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Rainy Day Mulled Sangria!

After spending over a week with zero degree temperatures ... something kind of unusual in Southern Illinois ... the temps have risen ... and rain has set in!   I decided to 'set in' ... too!  More like 'sit in'!

I seem to have an abundance of bottles of my favorite sangria.  It comes from Alto Vineyards and it is called Nona Mia Sangria ... made from a recipe from the family's grandmother!   It is fantastic in the summertime ... Sometimes I pour it over crushed ice. 

Well, it is just as fantastic in the wintertime ... mulled with a little honey and a pat of butter floating on top. Sometimes I add sliced oranges, limes and lemons to it ... and a little brandy.  Today, I had the easy version.

I had lots of computer work to do today ... but it was much more pleasant with my mug of sangria!

I also made oyster stew today ... just like my mama used to make for my dad.  It was one of his favorites. 

You might think it is unusual for mid-westerners to enjoy fresh oysters,  but we've had easy access to oysters since the days of the earliest Mississippi River transportation.  I have family recipes from the mid-1800s ... that use fresh oysters.   I splurged and bought a pint this week and used half of them today for a little stew and will pan fry the rest of them this weekend!

I think part of the reason Mother made her stew this way is that it was 'fast food'.   She always kept boiled red potatoes in the refrigerator.  That was her way of saving time when she fried them ... so she would have had a couple cups of  cubed potatoes handy.   I microwaved a big baker for my stew.

I started the stew by making a light roux with half a stick of butter and 4 Tablespoons of flour.  After letting it cook over low heat, I added 3 cups of half and half and half a pint of fresh oysters (juice included).  I brought the stew to low boil, then turned it down to simmer for a few minutes more.  I always test the oysters to make sure they are cooked through.  (I love raw oysters, but not in my stew!)  Then I stirred in the potato, which I had peeled and cubed.  I seasoned the stew with a little salt, freshly ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme leaves.  

These are two good recipes that helped me enjoy the rainy day!  More rain to come ... so undoubtedly more recipes will follow!