According to the commercials, the holiday season is upon us and, hopefully, the jingle and cheer will help thaw the early winter weather and bring everyone out of hibernation. It’s important to standout during the rush – so, this year, consider shaking up the traditional fare by offering some twists and turns to your routine.
Traditional stuffing is usually filled with butter and carbs and can easily dry-out if you’re not careful. Shucked Oysters are a protein-packed addition that can add nutrition and flavor to your stuffing while keeping it lusciously savory. Incorporating oysters into stuffing, soups and stews is a sure-fire way to add complexity to your flavors while providing customers with healthier food. The delicious bivalves are in high demand this time of year, so make sure to pre-order your needs ahead of time.
Time to talk turkey…about the East Coast fisheries. Flat fish like Fluke and Dab are flush. Prices are down and the supply is superfluous. Fluke will be a great option for the rest of the year. The Black Bass boats are fishing and catching. Trawlers and potters are seeing plenty of fish being landed and at the moment this special species is a delicacy for dimes. This is also the best time of year to run East Coast Cod, Monk, Skate wing, King Mackerel, and Haddock. The winter versions of these species are the best to feast on, and when they are at their fattiest, the flavor is full on.
Speaking of that big bird at center of the table, this year you can skip the post-feast bloat by stuffing a whole fish instead of a turkey. Wild Striped Bass makes for a tasty centerpiece that will get your guests talking. Fish range from 5 to 15 pounds and are great for whole fish preparation. If you wish to serve smaller parties, try adding color to the table with Red Snapper, which can run anywhere from 1 to 12 lb and are renown for being mouthwateringly delightful, with a silky texture and crispy skin. It’s also worth mentioning here that fish skin is a much healthier option than poultry skin. Whether using true American Red Snapper or sustainably farmed Pacific Red Snapper, you won’t go wrong making the switch.
This time of year, it seems like the harvest is brimming with variety. There’s Golden and Grey Tile, John Dory, Speckled Trout, and much more available from our generous waters. Don’t get bogged down trying to revive the classics. It’s time to start giving thanks for healthier options.
The holidays are right around the corner, and while some people make sure they have their holiday shopping lists all neat and tidy, us foodies think a bit different. Questions such as…What cheese is tasting best? or How adventurous can I get with my cheese list? or What theme am I going with this year?... are all questions that we ponder as the first snow falls and then melts here in the Midwest. At Fortune the Gourmet team likes to make your job a bit easier when it comes to making the tough decisions. Here are a few surefire winners for the holiday season. These are classics that are beloved by all, ones that year after year are called upon for the duty of wowing your guests.
Hooks Cheese Company makes many different cheeses which are all delicious, but their aged cheddars steal the show. Start with the 5-year aged cheddar. At that age the cheddar has developed a depth and complex flavor with a bit of sweetness. If you like it even more intense, go for their more aged cheddars. They are aged all the way out to 15 years.
Other favorites are the two cheeses that Andy Hatch makes over at Uplands Creamery. Year round you can find the classic award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve that is beloved by all at your local cheese counter. But every fall Andy releases his special soft ripened cheese that is simply decedent. Wrapped in spruce bark and both washed ripened and mold ripened this cheese is truly unique. You can serve it either at room temperature or heated in the oven like a mini fondue.
Lastly, you have the Blue Cheeses from Rogue Creamy. They are famous for their Rogue River Blue which sells out immediately. But often overlooked is one cheese that goes amazingly with meats on a board is their Smokey Blue. The cheese was inspired by a chef and is cold smoked over Oregon hazelnut shells. Simply incredible flavor that pairs perfect with cured meats.
We hope that some of these suggestions will help with the decision-making process, but in the end follow your palate and simply enjoy the season of indulgence of good food.