WHY MILLENNIALS LOVE OYSTERS SO MUCH

Few words have as many happy associations as the word “oyster”.  From Shakespeare’s famous line “Why then the world’s mine oyster” to Rolex naming their legendary silver watchband after this culinary delight, oysters have come to mean all things good and Millennials know it.

Just consider what eating oysters can do for the active body:

    •    Boost the Immune System:
Oysters contain a large amount of both vitamin E and C. They also contain various other minerals that help the immune system. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of oysters can protect against free radicals, which are released during cellular metabolism.

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    •    Promote Heart Health: 
Oysters are good for the heart. They reduce the plaque that accumulates on arteries by limiting its binding to the artery walls and blood vessels. The high magnesium and potassium content in oysters helps lower blood pressure and relaxes the blood vessels

    •    Strengthen Eye Sight:
Oysters top the list for natural sources of zinc, the mineral that ensures that the eye’s pigment is adequately produced in the retina. The more zinc, the stronger your eyesight, because reduced pigmentation is often related to a reduction in the central visual field of vision.

    •    Improves Brain Function:
Oysters are a rich source of B12, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and iron, all benefiting brain function. Studies have shown that low iron in the brain reduces the ability of a person to concentrate while zinc deficiency can affect the memory.

    •    Acts as a Mood Boosting:
Due to the high levels of zinc found in oysters, they are known to stabilize mood. Zinc is considered an essential mineral because it is not stored by the body and needs to be consumed through diet.

    •    Makes You Beautiful :
The powerful mineral zinc plays a big role in skin repair by helping create and boost collagen. Collagen is crucial for the structural support in skin and reduces sagging. It also helps maintain stronger nails, and keeps scalp and hair healthy.

    •    Encourages Healthy Vascular System and Blood Vessels:
One single serving of oysters contains 16-18% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C  helps fight cardiovascular disease. Oysters are also high in omega–3 fatty acids, potassium, and magnesium which are known to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and can help lower blood pressure.

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    •    Increases Energy:
Oysters contain a good amount of B12 vitamins, which boost energy and turn the food into energy. Oysters also contain iron, which helps the body transport oxygen to individual cells giving an energy boost.

    •    Strengthens Bones:
The presence of selenium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus and calcium found in oysters leads to stronger bone health and density.

And it that’s not enough, they taste great - fresh on the half shell or prepared in hundreds of savory ways like the famed New Orleans entree, Oysters Rockefeller.

Oysters Rockefeller

Ingredients

  • 36 fresh Taylor Pacific Oysters
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons finely-minced onion 
  • 9 tablespoons finely-minced parsley 
  • 5 tablespoons homemade bread crumbs 
  • Tabasco Sauce to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Pernod
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Rock Salt
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions

  1. Using an oyster knife, shuck open the oyster shells, then remove the oysters. 
  2. Discard the top shells. 
  3. Reserve the oyster liquor.
  4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter; add spinach, onion, parsley, bread crumbs, Tabasco Sauce, Herbsaint, and salt.  
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes.  
  6. Remove from heat.  
  7. Press the spinach mixture through a sieve or food mill; let cool.  
  8. Preheat oven broiler.  
  9. Line an ovenproof plate or platter with a layer of rock salt about 1-inch deep (moisten the salt very slightly).  
  10. Set oysters in the rock salt.
  11. Place a little of the reserved oyster liquor on each oyster.  
  12. Spoon an equal amount of the prepared parsley mixture over each oyster .
  13. Spread parsley mixture to the rim of the shell.
  14. Broil approximately 5 minutes or until the edges of the oysters have curled and the topping is bubbling.  
  15. Garnish the plates with the parsley sprigs and the lemon wedges.  
  16. Serve immediately.

PROTECTING THE SEA AND ALL WHO WORK UPON ITS WATERS

Today many nations, organizations, companies and concerned chefs are working hard to protect the seas and the people who make their living from it.

Because of programs like Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, humanity’s attention is turning to the seas for alternate forms of protein and concern about honest sourcing and fair labor practices.

Yet the struggle for responsible actions upon the sea began over 150 years ago when Andrew Furuseth fought for the rights of common seamen. 

During his life time not only whales but also seamen were treated with indifferent cruelty. The rights of a seamen were as little valued then as the marine species that were being fished to near extinction. Sailors could be shanghaied, whipped, starved and beaten without recourse to any form of justice. Pay could be withheld for the slightest of reasons.

Furuseth is credited as the key figure behind the drafting and enacting the Seamen’s Act of 1915,  hailed by seamen as "The Magna Carta of the Sea”.  It fundamentally changed the life of the American sailor. Among other things, it:

  •     Abolished the practice of imprisonment for seamen who deserted their ship,
  •     Reduced the penalties for disobedience,
  •     Regulated a seaman's working hours both at sea and in port,
  •     Established a minimum quality for ship's food,
  •     Regulated the payment of seamen's wages,
  •     Required specific levels of safety, particularly the provision of lifeboats and,
  •     Required a minimum of 75% of the seamen aboard a vessel to understand the language spoken by the officers 

In short, the seamen’s life became better, much better.

For over 125 years Taylor Shellfish Farms has followed the tradition begun by Furuseuth of respecting the sea and the people who work upon its waters. Taylor’s efforts have been recognized by the Aquaculture Sustainability Council (ASC) as being the first U.S. shellfish grower to achieve responsible aquaculture certification for their farming operation in Washington State.  

