Oyster Stew

blue bowl of oyster stew
Oyster Stew for New Year’s Eve Supper

OYSTER STEW
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup minced celery
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint half-and-half cream
1 can (8 ounce) whole oysters (fresh oysters even better)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the celery and onion until onion is tender. Pour half-and-half into a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in the butter, celery, and shallot mixture. Stir continuously. When the mixture is almost boiling, pour the oysters and their liquid into the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir continuously until the oysters curl at the ends. When the oysters curl the stew is finished cooking; turn off the heat and serve. Makes 4 cups

 

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Pumpkin Roll Perfection

a sponge cake with white filling rolled on a plate
Pumpkin Roll Perfection

PUMPKIN ROLL PERFECTION

3 eggs, separate egg yolks and egg whites
1 cup sugar, divided in half
⅔ cup pumpkin
¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt

Filling
12 oz. softened cream cheese, (Neuchatel is a good choice, and lower in fat and calories)
1 -1/2 Tablespoon butter, softened
2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Line a 15×10 inch baking pan with waxed paper. Grease and flour the pan and the top of the paper.

3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until think. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and the pumpkin. Beat mixture until the sugar is almost dissolved.

4. In a smaller bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture.

5. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into pan.

6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 13 to 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched. Cool 5 minutes and turn cake onto a kitchen towel sprinkled with powder sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in in the towel starting with the shorter side. Cool completely before adding the filling.

Filling Directions
1. In a small bowl beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake and spread filling.

2. Roll up again and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

3. Can be made ahead, frozen and kept until ready to use: Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

pork sandwich in a bun with salad on the side
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

SLOW-COOKER PULLED PORK SANDWICHES

3-6 lbs. pork (country ribs with/without bone)
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth (not condensed)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons bottled BBQ Sauce (your favorite)
4 pretzel buns

Rinse & dry off pork with a paper towel. Dredge in flour and brown in a large skillet, turning to brown all sides. Add onion, cook for a few minutes and add broth to deglaze pan. Place the pork, broth, and onions in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Discard fat/bone/gristle and pour off excess broth (reserve for another use).
Return the meat and onions to the slow cooker and add the BBQ sauce of your choice. You want the meat mixture to be juicy and flavored to your liking. In our house, we like a very light barbeque flavor, but if you prefer more, simply pour off a little more of the broth and add more BBQ sauce.

Heat to serving temp and serve on pretzel rolls. The meat is juicy, you need a bun with substance. Plain white bread buns will get soggy too quickly.

Smoked Salmon Mousse

salmon spread
Smoked Salmon Mousse

SMOKED SALMON MOUSSE

4 ounces smoked salmon
1 (8 oz.) block Neuchatel cheese
2 Tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

Using a food processor mix the smoked salmon, Neuchatel cheese, green onions and cream until smooth. Add Worcestershire sauce, cumin, lemon juice, dill weed, and salt and pepper. Blend again, then transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with minced green onion. Serve with crackers or toast.

Mincemeat Fruitcake

a fruitcake made in an aglefood pan. Round with hole in middle, one piece cut out to show texture and filling
Mincemeat Fruitcake

MINCEMEAT FRUITCAKE

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 jar (28 oz.) prepared mincemeat
2 cups mixed dried fruits (apricots, pineapple, prunes, cherries, golden raisins)
1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
Honey for glaze

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch tube pan and line with waxed paper; butter again. You can also use 2 loaf pans. Use some candied or dried fruit pieces and place them in the bottom to make a decoration on top when the cake is turned out later (optional).

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, mix all the other ingredients until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture until you no longer see dry flour. Bake for 2 hours, until center springs back to the touch and the top is golden. Cool 5 minutes; turn out onto a rack and remove paper. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Brush lightly with honey while still warm. Keeps well, gets better with age.

I happen to like regular fruitcake, but not everyone does. This recipe appeals to a broader audience. Even fruitcake haters have nice things to say about this one. I find that natural, dried fruits produce a better flavor that appeals to almost everyone.