Tidewater Kitchen - December 2010

 

Company's Coming
by
Pamela Meredith-Doyle

Everyone wants to come visit once you have moved to the Eastern Shore. Here is an updated Maryland spread to impress all those guests and newly made friends.
The Eastern Shore has always been known for its love of tradition. Recipes and treasures are handed down from generation to generation. Pull out your grandmother’s linen tablecloth and set the table with your favorite heirloom silver and serving pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix your chinas and crystal. Magnolia leaves or blossoms make a wonderful centerpiece for your table.

CRAB MELT-AWAYS
Joan Snyder (a friend from Hagerstown and Oxford, Maryland) would often serve these for appetizers when we visited for dinner. They are still a favorite of mine. Joan made and froze them by the dozens – always ready for that last-minute company.

12 English muffins
1/2 lb. crabmeat
1/2 lb. butter, softened
7 oz. jar Old English Cheddar Cheese
2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. seasoned salt

Slice the English muffins in half, then in fourths. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Combine ingredients and spread on the muffin quarters. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from freezer and place under a broiler until bubbly and slightly brown. Serve hot!

APPLE and VIDALIA SOUP
Serves 8

1 qt. beef stock
12 oz. apple cider
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. thyme
Coarsely ground black pepper
Sea salt to taste
2 T. butter
1 lb. Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
1/2 t. sugar
1/3 cup dry sherry
Garlic croutons
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
2/3 cup red or green apple of your choice, finely diced and chilled, for garnish

Combine beef stock and apple cider in a large stock pot. Bring to a light boil. Add the bay leaf, black pepper and sea salt. Simmer for one hour.
Melt butter in a medium skillet and sauté onions until soft. Add sugar and continue cooking until onions brown. Deglaze skillet with sherry and add mixture to the beef stock. Simmer for one hour. Remove the bay leaf.
To serve, ladle soup into oven-safe bowls and top each with croutons, grated Parmesan cheese and a slice of Gruyere cheese. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese melts and browns. Garnish with diced apples before serving.

CORNISH GAME HENS with AMARETTO PECAN DRESSING
Serves 8
My Aunt Peggy had Rock Cornish game hens for Christmas every year in Baltimore. They are prized for their juicy all-white meat! When purchasing the freshest game hens and other poultry, look for those that are all one color with no air bubbles or separations between the skin and the meat.

8 Rock Cornish game hens
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Amaretto
Celery leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°. Remove giblets from hens. Rinse hens with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle cavity of each with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Just before placing the hens in the oven, lightly stuff cavity of hens with pecan dressing, then close cavity and secure with metal skewers. Tie leg ends together with string. Brush hens with 1/2 cup melted butter.
Combine 1/2 cup melted butter and Amaretto and set aside.
Place hens, breast side up, in a large shallow baking pan. Arrange any remaining dressing around hens in pan.
Bake for 1 to 1½ hours. Baste every 10 minutes with Amaretto mixture.
To serve, remove skewers and string. Garnish with celery leaves.

PECAN DRESSING
1-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup Amaretto
1 cup butter
4 cups seasoned cornbread stuffing
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Combine apple juice, Amaretto and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until butter melts. Add stuffing mix and pecans, stirring lightly.

ELEGANT GREEN BEANS
Serves 8
To lessen your salt intake, add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to foods. This enhances the flavor of these green beans. You can make this casserole several days ahead and refrigerate.

2 lbs. whole green beans, ends trimmed
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
6-7 T. olive oil
1 t. sea salt
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. white wine vinegar
1-1/2 t. red wine vinegar
1 T. fresh lemon juice

Steam the beans and onions for 5 to 10 minutes, until crisp and tender. Drain and place in a medium bowl. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the beans. Cover and chill for several hours.

EASY CORN PUDDING
Serves 8-10
This recipe came from a dear friend and neighbor, Jane Brown from Sailors Retreat. She served it on her sailboat, and it has become a family favorite. This can be made the day before Christmas and taken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.

4 cups creamed corn
8 T. flour
4 T. sugar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
8 beaten eggs
2 cups milk

Combine the creamed corn, flour, sugar, sea salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add eggs and milk, mixing with the other ingredients. In 2 greased 2-quart baking dishes, divide the mixture and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

PUMPKIN SPICE CAKE
I have made this cake for years. Thank you to Carolyn Welty for giving me the recipe. It is delicious!

1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups oil
1 can pumpkin (2 cups)
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground ginger
3 t. cinnamon
3 cups unsifted flour
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
Powdered sugar for garnish

Cream together the sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl. Sift together and add the flour and seasonings. Fold in nuts and raisins.
Bake in a greased and floured tube pan or a 12-cup bundt pan at 350° for 1 hour.
Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

FRENCH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE with RASPBERRY PUREE and ALMOND WHIPPED CREAM
For those of you who desire something different from the normal pumpkin pie and cake, this velvety rich mousse takes but minutes to prepare and is always a winner! It may also be poured into 8 pot de crème cups or individual soufflé dishes. This may be prepared 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

Mousse
18 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces
6 T. sugar
3 eggs
1 T. rum
Dash of sea salt
2-1/4 cups half-and-half

Place all ingredients, except the half-and-half, in a blender.
Scald the half-and-half and add, while hot, to the blender. Blend on high for 1 minute.
Pat down any bubbles with a rubber spatula and let the mixture stand for several minutes. Carefully pour into a glass serving bowl. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Raspberry Puree
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 T. Grand Marnier

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Puree in a blender and strain through a fine sieve. Pour into a small serving dish and refrigerate, covered, overnight. May be prepared 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. sugar
1 t. almond extract

Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Add sugar to taste. Stir in almond extract. Spoon into a serving dish. May be prepared several hours ahead, covered and refrigerated. At serving time a light re-whip may be necessary.