Friday, September 23, 2011



"Giver of Light" light switch cover


Thank you Kimberly

Strange title for a blog post huh? There is method to my madness. I’ve been hungry lately. I mean really hungry. It might be attributed to the change in weather we have had in Virginia this week, but whatever it is, I have been cooking constantly all week. The brisk air has also given me an added boost and I’ve been in the studio round the clock (when not in the kitchen) So, this week, I’m presenting my recipe for Mussels. I know not everyone likes mussels but it seems that those who do, really love them. I also am presenting my “Giver of Light” light switch cover. They have been very popular but I don’t seem to get around to making them very often for some reason. This one is much more contemporary looking than the others I have created but I like the change.


Living in a farm community in the Loire Valley in France, as I did years ago, presented a few small problems. Almost every night as I dined at quaint restaurants, the owners would have the windows wide open. The aroma from the manure fertilizers that the French farmers used competed with the bouquet of the fabulous French food.

Mussels were served on a regular basis at most of these restaurants. One restaurant in particular served the absolute best mussels I have ever eaten. It took me many tries to be able to duplicate the special sauce they served with the mussels. When I lived at home, my father always referred to these stocks or sauces as “commonstock” I don’t know where that name originated but I still use it. The commonstock in this case is made from basil, wine and heavy cream. Still, there is one missing ingredient. No matter how hard I try, I cannot replicate the fertilizer aroma!

These are sooooo good!

Here is my rendition of that wonderful dish.

Serves 12 as a first course, 6 as a main course.

6 lbs. mussels. Mussels must be closed when you buy them. Wash them and throw away any that are not closed or do not close with a tap on opening. After cooking, throw any away that have not opened.

3 medium onions
6-10 garlic cloves. I use whole bulb.
2 sticks of unsalted butter or a bit more if needed plus a little olive oil
2 cup of white wine. I have heard that Alsatian Gewurztraminer wine is the best to use. I have tried a lot of different wines. Acidic wine from the Loire Valley is very good as well.
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
3 cups fresh basil
Salt and pepper
a small handful of capers.
3 bottles clam juice-8 oz each

l. Cook onion and garlic in butter and oil over low heat till softened. About 3-5 minutes. Add mussels.

2. Add wine and clam juice and cook covered over high heat till mussels open wide. About 6-8 minutes

3. Transfer the mussels to large pasta bowls and put commonstock into food processor or blender along with the cream, basil and pepper mixture. Blend till smooth. Add capers and season Pour over the mussels. Definitely have a good crusty bread for dunking or serve over pasta, preferably homemade.

Another view of "Giver of Light"

“Giver of Light” switch cover is $55. Please e-mail me if you’d like to purchase.

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  1. Giver of light is a new amazing creation of your varied talent.
    Have a nice weekend,
    hugs Anja

  2. Loving your Giver of Life, it has a Mackintosh feel about it which I love. Wow those mussels look wonderful, enjoy. Have a great weekend, Annette x

  3. lovely. Mussels look great and brought back a happy memory of digging for mussels in the sand with my Mother.Hugs and wishes for a joy filled weekend.

  4. When did you say the mussels will be ready to serve? I want to make sure that I am one of the first 6-12 people in line. ;-) As for the givers of light, my purple giver of light loves lighting my bedroom and I love her!
    as always, Trish

  5. I love, love, love your creative genius. You have a wonderfully unique talent when it comes to constructing food and/or art.

  6. The mussels look delicious. “Giver of Light” is a gorgeous piece with the perfect title.

  7. A Goddess in the kitchen as well Cheryl! The mussels look divine, I can almost smell them from here!
    Your 'giver of light' is fabulous and reminds of Troika pottery xx

  8. Love your new creation Cheryl . However I just can't acquire a taste for any kind of seafood. Maybe because I was raised on a farm no where near the ocean or fresh fish.

  9. I love how you place so much in your art! Awesome!

  10. Cheryl your "Giver of Light" is gorgeous, have a nice weekend.

  11. Thanks so much for the sounds divine!

    Your Givers of Light piece is amazing!

  12. I love mussels too Cheryl. In the Philippines we cook it with coconut milk or sometimes we grill them. You made me long for one too. :)

  13. I am not a mussel lover. Once I was ill after a meal with mussels and I am scared now!!!!!! Good to hear that you are full with energy......

  14. Beautiful, Cheryl! Your light covers are such unique treasures!

    I too have been ravenous these days! I must be the change in temps ... I crave comfort foods. I LOVE mussels!! There is a great restaurant in Pullman that serves up the most mouthwatering appetizers of these guys. They are steamed in a fabulous garlic broth, rich with butter and herbs, that I could eat up like a soup!! And I do! :)) Oh, now I am hungry ...

    Wishing you a beautiful and blissful weekend!

  15. Hi work is always so mesmerizing and fantastical...and amazing..awesome my friend!! Love it...and yum..beautiful mussels...enjoy!!

  16. I absolutely, truly, positively love this light switch cover! Do you remember me spouting off and saying I switch plates were on my list? I still haven't done them...but I think you have given me the kick in the ass I needed! I have 2 metal covers I bought for a quarter last year...I am going to get to them before the year is up. Thanks Cheryl. For being so inspiring.
    And for eating mussels. Someone has to do it, lol.

  17. Leave it to creative YOU to turn a utilitarian object into a beautiful work of art!!! OMG, Cheryl! Your light switch Goddes is amazing . . . truly unique and so gorgeous!!! (Have I added enough superlatives???)

    Thanks so much for your B'day wishes! We had a fabulous time in New England. Lots of sunshine after weeks of rain, a bit of ocean gazing, lots of family and tons of shopping and photography. Even had a lobster dinner in ME on my special day!!!

    Can't wait to see what's been keeping you busy in your studio!!! Hugs, Terri xoxo

  18. hahaha your so funny Cheryl, I don't think you need to recreate every smell. LOL. My DH Loves mussles. I guess its an acquired taste.

    On the other hand I Love your switchplate cover its gorgeous and so full of texture.
    hugs Lynn


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