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Steamed Mussels in Curry



Mussels are a great seafood option to consider -- they're cheap, keep fairly well (for seafood!), and are an eco-friendly choice. They can be farmed easily, so over-fishing isn't a problem. Most stores sell pre-cleaned and de-bearded mussels, so the most you have to do is pick out the bad ones and give them a quick rinse. In fact, some stores even pick out the mussels with broken shells for you. So, don't be scared by them! Chances are, if you like shrimp or clams, you'll like mussels.

I found this recipe for steamed mussels over at Steamy Kitchen, and they are pretty amazing. The whole dish takes about twenty minutes to throw together, the mussels and noodles are delish, and when you're all done, you can sop up the juices with some crusty bread. If you don't like vermicelli noodles, just leave them out. Or add some shrimp and Thai bird pepper chiles.

I made two very small adjustments to the recipe; ginger and lime zest were substituted for lemongrass, and lime juice was added (because tangy is good). If you can't find lemongrass in your area, lime juice and zest would be a perfect substitute ingredient.

Jaden's recipe follows:

Steamed Mussels with Lemongrass Coconut Curry

Serves 6 as side dish or starter. Another great thing about this dish - less than $10 in ingredients!


2 lbs mussels, scrubbed & picked through (discard cracked shells and ones that don’t close when tapped)
1 stalk of lemongrass, white part grated with microplane grater (or substitute with 4 wide strips of lemon peel)
2 bottles of clam juice (or substitute with vegetable broth + wine)
1 can (14oz) of good coconut milk, shake the can vigorously to mix the fat with the liquid
1/2 cup of Thai curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or substitute with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt)
1 tsp sugar
3 small skeins of mung bean noodles, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes.
chopped scallions & chili for topping


1. Fry the curry paste: In a wok or large pot, turn heat to medium. When wok is hot but not smoking, add 2 tbl curry paste and the lemongrass (or lemon peel). Fry for 30 seconds to release its flavors. Add the clam juice, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk. Simmer for 3 minutes. If you are using lemon peel, discard lemon peel. Taste the broth. If you want more heat, add more curry paste. In meantime, drain your mung bean noodles. The noodles should still be a little stiff.

2. Steam the mussels: Turn heat to high and add your mussels. Immediately cover with tight fitting lid. Steam on high for 4 minutes. Open lid, scootch the mussels to one side, add mung bean noodles and cook for another minute uncovered. Use a large spoon to redistribute the mussels from the top to the bottom of the broth, cook another 30 seconds and it’s done! Top with chopped chilies and scallions.

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Hoe Dup Bap



When we lived in Columbus, one of my favorite places to eat was a little Korean/Japanese restaurant on High St a little north of campus. The big draw was a rice, veggie and sashimi dish, sometimes referred to as sashimi bibimbap or hoe dup bap in Korean. It's a really tasty dish and all you have to do is a little prep work.

Like all bibimbap (which are basically a mixture of vegetable dishes, usually leftovers, mixed with rice), this is eaten with spicy bean paste (gochujang) that is mixed with a little vinegar and granulated sugar. You can find this at most asian grocery stores.

Hoe Dup Bap, or Sashimi Bibimbap:

1/3 lb sashimi grade tuna, or some other kind of fish
1 fuji apple, cored and julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup daikon, julienned
1 avocado, cut in 1/2" dice
2 cups steamed white medium grain rice
1/2 head of lettuce, sliced thinly
1 sheet of nori, snipped into thin shreds

For the sauce:
1/2 cup gochujang paste
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp sugar


Arrange 1 cup of rice in a large bowl. Cover with half the lettuce, and half of the vegetable toppings. Sprinkle the nori and tuna on top, and serve with gochujang sauce on the side.
Serves 2.

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Grilled Fish with Orange-Fennel Salsa



We made this recipe last week, and I have to admit that I scarfed it all down in record time. Not only is it super healthy, but the salsa is really. delicious. I could eat this salsa (it's almost more of a salad) by the bowlful. It also refrigerated beautifully and tasted great the next day.

Grilled Fish with Orange-Fennel Salsa

5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp plus 1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
3 oranges
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into matchstick-size strips
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 6 to 8 oz rockfish or sea bass fillets

Whisk 2 tbsp oil, vinegar, cilantro, 2 tsp soy sauce, ginger and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the peel and pith from the oranges; discard. Holding oranges over the bowl to catch juices, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Add fennel and onion; toss gently. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)

Prepare barbecue or pan. Mix 3 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce and garlic in a bowl. Turn fish in oil mixture to coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates, and spoon salsa over.

Serves 2.

Bon Appetit, September 2000

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Stuffed Zucchini



Most people try to pick their zucchini when they are small, for maximum tenderness and flavor. However, these sneaky vegetables tend to hide out underneath the foliage, and when you finally do discover them, they're the size of a large baby. You might be tempted to just foist these off on a neighbor, but you really should think about keeping them -- after all, they
are the perfect size for stuffing!

