Maggie’s Kitchen Memo: Oyster Stew, Biscuits, Meyer Lemon Jam, Green Apple Mignonette and New Years

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Hey there,

I love that 2014 is coming to a close. It was a great year, but the opportunity for a fresh start — a blank canvas, a new year, a new you — is most certainly hard to pass up. It’s just the excuse we all need, if you need one, to try a new recipe, make something special from scratch, or rethink an old way or method. I got a head start during this last week… and I also have a little wish for YOU at the end of this note.

Oyster Stew, Carbonara and Homemade Biscuits: But not all together! A few days off is just what I need to stir me to want to cook. What did you cook over the holiday? I made a pretty great Oyster Stew with the last of my Island Creek Oysters. I also made a date night Pasta Carbonara that pretty much broke the rules and turned me on to using rigatoni instead of spaghetti. I’m dead set on perfecting my biscuit recipe during cold weather season and froze a bunch of little square-shaped biscuits for a New Year’s celebration.

A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus: I cannot put this cookbook down. It was a gift from some dear Seattle friends and I carry it with me throughout the house, a serious kid with a favorite blanket. I read a menu that resonates and then get all sorts of recipe ideas; it pushed me to perfect my Oyster Stew. On my next visit to Seattle, you’ll find me nestled into a corner at the Walrus Bar with a cold glass of white wine. Maybe we can even eat some oysters together?

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Meyer Lemon Jam: Instead of my classic Christmas Marmalade, I spent most of the holiday weekend making Meyer Lemon Jam, thanks to my latest bunch from the Lemon Ladies and a great base recipe from Marisa at Food in Jars. I’ll post my version of this whole fruit recipe shortly because it’s just the sort of preserve to either spread on toast or stir into a lamb stew to brighten up the sauce.

Clean Up, Clean Out: Since my Christmas tree only went up on Christmas Eve, it’s still up. No judgement, people. I made the white pepper gingerbread ornaments and I don’t have the heart to tear it all apart yet — maybe in February. I’ve torn apart most of the rest of my house though, making room for some negative space, for some new ideas to grow, for my fireplace to finally burn. A small business takes up a lot of space in your life and I’m finally moving parts of the business into a new space. I’m a little nervous about the next step but kinda excited to finally, finally, have my fireplace room back — now I can sit right in front of it and dream up even bigger plans.

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Handmade Baking Cookbook: I want to make sure you know about this beautiful cookbook by Kamran of The Sophisticated Gourmet. It’s beautifully written and photographed by Kamran, and the design (from Chronicle Books) just takes it all to a very special, almost intimate level. It’s the sort of cookbook you want to cook from, you want to hug and mark up with post-it notes and keep nearby when the need for a Butterfly Cookie arises. It will, I promise you.

Green Apple Mignonette: We ate a hundred oysters over Christmas. We’re talented like that. Just shucked on a big platter, the oysters went down easy with a simple Green Apple Mignonette. Just do this: (1) Add 1 finely diced medium shallot and 1/2 a green apple, also finely diced, to a mason jar. (2) Add 1 cup of white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper and a pinch of fine sea salt. (3) Seal and shake the jar. (4) Spoon liberally over just shucked oysters. My dice is a little sloppy; I bet you can do better.

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New Year’s Eve and Beyond: Let’s talk the last holiday of the year for a few moments.

1) What are you doing New Year’s Eve? I was hoping to go to my local but the entire bar has been reserved by another patron with very good taste, of course. Instead, I’ll probably just cook something new and drink a lot of champagne. I may also make my Camembert & Calvados because, you know, LOTS OF MELTED CHEESE.

2) What are you doing on New Year’s Day? I’m deciding between slicing up a small ham to wedge between those biscuits with a little Craic & the Blonde relish, or going out for more seafood. I hear it’s a good omen to get out of the house on New Year’s Day. Some say it means you’ll travel a lot in 2015. I’m not sure it will have any bearing on my already packed travel schedule but I like the idea of it, don’t you?

3) What’s the one thing — JUST ONE THING, NOT TEN — you’re doing differently in 2015? I’m going to see my friends more often. I don’t see them enough and then I get little holiday packages from Rose and Erin with the sweetest note and I remember that friends matter more than anything else. Your friends are a reflection of you. They remind you of the little victories you’ve achieved in an otherwise crazy-paced life, and they keep you honest to your dreams, always asking “How is that BIG DREAM coming along?” See your friends, let them remind you and let them push you to make it happen.

I will reiterate their sweet note: Friends, banish all things negative and welcome the new year with strength, grace and harmony… because, life is pure surprise, and that’s really all we can do with complete certainty.

Happiest of new years to you and yours,

Maggie xox

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Photos styled and taken by Maggie Battista.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers and shares our version of #foodgiftlove. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop.

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Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.

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