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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Mussel mania

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I’m a simple girl really. I mean all I wanted for my birthday was mountains and 10 pounds of Prince Edward Island mussels cooked five different ways and rose champagne. No big deal.

Birthday card from a coworker. Me climbing a mountain!

I know it seems like I have been blogging about my birthday for at least the past week. Touche. However, this was completely unintentional! I’m not normally one of those people who makes a huge production of a birthday. The original plan for my birthday was simple: mountains and mussels. Cayce and I successfully summited Huron Peak during the day of my birthday, and then our plans hit a bit of a snag on the night of my birthday, as Cayce got called into work at the last minute. There were 10 pounds of mussels in my fridge and eight people coming over for dinner, but Cayce was the mussel master and we really had no idea how/desire to cook them without him. Luckily I have the world’s best and most understanding friends, so everyone was in for a mussel reschedule the following evening.

I walked into my house on Thursday evening to Cayce and another one of our friends Paddy doing prep work for the mussels. The boys immediately popped open the bottle of champagne that Cayce carried to the top of Huron Peak and sang happy birthday to me. I’m a pretty spoiled little lady!

I love when people cook for me.

World’s most organized prep area. Emeril would be proud.

When my friends Britt and Melissa showed up, the dirty work with the mussels had to be done. We moved the mussels to our patio and set-up stations to debeard and scrub the mussels. It was so cool to hold the mussels and feel them close. I don’t think I realized that the mussels were actually still alive until we started the prep work!

Mmmm live mussels!

Hard at work.

If you’re wondering where the pictures of Paula cleaning the mussels are, they’re non-existent. I was in charge of swapping out the dirty water and keeping everyone’s wine glasses full. It was a pretty critical job.

Once the mussels were ready, we brought them back inside to start cooking the batches.

Where the magic happens.

Mussels cook fairly quickly, and within 5-8 minutes the first batch appeared on the table. The first batch was traditional with tarragon. It was basically like we were dining at a fancy restaurant because before each batch Cayce came over and gave us a description of what we were eating. We communally ate from the pot in the middle of the table and dipped bread in the mussel broth after all the mussels were gone. Cayce kept us in line by making sure we didn’t fill up on bread and broth. It was hard to stop eating though – it was so delicious!

Team Mussel.

Round 1 results.

 The second batch was a green coconut curry broth that was out of this world. It was also a little spicy, which Cayce learned the hard way when he tried to drink it! The third batch was probably the one I was most excited for, and Cayce whipped up a broth out of garlic, butter, New Belgium Trippel beer, blue cheese and shallots. I am getting hungry just writing about it.

Epic blue cheese and shallots batch.

Action shot.

The fourth batch was fennel and sun dried tomatoes, also great. I helped cook the final batch, which was an Asian fish sauce broth. Cayce even made me taste the broth and decide what needed to be added. It was really fun to cook!

All in all, I had such a blast eating and cooking mussels with some of my closest friends in Denver. Be impressed, eight of us ate 10 pounds of mussels. I have no idea how many bottles of wine were involved in the evening, but I would guess we also probably killed about eight bottles!

Special shout out to the mussel crew. Love you guys!

Based on my birthday celebration alone, I think 25 is going to be an excellent year. I have some wonderful people in my life. Also some people with wonderful taste in food and wine.

How can a girl go wrong with mountains, mussels and best friends?


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

One thought on “Mussel mania

  1. I am recruiting you and Cayce to make me a birthday dinner in March. For realz.

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