It’s Mothers Day, and what a perfect opportunity for me to share some delicious food memories with you by recreating three of my mother’s favorite dishes.
Oyster Stew, Homemade Oyster Crackers and Divinity.
Mom aka Anne, was a masterful home cook. She was always eager to try new and unusual foods, way before they were popular or trendy. Garden to table, her recipes were inventive and delicious. I still remember her fried squash blossoms with a fresh-cut garden salad, sweet hand-picked cherry tomatoes tossed with tender blue sorrel blossoms and spicy chives, all dressed in sweet vinaigrette. The main dish served with this tasty garden salad was her sumptuous oyster stew. At first, I was a fearful to try the oysters so I just ate the savory broth with a big helping of oyster crackers. A few years later, I finally master the eating of the slippery bivalve mollusks, floating around in the hot broth; they were delicious.
For dessert, mom made Divinity. I loved all that pillowy sweetness and still make them for my family to enjoy. Surprisingly, they are a cinch to make. Generally classified as a candy, fudge and sometimes used in a candy roll, Divinity is similar to nougat but lighter in texture; a cloud of soft sweetness with a pecan crunch. I guarantee this easy made candy will satisfy your biggest sweet tooth!
Retired from the kitchen, mom has left preparation of holiday and big family meals to me and my three brothers; a torch I’m happy to share with future generations.
- 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 cup plus 3-4 tablespoons cold milk
- Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
- Combine flour, sugar, salt and cold butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and pulse until well combined. Mixture will look like coarse sand
- In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon cold water. Add yeast and stir slightly with a wooden spoon. Rest mixture for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining 1/4 cup milk and the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and blend until dough forms a ball. Allow the dough to rest 15 minutes at room temperature
- Roll dough out onto a well floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness, cut rounds using the large pastry tip or other small circular cutter
- Cover ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper, place dough rounds 1/4 - 1/8 inch apart.
- Bake crackers for 10-15 minutes checking for doneness at 10 minutes. Gently shake the cookie sheet to flip crackers for even browning, sprinkle with additional sea salt to taste and continue cooking until lightly golden browned.
- 2-8 ounce cans premium oysters in water or 1-1/2 dozen fresh oysters
- 1/2 cup white onion chopped
- 1/2 cup celery chopped
- 3 cups half and half
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan heat olive oil, add chopped onion and celery and cook until onions are translucent
- Add oysters and liqueur to saucepan and cook for 5 minutes
- Reduce heat slightly and add half and half, stir to combine
- Gently cook stew for 20 minutes
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle a small amount of sherry over each bowl of stew and garnish with parsley, a dollop of butter
- Serve with oyster crackers
- Optional: add the oyster liquid, half and half and water to cooked onion and celery, reserve oysters and set aside until ready to use. Cook broth on medium heat to a soft boil. In small batches, purée the liquid and vegetables until smooth. Return liquid to stock pot, add oysters and heat to soft boil.
Finally for dessert; my mother’s favorite…Divinity
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans or almonds
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spraying the paper with cooking spray
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a large heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
- Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, firm ball stage.
- While sugar mixture is cooking, beat egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour about half of the sugar mixture into the egg whites constantly beating on low spread
- Place saucepan back on burner and continue cooking until it reaches 270 degrees, soft crack stage
- Stream remaining mixture into egg whites constantly beating on low spread until all the mixture is incorporated.
- Scrape sides of bowl and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture holds it's shape
- mix in vanilla and almond extracts and nuts until well combined
- Use 2 teaspoons, one to push the mixture from the other. Drop teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, let cool
- Divinity can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
- Divinity is a bit tricky when attempted in damp condition. Save this recipe for a sunny dry day.
Please take a moment and stop by Roti n Rice for my recipes and guest post. Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!!