Taylor’s 600 employees work hard year round to continue their active support of the tidal environment.  Today as never before it is vital everyone protect and value the sea. The health of our beautiful planet depends upon us.

RED, WHITE, OR CLEAR - CHOWDER IS TRULY THE ALL AMERICAN MEAL

Few American dishes represent the diversity of American cuisine as well as clam chowder.  Red, white, or clear it has changed form countless times yet is always a hit with diners.

But first off, what exactly is clam chowder?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary chowder is "a soup or stew of seafood (such as clams or fish) usually made with milk or tomatoes, salt pork, onions, and other vegetables." 

Yet the actual recipe of this soup varies depending what part of the country it comes from, but most often it includes clams, potatoes, onions, and some form of pork. 

The biggest variation between the recipes is the broth: Some chefs use milk to produce a thick, creamy broth while others use a red broth made with tomatoes and spices. in addition there’s also a clear broth made with just clam juice. 

While chowders may be made differently, they all share one thing in common: everyone rates their chowder as best!

So when was clam chowder first created?

Culinary historians believe that the New England style of chowder was introduced to New England and Canada by the mid-1700s. Chowder continued to gain popularity over the years and was being served in Boston at Ye Olde Union Oyster House (America’s oldest continuously operating restaurant) as early as 1836. Clam chowder was so popular that it was even described in Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

Just how many different varieties of clam chowder are there?

The most popular and well known versions are the New England-style and Manhattan-style chowders, distinguished by their white and red colors, respectively. However, there are many other distinct varieties from all over the East Coast as well as the West Coast.

New England clam chowder was undoubtedly the first. It is defined as "a thick chowder made from clams, potatoes, onions, sometimes salt pork, and milk or cream." The recipe usually calls for heavy cream, light cream, or whole milk as the base for the soup. This addition of milk or cream — producing the soup's unmistakable white color — is the biggest difference between the New England style and all the rest.

Manhattan clam chowder, on the other hand, can be recognized by its red color, created by tomatoes and tomato paste. The broth is much thinner than the thicker New England version and while it also includes potatoes, most Manhattan-style chowders boast a variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, onion, and garlic for added flavor. 

The first recipe for "Manhattan Clam Chowder" was published in 1934 in a cookbook called Soups and Sauces by Virginia Elliott and Robert Jones. While the name "Manhattan" stuck, the soup has little to do with New York City's famed borough.

Not to be left out, New Jersey has also created its own version, which is somewhat similar to Manhattan clam chowder. It's made with tomatoes but also creamed asparagus, light cream, and bacon. It's also seasoned with Old Bay spice, parsley, and celery powder.

Going deeper into the South to Florida where St. Augustine calls Minorcan clam chowder one of its signature dishes. This one is similar to Manhattan-style with a tomato-based but with one very unique ingredient: datil pepper.

The pepper — varying in color from green to a yellowish orange — is indigenous to Cuba and was brought to Florida hundreds of years ago by the Spanish. Its sweet, tart, and spicy taste gives the soup it's one-of-a-kind flavor. The name Minorcan refers to Florida settlers from the island of Minorca, Spain who created the hearty soup using local ingredients but with Mediterranean style.

There is also a Rhode Island clam chowder, known for its clear broth. In fact, the small state also has a red version of the famous soup. Unlike the Manhattan-style chowder, this one is not made with any actual tomatoes — it's made with tomato purée— or any added vegetables.

In the Outer Banks of North Carolina, there's a version dubbed Hatteras Island-style clam chowder — a broth-based soup that skips using both cream and tomatoes. It's commonly made with smaller clams due to their sweet flavor. The ingredients are cooked in a clam juice that uses only salt and pepper as a seasoning.

And not to be missed is the West Coast’s Cabo Clam Chowder, a California favorite with bold Latin flavors like chipotle. The recipe also includes onions, corns, jalapeños, and peppers, plus black beans, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and lime. The dish is most often garnished with tortilla strips.

With such a wide range of choices, it’s easy to see why America loves its chowder - each one as exciting as the region it calls home.  But why savor just local favorites when, thanks to chowders, you can enjoy truly American flavors from sea to shining sea… all thanks to the humble clam!

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OYSTERS AHOY!

While wandering in an antique shop or Sunday flea market have you ever seen a sailboat model with a sail so long it extended beyond the rear of the boat?

 Chances are you are looking a Skipjack sailing boat, the unique working boat that once dominated the oyster trade in Chesapeake Bay. In fact during the late 1800’s over 2,000 of this amazing boats plied the coastal waterways of Maryland.

Debate still remains about the origins of the name. Some claim it is derived from an archaic English term, meaning an "inexpensive yet useful servant.” But still others believe the name comes from the common 19th century name for seaman, “Jack”, and that the highly maneuverable sailboat seemed to literally skip over the water.

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Either way the skipjack was the workhorse of the early of the mid-Atlantic oyster trade, towing barges that in 1884 carried over 15 million bushels of oysters in a single year to waiting markets.

Sadly only about 40 of these lovely oyster boats actively work today due to over harvesting and the depletion of the surrounding oysters beds.

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To prevent this elegant craft from slipping into obscurity in 1985 Maryland declaimed the skipjack the official state boat.

Today, company like Taylor work hard to support sustainability and preserve America’s shellfish heritage. By partnering with organizations like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Taylor Shellfish actively works to make a sustainable future the daily commitment from all of its 600 employees.

