Monday, August 27, 2012

Coconut curry mussels and two years gone by

It’s my anniversary! Well, not mine

This weekend marked the two-year anniversary of Tasty Trials and although I’ve only managed to get a handful of posts up this month, I have to say that I’m shocked to have gone two years at all with any kind of regular frequency. See, I tend to be a project-starter but not so much a project-finisher, as evidenced by the countless boxes of crap crafts taking up space in the garage.

Thoughts like “I will be a scrapbook queen and document each and every moment of our lives with little bits of cutesy paper!” or “I can totally make handmade jewelry…think of how stylish and trendy I’ll be, at a fraction of the cost!” or “Abstract painting on canvas? Yes, I can definitely make some art worth hanging on our walls,” propel me to the nearest craft store to buy all the necessary fixings to accomplish these tasks. My grand plans quickly turn into dust collectors and my thoughts are replaced with things like, “I hate little bits of cutesy paper…stupid paper,” and “Why make homemade jewelry when there are perfectly good diamonds needing to be worn?” and “Huh, so there’s a lot more to this abstract painting business than I thought…maybe another glass of wine would help.”

Needless to say, I didn’t think this blog stood much of a chance when I hit that first publish button, but I seem to have finally found a project I can commit to. I don’t think there can ever be a defined “finish,” since there is always food to cook and words to write, and maybe that’s what I was always lacking in a project. It’s here when I want it to be, tucked away in its little corner of the internet instead of mocking me each time I squeeze past it in the garage.

Last August, I recapped my first twelve months with observations and lessons learned. This year, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who read my blog and tell me you enjoy it. Thank you to all of you who have made a dish from these pages and written to tell me so. Thank you to all of you for sticking around when I’m in a rut and only posting once a week. These are the things that keep me coming back here, even when I’d really rather just take a break and let a little internet dust collect.

To celebrate this two-year milestone, I made myself a big bowl of wonderfully spicy mussels. You were probably expecting a cocktail, huh? I’ve got to say, these mussels might be better than cocktails. Gasp! Crazy, I know.

Spicy Coconut Curry Mussels

Serves 1-2

1 pound fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 lemongrass stalk
1 1/2 tablespoons red Fresno chili pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1/2 a lime

Remove the tough outer layer from the lemongrass stalk and bruise with the back of a knife. Cut into 4 pieces and put in a medium saucepan.
Add chili pepper, shallot, garlic, ginger, curry paste, coconut milk and wine to saucepan. Whisk to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove lemongrass stalk and add mussels and tomatoes. Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and place mussels in a bowl, topping with cooking liquid. Top with chopped basil and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. (Discard any mussels that have not opened.)
Serve with sliced baguette to sop up juices.

I could eat these every night. The flavors are incredible…chili, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and coconut, all combined to form a broth you want to drink. And the mussels themselves? Oh so tender. The best part about this dish is how easy it is to make. Chop, boil, steam, done. And then you can settle into this delicious bowl, fit for a celebration.  

Because a new set of copper pots cannot go unmentioned or unphotographed! Squeal!


  1. Happy anniversary! I always come back because I love your writing style and your food creations. Now I can add copper pot envy to the list too. Geez, they're gorgeous.

    Anyhow, the mussels look awesome. They have wine in them so it kinda counts as alcohol. Right? I think so.

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  2. Happy Anniversary , Karen ! Hoping for more delicious post next month ! :D

    Copper pot envy as well ! lol

  3. Congrats Karen! I'm always so pleased to share your amazing food and cocktail recipes with friends and family. And you can add me to the copper pot envy list too!

  4. another great recipe adore your blog

  5. Happy Anniversary!
    We love you.

  6. Congrats!
    Love you,
    Aunt Patty & Hale

  7. Hey, Karen- what an accomplishment! And a nice feature in the "She Knows" magazine too. You ARE doing what you love!
    I could really relate to everything you mentioned above. I actually had scrap booking stuff taking up shelves RIGHT IN my computer room- I was that determined that it was going to happen. Seven years later, the stuff's moved to the garage. I think it's easier to ignore in the garage?
    Hadn't thought of adding wine to the coconut milk- excited to try this. Thanks for posting, and congrats on the Foodbuzz Top Nine too :D

  8. I just found your blog and am enjoying it greatly. This recipe looks especially amazing. Congrats on your anniversary!

  9. Congrats! So very proud of you! XO

  10. Congratulations on your 2 year milestone! I first visited your blog for a short ribs recipes and now come back regularly. This mussels recipes lists 12 ingredients that are 12 of my favorite things to eat. I have to try it!

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