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Old 11-04-2007, 08:49 AM   #1
bbally's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Grand Junction Colorado
Posts: 75
Oyster Stew...... Cheap White Wine!

The weather here in Colorado has taken a turn toward cooler. And with it comes a couple nice things. I break from the wedding season in catering, oh we still get weddings in the winter, but not 6 or 7 per weekend, as well as time to cook at home and write blogs. My wife are I are hosting a vagrant household at this time. That is to say while college is in session we are "empty nesters" but when college has a break or closes down for the semester the transients (our children) come home to disrupt our new routines. One of our routines has been to work on all the projects in the house that we put off while; driving too, driving from, attending, helping to run, setting up to run, meeting about, meeting after a function, etc., etc., etc., the various activities our children were involved with over the years. So we are replacing trim boards, draw hardware, cabinet knobs, thresholds, tiles that broke loose, door jams that need shimmed up, etc., etc., etc., on the house while the Transients (as I like to refer to them now) are away at college. We were working on several projects on a beautiful day, yesterday, when my wife started looking at the Ciabatta breads I was working on with the "Mother" project. She says "You know the oysters have been coming in fresh lately, we have not had oyster stew in a while." Well what's a chef, honey do, husband type to do? Off to the market of course.............

I like about one dozen oysters per person in my oyster stew. In Pennsylvania we only had oysters in oyster stew. My wife, being from Massachusetts likes that chowder type stew. So I now but some large diced potatoes in the oyster stew. First I shuck off 24 oysters:

As I like a little depth to the stew I will warm up 2 cups of butter, sweat out some finely minced celery, onion, tiny amount of shallot, then add some salt and pepper. To finish it off a little white wine. I like sauvignon blanc for my stew. But I find myself out of stock on that wine. Next a nice chardonnay will work.

Since I get e-mails regarding wine use, I thought I would show the wine I am using to cook with and drink today. My wife and I enjoy all types of wines. And I tend to write about the more expensive ones we consume because they are special. But one can not continually down $60 (USD) bottles of wine every single meal. You would go broke. So we save special wines for special times. And have our share of just plain good table wines. Wines that set you back $6 to $12 per bottle. Another cool thing about table wines is they usually also come in magnums, double bottle size, that make the value per glass even better. Even though there is only two of us, I purchase the magnums when ever there is a price advantage to do so. Because I cook with so much wine, I don't mind having wine left over, it will get used in a soup stock, a base, or some other crazy deal I am cooking or experimenting with in the kitchen. Even gravies do well with a little wine for depth!!!! And so I present to you the CONFESSION: "My name is Chef Bob Ballantyne and I drink Redwood Creek table wines!" There it is out now, and I feel better. I absolutely love some of the drinkable table wines coming out of California now. Don't get me wrong, these are not collector wines, they are not to be cellared, they are made to purchase and consume in a month or two. And if you play it correctly and watch the sales, you can be putting magnums on the table for around $13.00 a bottle regularly. And that my friends is a real meal deal! And so I show you, complete with price tag, that we drink inexpensive wines too!

After adding in some wine to the butter and minced vegetables and letting it reduce by 2/3, I add in the oysters and wait til they just start to curl up a

First the likker from the oysters is very important to this dish. So when you are shucking, do it over a nice clear glass, shallow bowl so you can get that ocean likker along with your oysters. If you eat them on the half shell you know what I mean by ocean! I use the clear shallow bowl so I can see any shells or other contaminants that drop in with my shucking. I clean the contaminants out and save that likker! Now once the oyster have started to barely curl on the ends, I am going to kill the heat under the pot, add in my (prescalded) 1.5 cups of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of (prescalded) half and half, add in the steamed diced potatoes, adjust the salt and pepper and then let it sit for 15 minutes. While this is a meal in itself, I had some fresh Maryland style crab cakes that I will roast off as an additional side to the plate. Since this weeks "mother recipe 4" was Ciabatta bread, I think it only fair to cut it (on the bias) and serve it with the oyster stew.

I absolutely love oyster stew. Chardonnay, homemade ciabatta bread, oyster crackers and a beautiful lady to share it with, what else is there?

'til we talk again, cook up a nice oyster stew and pick up a bottle of table wine....... it's worth the effort!
Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA

To what do you attribute your longevity?
"gin and red meat" Julie Child
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:03 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Monroe, Michigan
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Welcome to DC, nice to have you with us. Enjoyed your wonderful post, my mouth is watering - Good job Chef !!

Sorry, just noticed you join over a year ago, must have missed you.
Grandma's Boys - Isaiah (11) Cameron (3 )
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Old 11-04-2007, 03:38 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Grand Junction Colorado
Posts: 75
Thanks for the welcome. Been around a while, just don't get to post much, they have a picture limit that makes most of my chef stories unuseable on this forum format.
To what do you attribute your longevity?
"gin and red meat" Julie Child
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