If there were a po’boy season this would be in season, but since there isn’t, this mouth-watering combination could be in fashion all year round, wherever you live.

Start with my deep-fried breaded oysters, mussels and my Asbach Uralt garlic cognac cream shrimp piled high on a grilled French bun. Drizzle with my remoulade sauce, made by adding my homemade Italian salad dressing and my tomato salsa and a couple of mash-able golden oven-roasted garlic cloves and a little minced jalapeño peppers (from a refrigerated jar) to my homemade mayonnaise.

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Sprinkle with just a little cayenne and a few flakes of east coast hand-cultured Atlantic Ocean Amagansett finishing sea salt and a grind of pink peppercorns. Top with my caramelized onions on top of my fried green tomatoes.

Position the top half of the grilled french bun and use a strong pick to keep in place a couple of your frozen compound butter coins: perhaps use the lobster compound butter coins and/or the jerk coins. Or choose your hot chili jalapeño compound butter coins. Flambé the frozen topper compound butter coins using your kitchen handheld flamer, but don’t melt completely (hint: you can use your handheld barbecue starter flamer).

Want to fly over the moon? Serve with a couple of my marinated or breaded deep-fried Celebrity goat cheese pucks on the side and a mound of stovetop pan-wilted plain fresh spinach (well-drained) topped with a herbed compound butter coin from your frozen collection, and maybe add a poached egg and my homemade hollandaise sauce sprinkled with sweet paprika or cayenne. Let the hot egg yolk weep over the mounded wilted spinach just when ready to eat.

Now this is a giant plate for a late weekend breakfast, brunch or a special patio supper.

ALTERNATE: No french bread buns? This is delicious served between two thick slices of my homemade date bread french toast. You might have homemade round date bread in your freezer.

I’m thinking a South African Obikwa Shiraz as a palate cleanser would keep the taste buds clear to enjoy each and every bite and the variety of flavours.

You might enjoy a Canadian created drink, a “Caesar,” sometimes called a Bloody Caesar (quite different than an American Bloody Mary), served in a celery salt-rimmed tall glass over ice, with a leafy celery stick as a stir stick. Easy on the ice. As the ice melts it waters down the drink.

This grouping sounds complicated but it isn’t. You just need to be organized. But it helps if you have some basic cooking skills. Some items can be made ahead of time, or you will have on hand or in your freezer or pantry.

Start by preparing your mayonnaise (a staple that should already always be in your fridge; in a sterilized glass jar it keeps for months; keep the cover on it while you work). On serving day make the remoulade first and refrigerate, and the hollandaise (keep it warm).

The day before, pluck the oysters and mussels from their shells (or buy already shucked), cover and refrigerate overnight in plastic wrap. Pat dry and let come to room temperature, ready to deep fry in 350 F Mazola Corn Oil (don’t refrigerate your oil; store in your pantry or a cool dark place). The corn oil adds a distinctive flavour, enhancing the natural flavours.

Get your equipment ready completely the day ahead. Double check your frozen compound butter supply. Check your herbs and spices supply. And let your eggs come to room temperature overnight or at least a couple of hours before poaching.

Refrigerate your spinach wrapped in a clean tea towel. Don’t wash your spinach until it’s time to serve. The rinsing water on the leaves is for cooking/wilting the spinach. But you could chop off any woody stems ahead of time.

Prepare your coarse fresh breadcrumbs for your pan-fried breaded green tomato slices. Choose ready to eat but firm green tomatoes and slice them ahead of time, quite thick, covered on a plate using plastic wrap, refrigerated. Do not salt. Salting will cause the tomatoes to express their liquid.

Spritz your mussels and oysters (now at room temperature) with Noilly Prat just before coating in breadcrumbs, only when ready to deep fry. They deep fry in just seconds.

Make your shrimp in garlic cream sauce and your caramelized onions a day ahead. Make plenty extra so you can plan another meal around these amazing recipes.

Cut your to-be-grilled french bread buns ahead of time and wrap in plastic or slice your french toast date bread thick pieces and wrap overnight, ready for egg dipping.

Line up all your pots and pans and utensils the night before. Tidy up your kitchen so you can have everything you need at your fingertips.

Set your table ahead of time, again choosing all the plates, glasses and cutlery and fold the napkins. Always stand glasses upside down, and NEVER touch the rims with your fingers. Not ever; likewise coffee or teacups, or even ordinary everyday water glasses. That should be rule No. 1 in restaurant service and at home.

At its finest, don’t rush this meal whatever time of day you choose to indulge. Allow plenty of time between bites and enjoy it all. Comfort food at its finest.

If per chance you operate a bed and breakfast, or you have overnight guests, you could prepare things individually and serve in chafing dishes (cover always at a tilt) buffet style and let people build their own po’boy. You might make a sample plate to show the order of all the delicious things mounded high.

Salivating yet?

Note: Instead of hollandaise, prepare my savoury seasoned Sabayon and fold in stiff whipped egg whites. Or you might choose to use the egg whites like an unsweetened meringue and pop the po’boy under the broiler for just seconds or flambé. Serve immediately.

