Coconut Curry Mussels

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I enjoy Thai food. I mean who doesn’t ???

This is a mild dish that is not only plenty of delicious fresh mussels, but kinda doubles as a soup too. It has wonderful flavors of smooth subtle coconut milk curry, with hints of ginger, lime, and shallots. Topped off with fresh chopped cilantro …. and served with baguette slices. Heaven in a bowl.

Ingredients : (serves 4 as a meal – 6 to 8 as an appetizer)

  • 2-1/2 lbs of fresh cleaned and de-bearded  mussels
  • 2 Tbsps of Canola oil
  • 3/4 Cup Diced Shallots
  • 2 Tbsps Minced Garlic
  • 2 Diced Red Bell Peppers
  • 1/3 Cup Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Tsps Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1/8 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Can of Coconut Milk (15oz cans)
  • 2 Tbsps Fresh Lime Juice
  • Cup of Cilantro for chopping and sprinkling just before serving
  • salt to taste if desired
  • Lime Wedges for serving
  • Baguette for the soup left over

 

Directions :

  1. In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, warm the canola oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the shallots and bell pepper and sauté until the shallots are translucent and the bell pepper is soft, (3 to 4 minutes.)
  2. Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk,  and lime juice and bring a boil.
  3. Add the mussels to the pan, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Cover the pan and steam the mussels until they open, lightly stir occasionally so they cook evenly, 4 to 6 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Season to taste with salt.
  4. To serve, spoon the mussels into  soup bowls, ladle some of the broth over them and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve with lime wedges alongside.

 

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Beer, Cheese, and Veg Soup ….

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It was a chilly 65 degrees for two days down here in the Florida Keys last week, and I was a little happy. (curse me but thats actually chilly here!!) It meant I could make soup. I didn’t want your run of the mill “grandma chicken soup” or “beef and barely” …. no no, I wanted something that will make me say “mmmmm”…. at every single spoonful. Something that will stick to my ribs and keeps me warm. Something that tastes like cheese….. with beer in it. 🙂 I haven’t made this in years but when I did I was insanely happy I remembered it 🙂 European countries would not hesitate to feed this to the kiddies but if you want you can use a non- Alcoholic beer. I will let you be the judge of that …..

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 12oz bottle of beer. I use Rolling Rock but you can use any domestic. Do not use a light beer or any bitter beer like IPA’s or Lagers. Just a plain Corona, Coors, Miller, Bud, Rolloing Rock…..  yada yada You get the picture,
  • 2 cups chopped carrots – chop to your liking just remember not too big or it takes forever to cook them.
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 3 cups diced potatoes – make sure your potatoes are chopped just a tad bigger than your carrots because they will cook faster.
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • tabasco or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne peper
  • 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 cups sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded if you can find it)
  • crispy cooked bacon to crumble on top of soup when serving
  • *optional* chopped green onion for topping

Directions:

  1. Add stick of butter to large sauce pan. Add garlic, onion, peppers, celery, carrots and potatoes. Cook on med stirring often until carrots and potatoes are starting to get soft. Remove from heat.
  2. In a large soup pot add half and half. Stir under med heat until warm. Take about 2 cups of warm half and half and whisk flour together with it in a separate bowl until blended well with no lumps. Then add back into the pot.
  3. Add chicken broth slowly to pot and stir well. Then turn heat to simmer and slowly add beer. It will foam for a minute. Stir in well.
  4. Add sauteed veg and butter to soup pot and stir in well.
  5. Add in mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt pepper and cayenne pepper.
  6. Turn heat back to medium and start adding in the shredded cheddar in small amounts while stirring it in so it doesn’t clump. When all 6 cups are added return heat back to simmer.
  7.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes and stir every few minutes so it doesn’t burn to the bottom. (this is a good time to cook up some bacon) 🙂
  8. If you like thick soup then you can always take out some soup whisk in a little more flour and get it up to your own consistency.
  9. After the 30 minutes of so turn off the heat and let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes .
  10. Ladle into bowl and throw some chopped up bacon on top … and voila cheese and beer heaven 🙂

 

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

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Fall is the best time for this rich flavorful soup but honestly, I can eat this anytime of year. I found this recipe a few years ago and over time have altered it to my own taste. Play with ingredients as per your own taste but either way you really should try this at least once. I also use a dollop of sour cream and swirl it into my hot soup before eating   🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1  large yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 big butternut squash peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 green granny green apples, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick real butter
  • pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper (adjust later to your own liking)

Directions:

  1.   Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and heat the butter for 1-2 minutes. Do not let it turn brown. Add the onion, celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes, taking care to turn the heat down if the vegetables begin to brown.
  2. Add squash, apple, broth, and cream . Bring to boil. Cover, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until squash and carrots soften. Puree, ( I use my blender to get smoother results) and return to a clean pot.
  3. Add salt and spices to taste.

