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            Years ago, Dan & I would frequent the Rude Native restaurant when it was in Hamilton and this is the reason we loved it most!  Although, this isn't their recipe...it's as close to it as we could get!  The one highlight of this meal is dipping your fresh bread into the curried sauce they are cooked in....delicious!

            You can use this as a main meal or as an appetizer for a bunch of people.  We prefer it as a main meal with salad.  This is what we had last night (yes...on my diet...hahaha) and it was completely scrumptious!  It's so easy to prepare and you can make it as hot/spicy or mild as you personally like.

Preparing the Mussels
After you've brought your mussels home from the store, it's important that you de-beard and wash them.  Make sure that each and every mussel is completely closed at this stage.  De-bearding is just pulling the hair-like fibers off that are in the seam of the shell.  When you are washing them, tap on the shell with a knife and if it closes on it's own, it's safe to eat.  Discard the mussels which don't close and any with cracks or holes.  Now, there may be a lapse between preparation of the mussels and dropping them into the pot....just keep cold water on them and they'll be fine.  If any are open (which were closed previously) when you begin to put them in the pot, they'll be fine. 
After cooking, don't eat the mussels that didn't open.

Ingredients
2-3 lbs of mussels
2 cans of coconut milk (don't scrimp and use the "light"...just not the same)
2-4 Tbsp curry paste (we use Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste)
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
Chopped Cilantro
Lemon slices
Fresh Bread

        Bring the coconut milk and curry paste to a boil in a large pot.  Smushing (great word!) the red curry paste against the sides of the pot with a wooden spoon will break it up to help it blend.  You can add as much or as little as you like of the paste.  It will define the "heat" of the dish.

        Add the fish sauce and sugar after the curry paste has blended into the milk.

        Add the mussels all at once and stir them into the coconut milk mixture.  Cover the pot and let them steam/cook in there, stirring and checking them a few times.  They should only take about 5 minutes for the shells to open up and cook.

        Serve on a platter or do what we do and throw the pot on the table on a cutting board and be sure and have a refuse bowl on hand for the shells.  Dip your french bread into the Curry Sauce and enjoy your mussels!

Yum!!

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PRINTABLE RECIPE
 
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            I think this is the utmost, "to die for" appetizer on the planet!  You all know how in love I am with garlic?  Now, you must try this, if you never have....and come on up to heaven with me!   You can use whatever jelly or chutney or preserves you have on hand that you love to eat to personalize this yummy H'ordervy! 

            I know, I've talked about it in the garlic blog (Herbs, Flowers & Such) and in this section when I wrote about the Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly...which is what we had this with last night!  Enjoy it now!

Garlic, Brie and Toasts

Full heads of Garlic (as many as you think you'll need)
A round of Brie
Dry herbs (anything...rosemary, herbs de province, oregano...)
Loaf of French Stick
Jelly, Jam, preserve or chutney of your choice

Garlic
Peel the outer layer away from the whole head of garlic and cut the top off revealing the cloves.
        (Try not to peel away too much of the garlic head or it may fall apart!)
Place into a casserole dish, not overlapping, sprayed with non-stick spray.
Drizzle Olive Oil over the heads and sprinkle with dried herbs of your choice.
Cover casserole dish and bake for one hour at 375F.

Toasts
Cut a loaf of french stick up into thin (1/4-1/2") slices on the diagonal and place flat on a cookie sheet.
Broil one side (watch closely so they don't burn!) then flip and broil other side until lightly browned.

Brie
Shave off  the skin on the flat round top of the brie and place in microwave safe dish.  Heat in microwave until melted and hot!

            As you can see, this is probably the easiest appetizer to make as well!  You can make this ahead of time and just wrap the garlic heads and the toasts separately in foil packs to heat up wherever you are going.  Throw everything on a platter together and let everyone dig in!

Warning:  You will taste this in the morning on your tongue!


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PRINTABLE RECIPE
Sunday's Best Linky Party!
 
