Thai-Style Mussels and Prawns in Coconut Broth

I had a lot of fun creating this recipe because I had never cooked with fresh coconut before but had always wanted to.  I had no idea what to expect as far as the availability of fresh coconuts in St. Louis, so, fortunately, my local grocer sells whole coconuts which have been previously scored.  After only a few firm taps with a hammer on the score lines, the shells broke open, and the room was filled with the wonderful aroma of fresh coconut.  When I saw the gorgeous interior of the shells, I knew that was going to be the vessel for serving.

The flavors in this dish are classic Thai with an intricate blend of texture, color, strong aromatic components, delicate seafood, and a spicy edge at the finish.

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Garlic Risotto with Viognier Steamed Mussels

Living near the Augusta Country Wine Trail has many advantages, the biggest one being year-round access to more than a dozen family-owned wineries. So depending on what I feel like cooking for dinner, it’s only a short drive to find the perfect wine, especially for this classic risotto dish.

Most risotto recipes call for a ‘dry white wine’ which leaves a pretty wide-open range of possibilities. Sauvignon Blanc tends to be most chefs first choice; however, for steaming muscles, I prefer an aromatic, dry, Viognier with a balanced level of acidity and one that pulls in flavors like fresh herbs, stone-fruits, and honey.

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Pan-Roasted Mussels with Bacon, Bourbon and Jalapeño

Pan-Roasted Mussels with Bacon, Bourbon and Jalapeno

I’ve been having this insane craving for bacon and jalapeños so get ready for a string of recipes featuring those two ingredients the next couple of weeks.

I made this dish last weekend, and as I was about to add the white wine to the broth, I looked over and saw my bottle of bourbon. Then I thought, “Hmm…”

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