Don't think that you need an oversize zucchini to make this recipe, though. You can just as easily use a medium-size zucchini, as long as it's large enough to hold the stuffing when the seeds and pulp have been scooped out.

Stuffed Zucchini with Tuna and Mushrooms

2 medium zucchini
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
5 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can tuna in olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Dash worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes
1/6 cup panko (or another kind of breadcrumb)
1/6 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the zucchini, and split in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving the shells about 1/2 inch thick.

Steam the zucchini for 8 - 12 minutes, until almost tender. If the zucchini is extra large, you can do this in the oven over hot water, or throw them in the microwave if they'll fit.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, and throw in the onions and mushrooms. Saute until soft, then add the tuna, worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes. Pile into the zucchini shells.

Mix the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs together, and sprinkle the mixture over the stuffed zucchini. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Place zucchini in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until toasty brown on top.

Serves 2.
Original recipe from Simply Recipes.



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Rainy Day Fish Stew



One of the rainy days last week put me in mood for a soup. The grocery had a sale on Tilapia, so I relied on a fish stew that has been a favorite recipe for years. The recipe changes every time it's made, but is always serious comfort food. This is the latest version I could decipher from the scribblings in our recipe journal.

Rainy Day Fish Stew

6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomato or 14 oz can of diced tomato, depending on the season
8 oz clam juice
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 lb white fish fillets (tilapia, halibut, cod, sole, sea bass, etc.) cut into 2 inch pieces
Touch of dry oregano, thyme, pepper
Splash of Tabasco
3 tblsp tomato paste (We sometimes use "Italian Style" tomato paste and skip adding oregano and thyme)
1 large potato, diced rather small
One bunch of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped

Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Add half of the chopped parsley and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomato and tomato paste, then cook for 2 more minutes.

Add clam juice, lemon juice, white wine, oregano, thyme, pepper and potato. Simmer until potato is cooked through. Add fish and simmer until fish is just falling apart. Ladle into bowls and finish with generous amounts of fresh parsley.

The leftover wine goes well with dinner and stew would not be nearly as delicious without a loaf of crusty bread to eat with it. Our bread, of course, usually comes from Corbo's bakery in Little Italy.



Original recipe from Elise's father.

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Shrimp and Grapefruit salad



This is a great salad to prepare for these hot, humid summer days. You only have to heat up one pot to boil the shrimp in (if you really wanted, you could use pre-cooked, although I wouldn't recommend it). The grapefruit really makes this salad something different!

A few notes about the recipe: since there are so few ingredients, and you don't really fuss with them a lot, make sure everything is fresh, fresh, fresh. You'll be able to taste it all, and it'll be painfully apparent when one of your ingredients is a little off. Fresh shrimp cooked at home would be a better choice than frozen, and make sure the avocado is ripe.

The segmenting of the grapefruit takes a little while, but there are two approaches you could take. The first is to peel off the grapefruit skin, and then peel off each individual segment (this is easier if you leave a little rind on the fruit). Alternatively, you could use this method, where a very sharp knife is used to remove the skin and peel of the grapefruit, and then the knife is used to cut the segments out.

Shrimp and Grapefruit Salad

3/4 lb large tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 large grapefruit or 1 large pomelo, peeled and segmented
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small ripe avocado, thinly sliced
4 tbsp Lemon & Fish Sauce
1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
Juice from one lime

When peeling the grapefruit, leave some pith on around the segments so that the skin is more easily removed. Alternatively, you could peel and section the grapefruit with a sharp knife. You will leave a little flesh on the skin, but it's much faster.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the shrimp, and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp and drain. Soak the onion slices in lime juice for a few minutes to remove the bite.

Place the grapefruit segments, drained onion, and avocado in a serving dish. Arrange the shrimp on top and drizzle with the sauce. Toss to mix well.

Lemon & Fish Sauce

2 small red chilies, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
3 tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar
1/2 cup water

Mix together ingredients in a bowl (go easy on the fish sauce!). Transfer to a screw-top jar and store in the refrigerator, where this sauce will keep for a week.

Fresh Chinese by Wynnie Chan

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Linguine and Clams

Linguine and Clams

Makes 4 servings.

16 ounces linguine
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves . chopped
4 6.5 oz cans chopped clams in juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 small clams like manila or tiny littleneck . scrubbed
1/2 cup whipping cream

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add canned clams with juice, basil, tarragon, and parsley. Add fresh clams. cover; reduce heat to medium and cook until clams open, about 6 minutes. Larger clams may take a minute or two longer to cook. Using tongs, transfer fresh clams to plate (discard any clams that do not open). Add cooked pasta and cream to sauce in skillet. Toss over medium-high heat until sauce coats pasta, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta between bowls. top with fresh clams and serve.

Bon Appetit . February 2005

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