gmhTODAY 23 gmhTODAY Dec Jan 2018 - Page 76

Cathy Katavich Cathy received her culinary training at CIA, Culinary Institute of America, at both Greystone (Napa) and Hyde Park, NY. She man- aged Research and Development for Gilroy Foods and in the past ten years she was involved in their frozen vegetable business, heading up Business Development, Sales and Marketing. Cathy's KITCHEN For Your Holidays Traditional Eats Christmas is a holiday built around tradition. From the very beginning, Christmas has been dedicated to family and giving and of course food! My family’s holiday food tradition has evolved from a combination of my upbringing in Pennsylvania Dutch country coupled with my hus- band’s Croatian and Italian heritage. Unlike Thanksgiving, where the familiar Roasted Turkey is always on the table, the “main course” for our Christmas feast is now subject to debate and conversation. Will it be turkey, pheasant, duck, Cornish game hens, lamb, crab, prime rib…? As a young girl growing up in Pennsylvania, there was no debate! Traditions there were very long-standing. We always had country ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, oysters, succotash, whipped potatoes, and Jello salad. Oyster stuffing was a necessity, as were scalloped oysters. My husband’s family served more traditional Italian dishes like Cioppino, on Christmas Eve, and Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Ravioli, which evolved from the original robin and /or lamb brain filling! Although we still indulge in many of these dishes during the holidays, today my very California family has settled into our own traditions, with side dishes that include Oyster Stuffing, Scalloped Potatoes with Artichokes, and Hunter Style Carrots. These are almost always at both our Thanksgiving and Christmas table. Grandma’s Oyster Stuffing Stuffi ng is an arena where most people rarely try something new! We all be- come attached to stuffi ng we know and love. Maybe it’s the one with cornbread and sausage, or spinach and pine nuts, or oysters! An old-fashioned addition so rarely seen anymore that we must wonder how oysters found their way into stuffi ng to begin with! At the beginning of the 20th century, the American Northeast was absolutely teeming with oysters. The rich ate them, the poor ate them, the corner bar of the time was an oyster stand; there were so many oysters being consumed that some streets were literally paved with their shells. As the express wagons and railroads made it more possible to transport goods in the mid-19th century, the oyster market was able to expand and set off a national oyster addiction. Fresh, raw oysters were commonly served in taverns as oysters were a cheap food to serve with beer and liquor. But early in the 20 th century, as industialization grew, the waters that were once filled with oysters became polluted and oyster cultivation 76 minutes. Add in seasonings and bread cubes. Stir to combine well. Remove from heat and stir in oysters and parsley. Season to taste with salt. Stuff into turkey or pour into buttered casserole dish. decreased quickly. Fewer oysters meant expensive oysters, too expensive for a stuffing add in and a main reason for the decline in oyster stuffing. But for many families the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it! 1½ 2 2 1 sticks butter medium onions, chopped cups chopped celery tsp each dried marjoram, thyme, sage and black pepper 10 cups day old white bread, in ½” cubes 2 jars, 8-10 oz. each, oysters, drained and chopped ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped Melt butter in a large Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until light golden brown. Add celery and cook fi ve more GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN december 2018-january 2019 Although not in my Grandmother’s recipe, I often deglaze the cooked onions and celery with a bit of dry white wine. If I have any diced prosciutto leftover from the carrot recipe below, I’ll add that in to give a little more depth of fl avor. Hunter Style Carrots Carrots are one of the few vegetables the whole family likes. Carrots have a natural sweetness and are delicious raw or cooked. They are also intriguing when combined with stronger fl avors. Years ago, I looked for a carrot recipe that was hearty enough to stand up to meaty entrees, yet unique and fl avorful enough to go on the holiday table. This version of Hunters Carrots, from the Silver Palate Cookbook, delivers; with sweetness of cooked carrots and depth of fl avor from Madeira, prosciutto, garlic and wild mushrooms.