÉPIN QUICK & SIMPLE © 2020 by Jacques Pépin. Photography © 2020 by Tom Hopkins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. 


Jacques Pépin
is a French-born American chef and the author of several cookbooks, including the new JACQUES PÉPIN QUICK & SIMPLE.

Credit: Tom Hopkins

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Health & Fitness

STRONG BODY, STRONG MIND: Let’s Go Streaking

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I completed my 96th consecutive day of running today. In the past three months, I’ve logged about 185 miles.

This may or may not sound impressive to you. But for me, the part of this story that is the most bewildering is that for 96 days straight — no matter the weather (it’s been a hot and steamy summer; it’s August as I write) and no matter my mood (overwhelmingly anxious) — I have run at least one mile every day.

As someone who doesn’t identify as a “runner,” this is just wild.

The idea came to me last May. I’d spent the previous two months going on long daily walks, which was one way I coped with the early days of the pandemic. Turning one mile out of my four-mile loop into a run seemed like a good way to pick up the pace while increasing the difficulty.

This commitment lasted a couple of weeks, until a stormy day gave me an excuse to skip running and walking altogether. After 16 days of running, I patted myself on the back, lay back on the couch, and opened Instagram.

That’s when I saw one of a series of articles by my friend (and Experience Life contributor) Elizabeth Millard about the Runner’s World Run Streak, for which she profiled people who ran daily for weeks, months, even years! I was blown away. It turned out my little running experiment was nothing novel — and it even had a name.

A “run streak,” I discovered, refers to the number of consecutive days you go for a run. According to the United States Running Streak Association, all it takes is one mile per calendar day. As I dug deeper, I was inspired by seasoned streakers, including one woman who was working toward a 1,000-day streak.

On May 18, after my single day off, I recommenced with Day 1.

In doing so, I didn’t have a plan. I still just wanted to aim for a mile a day, at whatever pace felt right. I didn’t have an end date in mind: I figured my body would let me know when it was done. I promised myself that I’d listen.

Through the rest of May, June, and July, I ran my mile. At the beginning of August, on a whim, I signed up for the Twin Cities in Motion’s Looniacs Challenge to run 100 miles that month.

Now I was upping the ante by committing to increasing my daily distance from one mile to about three. It seemed like a big jump, but I was tempted — and still committed to listening to my body and stopping when it said enough.

Recovery — through proper nutrition, sleep, stress management, mobility work, and true rest — is always critical, no matter my activity. But over the years I’ve learned that recovering from runs is more challenging for me than recovering from other workouts. Although my mind loves running, my body isn’t always a fan.

So I doubled down on my recovery routine and focused on varying my running routes, distances, and intensity as much as I could.

I continued to cross-train, strength-training three times a week and doing brief yoga sessions almost daily. I’m convinced that my long history of strength, conditioning, and mobility work has supported me in my run-streak experience.

As occasional discomfort cropped up, I paid attention and took action. I invested in new running shoes and professional bodywork that I could maintain on my own. I listened to my body, yes, but I heeded my mind, too. My mind wanted to run. It wanted to know how far and how long I could go.

To date, the answer is 96 days and 185 miles. A part of me hopes that when you read this, I’ll still be streaking and feeling amazing. Perhaps I’ll be running my miles through snowdrifts, perhaps on a treadmill. Or perhaps my mind and body will have agreed to stop well before the season turned.

Either way, I’m grateful for the consistency that streaking has given me these last few months.

Each day, I’m guaranteed a workout, even if it’s just a 12-minute jog around my neighborhood. Each day, I find success by completing something hard, no matter how small or insignificant a mile might seem in the grand scheme.

And each day has been a reminder that small, hard things done consistently can amount to something huge — something that once might have been impossible.

This originally appeared as “Let’s Go Streaking” in the January/February 2021 print issue of Experience Life.

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