Posted in Seafood, The Hungry Hen

Hot Cheesy, Vegetable Seafood Dip

It was right before Super Bowl and I decide, to hell with an actual meal, let’s do some dips and such. Well, if I’m going to do a Dip, I want to make sure it’s something I don’t get too often. That’s when my brain takes a plunge into the ocean. Next bright idea : Let’s do seafood! Yum!

I scan recipe after recipe until I find one that is Gluten Free AND something that has a wow-factor. I rush off to the grocery store, after bragging to others coming that THIS, THIS is WHAT I’m making. Unfortunately, I should have read the recipe better because I still had to make my mortgage payment for this month. What does that mean? It means that the Dip called for two not-s0-common cheeses that are priced pretty high where I’m from. If the Recipe would have called for a 1/2 here or there, I would have went for it, but it called for 5 cups (doubling the recipe) for one and that one was up there in Cost.

Because I had already bragged, already splurged on the not-so-cheap seafood, I had to think of something. What I thought of was what I came up with BELOW. And before you bat an eye, let me tell you that this stuff was AMAZING!!!! We used tortilla chips but you can use other chips, veggie sticks or french bread. And with the left overs, I started doing all types of stuff– stuffing mushrooms and fish. Everyone loved it. LOVED it! And while I still used SOME of the expensive cheese, I only used a small amount — considering what the recipe originally called for.

The pictures are not so great, so forgive me, but enjoy because this was so totally worth it.

img_7573Okay, we are throwing ALL of the Ingredients below (except the Seafood) into a Crockpot.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 10 oz Frozen Chopped Spinach
  • 14 oz Artichoke Hearts, Chopped
  • 8 oz Italian Style Shredded Cheese (Kroger carries this.)
  • 1-2 cloves chopped raw garlic
  • 4 oz REAL Lump Crab Meat (If you can’t find lump, just make sure its real, uncooked and fresh.
  • 1/2 Ib Shrimp (No Shell) Chopped
  • 4 oz Can of Clams. I used the whole ones– not the minced. Drain these, too.
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 TBSP Jalapeno minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Parsley
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Cubed Gouda. I used .53 oz and .44 oz. So target it near those amounts. If you get a little over or less, don’t worry. Shouldn’t make a difference. This was the expensive stuff, but a little, went a long way.
  • 8 oz Shredded Parmesan (Buy the fresh near the other shredded cheeses)

 

As I said before, throw everything but the Seafood into a crock pot. Let it melt and heat up. The amount of time will depend on how fast your Crock cooks. Make sure to go in here and there and stir. Just make sure nothing sticks. Nothing in mine did, but you never know. Add seafood 15 minutes before serving.

 

Let me know what you think. We loved it. And save those left overs. We stuffed mushrooms with them, topped baked potatoes with it, even added some to our scrambled eggs.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Historical, Seafood, Soups & Stews, The Hungry Hen

Vintage Oyster Stew

I am labeling this one as vintage because believe it or not, this is another one of those recipes that seems to be  slipping through the forgotten cracks. Most people, if they eat Oysters at all now days,  deep fry or toss em down raw on the half shell.  We didn’t eat oysters all the time growing up.  In fact, the only time I ever remember seeing them was once in a blue moon during Christmas or once at a  church social – a supper they did at someone’s house. _DSC5178

When we got them, the grownups pretty much hoarded every last one. Because it was such a rare treat, the kids weren’t allowed to have any… but every once in awhile, when no one was paying attention, we’d catch a break, a bit of luck, and then in that moment, we’d discover what all the greedy fuss was about.

It’s funny because even now, if my Mother and Stepfather happen to get them, it’s like hiding America’s National Treasure. An entire pot will be on the stove, bowls full and sitting right in front of them, but the moment someone walks through the door—POOF! GONE! lol

A person could be starving, literally having had nothing to eat in weeks, and on that day if they happened to show up at my Mother’s house, well, they’d just have to go another week or so without eating.