LINGUINE AND CLAMS IN BLACK AND WHITE PEPPER BROTH

Black pepper has been a kitchen staple for centuries yet white pepper has largely remained its lesser known cousin.  Actually these two spices are more like brother and sister because both peppers come from the same spice berry - they are just processed differently.

Unlike black peppers, the spice berry, from which white peppers comes, is allowed to fully ripen before harvesting. 

When ready, the berries are soaked in water for at least eight days. Once the berry flesh has decomposed and softened, it is rubbed or scraped until only core seeds remain. The seeds are then dried until they turn gray or white.

Compared to black pepper, white peppers do not have very strong smell but its taste is more pungent than black pepper. 

Its unique piney flavor, along with the base flavor of black pepper, makes their combination a flavorful compliment to clams.

Linguine and Clams in Black and White Pepper Broth

Ingredients

  •         Coarse salt
  •         1/2 pound dried linguine
  •         2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
  •         1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  •         2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped, for garnish
  •         5 garlic cloves, minced
  •         2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  •         1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  •         1 cup dry white wine
  •         2 pounds Taylor Manila Clams
  •         1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  •         White Pepper to take, freshly ground
  •         Parsley

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 
  2. Add pasta.
  3. Cook until al dente. 
  4. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. 
  5. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. 
  6. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, and let drain. 
  7. Return saucepan to medium-low heat, and add 2 tablespoons butter, the parsley, garlic, 2 teaspoons pepper, and the red-pepper flakes. 
  8. Cook until garlic is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. 
  9. Add wine and clams, and bring to a simmer. 
  10. Cover, and cook until clams have opened, about 5 minutes (discard any unopened clams). 
  11. Add linguine, reserved cooking water, pancetta, remaining tablespoon butter, and the lemon zest.
  12. Toss to combine. 
  13. Season with white pepper.
  14. Garnish with parsley.

CHAMPAGNE FOAM FOR OYSTERS

Nothing but nothing but says elegance and celebration like champagne and oysters but sadly they are often served as separate courses.

Thankfully the wonders of molecular cuisine have brought the two together is a heavenly combination perfect for any wedding or romantic anniversary dinner – fresh Taylor Pacific oysters garnished with elegant champagne vinegar foam .

The secret ingredient that makes  this possible is Versawhip, a soy protein that helps build a rich firm foam.

Champagne Foam for Oysters

 Ingredients

  • 150 g Champagne vinegar (red wine vinegar works as well)
  • 150 g Water
  • 30 g Sugar
  • 16 g  Versawhip
  • 4 g Salt
  • Taylor Pacific Oysters on the Half Shell
  • Equipment - Pump Bottle

Directions

  1. Clean pump bottle
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well incorporated.
  3. Pour whisker mixture into pump bottle.
  4. Pump Champagne foam onto fresh Taylor Oysters on the Half Shell.

KALGUKSU CLAM SOUP

Translated this classic Korean noodle soup is also known as "Knife Noodle Soup" because the handmade noodle dough is cut by hand with a knife. While hand crafted noodles are historical, busy chefs today rely on more readily available dried udon noodles.

Traditionally the spicy seasonings would be served on the side, but contemporary chefs prefer to add their spices directly to this bracing clam soup along with spinach for a more direct  flavor experience.

Kalguksu Clam Soup

Ingredients

  • ½  lb.dried Udon Noodles
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsps Asian sesame oil
  • 1 ¼  tspss Asian chili-garlic sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp pure ancho chili powder
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 cups clam broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb. Taylor Milan Clams
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach (4 cups)
  • 2 scallions, thickly sliced

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the udon until al dente, about 6 minutes.
  2. Drain, shaking out the excess water.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the garlic, sesame oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons chili sauce, chile powder, sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Add the clam broth and water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the clams and cook until opened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer the clams to a bowl.
  7. Add the spinach, scallions and udon to the broth.
  8. Cook until the spinach is wilted, 1 minute.
  9. Ladle the udon soup into 4 bowls.
  10. Top with the clams.
  11. Provide extra chili sauce at table.

ANGELS AND DEVILS ON HORSEBACK JUST IN TIME FOR MARDi GRAS

Need a special dish for Mardi Gras? Why not fly high this year with Angels and Devils on Horseback?

Angels on Horseback are oysters wrapped in bacon and grilled. A devil is a tea-soaked prune treated just the same way. Both hail from the Victorian era.

The main reason for their popularity then was that oysters were the food of the poor during that period. Today they are, of course, a favorite food enjoyed by everyone. Their culinary progress is similar to sushi which was once a workman' quick meal and now is a gourmet treat.

The best oysters for the angels are the large pre-shucked Pacific Oysters like those produced by Taylor Shellfish Farms.  Grilled jointly they are the perfect hors d'oeuvre to enjoy while catching those soon to be cherished Mardi Gras beads.

Angels on Horseback

Ingredients

  • Wooden Toothpicks
  • 1 pint large Taylor Shucked Oysters
  • Cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut in half

Directions

  1. Soak 1 toothpick for each oyster in water.
  2. Heat grill to 350 degrees.
  3. Season your oysters with a little Cayenne or Tabasco sauce.
  4. Roll each oyster in a piece of bacon, securing it with a toothpick.
  5. Place them on a baking sheet.
  6. Grill until the bacon is crisp and the oysters are plump.
  7. Serve immediately.

