Happy New Year fearless Shut Up and Cook readers!
First of all, I’d like to say thanks for being here. 2010 was an exciting year for this blog and many new subscribers and readers became a part of the conversation. It’s very fun to realize that it’s not just friends and family reading this (usually who I’ve bullied into submission), as well as hearing from people all over the world about how food fits into their lives. I hope you all will continue to join the conversation this year.
The start of the New Year is one of my favorite times. Like everyone, I fall prey to the endless optimism and possibilities a clean slate creates. I walk around making lists and grand declarations such as:
- “I’m definitely going to exercise more this year.”
- “Sure am planning on drinking less.”
- “I know! I’m going to write more letters.”
- “Oh yeah, and I’m going to keep in better touch with my brothers.”
The list of things that one can achieve is endless. The reality of actually achieving all these things is daunting at best. So this year, in a very un-Erina like fashion I’m going to give the lists a break (you can be sure I’ll be archiving them though for future reference) and try to achieve one basic and yet seemingly impossible achievement which is to simply appreciate the moment that I’m in and the opportunities it provides. I am actually able to do this quite well in the kitchen, so hoping to translate that out to other facets of my life.
As a toast to this New Plan for the New Year we brought in 2011 with Oyster Shooters and Oysters on the Half Shell. These little guys definitely require you to be in the moment because if you spend too long thinking about what you’re eating my stomach tends to do a little flip. Make sure you get really fresh oysters from a reputable fish market and don’t try to save pennies with cheap vodka. You don’t need the really fancy stuff but you don’t want it to taint the oysters.
These are very elegant appetizers and a festive treat for any holiday party. Figure 2-3 per person if folks aren’t frequent oyster eaters, 4-6 if they’re fans. And be careful…those shots of vodka go down easy!
What did you make to bring in the New Year?
1 TB cocktail sauce
1 oyster shucked, with accompanying liquid saved (experiment with different kinds of oysters, they offer surprisingly unique flavors)
1 shot vodka, such as Absolut
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- In a small shot glass add cocktail sauce.
- With an oyster knife, gently pop open the oyster. This is easiest to do when holding the oyster in a dish towel so that you don’t cut yourself on the shell. Be sure to do it over a bowl so you can reserve the liquid in the oyster. Most people think brute force is required, but really what you’re looking for is a bit of leverage and popping open the oyster at the right spot. Hold the oyster so that its curved shell faces down and its flatter side faces up. Insert an oyster knife between the shells, near the hinge. Warning: Don’t use a nice pairing knife or something for this because odds are it’ll break. Giving the knife a twist, pop open the shell (remember, try to keep the liquid in the shell!) and remove the top shell. Scrape the meat from the top shell into the bottom shell and reserved juices. Be careful no shell fragments are there and if so, simply remove.
- Add the oyster and its juices to the shot glass and top with vodka and lemon juice.
- Drink in one sip without thinking about it!
Oysters on the Half Shell
1 oyster shucked, liquid saved in bottom shell, top shell discarded (see above for how to)
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
Sprinkle of tobiko
- Add hot sauce, lemon juice and tobiko to half shell with oyster and reserved liquid.
- Down the hatch!