There is something about the holidays that makes you want to be close to the ones you love, celebrating the past year, and looking forward to the future that the next will bring. As Nova Scotians, we have been raised to be hosts, always having celebrations for the little things and the Holidays top the list.
With cold nights, Christmas decorations up and warm food being prepared, Rob and I decided to host our very first holiday part with the help of NSLC, Afishionado, and the amazing local wineries, distilleries, and breweries that we have here in Nova Scotia.
We wanted to create the perfect setting and mood for the party. My dad foraged the woods for some brush and Canadian holly, our tree from My Uncle’s lot was simple with only lights and we added touches of my favorite, white roses from our local Flower shop. We knew we weren’t going to be throwing a sit down dinner but wanted people to feel welcome to sit and eat at the same time. We set the table with that all in mind and it was the perfect setting to enjoy the food that my husband and I worked so hard on.
Once the place looked perfect, we got busy on preparing the food. Using oysters from our favorite, Afishionado, we prepared them two ways, one with Jalapeno Honey Butter, and the other, Tempura with Ponzu sauce, topped with pickled ginger. We had only ever shucked oysters once before and were a bit worried about it this time around. But, the NSLC supplied us with a proper oyster shucker and I was able to fire through them all.
How To Shuck An Oyster
- Have a proper Oyster Shucking Knife. It has a pointed end to it, which is key. We used this one and loved the stand it came with to hold the oyster in place
- Place the oyster in the stand or on a counter with the rounded bottom down and the hinge (pointy end) towards your hand you will be using the knife in.
- Place an oven mitt or Oyster glove on the hand that you will be holding the oyster with, that way it protects you from the sharp edges of the shell and the knife.
- Holding the oyster shell with your mitted hand and the knife in the other, forcefully push the knife into the hinge of the shell and begin to twist. This should break the hinge of the shell
- Cut the knife around the edges and separate the top of the shell from the bottom as well as un-attaching the oyster from the shell. Discard the flatter shell and keep oyster in the rounded shell on crushed ice.
See More Tips Here including a 4 step how-to without a stand.
Once the oysters were shucked, we started preparing them. The Jalapeno Honey buttered ones were quite easy to prepare, will all of the ingredients being mixed together in a food processor and then topped and thrown into the oven just until the butter has melted. See Recipe below or HERE.
The Tempura ones had a bit more steps. We made a homemade tempura batter, battered and deep fried the oysters and topped them in their shells with a homemade ponzu sauce, pickled ginger and a side of wasabi. It was unbelievably tasty! Check out the recipe below or HERE.
Rob also finished off the food, making shaved roast beef with Rosemary toast points, two planks of salmon done different ways, scallops, and a yummy cheese board.
Next was the liquor. We made sure to stock up on proper glasses for each type we bought which was a learning curve in itself. We knew about which wine went with each glass, but because we had all sparkling, we really just needed champagne flutes. Beer, on the other hand, was different. It was a crash course for us, and NSLC made a little graphic to help you as well. (you can also find it HERE)
The favorites for the night were definitely L’Acadie Prestige, which was the priciest of the wines we had bought but it was a great conversation starter. We also served Annapolis Cider Company’s Heirloom Cider, which was light and perfect for the people who didn’t want bubbles or beer. For Beer, we stocked up on a variety, including Garrison Juicy Double IPA, Propeller Russian Imperial Stout, and Boxing Rock Next Chapter Rye IPA. What’s great is that they supplied us with the card below to pair cheese with beer. Everyone loved tasting the beers with the cheeses they matched it to (see more HERE)
The hit of the night would have to have been the holiday classic Eggnog spiked with Ironworks Bluenose Rum. We made it with a twist though, making THIS dairy-free recipe, doubling it, and serving it in a crystal punch bowl just like our parents used to. It was delicious and we actually saved the leftovers and it tasted even better the next day.
In true Nova Scotia fashion, the party started in the kitchen and ended in the kitchen in the wee hours of the night. It was rewarding to wake up to all of our guests’ text messages saying how much they enjoyed themselves, and all of their favorites from the night before.
Thank you to The NSLC for making this night happen and supplying us with everything we needed to make it such a great success.
Here’s to a fantastic Holiday season filled with getting together with the ones you love!