Devils on Horseback

Ingredients

  • Wooden Toothpicks
  • 12 large prunes or 24 small ones, pitted
  • Freshly brewed, Earl Grey tea
  • 12 roasted, salted almonds
  • 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut in half

Directions

  1. Soak your prunes in the hot tea until plump – about 30 minutes.
  2. Fill the pit gap with a roasted almond.
  3. Roll each prune in a piece of bacon, securing it with a toothpick.
  4. Place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Grill until the bacon is crisp.

OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER WITH A MODERN TWIST

When Jules Alciatore took over management of New Orleans' famed Antoine's Restaurant in 1899, he recognized that the taste for the escargot his father had made famous was fading. To make matters even worse, the imported French snails traditionally used were in short supply.

As a result, Monsieur Jules decided to substitute a local product to insure consistent availability and price control. He chose oysters and soon he succeeded in adapting the Restaurant's snail recipe to the new ingredient.

His talents resulted in Jules Alciatore being known among chefs as a pioneer in the preparation of cooking oysters. Prior to his culinary creations, oysters were seldom cooked and largely eaten raw at oyster bars and from street corner push carts.

According to legend, his adapted snail-now-oyster dish gained its name because its dollar-green color and out-of-this-world richness caused a delighted customer to exclaim loudly after eating the new dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”

John D. Rockefeller was at that time the richest man in America. With such an esteemed name no other American dish has received as much praise and attention as Oysters Rockefeller.

That said, innovation has always been the hallmark of culinary creativity. Thanks to chefs such as Nathan Myhrvold and culinary sites like ChefSteps, there are two new interpretation of the Hollandaise Sauce that classically tops Oysters Rockefeller.

One method involves the use of whipped cream dispenser.

 Molecular Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  • 325 g butter, cubed (results in approx. 500 ml of clarified butter)
  • 3 egg yolks, 1 whole egg
  • 25 g diced shallots or onions
  • 50 ml dry white wine, lemon juice or somewhat mild vinegar
  • 0.5 – 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 crushed black peppercorns
  • salt, white or cayenne pepper and a pinch of sugar

Directions

  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Sauté the shallots in vegetable oil until translucent.
  3. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf and lemon/vinegar.
  4. Add white wine and reduce for about 3 minutes.
  5. Strain the reduction through a fine sieve.
  6. Whisk the egg yolk and whole egg with 4 tbsp. of the reduction over the water bath (approx. 70 °C).
  7. Add the butter (approx. 50 °C) in drops, and then gradually stir in.
  8. Season to taste.
  9. Pour the sauce into the 0.5 L Cream Whipper.
  10. Screw on 1 cream charger and shake vigorously.
  11. Serve immediately over Eggs Benedict.

The second method involved hot water.

Sous Vida Hollandaise Sauce

One final note - to maintain a grounding in tradition be sure to use a base of puréed parsley, not spinach, beneath the oysters.

ROMANTIC OYSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE ALL YEAR LONG

When wine has bubbles it’s a sign that it has continued to ferment inside the bottle. For much of the history of viniculture this was a no-no, a sign of wine gone bad, associated with murky, unstable and unpredictable vintages.

Although a few vineyards had produced intentionally sparkling wine (as early as the 15th century in Limoux in the South of France), it was only in the late 1600s that bubbly from Champagne began to be produced and respected.

Wines from Champagne has always had tendency to fizz because early frosts often led to incomplete fermentation during the manufacturing process. When things warmed the following spring, some of the wine would begin to sparkle. Fizzy Champagne, in fact, was popular among the well-to-do in Georgian England long before it became chic in the courts and chateaus of Pre-Revolutionary France.

Barrels of champagne were shipped across the channel and bottled there. In the early 1600s, English coal-fired glassworks produced bottles far stronger than anything wood furnaces could manage. By 1740 molding techniques had arrived, which allowed for the production of identical bottles and standardized corks. Suddenly the fizz could be contained.

In 1815, another key innovation arrived from a Champagne producer known as the Widow Cliquot. Champagne’s in-bottle fermentation clouds the wine with dead yeast (early Champagne glasses were made mottled to help hide this effect). Getting rid of the yeast during manufacturing took an expert hand and spilled a lot of precious bubbly.

Cliquot’s innovation was to turn the bottles neck-down and let the yeast settle in the neck in a process known as “remuage” or riddling. Once the murk was isolated, the bottleneck could be submerged in icy brine, freezing the bad bits into a floating plug of wine-debris that could then be removed before the remaining clear bubbly was sweetened and re-corked.

During the French “Belle Époque” (the peaceful decades between 1871 and 1914), Champagne became a mass-market luxury, its story woven into French popular culture by paid and unpaid marketing. Painters from Manet and Cézanne to Mucha and Toulouse-Lautrec depicted it in their panoramas of modern life. Novelists such as Goethe, Zola and Pushkin wove it into their stories.

It was in the restaurants of Paris during the same time that oysters began to be served in a rich champagne sauce - a combination worthy of romance all year long.

OYSTERS IN CHAMPAGNE

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 2 cup brut Champagne
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 pint Taylor Shucked Oysters
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • Pasta/Rice

Directions

  1. In a medium-size sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat.
  2. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup Champagne and clam juice.
  4. Boil, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat.
  6. Add the cream.
  7. Cook until thickened enough to coat back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cut the remaining butter into 6 pieces.
  9. Whisk into the sauce, one piece at a time.
  10. Add 1/4 cup Champagne.
  11. Cook sauce until thick enough to coat the back of spoon, about 3 minutes.
  12. Adjust salt and pepper.
  13. In a separate pan, poach shucked oysters in remaining champagne and water to cover until plump, about 1 minute.
  14. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
  15. Add Champagne sauce and chives.
  16. Serve immediately on pastas rice

ROMANCE ON THE HALF SHELL

Today February the Fourteenth is the very popular global holiday celebrating true love and all matters romantic. Yet in the Third Century AD it was a day set aside to honor of Bishop Valentine, who was cruelly executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II.

