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New Year's Eve the art of holiday parties

The New Year's Eve ball that will be lit and sent up a 130-foot pole atop One Times Square to mark the start of the 2019 new year in Times Square, New York.
Julie Walker
The New Year's Eve ball that will be lit and sent up a 130-foot pole atop One Times Square to mark the start of the 2019 new year in Times Square, New York.

In a couple days we'll be bidding farewell to the challenging year of 2021 and welcoming the New Year. I think quite a few of us will be hosting or attending small get-togethers with well-vaccinated friends, and the question always arises: what should be eat? Our friend Chef Jerry Pellegrino, has a whole passel of tips for our listeners.

Cornmeal Fried Shrimp, Old Bay Aioli


1 cup cornstarch 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal 1/4 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 egg 1 tablespoon water 2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp

Vegetable oil for frying

Make the oysters: in a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch, cornmeal, chili powder, garlic powder & salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Dip an oyster in the cornstarch mixture and shake off any excess coating. Dip in the egg wash, then dip in the cornstarch mixture again and shake off any excess coating. Reserve on a plate. Repeat with the remaining oysters. Shallow fry the oysters in 1/4 inch of oil in a sauté pan or in a deep fryer.

Maryland Crab Deviled Egg


12 Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs

6 ounces Maryland crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 green onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped celery

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

3 dashes hot pepper sauce

3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Additional minced fresh parsley

To make the eggs

Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks; set whites aside. In a

bowl, mash the yolks. Add the crab, mayonnaise, onion, celery, green

pepper, mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce and

Worcestershire sauce; mix well.

Pipe or spoon into egg whites. Sprinkle with additional parsley.

Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 2 dozen.


1 Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, covered by at least an inch or two of cold water. Starting with cold water and gently bringing the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking. Adding a tablespoon of vinegar to the water will help keep the egg whites from running out of any eggs that happen to crack while cooking, but some people find that the vinegar affects the taste. I don't have a problem with it and I usually add a little vinegar. Adding a half teaspoon of salt is thought to help both with the preventing of cracking and making the eggs easier to peel. Put the burner on high and bring the eggs to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat for a few seconds.

2 Reduce the heat to low, return the pan to the burner. Let simmer for one minute. (Note I usually skip this step because I don't notice the eggs boiling until they've been boiling for at least a minute! Also, if you are using an electric stove with a coil element, you can just turn off the heat. There is enough residual heat in the coil to keep the eggs simmering for a minute.)

3 After a minute, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes. If you are doing a large batch of eggs, after 10 minutes you can check for doneness by sacrificing one egg, removing it with a slotted spoon, running it under cold water, and cutting it open. If it isn't done, cook the other eggs a minute or two longer. The eggs should be done perfectly at 10 minutes, but sometimes, depending on the shape of the pan, the size of the eggs, the number of eggs compared to the amount of water, and how cooked you like them, it can take a few minutes more. When you find the right time that works for you given your pan, the size of eggs you usually buy, the type of stove top you have, stick with it.

I also find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-20 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked.

4 Either remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water (this is if you have a lot of eggs) OR strain out the water from the pan, fill the pan with cold water, strain again, fill again, until the eggs cool down a bit. Once

cooled, strain the water from the eggs. Store the eggs in a covered container (eggs can release odors) in the refrigerator. They should be eaten within 5 days.

Bourbon Cocktail Meatballs

For the Meatballs

5 lbs ground beef

2 egg

3 slices of bread cut into small cubes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

salt and fresh ground black pepper

In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together until well combine.

Mold into 20z meatballs and place on a cookie sheet. Roast the meatballs in a 375° oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.

For the Sauce:

1 Cup Ketchup

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Bourbon Whiskey

1 Tablespoons blended oil

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon Honey

Tabasco, to taste

Sautée onion and garlic in oil until translucent.

Add the Bourbon and flame. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Purée Smooth with an immersion blender.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Salmon Tartar


1 lb fresh salmon, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 cucumber, peeled, center seed section removed, diced small

2 tbsp of pickled ginger, diced

2 tbsp of soy sauce

1 tbsp of sesame oil 1 tbsp of sriracha sauce (you can adjust to your own taste)

1 tbsp of sushi rice vinegar

salt to taste

Serve on brioche toast or a cucumber slice

Catfish Cake Sliders, Old Bay Aioli


2 lbs of Chesapeake Blue Catfish, chopped into 1/4 inch dice

2 eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons dried mustard

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

¼ cup saltine cracker crumbs

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the fish and cracker crumbs. Whisk together until well combined.

Add the fish and cracker crumbs.

Gently mix together with your finger until just combine.

Form into 10 round balls and fry or bake them until golden brown.

Old Bay Aioli

5 egg yolks

10 garlic cloves

1 lemon, juice and zest

½ teaspoon of Worchester Sauce

1 Tablespoon Old Bay

salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste

16 oz. Olive Oil

Place the garlic cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil. Add a splash of olive oil and wrap them up tightly. Roast the garlic cloves in a 350° F oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Place the roasted garlic cloves and all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping bade.Process until combined well.

With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil through the ingredient port in the top of the food processor. The aioli should look creamy and thick once you’ve added all the olive oil.

Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce and Old Bay. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Potato Latkes, Apple Chutney


1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper Vegetable oil for frying


Grate the potatoes through the large holes of a box grater. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl. To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in an oven. Serve with applesauce or sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.

Apple Chutney


2 large tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 Tbsp grated orange peel 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon allspice


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more to cook off excess liquid; let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Traditional Eggnog


4 egg yolks 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon 1 pint whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 3 ounces bourbon 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 4 egg whites


In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve. Spiced Red Wine


2 cinnamon sticks 1 handful juniper berries 1 handful allspice berries 1 whole nutmeg Magnum of zinfandel (or 2 standard bottles of zinfandel) 1 cup sugar in the raw Peel from 1/2 an orange Directions Combine cinnamon, juniper, allspice and nutmeg in a cheesecloth bag and drop in a saucepan with a quarter of the wine. Add the sugar and orange peel. Simmer to blend flavors, about 6 minutes. Once heated, add the remaining wine and return to a simmer. Remove spice bag and orange peel and serve.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.