Dining Outside the Home: Blue Point in San Diego, California. Slip into a cozy booth among white linen tablecloths, rich cherry wood, and black leather. One quick glance around the room reveals a nautical theme with impressive bar, a tropical fish aquarium, and raw oysters on the half shell. This supper club embodies old-world class, that’s for sure. Linger over cocktails, especially the Dean Martin-style Double Martini. How’s that for nostalgia. The extensive menu caters to a sophisticated palate from Soups and Greens to Hook, Line, Ranch, and Sinker specialties. For a top-notch evening on the corner of Fifth and Market, Blue Point is no fish story.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Oyster Snack Crackers! When you get that craving for something slightly salty partnered with a crunchy snack, turn to these little gems made from basic oyster crackers. Add seasonings and oil; bake and store in an airtight container. I literally sprinkle them on homemade soups, organic salads, and sometimes the palm of my hand. In a pinch, I’ve crushed them as a coating for baked chicken or fish. It’s all up to you.
OYSTER SNACK CRACKERS
16-ounce package of oyster crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil
1 envelope dry ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
Preheat oven to 325°. Take a one gallon ziplock bag. Pour oyster crackers into bag. In a glass measuring cup, combine butter, olive oil, ranch seasoning mix, dill weed, onion powder, and lemon pepper. Stir well. Pour over crackers. Seal the bag and toss to coat, alternating every 5 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a baking sheet. Form single layer. Bake 10 minutes; toss and bake 10 minutes longer. Do not burn. Let cool and then store in an airtight container. Will keep for weeks.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Golden Oyster Stew! I knew it was something special when my father requested this savory stew once a year. Although he was the only one who indulged in its aromatic creaminess, I managed to sneak one spoonful each time. I guess you could say eventually I acquired a taste for this seafood delicacy. Now I’m sharing it with you. Carry on the tradition.
GOLDEN OYSTER STEW
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces of fancy whole oysters, with oyster liquor
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, finely shredded
In a 2-quart pan over medium high heat, combine potatoes, onion, butter, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add just enough water to cover. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and add oysters with liquor, cream, and cheese. Stir occasionally for cheese to melt. Gently bubble until the edges of the oysters begin to curl. Do not boil over. Serve the golden oyster stew immediately with oyster crackers.
Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Scalloped Oysters! For a true southern dish, you may turn to succulent oysters, crispy topping, and a creamy luscious sauce for a rich holiday dish that traditions are made of. More than likely, the family secret may be passed down through the generations. Some include parmesan cheese, others an oyster liquor. Perhaps the crumb layers consist of crushed butter crackers, but then again they may be seasoned breadcrumbs. No matter how you serve it up, the excitement builds for scalloped oyster dressing. Or casserole. Whatever you choose to call it.
1 pint Oysters, whole
2 cups cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup oyster liquor
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an oven-proof dish with nonstick oil. Drain oysters, saving liquor. Combine cracker crumbs, melted butter, sea salt, and white pepper. Mix well. Spread one-third of the crumbs in the bottom of the dish. Layer with half the oysters, forming a single layer. Repeat with cracker crumbs and oysters. Top with the remaining cracker crumbs. Combine cream, oyster liquor, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Pour over oyster layers. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Serve warm.