Carrot faux bacon strips and other crisped vegetables adult treats

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use fresh crisp medium large carrots. Snip off both ends. Scrape the skins off; wash but don’t peel off the skins. Scraping with a sharp knife takes off less vitamins. Using a sharp potato peeler or a mandolin, prepare the carrots by cutting into paper thin strips.

Using my special maple syrup sauce, marinate the carrot strips for about a half hour, covered, in a glass dish. Using tongs, remove the marinated carrot strips to a cake rack placed on a baking sheet to let excess sauce drip off. Sprinkle the marinated carrot strips with sweet paprika and salt. Spritz with Noilly Prat.

Again using tongs, place the carrot strips on the parchment-lined baking sheet, not touching one another or overlapping. Put the sheet on the bottom oven rack. Reduce the heat to 350 F. Close the oven door and don’t open it for eight minutes. Then once again using tongs, turn the faux bacon carrot strips and continue baking for another two minutes. Don’t turn your back on the oven. You don’t want burned candied carrots.

In the meantime, marinate paper-thin layers of peeled fresh crisp kohlrabi and thin layers of jicama in my maple syrup sauce. Repeat the draining procedure and load another large baking sheet. Repeat the baking process.

A terrific combination of crispy paper-thin vegetables that everyone will love. You can also use sweet potatoes, parsnips, hard squash, even beet slices. All marinated and oven-crisped. You can spritz all of them with Noilly or Elderflower or even Asbach Uralt cognac. The alcohol evaporates, just leaving behind the base flavours of the herbs and spices.

You maybe can’t imagine the wonderful flavours. These crisped veggies have loads of uses. Mix the veggies selection and maybe fill a cheese Tuille nest basket and top with the faux bacon carrot strips, twisted. You might like to sprinkle the veggie basket nest with unsweetened dedicated toasted coconut just when ready to serve. Otherwise scatter mixed fresh chopped parsley, oregano tiny petals from your pot, rosemary bits, or even dried fried sage from your pantry jar. You could mince fresh celery leaves, kohlrabi leaves or even minced fresh baby spinach leaves.

This is a nice accompaniment with breaded veggie-stuffed pockets in large boneless skinless stuffed chicken breast, filled with chopped mixed-colour bell peppers and a little onion. Hint: Along with seasoning the stuffing, sprinkle just a pinch of sugar. Do not overcook the chicken. Sauté in sizzling butter, turning only once. Gently brown the breading, then cover at a tilt to let steam escape. The prep-time is longer than the cook-time. Melt in your mouth delicious.

© Spirits in My Kitchen:  Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas – Good Food made Better with Spirits

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. “Very Special Sea Food Shells – a Mussels or Oysters Treat or even Ocean Scallops and Finger Lime Pearls Faux Caviar”

    Start by marinating golden raisins in Bacardi Black (Puerto Rican) Rum that has orange undertones. Add a few chopped fine homemade candied orange rinds from your pantry sugar jar, that you have just spritzed with Bacardi Fiero vermouth. Again, orange undertones. If you have it, use Berlin monks Mampe Halb and Halb. And for a special citrus effect, maybe introduce my Kumquat Marmalade.

    Poach mussels in your favourite white wine, just enough to cover, for about 4-5 minutes only, on medium heat. The shells will open. Using a spider spoon remove from broth. Reserve the broth.

    Sauté in sizzling unsalted butter, minced onion, leeks, scapes if you have them, with a half teaspoon of your homemade oven-roasted golden garlic purée from your sterilized glass refrigerated jar.

    Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, just a pinch of salt, finely chopped fresh parsley (or use LiteHouse fresh freeze-dried) and lemon-thyme and a pinch of basil. If you have it, sprinkle with a little scape sea salt. You might use a pinch of Amagansett Sea Salt finishing flakes to brighten the dish.

    Dispose of the closed mussels shells that haven’t opened. Remove the others and chop and stir the meat into béchamel sauce made using the mussels broth and the raisin rum marinating jus.

    Fill each half shell with the béchamel mussels mix and add the marinated golden raisins.

    Top with fresh homemade coarse artisan olive bread crumbs mixed with a little fresh orange rind zest.

    Place the filled half shells covered in breadcrumbs on an edged sheet pan filled with coarse salt to stabilize the half shells, and place on the oven top rack under the preheated broiler for just seconds. You just want to toast the crumbs.

    You could add minced unsweetened roasted desiccated coconut to the breadcrumbs and a little coconut milk to the béchamel sauce mix for a switch-up.

    Remove the filled half-shells from under the oven broiler and spritz with fresh squeezed lemon juice, a sprinkle of minced fresh parsley, and fresh ground peppercorns. Serve right on the coarse salt pan on a thick wooden cutting board stabilized on a flat thick table protection pad. Always protect your tabletop.

    If you have available offer two-pronged fish forks and an espresso spoon to savour every last drop of goodness.