In fact, the very word ‘holiday’ comes from combining the two words used to describe such religious ‘holy-days’. The word took its final form when the ‘y’ was replaced with an ‘i.

Because Bishop Valentine was a sainted martyr, his saint day was marked in red on the medieval calendar of church observances. As a result, it became traditionally to honor the gentle Saint by sending romance messages on red tinted paper - a custom still continued today in the design of countless Valentine cards. - over 180 million annually!

There are many legends surround the cause for Valentine’s death. The most historic accounts record that Valentine was a devout priest who helped young men marry against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II. Apparently Claudius felt men were better soldiers when they weren’t romantically longing for home. Thankfully romance won out then - and hopefully now.

Today Valentine’s is a major dining-out day and red is still a favorite culinary theme, especially when a pomegranate mignonette is matched with Casanova’s favorite romantic dish - oysters on the half shell.

Romantic Pomegranate Mignonette

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Pomegranate, Seeds and Juice
  • 1 Small Shallot, Finely Diced
  • 2-3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Flat Leaf Parsley or Dill, Optional
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to Taste
  • Fresh Taylor Pacific Oysters
  • Rock Salt

Directions

  1. Mix first five ingredients together.
  2. Shuck the fresh oysters, reserving oyster meats in bottom shell.
  3. Spoon mignonette over fresh oysters in the half shell.
  4. Place garnished oyster in shell carefully on bed of rock salt and serve.

KICK OFF SUPER BOWL 2017 WITH BLOODY RITA OYSTER SHOOTERS AND SPICY CHOWDER CRACKERS

Come Sunday, February 5th the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will face off in Super Bowl 51. It’s sure to be an exciting game with each side cheering loudly for their favorite team.

But the day would not be complete with accompanying food and drink. This year’s touchdown favorites are Spicy Chowder Crackers and Bloody Rita Oyster Shooters. With both you’re sure to score with guests.

Spicy Chowder Crackers

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 9 ounce package oyster crackers

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. 
  2. Whisk together canola oil, Cajun seasoning and salt. 
  3. Add oyster crackers to Cajun seasoning mixture.
  4. Gently mix to coat. 
  5. Lay oyster crackers in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. 
  7. Remove from oven.
  8. Allow to cool before serving.

Bloody Rita Oyster Shooters

EMERGING 2017 FOOD TRENDS

Each year it seems an endless number of little known people appear seeking to predict what the next hot food trends will be. But when all is said and done, those in the know prefer to consult top culinary professionals like….

Massimo Bottura who believes 2017 is about making food accessible to more people. Community will replace the solo diner focus, a radical departure from the rise of the celebrity chef.

Namae Shinobu, Japan's leading proponent of French cuisine, who values originality with street food and other local dishes, all getting a makeover -- including ramen, gyoza or even hot dogs.  

Joan Roca who considers  the humanitarian role of the chef as a key component to addressing major social issues such as food waste, and sharing food with those in need.

Ben Shewry who believes that chefs in 2017 will strongly focus on sustainability and support of the environment, a topic dear to the heart of Taylor Shellfish Farms. Chefs can no longer, he believes, turn a blind eye to harmful food production methods and its impact on the planet.

Chef Margarita Fores, named the best female chef of Asia, who expects farmers and producers will grow new foods to meet diverse demands of increasingly more informed diners. As more people travel, guests will want a wide diversity of ingredients.

Gaggan Anand of Bangkok who believes exotic foams and jellies will fade and be replaced by comfort foods in a world weary of seemingly endless conflicts and strife.  Traditional forms of fermentation and presentation will be more popular than elaborate abstract plating.

Dan Barber who senses changes in farming habits will lead to delicious tasting meats, with calves allowed to roam freely and grow on mother's milk, instead of synthetic substitutes. Veal production will provide a new economy for struggling dairy farmers.

Paul Pairet who predicts a modern take on the past, including a farm-to-table approach and "glamorous offals and other forgotten oddities." Expect open-fire, black-scorched roots, burnt fat, non-technical home cooked style with zero food wastage, and peasant food for city boys and girls -- think whole animals on a spit fire.

Virgilio Martinez who believes diners will seek out simple dining experiences so that they can experience the culture, history and taste of a cuisine in one bite. Single origin produce with a story and tradition will come back with more value to express quality and emotion to the diner.

Andre Chiang who is among the many great young Asian chefs trained in top restaurants in Europe and the US and then return home to start their own cuisine. Andre Chiang believes these chefs will bring with them a "European soul" to a new Asian flavor which will use local ingredients. This Europe-meets-Asia trend will spread all over Asia -- including Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines, according to Chiang.

Daniel Humm says now more than ever, people want genuine hospitality when they go out for a meal. Whether that comes at a fine dining restaurant or counter-service spot, it's still relevant, because it's what makes the experience special. 

PORK TONKATSU SANDWICHES WITH OYSTER MAYO

Oyster mayo served on savory pork might just be the best thing since sliced bread as the saying goes. Once matched on a roll with cabbage, and pickled red onions you are very near perfection.

ChefSteps has kindly shared their favorite sous vide method for making oyster mayo. The results, as always, are outstanding. Enjoy!