If you like a very thick soup then after you make the soup scoop about 1/2 cup out and place in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk till smooth and blended well, add to soup and stir well 🙂 It freezes very well, enjoy !!

Creamy Corn Chowder with Shrimp

This recipe varies to different tastes. You can make this with shrimp, crab, lobster, or chicken. Even without meat. I suggest you season to taste as my tastes may not be the same as yours. But this is a great soup and you can alter the ingredients as seen fit. No recipe is set in stone, so I will give you the ingredients and the base, you finish it with your own amount of seasoning  …. have fun cooking, smelling, and eating … bon appetite !

     Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shrimp cooked and cleaned ( I buy cooked frozen, and if they are large I chop them up)
  • 1 stick of butter ( preferably unsalted but if not just don’t use a lot of table salt later )
  • 1 large onion finely chopped ( anything but a red onion will do )
  • 2 large potatoes ( use more if you like, but I only use 2 )
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 – 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 2 cans whole sweet corn
  • 1 pint heavy or whipping cream
  •  2 cups chicken broth (more if you like a thinner soup)
  • 1/4 cup of white wine or sherry ( this is optional, but I like it so I use white wine most often )
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar ( that is what I use … sometimes I add even more…you may not like it as sweet as I do so add slowly to your own liking)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dash or thyme, salt, pepper, cumin, and old bay – also top with old bay when serving.

Directions:

  1. Prepare your shrimp.
  2. In a small pot steam your carrots and potatoes for a few minutes ( about 3-5) until they soften a little but still remain firm.
  3. In a frying pan saute onions, celery, and red peppers with a little butter until onions are almost transparent.
  4. In a very large stock or soup pot melt the stick of butter on a med heat, then add the chicken broth.
  5. After butter and Ch. broth are warm and well mixed add the wine/sherry if using. Continue at med heat.
  6.  Now slowly add in the cream and sugar, and  mix well. Cook for a few minutes before adding anything else and stir often.
  7. Remove about a cup of the mixture and place in a bowl, whisk the flour into it until there are no lumps and then return back into the soup pot. Stir well.
  8. Now you can add in your Shrimp,onions, peppers, celery, carrots , and potatoes . Add the creamed corn. Drain the canned sweet corn and add as well.
  9. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes on med heat. After that turn to a simmer.
  10. Add the cayenne pepper … stir well.
  11. Now it is time to start adding the other spices and keep adding and tasting to your own personal flavor.
  12. When you have altered the soup to your liking simmer on the stove covered for about 30 minutes…. and then let cool at least 15 minutes before eating. If using seafood sprinkle some old bay on top before eating … even more if your from MD 🙂

If you find you prefer a thicker soup you can add more creamed corn or flour, if  you want it thinner add more chicken broth. Enjoy… Ive made this several times and in different ways and have never been disappointed … so enjoy 🙂

Alfredo Sauce – Olive Garden style

I love to make my own Alfredo Sauce, it just doesn’t taste right out of a jar. You can toss it on top of fettuccine with chicken, shrimp, and steamed veggies. Not all Alfredo sauces are created equal, I want it thick and rich. If Im going to eat something a little on the fattening side you better damn well make sure it tastes good…. and I mean GOOD. So I love the Olive Garden’s Alfredo… to the point where Im using my fingers in a restaurant to clean off the bottom of the bowl. About a year ago I ran across a recipe for this creamy white heavenly sauce and it indeed tasted just like Olive Gardens. So if you have the same weakness for Alfredo as I, then here it is…… enjoy !!!

     Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan combine butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese.
  2. Simmer this until all is melted, and mixed well.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and Garlic powder.
  4.  Simmer this for 15 to 20 minutes on low. You may wish to season with a little salt and pepper.