    You might offer artisan olive bread toasted buttered soldiers as little dipsticks to sop up any shell sauce. You might choose a lobster butter coin from your special frozen coin reserve container to smear on the toasted soldiers.

    If you want to use the shells as a side dish, offer my whipped, creamed, mashed potatoes that are quite thick and stir in some of the golden rum-marinated raisins with some fresh chopped parsley, and serve the potatoes using a large ice cream scoop and add any of your favourite vegetables alongside. If you have extra béchamel broth sauce, or the sabayon, serve over the scoops of potato mash.

    This would be a terrific side with my faux agoli goat cheese potatoes recipe or served atop your favourite homemade quick to cook pasta dish using the béchamel broth on the pasta.

    You could substitute oysters on the half-shell but you would need to open the oyster shells first, then poach the oysters. A little different process but equally delicious. You could even place the oysters on a bed of spinach on the half-shell, as in Oysters Rockefeller, then proceed with the raisin béchamel mix or the sabayon. Or you could use any leftover Beurre Blanc Sauce.

    Another terrific way to serve either the mussels or the oysters: Prepare your favourite citrus sabayon. Top the seafood filled shells with the warm sabayon. Let a coin or two of your favourite frozen coin reserve compound butters melt on top of the sabayon. Might I suggest a poppyseed compound butter coin. Do not stir.

    Sprinkle with one of the flavoured Amagansett finishing salts for a little flavoured crunch. Make plenty. For seafood lovers there won’t be leftovers.

    ALTERNATE: If you have coquilles shells available that you use for my Coquilles St. Jacques, here’s another serving suggestion to use the shells.

    If you have leftover Sabayon, use it as a bath for seared scallops. Add snipped fresh chives, shallots, or green onion to dress for serving on the coquille shells.

    If you don’t have coquille shells, slice the large sea scallops into three or four horizontal coins. Sear the scallop coins quickly once over lightly in noisette made using coins of lobster compound butter. Remove the scallop coins. Add the residual sabayon to the hot skillet just to warm. No heat. Tip the scallop coins back into the warm sabayon. Deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of cognac or Mampe Halb and Halb.

    Serve in open face wide-mouth old-fashioned crystal stemmed champagne glasses standing on a pretty see-through coloured glass cake serving plate. You might like to sprinkle with real caviar or with faux caviar finger lime citrus pearls from the Australian plant, a cousin of the lemon tree, if available where nursery plants are sold. The pearls come in several colours and are most attractive. The plant is said to be easy to grow.

    © Lady Ralston’s Compound Butter “Coin Reserve” ~ because Butter makes it Better. A different kind of currency…

    OYSTERS ON THE HALF-SHELL (and Calvados Apple Balls)

    Shuck oysters, remove the oysters and place the shells, open side up, on a rimmed baking sheet bed of rock salt. Fill each shell with mounds of wilted buttered fresh not frozen spinach. Place each oyster back on its shell on top of the spinach. Top with a compound butter frozen puck knocked off pre-portioned coins, from your collection; choose maybe lobster or jerk coins, or mixed colour minced bell pepper and or onion jalapeño, or just a herb choice. Move quickly.

    Top the butter coin with homemade fresh day-old olive bread baguette coarse breadcrumbs mixed in a bowl with grated BellaVitano Raspberry Ale cheese. Equal portions.

    Spritz each oyster in its shell with a little Asbach Uralt cognac or with Calvados.

    Put the baking tray in a pre-heated 400 F oven on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes only.

    You might like to try this recipe using your bbq, especially if it has a pull-out smoke tray, using applewood chips (half wet, half dry) and complimenting the smokey applewood flavour using the Calvados.

    When ready to serve, arrange the filled oyster shells on a fresh bed of rock salt on an oversize black charger plate or platter to stabilize and help create eye-candy, and add a few of my Calvados marinated melon baller tiny Green Apple Balls. Or, if using the cognac spritz, top with a split fresh fig (maybe my Figgy Butter Cream Icing in a split “Figgy Flower”). Or use a firm split brandy-marinated black mission fig from your refrigerated marinating jar.


    Calvados Marinated Green Apple Balls

    Using the small end of the melon baller scoop out balls from a firm large not too ripe green apple. Marinate the little green apple balls in Calvados for a half hour.

    Add the Calvados marinated green apple balls to my Celebrity Maple Toffee cream cheese marinating sauce made with St-Germain marinated Medjool Dates and Bacardi Black (Puerto Rican) rum plumped golden raisins. Let the apples become completely covered in the thick Maple Toffee sauce.

    Serve the mixture of Maple Toffee cream cheese, raisins, dates, and tiny green apple balls drizzled in sauce in individual tiny rectangular tasting plates.

    Note: Add a few of the Calvados marinated green apple balls to your homemade ice cream presentation. The thick maple syrup molasses brown sugar sauce covering each little green apple ball will add the je ne sais quoi factor to your special ice cream dessert. Sprinkle the apple balls with Amagansett finishing salt.

    © Spirits in My Kitchen: Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas

    Compliments of:
    Carolyne Lederer-Ralston


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