I might be sipping on some Pumpkin Spice Flavored Whiskey as I write this. Sons of Liberty‘s Winter Release is oh-so-yummy… it could be just what you need to get in the spirit (see what I did there?) if you aren’t quite full of holiday cheer. Don’t expect me to start smoking stogie’s just yet, but my hubby brought this local good-ness home after a trip to the Rhode Island distillery and I had to oblige.
Also, while we’re being honest, I should tell you that I absolutely adore Christmas time, but only after my turkey coma has lifted. I’m now officially ready for a marathon of all the great holiday movies, and I wouldn’t even be upset if we got some of the white stuff. Some.
Our tree went up the day after Thanksgiving. I woke up to a Christmas “bomb” in my living room, coffee made, and carols streaming on the satellite radio. I just might have the best husband ever. Although, now that I think about it, it’s a little disconcerting that he dragged all of the decorations upstairs without me hearing a single jingle (like a ninja), but whatever! This year, I trimmed our sweet little tree with ribbon and I’m pretty pumped about how it turned out. I felt all sorts of Martha Stewart-esque.
The long holiday weekend wrapped up our final shifts of the year at Saltwater Farm Vineyard. We closed Sunday afternoon after an incredible season. With the launch of Saltwater Farm Living, we’re sure to keep busy this winter. We have a few fun things up our sleeve to keep the dust from settling on the bottles…
Back in the office, people are starting to get sick. Cold and flu season is upon us – coughing, sniffling, sneezing and all of the annoying stuff that goes with it. So, I decided, why not do my part and dose-up on some natural zinc? Everybody else is downing their Airborne and Emergen-C, right? Of course, I turned to something a little more appetizing – oysters. They are after all, the highest natural food source to contain this immune system boosting mineral.
I made oyster stew. The number one rule of oyster stew is you must start off with the fresh stuff. No exceptions.
Then you chop a pile of celery, a mountain of onion, and a handful of parsley.
Now you can begin cooking.
Oyster Stew with a touch of sherry (recipe adapted from saveur.com)
24 oz of fresh shucked oysters in their juice
4 stalks of celery – finely chopped
1 onion – finely chopped
1/2 cup of curly parsley – minced (it’s more mild, so yes it makes a difference)
A few sprigs of thyme if you have it
4 cloves of garlic – smashed (!)
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup dry vermouth
5 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1.5 sticks of butter – preferably from grass-fed cows
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 cups 2 % milk
2 cups half & half
Stage: Prepare (1) 2 qt saucepan and (1) 4 qt saucepan on the stove.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain your oysters over a bowl. Do this while you are prepping everything else.
Measure out at least 1 cup of the oyster juice and add another cup of water to it. Empty this into your 2 qt saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Blanch the oysters for 2 -3 minutes or until their edges start to furl. Set that same mesh sieve back over the bowl and strain your oysters again, reserving your cooking liquid.
Next, melt your butter in the 4 qt saucepan over medium to medium high heat.
Once it has stopped foaming, you can add your flour. You’ll need to whisk this almost constantly until it turns golden brown in color.
Next, lower the heat to medium low and slide the celery, onion, garlic, parsley, and spices into the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon and allow the onion to soften.
Go ahead and add your booze.
Once this has evaporated you can introduce the dairy and reserved cooking liquid. Here is where I grabbed my immersion blender and buzzed this into a smoother texture.
Lastly, add your oysters and bring everything up to a nice hot temperature. Serve immediately with lots of oyster crackers!
*** Leftovers are awesome! Oyster stew will get better on day 2 and day 3 if you can manage.
This stew is über warming from the little bit of booze, cayenne, and white pepper. I love that quality. If you don’t, then you won’t want to know that I also garnished my bowl with a couple dashes of a ghost pepper blend. Season to your taste ~
Cold and flu season can kiss my….