Thai Curry Mussels

It was not too long ago when fresh mussels were on sale at one of our local grocery stores. In the past, I typically would buy them frozen, then steam them but as they were fresh, I decided I would go all in. It was my kids last day of school, and I figured I would throw it out there and see if they would be keen on the idea of having them as an end of year celebration. Low and behold they did and I decided to buy a few pounds of mussels. What’s funny is that one of my pickiest of eaters (he’s getting much better) was stoked about eating them. So I arrived home, and got to work. At first I thought I would do a simple wine and butter sauce to steam the mussels in, but then I quickly turned my attention to making a killer Thai curry and coconut broth, introducing something a bit different to them. These Thai curry mussels had just the right amount of heat that did not distract from the flavor of the mussels, and my kid ate a ton of them.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 can of Thai green curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 lbs fresh mussels

Simple stuff here, and feel free to use other types of curry paste. I used the prik king curry paste from Maesri which is a spicy ginger style of curry paste, and one that I really like, but feel free to use their red or yellow paste if you have that in stock.

To a large pot, large enough to house the mussels, get the heat going on medium heat. Add the canola oil and bring it to a light smoke, only a couple of minutes, then add in the green curry paste. Stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add in the coconut milk, and water, and stir to incorporate and break down the curry paste. Once this comes to a simmer, add in the mussels.

Make sure that all of the mussels are closed, and feel free to scrub off any exterior beard material from the mussels ahead of time should they not already be cleaned.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Stir the mussels into the coconut curry mixture, then cover, and cook and steam the mussels until they all open up.

Please note, that any mussels that do not open up, then discard.

Once the mussels are all opened, pour the mussels and broth into a large serving bowl and dig in.

Feel free to serve these with some nice crusty bread, or spoon the broth over some cooked jasmine rice.

It was funny watching my oldest go to town on these. He could not stop eating them, and he loved the spice from the broth. These Thai curry mussels were a great way to end the school year that’s for certain. Hope you enjoy!

Rhubarb Jam

Rhubarb has been in abundance at our local farmer’s market these last few weeks. We purchased a plant last year and are waiting to harvest the rhubarb, most likely next year, so I decided to buy some from our favorite farmers. When growing up, we had a small rhubarb patch in the backyard, and I recall eating it raw for the most part. It was sour and extremely tart, and as a kid that was right up my alley. However later as I began to experiment with rhubarb, I knew that cooking this vegetable down with sugar was the route to take. So with this recent batch, I decided to make a simple rhubarb jam, and I am glad that I did. We’ve been using this jam on toast for breakfast, as well as drizzles over cheese and crackers. It has that perfect balance of sweet with subtle tartness that has you wanting more.

Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Ball’s canning jars, boiled in water for 5 minutes
  • 4 large ribs of rhubarb, cleaned, and diced
  • 3 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • pinch of salt

Start by adding the rhubarb, sugar, water, and lemon zest to a large stock pot. Let that mixture rest in the pot, off of the heat, for about an hour to let things meld. Heat the pot over medium heat, and stir, cooking for about 20 minutes, letting it come to a small boil. Continue to stir.

Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Continue to cook until your jam begins to thicken. Make sure you stir the rhubarb frequently to prevent the sugars from burning on the bottom.

Once thickened, I use a stick blender and blend this all together to pulse and blend the softened chunks of rhubarb. This also thickens the jam into a perfect consistency.

Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe
Simple Rhubarb Jam Recipe

Once blended, carefully pour into the sterilized jars, let cool, then seal and place into the refrigerator to chill. Once this has fully chilled, do as you please. We’ve been using the rhubarb jam on toast, peanut butter sandwiches, and drizzled over soft cheese. It’s good. REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

Candied Ginger

Recently I visited a local grocery store in town called Cermak. I’ll state that I pretty much love this place, especially their produce section. You can pretty much get anything you want at this place as it is also an ethnic market. On this recent trip I ended up buying, among other things, a huge chunk of ginger. At that time I had no idea what I was going to make with it.  At first I thought I was going to make a ginger paste and use if for a bunch of Indian cooking I’ve been doing lately, but that’s when I decided to change gears and try to make a candied ginger. Good idea? Yes.

Candied Ginger Recipe
Candied Ginger Recipe

This stuff is not only way too easy to make, but it lends for a spicy, and sweet snack. I’ve minced it up and put it in sauces, marinades, and even smoothies. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • About 3 cups of thinly sliced ginger, peeled
  • Water to cover
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • Reserved ginger water
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • Wire rack

You get a couple of win wins on this recipe. Once you get to reserve the ginger water, which can be used in drinks, or smoothies, and you get the ginger simple syrup. What’s not to love about that!

Start by peeling your ginger. This is probably the only time intensive part. You can use the back of a spoon to accomplish this, or a pairing knife. I’ll let you decide. Once you have the ginger peeled, take a sharp knife, and slice the ginger into very thin slices. Try to be consistent on this process. I went with about a 1/4 inch.