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 12 oz pork tenderloin
  • Oyster Mayo
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Cups green or purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 Cup panko
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 4 Soft sausage rolls, split
  • 4 Tbsp ketchup
  • 8-12 Fresh wasabi leaves (or substitute watercress)
  • Pickled red onions (red onions soaked in rice vinegar)

Directions

  1. Slice the pork against the grain into 4 equal portions.
  2. Working one piece at a time, place the pork between two pieces of plastic wrap.
  3. Carefully but firmly pound the pork until ¼” thick.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Dress the cabbage with the juice of half a lemon and a light sprinkle of salt.
  7. Reserve.
  8. Dredge each pork cutlet in flour, dust off the excess, then coat with the beaten egg.
  9. Coat in panko.
  10. Heat the oil in a black steel pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  11. Brown the breaded cutlets for 2 or 3 minutes per side.
  12. Add more oil, if needed.
  13. Rest on a wire rack.
  14. Toast your rolls.
  15. Spread one side with oyster mayo and the other with ketchup.
  16. Place the pork on the mayo side.
  17. Top with a generous heap of dressed cabbage, a few wasabi leaves, pickled red onions, and remaining side of bread.

PORCO CLAMS ALENTEJANA

The classic Portuguese dish Porco Alentejana is a succulent mix of pork with clams cooked in a red pepper sauce. It’s a totally different take on traditional surf ‘n’ turf and offers diners a flavorful yet subtle entree.

It is traditionally served with fried potatoes. Alternatively it can be served with good crusty bread to enable guests to savor every last drop of its amazing sauce. The only other accompaniments needed are chunks of lemon to squeeze over it and possibly a bright green salad.

The dish itself is fairly straightforward but one does need to acquire some Massa de Pimentão, a unique Portuguese red pepper paste.

Portuguese Pork and Clams

Ingredients

  • 1 pork fillet, about 1 lb
  • 5 tbsp Portuguese red pepper paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 lb Taylor Clams
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions

  1. Trim any silvery sinewy skin from the pork fillet and cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the red pepper paste, crushed garlic and white wine.
  3. Add the bay leaves and pork pieces, cover and marinate overnight.
  4. Next day, drain the marinade and reserve, brushing off any still sticking to the pork.
  5. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper.
  6. Heat the butter and oil in a deep frying pan, one with a lid.
  7. Fry the pork until browned all over and set aside.
  8. Put the chopped onions in the same pan and cook until softened and golden.
  9. Add the tomato puree and cook for a minute or two to remove any metallic taste.
  10. Pour in the reserved marinade, mix well and put the pork back in the pan.
  11. Cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes or until tender.
  12. Stir occasionally and adding a splash of water if too dry.
  13. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  14. Wash the clams and discard any that are open or have broken shells.
  15. Scatter them on top of the meat, put the lid back on and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  16. Throw in the chopped herbs, give them a quick turn to mix in and serve, garnished with lemon.

OYSTERS BILTMORE

The Vanderbilts, who owned the grand Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., loved to dine on oysters.

In the 1904 estate menu diary, oysters are listed often as a favorite, ranging from oysters served simmering in broth, on the half-shell, broiled, fried, scalloped or a la poulette.

Known locally as ‘Oysters Biltmore”, oysters prepared a la poulette are poached in a rich bechamel sauce made with oyster liquor and chicken broth.

This treasured recipe takes the bechamel component of a la poulette oysters one step further and adds another favorite Vanderbilt ingredient: country ham from their beloved Virginia. The sauce is broiled on top of half-shell oysters. The result is toasty brown and rich with cheese.

And how were Oysters Biltmore served? On a bed of rock salt, often on a plate that said, “Votes for Women”, a favorite of Alva Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt heiress who went from debutante to suffragette.

So while some might associate Oysters Biltmore only with the elite of America, it seems they also came to represent the efforts of countless women who marched to secure the right to speak and right to vote.   

Oysters Biltmore

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 large scallion, green and white parts, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
  • 2 ounces country ham, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 1/2 ounces Swiss cheese, finely grated (1/2 cup)
  • 18 small to medium Taylor Oysters

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Once it’s foamy, whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the milk slowly, whisking to make sure no lumps form. 
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to form a thick white sauce. 
  4. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Stir in the scallion, ham, Tabasco sauce and cheese.
  5. Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler.
  6. Spread a good amount of kosher salt on a baking sheet. 
  7. Shuck the oysters on a dish towel, cup side down, taking care to keep the liquor from spilling. Place each opened oyster on the salt so it is level, anchoring it securely. 
  8. Spoon a tablespoon of sauce over each oyster. 
  9. Broil the oysters for 3 minutes, until the edges of the oysters curl and the sauce is browned and bubbling.
  10. Serve warm.

HOW TO MAKE IT A GREAT AMERICAN NEW YEAR

As one year ends and another starts, it's a great time to honor the amazing diversity of America's culinary heritage.  As an example, consider pasta which has long been a stable in the American kitchen thanks to over 200 years of immigration from the Mediterranean region of Europe.

As a result, for over a century now many have believed that Italians invented pasta, Actually, pasta was first created many, many centuries earlier in distant China. Recent archaeological discoveries in the Qinghai Province have confirmed that fact when ancient pasta found there was carbon dated to be over 4,000 years old!