I usually do Thanksgiving Supper at my house. This past year, my Mother ended up coming down for the actual meal. My Niece’s husband, who is a cook, decided to surprise us all by bringing some of the deep-fried Oysters they sell at the restaurant he works at. Every time my Mother was alone in the kitchen, and believe me, she made it a point to be alone, I’d catch her shoving Oysters  into her mouth as fast as she could. When one of us would walk in, she would just act like she was wiping off the counter or something, lol. We almost took bets to see how many she could sneak and eat if we played a pop in and out of the kitchen game.

Anyway, the classic way my Grandmother and Mother loved to eat Oysters was a very simple recipe  but delicious all the same. And it goes as follows…

Oyster Soup or Stew

2 (8 Ounce) Containers of Shucked Oysters

1/4 cup of All Purpose Flour (You can eliminate this if you are gluten intolerant or switch it out for arrow root.) I don’t recall my mother using any at all.

1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire

2 teaspoons of Salt

Pepper to taste

1 quart Milk (4 cups)

2 Pints of 1/2 and 1/2 or Heavy Cream

3 Tablespoons of Butter

Directions

— Drain Oysters, reserving 2/3rds cup of Liquid.

— In a 4 quart saucepan, mix flour, Worcestershire sauce, salt and 1/4 cup of water until smooth. Heat mixture to boiling.

— Gradually stir in milk till blended. Add 1/2 and 1/2 or Cream, butter, Oysters and Oyster Juice. Bring to a boil but then reduce heat.

–Cook 1- 15 minutes, just until the edges of your Oysters curl and the centers are firm. Add pepper to taste.

That last step does not take long at all.  In fact, this entire recipe doesn’t take long at all.

Oysters, are in my opinion, an acquired taste. You either love em or hate em. There may never be an between. Our parents, of course, particularly my Mother,  prayed with all of their might that we’d hate them. winks

 

Posted in Back in the Day, Historical, Seafood, The Hungry Hen

Scalloped Oysters & A Bit of History

file000142260726Amazingly, at one time, Oysters were a whopping six to eight inches and though enormous in size, people devoured them by the dozen.  Just as popular as they were big, Back in the Day, people used to throw actual Oyster Feasts. The Lincolns, when living in Illinois, were notorious for throwing such festive affairs. Everything on the menu was made with the King of all ingredients too – Oysters. And I’m talkin’ everything. Oysters were  broiled, deviled, baked, curried, fricasseed, panned, seared, scalloped, pickled, stewed, steamed, thrown in pies, omelets, fritters and even Ketchup!

Oysters were recorded as being eaten as far back as Rome. A special kind of beer was brewed to go right along with them. Even the Irish enjoyed a Pint enhanced only by Oysters.

In the 19th Century, they were enjoyed by the working class because they were so cheap. Too bad the same cant be said for present times. Unfortunately, we have done our damage cultivating them, too. Oysters are one of many things undergoing steps of restoration and recovery.

Published in 1877, Housekeeping in Old Virginia, offered such a tip:

To fatten up Oysters, mix one part salt with thirty pints of water. Place Oysters mouth side up in something that will not leak—such as a clean tub. Feed them the mixture – but how? Take a broom and brush it past their mouths causing them to open and drink of the brine.

 

Scalloped Oysters (Serves 4)

  • 1 pint of Oysters
  • 1/4 cup Oyster Liquor
  • 2 Tablespoons of Light Cream
  • 1/2 cup of day old bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Paprika
  1. Combine Oyster Liquor and cream. Sit to the side.
  2. Mix both kinds of crumbs together with the melted butter and sprinkle a thin layer on the bottom of a buttered 1 quart casserole.
  3. Cover with half of the oysters with half of the Liquor and cream mixture and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  4. Cover with a second layer of crumbs, remaining oysters, Liquor and Cream, salt and pepper.
  5. Finish off the dish with the last of the crumbs, salt and pepper and paprika.
  6. Note: Never make more than two layers of oysters in a scallop or the middle will remain uncooked.
  7. Bake in a pre-heated oven 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.