Time to Start Planning 2018 & Oyster Stew

      Remember summers is always a way that I have been able to deal with winter weather, whether growing up as a kids or in my mid 30's all while living in the mid-west to the past years I have made the Cape my home. As we go through the heart of winter with the snow blowing around out there, or worse mixed with ice and drizzle and blowing, what better way to cop with this stuff then either reminiscing about past Cape Cod summers that brought you to the love of the Cape or just remind those wonderful days that put a smile on your face with ones you love. The other way to be dreaming of the summer is to start your planning for your next summer vacation to the Cape. Getting those brain juices flowing will help warm you up and get you in that summer mood that will help put a smile not only one your face but the kids as well. This sounds a little hokey I know, but to plan the future we remember the past. What places we want to go, what activities haven't we done over the past few years. What do we need to replace from the years past that have worn out, like new beach towels, new floats and noodles, and maybe mom needs a new umbrella. If there is a new little one around the house you might need to think about what to take to keep them out of the direct sunlight while you and the spouse enjoy some down time on the beach. What about new frisbees, maybe a new kite, hows the fishing equipment doing? It would be better to buy them a little at a time then put out all at once then be short on cash come vacation time. The list goes on and on but now is the time, and trust me the more you plan the more you dream and remember and the warmer you will feel. Why wait to start planning, start now, trust me there are plenty here that are looking forward to you coming to this place we call wonderful old Cape Cod.     

      Small business report, this week goes first to the Silver Seahorse on 382 Main street in Hyannis. Now during the winter months she is open Friday - Saturday 9:30 - 5 and Sunday 10 - 4. This is a great place to pick up a nice birthday present, or anniversary gift. They have great light jewelry for all occasions but they are not limited to jewelry, they have other Cape Cod themed gifts that would work great for wedding offerings and items that would decorate the house nicely. So just because it's winter, don't walk by this shop, it's worth your time to check it out.
      Report number two goes to, Doyle's Restaurant in South Yarmouth at 1382 Main St (RT 28). This is about as down home cooking you are ever gonna get on the Cape. Doyle's has a homey, comfortable, friendly feel that just can't be beat. They open at 11;30am for lunch and are open for dinner Sunday -Thursday till 11 and Friday and Saturday from 11am - Midnight. so for lunch or late night snake Doyle's is the place to go. They have $10.00 specials every night of the week, and on Friday and Saturday they are still doing their special Prime Rib dinner. OH YUM. So tell them that the Cape Cod Rockhopper sent you and that you read about it right here. No I don't get paid to say this, I don't get a free dinner, or anything out of it. I say this cause I love their food and they are always friendly. Love this place. 
      Welcome back my friends, how ya'll doing, I hope that the bug that has been going around has found favorite in you and passed on the other side of the street from you. Me and Mrs well, we have for the most part escaped a good part of it. You know the standard sniffle and sneeze but nothing earth shattering. And, well with the old gal light tower, she is not as air tight as many of our new fangled home today. I do the best I can with windows we in there and the shutters all batten down. But she is not insulated and there is no heat in her either. And with the tower attached right to the station house. Well that part of the house can get might drafty when the wind is blowing up a gail or two. Over the last week we have seen a break in the wicked cold, but a bit of pick up in the breeze up here. And when its blowing across those ice chunks still left on the beach, the only thing worse is when we get it blowing from the other direction across the grave stones in the cemetery just up the road. It can be brutal, and of course sitting up here on the cliffs were there is nothing to break to direct hit, well you get the picture, we are both true believers in the thermals, I know TMI but hey if it works, might as well share it with you cause might not be one to get unless you hear someone that has used them. The good news so far is that we have not had any reports of major shipping or boating problems. Oh we had a ship a week or so ago with one of the storms was blowing in that got stupid and didn't listen and almost got themselves into some deep trouble but they were lucky and got through it. But I have to say, I like it when it's a nice quiet week and all I need to worry about is making sure the light is light up properly and the horn is going on at its appropriate time. Well that's about it for this week, stay warm and stay healthy and hope to see you when the weather warms up, right here on old Cape Cod. 
      Well, we have another year of main events, and this year I am going with Seafood Soups, Stews & Bisques. I have not done this category before so this should be fun. I have found several old time favorites and several new ones to me that I have not tried before. One or two may be a bit pricey but you don't make these every day and we all need to splurge now and then. So I hope you enjoy this years offerings. 
      My mother used to make an Oyster stew that my father and I just loved. I have since either lost or have misfiled the recipe. It was a simple one and if you enjoy oysters this would have been an easy one for you. I have since found a newer one and as far as I can tell only has 1 extra or changed ingredient, and with a lot of seafoods there is one additional spice blend that I add, you can choose to add it or not. Anyway, I understand that Oysters are not everyone cup of soup, stew or chowder, let along on the half shell, sorry that just means more for me. Speaking of which I went clamming this past weekend as the temps were I am at rose to a wicked 50+ degrees. I ended up with 5 dozen steamers, totally yum, and sweet, oh my gosh. Well, I knew my wife and I would not eat 5 dozen by ourselves so I took a couple dozen to my neighbors Saturday evening. Sunday afternoon my neighbor shows up at my front door with a plat full of shucked fresh, I mean pulled out of the ocean just hours before fresh, oysters on the half shell. Oh smokes God is so good, and blesses so greatly even when we don't deserve it. Thank you neighbors, and yes I devoured all of them, as my wife does not do oysters at all. Clams, well those she ate most of them LOL, I am glad she enjoyed them. So back to the recipe, and before I start drooling all over the keyboards let's get with it and on with the show.
      This week's recipe: Classic Oyster Stew
      1      pint      Oysters (undrained) give or take on the Oysters
   1/2      cup      butter 
   1/2      cup      sherry
      2      cup      half & half/ if this is too rich spit 1 cup milk / 1 cup 1/2 & 1/2)
   1/4      tsp       Old Bay Seasoning (give or take to your taste and optional)
      Heat undrained oysters over medium heat just until edges curl. In a separate pan combine rest of ingredients and heat until butter is melted. Do not boil. Add oysters, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish, you can use chopped chives and or parsley, and always serve with good Oyster Cracker (I prefer Oyster Trenton Crackers) (One last note on the Crackers, I try to stay neutral on my ingredients, but there are really only two companies that make the the best oyster crackers, Oyster Trenton Crackers & YankeeTrader).   
     This can also be found on my personal blog ccrockhopper.com

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