Now that it's a new year, why not start the year off right and blend the cultures of Italy and China together as only America can do by adding oysters, a good luck New Year's food in both countries. Each counted ridge on the oyster shell is said to bring both chef and guest increased prosperity in the coming year. What could be better!  

The resulting Lemon Fettuccine with Fried Oysters is a great way to celebrate the New Year and thecultural diversity that has made America's culinary heritage so rich from sea to shining seas! 

Lemon Fettuccine with Fried Oysters

Ingredients

  • 1½ tbsp cornflour
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 lb Taylor Pacific Oysters, Shucked
  • 1 tsp reserve oyster liquid from shells
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Long shaved strip of skin from 1 lemon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (avoid the white pith)
  • 15 sprigs lemon (or regular) thyme
  • 250g fettuccine
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp baby capers (or regular capers, roughly chopped)
  • 40g basil leaves, shredded

Directions

  1. Toss the cornflour, plain flour and oysters in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt, and set aside.
  2. Pour a third of the oil into a small saucepan.
  3. Place on a medium-high flame. 
  4. Heat and add add three or four oysters.
  5. Fry for a minute and a half.
  6. Turn once halfway through, until golden-brown on both sides. 
  7. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
  8. Cook all remaining oysters.
  9. Discard any oil left in the pan. 
  10. Add the butter and remaining oil.
  11. Increase heat to medium.
  12. Add the garlic, lemon strip and thyme.
  13. Fry stirring constantly until the garlic is golden and lemon and thyme are crisp. 
  14. Remove off the heat.
  15. Discard the thyme.
  16. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  17. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  18. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
  19. Return the pasta to the pan with three or four tablespoons of its cooking water. 
  20. Add the oysters, oyster liquid from their shells, the infused oil, grated lemon zest and juice, capers, and white pepper to taste. 
  21. Toss.
  22. Stir in basil.
  23. Serve at once.

MEET THE PERFECT BLOODY MARY OYSTER MATCH

IMG_1676.jpg

After all the sparkling champagne and spirited martinis that were raised to welcome the New Year in, a soothing Bloody Mary cocktail can be a comforting touch of calm. But the question is which variation of this classic drink is best, especially with oysters, that oh-so-good good luck New Year's food?

Consider the Seaman's Blood which hails from San Francisco complete with clam juice and enough horseradish to keep any chef's boat afloat or the Green Flash, a cocktail of unusual color but also unforgettable flavor.

Both are perfect with oysters, fresh on the half shell or fried - especially if the oysters are Taylor's oysters fresh from the sea and a favorite of discerning chefs.

Seaman's Blood

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 ounces horseradish vodka
  • 3 ounces Clamato-Water Mix
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • Pickled cherry tomatoes
  • Mustard Powder
  • Old Bay seasoning

Horseradish Vodka

  • 4 ounces horseradish, shaved with a microplane
  • 1 bottle vodka
  • White peppercorns

Clamato-Water Mix

  • Tomatoes
  • Clamato
  • Malt vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the ingredients for the horseradish vodka in a gallon-size container. 
  2. Allow to steep for 48 hours, then remove horseradish and peppercorns.
  3. For the Clamato-Water Mix, first blanch the tomatoes and peel. 
  4. Quarter the tomatoes and place in a food processor. 
  5. Add a small amount of water and blend. 
  6. Strain out any solids. 
  7. To the remaining liquids, add half the amount of Clamato (in relation to the tomato water). 
  8. Add a spoonful of malt vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper each, or to taste. 
  9. Blend thoroughly.
  10. Mix the ingredients of the Fisherman's Blood in a mixing glass. 
  11. Add ice and shake gently. 
  12. Rim a specialty/tulip glass with mixture of salt, pepper, mustard powder and Old Bay.
  13. Pour drink into tulip glass. 
  14. Garnish with a pickled cherry tomato.

The Green Flash

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 ounces Cucumber Vodka
  • 5 ounces Green Bloody Mary Mix

Green Bloody Mary Mix

  • 1 gallon green vegetable juice
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup horseradish
  • 1/2 cup celery salt
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Natural green food coloring as needed (to make it visually very green)

Directions

  1. Mix up a large batch of the Green Bloody Mary MIx.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the Green Flash in a mixing glass. 
  3. Add ice and shake lightly. 
  4. Transfer to a highball glass and garnish with a medley of colorful vegetable sticks, i.e. celery, carrots, bell peppers, etc.

GOING TO THE BALL

Every year since 1889 the governor of Washington State has hosted a grand inauguration ball marking the end of the electoral process and the beginning of a new administration. 

Miles C. Moore, who served as Territorial Governor at that first ball commented “We are assembled here today to celebrate this event, the most important in the history of Washington, and to put into motion the wheels of the new State Government…Let us not forget in this hour of rejoicing the responsibility that comes with autonomy…” The ball was held at the new but small Odd Fellows Hall.

By 1897 the event was held at the Olympia Hotel’s grand ballroom, where the Populist Governor Elect John R. Rogers insisted that the party be open to all Washington citizens. Governor Rogers refused to wear a silk hat and ride in a shiny carriage. His second inaugural ball, held in 1901, was described by the Morning Olympian as “the greatest social event in the history of the capital city.” 

By 1913 the ball had grown grand enough to require three bands!

Today the menu for the Governor’s Ball buffet reflects the talents of Washington State’s finest chefs and culinary producers. Taylor Shellfish Farms, a 125 year old Washington State family owned company, is honored to be among this esteemed groups of culinarians. 