Take the sliced ginger and place them into a pot, covering them with water. Add in a pinch of salt for good luck.

Bring this to a simmer, and cook to tenderize the ginger for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, or so, take out about 1/2 cup of the water and set it to the side. Strain the water (feel free to reserve it for later drinking or mixing into drinks), and return the sliced ginger back to the pot.

Add in 1 cup of the sugar and reserved 1/2 cup of water. Bring the pot to a medium-low heat and cook for about 45 minutes. This is where things will get interesting, allowing the sugar to dissolve and meld into the ginger. It’s fun to say the least.

Candied Ginger Ingredients
Candied Ginger Ingredients

Strain the ginger once again, and reserve that syrup for later use as well. It’s golden and delicious and is perfect to use in your summertime cocktails. Here is the next time intensive (not really) process. Lay out a baking sheet, placing a wire wrack over it. Take each slice of ginger and lay it on the rack to cool. This takes about 1 hour or so.

Take the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and place it into a mixing bowl. Take the slices of slightly cooled ginger and add them to the bowl, shaking, and coating the ginger along the way. You want full coverage here. Return the sugar coated ginger back onto the rack, and let them air dry overnight, or at least 4 hours.

Now you are ready to store. I store mine in a large mason jar that can be sealed, and placed into my spice cabinet. Feel free to eat them freely, or use them in sauces, baked goods, etc. They last for a few months, and that is always great when you are looking for that sweet heat from ginger. Hope you enjoy!

Candied Ginger
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • About 3 cups of thinly sliced ginger, peeled
  • Water to cover
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • Reserved ginger water
  • 1½ cups of granulated sugar
  • Wire rack
Instructions
  1. You get a couple of win wins on this recipe. Once you get to reserve the ginger water, which can be used in drinks, or smoothies, and you get the ginger simple syrup. What’s not to love about that!
  2. Start by peeling your ginger. This is probably the only time intensive part. You can use the back of a spoon to accomplish this, or a pairing knife. I’ll let you decide. Once you have the ginger peeled, take a sharp knife, and slice the ginger into very thin slices. Try to be consistent on this process. I went with about a ¼ inch.
  3. Take the sliced ginger and place them into a pot, covering them with water. Add in a pinch of salt for good luck.
  4. Bring this to a simmer, and cook to tenderize the ginger for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, or so, take out about ½ cup of the water and set it to the side. Strain the water (feel free to reserve it for later drinking or mixing into drinks), and return the sliced ginger back to the pot.
  5. Add in 1 cup of the sugar and reserved ½ cup of water. Bring the pot to a medium-low heat and cook for about 45 minutes. This is where things will get interesting, allowing the sugar to dissolve and meld into the ginger. It’s fun to say the least.
  6. Strain the ginger once again, and reserve that syrup for later use as well. It’s golden and delicious and is perfect to use in your summertime cocktails. Here is the next time intensive (not really) process. Lay out a baking sheet, placing a wire wrack over it. Take each slice of ginger and lay it on the rack to cool. This takes about 1 hour or so.
  7. Take the remaining ½ cup of sugar and place it into a mixing bowl. Take the slices of slightly cooled ginger and add them to the bowl, shaking, and coating the ginger along the way. You want full coverage here. Return the sugar coated ginger back onto the rack, and let them air dry overnight, or at least 4 hours. Shake off any excess sugar before storing.
  8. Now you are ready to store. I store mine in a large mason jar that can be sealed, and placed into my spice cabinet. Feel free to eat them freely, or use them in sauces, baked goods, etc.

 

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

One of the things I truly love is snacking. I could snack all day long, however I find that my snacking time is really only after work. My go to snacks are pretty much cheese, hummus, or kettle style chips. As the cheese and chips are not all that great for me, I decided to turn things up a bit and make some simple skillet fried chickpeas, or garbanzo beans.  Chickpeas after all are what I use to make hummus, and as I have roasted them in the oven in the past I wanted to do something a bit different with them this time. This is where a bit of oil, cloves of garlic, and a can of chickpeas came into play.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs
Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and lightly patted to dry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, skin removed, lightly smashed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • salt to taste

Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the oil and let it come to temperature, a couple of minutes.

Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs
Skillet Fried Chickpeas with Garlic and Herbs

Next add in the chickpeas and garlic, and give this a good toss. Continue to cook, and toss at this temperature for about 20 minutes, or until they become nice and crispy. Once crispy, season with salt and thyme, giving them another good toss.

Serve immediately. The result is a great crispy exterior, with a creamy interior along with great garlic notes (feel free to eat the garlic), and a salty thyme flavor that have you going back for more. This is truly a great after work snack, and one that is good for you to boot! Hope you enjoy.