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            Today I made seven weenie 125ml jars of Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly.   You might note there are only six in this photo....I piled them that way on purpose...hahaha!  No...we ate some of one with our dinner!  This particular jelly has three jalapeno peppers in it!  Eek!  But, the reason I wanted to make this so badly was for that Garlic & Brie on toasts appetizer I was talking about in my Garlic Blog last week!   There's nothing like the heat of the jelly with the sharp strong taste of the roasted garlic...out of this world!  I will have to make some mild jelly for when my heat-intolerant friends come to visit!  It actually wasn't as hot as I expected it to be...just nice, with a little bit of heat left over at the back of your tongue...

Some of the equipment I used differently:

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            I have never used an actual real life jelly strainer...always the layers of cheesecloth over a sieve!  This was fabulous to use...it perches on top of a bowl and it's not going anywhere.  Just seems to be snug.  I would recommend that anyone who does jellies uses this and it unscrews for easy storage.  Made by Fox Run Culinary Tools and I picked it up at Home Hardware.

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            This is our old canning lifter.  The problem I had using those weenie 125ml jars was that they would slip right through the wires if I used it as is.  So, I took some Heat Resistant Silicone Elastics to build up the base (the coloured sections in the photo).   These elastics are one of the best gifts we've ever received from one of our kids...they're reusable, heat resistant up to 500F and we use them for a myriad of different food preps.  They are made by Architec.

Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly

Makes seven 4-oz (125ml) jars

5 medium red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
3 medium jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and deveined
2 cloves (I used 3!) garlic
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 package (1.75 oz/ 49-57g) regular powdered fruit pectin
3-1/4 cups granulated sugar

        Finely dice enough red pepper to measure 1/2 cup and set aside.  In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree remaining red peppers, jalapeno peppers and garlic until smooth.

        Transfer puree to a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth set over a deep bowl.  Let drip, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.  Measure 1-1/2 cups pepper juice.  If you do not have the required amount, add 1/2 cup boiling water to the remaining pulp in the jelly bag to extract additional juice.

        Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.

        Transfer pepper juice to a large, deep stainless steel saucepan.  Add reserved diced red pepper, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.  Whisk in pectin until dissolved.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.  Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam.

        Quickly pour hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

        Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

"Serve this jelly with cream cheese and crackers as an hors d'oeuvre.  Or use it as a glaze for roast poultry or fish"

Thanks to Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving for this tasty recipe!

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PRINTABLE RECIPE
 
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            I hadn't made this deliciousness in a few years and was wracking my brain with what to do differently with my basil this year, when I remembered Alice Weatherbee's (This is Wonderland?) most awesome bruschetta-like dip she gave me the recipe for in 2004!  This truly will make you drool for more!   So, with Alice's permission to publish this on my blog and an abundance of yellow tomatoes in our garden plus the basil I grew, Alice & I are sharing this with you! 

            The great feature of this dip is you can serve it cold or warm, which makes it very versatile in that you can use some as soon as you make it....why wouldn't you?!....and freeze the rest in small batches to be pulled out for company as a tasty appetizer.  You could use crusty bread, or toasted french breads and you could even add an accompaniment of spreadable cream cheese with the bread or crackers.  Personally, after tasting it after all these years, I think I'm going to try it on grilled fish!  The lovely sesame flavoured oil in it will give it an oriental essence.


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Ready for Freezer
Basil & Yellow Tomato Dip

1-1/2 cup chopped spanish onion
2 cups chopped yellow tomato
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup lime juice
2 tsp oregano
4-6 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp celery salt

            Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight, stirring whenever you open the fridge for something.
            This keeps well in the fridge for several weeks and can be frozen and heated up as well.

            When I made Alice's recipe, I doubled it and messaged her frantically saying "I think it's too much liquid!".  I sent a photo of it at that point as well.  She wrote me back and advised me to add more tomato, onion and basil, so this is reflected in this recipe for one batch, because at the time she wrote it out for me, she did say, "I am terrible at measuring things so this is all guesstimates".   When I doubled the recipe I finished up with eight 250ml jars.  The jars pictured here are made by Bernardin and are twist on tops made specifically for the freezer.
       
            Try not to eat it all at once......it's soooo delicious!

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PRINTABLE RECIPE