This event, reflecting the philosophy of that early Governor John R. Rogers, is still an open event with admission tickets priced at a mere $105. It’s a truly grand event with a chance to dance and enjoy the culinary bounty of the Northwest prepared by the State’s best chefs. See you there!

2017 Inaugural Governor’s Ball Menu

Washington State Chefs Association

January 11, 2017

  BATES TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Yukon Gold Blini with Applewood Smoked Bacon & Lavender Goat Cheese

Mediterranean Lamb Boulette with Tzatziki Sauce

Mango & Raspberry Flan with Meyer’s Lemon Shortbread

CASCADIA TECH ACADEMY

Rosemary Skewered Local Sausage with WSU White Cheddar Cheese

Honey-Sambal Glazed Shrimp with Fruit Salsa

Northwest Forest Mushroom & Sweet Onion Tarts

Mini Crepe with Autumn Fruit Cream Compote & Toasted Northwest Hazelnuts

Autumn Fruit & Pomegranate Slaw Bites on House Made Cracked Pepper Crackers

Vancouver Washington Bite: Mini Tortillas, Braised Washington State Beef, Sweet Onions, & Cilantro

CARTERS CHOCOLATES

Sweet Onion & Gorgonzola in Dark Chocolate

Milk Chocolate, Apple Cider, and Layered Coffee (dark) & Cfrea (white) Dipped in White Chocolate

CHEF TAMAS RONYAI

Cauliflower Mini Pancake, Saffron Aioli, Cranberry Hummus filled, Grilled Eggplant Roulade Candied Cranberry & Lime Dust

Mango White Chocolate Tart, Dark Chocolate Dipped Dried Mango Stick, & Blood Orange Meringue Ball

CLEARWATER CASINO

Maple Smoked Duck with Asian slaw, Cilantro, & Raspberry Poppy Seed Soy Dressing

Elk Carpaccio:  Thin Sliced Elk Tenderloin, Stoneground Mustard, Pickled Shallots, & Ginger Blood Orange Gastrique

Cardamon/Pistachio Pastry filled with Mango Gel and topped with Caramelized Mango & Mint

Chili Pepper Chocolate Tea Sandwich filled with Key Lime Curd

COLUMBIA HOSPITALITY - BELL HARBOR CONFERENCE CENTER

Smoked Washington King Salmon Belly with Salish Lodge Honey Glaze

Pickled Cascade Blueberries, Skagit Valley Goat Cheese & Herb Flatbread

Ostrom’s Olympia Shiitake Mushroom & Leek Tart, Beecher’s Pike Place Flagship Artisan Cheese with Essence of White Truffle Oil

LAKE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY BAKING ARTS

Assorted Sweets and Treats including Handmade Chocolate Marshmallows, Cookies, and Specialty Candies

LAVISH ROOTS CATERING

Lan-Roc Farms Barbequed Pork Bao: Lan-Roc Pork, Kiwi Cochujang, Cucumber Kimchi

Hamachi Sashimi w/ Yuzu Truffle Curd: Hamachi, Sea Salt, Yuzu, Truffle, Egg Yolk, Farmhouse Butter

Forest Mushroom Miso Dash Shooter: Sno-Valley Mushrooms, Kombu, Miso, Scallions

McNAMARA'S PUB AND EATERY

Corned beef Sliders:  Corned Beef, Coleslaw on a Slider Bun

NORTHWEST CAREER AND TECHNICAL ACADEMY

Peach, Pancetta, Sweet Onion Turnover

Four Cheese Chorizo, Berry Jam, Phyllo Bite

OLYMPIA COLLEGE CULINARY ARTS

Gravlax on Rye Toast

Smoked Trout Mousse in a Cucumber Cup

Crab Gougères

Grilled & Chilled Shrimp in Prosciutto

Scallop Ceviche Shooters

Octopus Seaweed Salad Tarts

Stuffed Mussels

PUGET SOUND SKILLS CENTER

Smoked Salmon Cornet: Cornets filled with Smoked Salmon Garnished with Crème Fraîche, Cured Roe, & Micro Horseradish

Beecher’s Cheese & Bacon Choux Puff: Piped Choux Puffs filled with a Beecher’s Cheese & Bacon Mousse

Roasted Beet Root & Goat Cheese Canapé:  Canapé with Roasted Beet Root, Local Goat Cheese, Chopped Hazelnuts, & Rosemary Salt

RENTON TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Baked Crab-Avocado Rangoon with Mango Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce

Pan Fried Sweet Rice Cake with Savory Pork Filling

MacDonald Meat Pork Char Siu: Cantonese Roast Pork with Chinese Mustard & Toasted Sesame Seeds

Chinese braised MacDonald Meat Pork Belly on Seasonal Slaw

Fresh Poke Bites

Deviled Tea Eggs with Tea Smoked Salt

SKAGIT VALLEY COLLEGE

House Cured Duck Breast, Apple-Turnip-Fennel Ratatouille, & Blue Cheese

Pastrami Cured Salmon Mini Sandwich with Slaw

Ministers Assorted Mini Éclairs

Almond Petit Fours

SOUTH PUDGET SOUND COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Pork & Shrimp Wontons

Spring Rolls with Plum Sauce

Bulgogi Tacos

Assorted Sushi

TAYLOR SHELLFISH

Assorted Fresh Shucked Oysters on the ½ Shell

Fresh Geoduck

TROPS CHOCOLATE

Belgium Chocolate Dipped Mini Brownies, Graham Cookies with Milk, and Dark & Sea Salted Chocolate