I mean, it's not a whole year, so it's not the longest I've ever been away...do they make trophies for that?
It's certainly not that I haven't been cooking, and it's certainly not that I haven't been eating, but most of my cooking is done for others, and most of my eating is done either over the sink as quickly as possible, or on the couch with the plate balanced on my chest whilst I am barely upright or awake. No one wants to read about that.
Every once in a while though, the mood strikes, and this time, I am hanging on with both hands, or however you hang on to moods, in the hopes that one post means two posts means regular posts. I make no promises!
For my triumphant return, I made mussels. Mussels are so great because they are so quick, and so versatile, and exciting enough to feel kind of fancy, despite very little effort. These particular mussels are based on a dish that used to be on the Neptune Oyster menu. My honey badgers LOVED these, and since Neptune switched up the menu, we've missed them a lot. I actually can't remember if the menu version had coconut milk in there, but I will add it to anything I can, so mine do.
Farmed mussels, which is what you will typically find in stores, are super easy to clean and prep. If you need a tutorial or reminder, here is a great one. Once that is done, the rest is just a bit of knife work and watching a pot do its thing. These are most certainly a week night meal, or fun enough to make for company, because they will be impressed!
I'm not gonna ramble on forever because you've been waiting long enough. But before we get to the recipe, some things about things:
What I am reading: Evicted by Matthew Desmond (Also, I would be remiss if I did not tell you about some of the other amazing books I have read this year: A Separation by Katie Kitamura, H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, Marlena by Julie Buntin, Hunger by Roxane Gay and Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong - I have been reading a lot, but these were really, truly lovely books.)
What I am listening to: My Favorite Murder Podcast, The Eater Upsell Podcast, Pod Save America, and of course, and always, Hamilton. (Also Brandi Carlisle, Leon Bridges and Beyonce.)
What I am watching: How many times can I watch 30 Rock before I should be embarrassed about it? I watched The Keepers on Netflix which was riveting and GLOW which was very enjoyable. My cousin points out that I am at least five years behind the rest of the tv watching population at all times, so I am just starting The Americans, but I am pretty excited about it.
What else I have been up to: I went to Montréal and I loved it. I loved the city, I love traveling by myself, and I REALLY loved Joe Beef, where I got to eat, TWICE. Who even am I? I've also been spending time with my best friend Charlie the dog, and trying to make myself into a runner again. I have a half marathon to do in October, and I am not doing this one without training (again.) I am trying to learn about wine (more than just that I like it) trying to improve my photography skills, and reading a whole lot.
What I have not been doing: Blogging, working out regularly, colluding with a foreign government. Some of those things, I hope to change.
What I am excited about: CUBA! Shan and I are celebrating 20 years of cracking each other up with a trip to Cuba. I have purchased caftans. It is gonna be great.
Red Curry Mussels
(serves two for a first course or snack, and one for a meal)
2 lbs mussels, cleaned and debearded
2 tbl canola oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tbl julienned ginger
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts minced, dark green parts reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbl red curry paste
1 tbl Asian fish sauce
1 tbl soy sauce
1 cup coconut milk
Juice and zest from half a lime, plus more to taste
Chopped cilantro, chopped toasted cashews and crusty bread or naan for serving
Make sure your mussels and cleaned and debearded, and set aside.
Heat canola oil over medium heat in a high-sided skillet or sauce pan. Add the garlic, ginger and minced scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatics are soft, 2-3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer and reduce buy half again, 5-6 minutes.
Add mussels to broth and cover. Mussels will open quickly, as they do, remove them to a bowl. When all mussels are open, set them aside as you finish the broth.
Stir red curry paste, fish sauce and soy sauce in to the broth, and simmer for a minute to allow the flavors to come together. Stir in coconut milk, simmer for a moment, then stir in juice from half a lime, and taste, adding the juice from the rest of the lime if you like it really limey! Add mussels back into the pan and toss into the broth to coat and heat the mussels.
Serve in a large bowl, and top with lime zest, sliced scallion greens, chopped cashews and chopped cilantro, with toasted naan (my fave) or really any other crusty bread for soaking up the broth. (Also a spoon, you may want to finish the broth with a spoon.)