tomato basil mussels

We tend to eat quite a few mussels in the Kootenay Spice kitchen. As many of you may know, we also go through quite a bit of garlic, basil and tomatoes. It should be no surprise then, that these flavours are one of our favourite ways to prepare mussels!

We actually use our basic bruschetta topping recipe, which is awesome for making traditional, toasted bread bruschetta. In fact, there is often quite a bit of mixture left over, so you may want to consider having a few rounds of toast and some grated mozza and parmessan on hand…

We will likely come back to this bruschetta-like topping in future recipe blog posts, as it is a simple yet very flavourful blend.

If you do not have any Rosemary Balsamic Drizzle on hand, reduced or regular balsamic vinegar will work too.


We also generally use fresh mussels, however our local grocer was out of stock when we were preparing this blog post, so frozen will have to do!

For this recipe you will need:


4 small-medium tomatoes (romas work best)
3-4 basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Rosemary Balsamic Drizzle
pinch of salt
1 pound mussels, fresh or frozen

Finely chop the tomatoes into 1/4 – 1/2” pieces. Set aside in a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.


Finely chop the basil and garlic.

Stir the basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic and salt into the diced tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate at least one, up to four hours.


If you are using fresh mussels, fill a large, deep skillet with a 1/2” of water and bring to a boil. Gently place the mussels in the water, cover and let steam for four minutes.

If you are using frozen mussels, do not use any water. Heat the empty pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Quickly empty the mussels into the pan and cover immediately. Let steam for four minutes.


Once the mussels have been cooked, remove from heat. Carefully remove the halves of shells that do not have a mussel attached. If some have fallen out of their shells in cooking, simply place them in an empty shell half.


Top each mussel with about 1 tablespoon of the bruschetta mixture. The mussel shells double as a built in spoon!

Serve immediately & enjoy!

sage oregano

spring gardening

It has been a very warm spring in the West Kootenay this year and we are thrilled for the extension of our Kootenay Spice gardening season! In the past week we’ve transplanted many of the plants we started indoors and have sowed seeds into most of our gardens.

Our lilacs are in full bloom.

dark purple lilacs

Our garlic should be ready to harvest in early-mid July.


We’ve planted potatoes in burlap bags. Roll the sides down at first and make the bag taller as the potatoes need mounding.


We’ve planted dozens of basil plants this year. We also have very healthy oregano and sage plants that are already well established.

basil 1

sage oregano

Our tomato plants are doing well and our pepper plants seem very healthy. The pepper seedlings require the most work, they don’t seem to like temperatures below 20˚C, so we are still bringing them in for the nighttime.


pepper seedlings

Scattered through our Kootenay Spice gardens are ‘guest rocks’ from our wedding last summer. Instead of a traditional guest book that would get tucked away, we opted for guests to sign rocks that we can enjoy every day in our gardens. And you know what? This rock is absolutely right, life sure is good together!

life is good rock

Happy gardening!