Celebrating with Friends: Enjoy this fabulous holiday menu


Many folks on the Seacoast crown the holidays with a fabulous feast shared with family and friends. For us, the incredibly busy time of fourth quarter in the retail world comes to a screeching halt. We can finally take a breath, sit back, and enjoy all that is really important about the holidays . . . sharing time with the people you care about.


For a change, in this issue we want to do less with words and simply share our favorite menu for very special celebrations. We include lots of recipes, wonderful images and a few tips on how to host an extraordinary evening filled with good food, good friends, and wonderful memories. Enjoy!


Plan well and ahead of time

Order the roast early, invite your guests in advance,

and give yourself plenty of time to prepare on the day of the party. You’ll be more relaxed knowing everything is taken care of, and everyone will have a better time.

Keep it simple

Even though these recipes create an incredible complete menu, you don’t need to do them all. Perhaps you make the roast, potatoes, and green beans but substitute a simple salad and a crusty loaf and beautiful dessert from the local bakery for the other recipes.

Solicit help

Ask a friend or family member to greet your guests, make them a cocktail, and make sure everyone is comfortable. Even though it is a festive affair, people love to help and it makes them feel welcomed.

Lastly, relax and enjoy

Any time spent with family and close friends is special, no matter what the menu.


• Oysters Baked with Spinach and Parmesan

• Standing Rib Roast with Garlic

• Green Beans with Brown Butter and Roasted Chestnuts

• Fennel and Potato Gratin

• Pecan Pie with Caramel Sauce

Oysters Baked with Spinach and Parmesan

Stonewall Oysters Creamed Spinach

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
8 ounces baby spinach
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 cups kosher salt
12 large oysters shucked, reserve the lower shells
1½ teaspoons unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces
Salt and pepper for seasoning

1. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and garlic and stir. Add the spinach a handful at a time and cook until all is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream and simmer for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently. Set aside the pan to cool.

2. Stir bread crumbs and the Parmesan together in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and reserve.

3. Preheat the broiler on high. Fill a rimmed cookie sheet with a layer of kosher salt about a ½ inch thick. Nestle the curved part of the oyster shells into the salt. Spoon the spinach mixture into the shells and top each with an oyster. Sprinkle each with a tablespoon of the bread crumb mix. Put a tiny piece of butter on each oyster. Place the pan about 3 inches from the heating element and broil the oysters for about 3 minutes until the bread crumbs are evenly browned. Serve immediately.


Standing Rib Roast with Garlic

Stonewall Standing Rib Roast1

Serves 12-14

One well-aged, 15- to 18-pound rib roast, chine bone
removed and trimmed of excess fat
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper for seasoning
36 small boiling or cipollini onions
¼ cup minced thyme

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper.

3. Using a sharp knife, make several small slits in the fat along top of the beef and gently insert the garlic slices. Place the beef fat side up on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes at 450°F.

4. Toss the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

5. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting the beef for 2 hours.

6. Arrange the onions around the beef in the bottom of the pan and roast for another 1½ to 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 140°F on a meat thermometer. Baste once or twice during cooking.

7. Remove the beef from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Green Beans in Brown Butter with Roasted Chestnuts

Stonewall Green Beans

Serves 8

2 pounds thin green beans
½ stick unsalted butter
6 ounces peeled and roasted chestnuts, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Simmer the beans in boiling water until almost tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. In a medium skillet, heat butter over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to turn a rich brown. Add the chestnuts and season with salt and pepper; cook about 2 more minutes. Toss the green beans with the butter and chestnuts. Serve immediately or refrigerate and heat later in a 350°F oven.

Fennel and Potato Gratin

Stonewall Fennel Potato Gratin 2

Serves 8

¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
2½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and very thinly sliced
3 large bulbs of fennel, cored and thinly sliced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Lightly grease a gratin baking dish (14 x 11 x 2). Layer half the potatoes, then half the fennel on top of the potatoes. Mix flour, herbs, and salt and pepper and sprinkle half of this mixture on top of the fennel. Dot with half the butter cubes. Repeat this process.

3. Pour the cream and milk on top of the gratin. Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Baste occasionally with liquid.

4. Reduce heat to 300°F, sprinkle the cheese on top of the gratin and continue cooking for 45 minutes or an hour until potatoes are tender. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving. 


Pecan Pie with Caramel Sauce

Stonewall Caramel Pecan Pie 2

Serves 6

For the pie:

One half recipe of your favorite pastry dough, chilled
2 large eggs
½ cup light corn syrup
⅓ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups pecan halves

For the caramel sauce:

Either one jar of Stonewall Kitchen’s Coffee Caramel Sauce or Dulce de Leche, or one recipe Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Roll out pastry dough and fill a 9-inch tart shell. Place on a cookie sheet.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add corn syrup, sugar, and vanilla and beat well. Add pecans; stir and pour into pie shell.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool and drizzle on the caramel sauce.


Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

½ cup heavy cream
One 2-inch piece of vanilla bean
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1. Pour cream into a small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the cream and add the bean itself. Bring cream to a mild simmer and remove from heat.

2. Combine the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water in a stainless steel saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture turns a caramel color or until it reaches 320°F on a candy thermometer. Use a pastry brush to push crystals from the side of the pan to avoid burning.

3. Remove sugar from heat and stir in the cream; be careful as the mix may bubble up a bit. Whisk in the butter and remove the vanilla bean with a slotted spoon. Store at room temperature until ready to swirl on top of the pecan pie. 

Tags: jim stott, jonathan king, recipes, holiday, cooking, tips and tricks, holiday menu, stonewall kitchen