Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Christmas celebrations happen at our house on Christmas Eve beginning with a large soup bowl full of our traditional Oyster Stew. When the dishes are cleared and the kitchen clean it's time to get ready for Santa to come. That was the one night either as a kid myself or with our own children, an early bed time was never a problem. Everyone knows, the earlier you go to bed the earlier Santa is likely to arrive.

It's a little different now since most of our Christmas celebrations are much more relaxed affairs at home with just Mike and me. We've had wonderful times traveling to the Chicago area to celebrate the holidays with Toby and Andrea. Last year was especially wonderful because it was the first time we had all of the kids home for Christmas. Our walls echoed last night with memories of a houseful of family sharing the love, laughter, joy and warmth of the season. And, I must admit, it's just as nice, quieter and more relaxing, when there is just two of us. Our cell phones have been fully charged and ready for long calls as we all make connections with each other via the air waves.

The melding of family traditions, the search for keeping those traditions alive and meaningful as our family grows and changes over the years whether near or far is part of what helps strengthen the family bond and helps keep the "blood thicker than water."

My family always had a hearty Potato Soup for Christmas dinner. Mike's family always celebrated with Oyster Stew. So, it was an easy leap for me to switch to the Oyster Stew for our family after Mike and I were married. Last year we needed to make some changes in the recipe after Eryn and Mike were diagnosed with celiac disease, a genetic lifelong condition which makes them gluten-intolerant. We've had quite a year changing recipes and finding the "good" foods and the foods to avoid. Eryn came up with the following recipe to help keep our family tradition of Oyster Stew on Christmas Eve alive.

So gather up a cuppa of your favorite holiday libations ... wine, egg nog, hot buttered rum, or even a seasonal favorite of mine ... HOT APPLE PIE (cider, tuaca, a cinnamon stick, topped off with whipped cream - YUM ... dessert in a glass!) and get ready for a simple hearty meal.





ERYN'S OYSTER STEW (for two ... two heaping bowl each!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 cup chooped leek
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 2 jars extra small oysters (In our houseful of oyster lovers ... we use 3 jars)
  • salt & pepper

Saute the leek and celery lightly in the butter. Heat the milk gently to scalding in a saucepan. Be careful to make sure the milk doesn't boil. Add leek/celery mixture and the oysters (including the liquid) to the scalding milk. Keep the temperature at scalding giving a stir every now and then. Season to taste with salt and pepper. It will not take long to cook the oysters ... maybe about 10 minutes depending on how cold they were when added to the milk.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a small dollop of butter on top. Serve with crackers ... gluten free or regular oyster crackers depending on your dietary needs.

Wishing all of you out there a safe and happy holiday season
as you share love and laughter with family and friends.
MERRY CHRISTMAS from Damascus OR
where it is snowing great big fat fluffy flakes right now!!!




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