Parade of Lights Buffet

Scroll down to see amateur videos of this year’s parade of lights!

annapolsi parade of lights

Every year on the second Saturday in December, the Eastport Yacht Club sponsors the Annapolis Parade of Lights, with sailboats bedecked and pirates a-reveling! Many participants like to warm up (or close down, or both) with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails aboard, your Galley Pirates among them.  For light, pre-parade fare we decided on an elegant Shrimp Remoulade, with warm and quintessentially midwestern Tom and Jerry’s cocktails for the rum drinkers, and Shampagne for the teetotalers in the crowd.  Conveniently, rum can be left out of the Tom and Jerry and you can get a bottle of bona fide champagne, so that those with the same feelings about booze can decide based on temperature.

So come on down tomorrow, December 13th, to the waterfront in Annapolis Harbor or along Spa Creek Bridge and enjoy the holiday flotilla.  Ho ho ho! and…ARGGHHHH!

shrimp remoulade served close


Shrimp Remoulade

This luscious sauce comes from Peter’s family, and is a vegetable-rich take on what is sometimes a creamier affair.  It pairs beautifully with fresh shrimp either as a dip, or over a bed of lettuce as a salad.  And the color is quite Christmas-ey for a dip.

Remoulade ingredients 2

While the classic chef will probably insist upon a glass bowl, and a thin stream of olive oil into a constantly whisked or food-processed sauce, in a galley one strives for the simple, so I’m going to use my hand chopper for the whole thing.  Ingredients are creole mustard, garlic, paprika, cayenne, horseradish, salt, tarragon vinegar, olive oil, scallions, celery hearts and leaves, and parsley.

Taragon vinegar

The first time I made this I went to numerous grocery stores in the DC area looking for tarragon vinegar, then gave up and put some bruised tarragon leaves in a bottle of white vinegar and let them sit on the shelf for a few days.  I’ve not gone back to looking…this worked fine for me!

Remoulade sauce

Pulse 2 tablespoons mustard, a large garlic clove, a tablespoon of paprika, a half-teaspoon of cayenne, a half-teaspoon of horseradish, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1-1/4 cups olive oil until a smooth, glossy sauce.  Transfer to a bowl.

Remoulade chopping 3

Pull the leaves off stems of 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, and chop one bunch of scallions, and 4-5 stalks from the heart of a celery bunch (plus all the celery leaves you can pull off it) into about 2 inch chunks.

Remoulade chopping 2

Pulse these in the food processor — I put them through roughly as separate ingredients so that the whole bowl of one thing would process more or less evenly — until finely chopped, but still with good texture.  On the left, I’ve transferred the processed celery to the bowl with the sauce; in the processor I’m about to chop the scallions (and some rogue parsley that slipped in).

remoulad close up

This is the lovely texture you are after when all is combined.  Taste it and adjust salt, etc. as desired, then let it chill for at least a few hours so the flavors really come out.

shrimp remoulade served 2

Serve cold as a dip with fresh, shelled and boiled shrimp, or lay shrimp on a bed of crisp, shredded lettuce and top with remoulade as a dressing for a beautiful Christmas salad.  This is a nice appetizer choice for a heavy meal as well — the sauce has a richness to it despite being almost entirely vegetables.  And presented for the Parade of Lights Buffet, it certainly dresses up a chart table.

Now…what to drink with it……….

shampagne adjusted


No, that’s not a typo…it’s a joke.  You loved Faux-jitos, right?  Well here is my latest entry in the “Mocktails” or “Sober Pirate’s Nonetheless Festive Libations” category…faux champagne.  Sham-pagne.  Get it?

Shampagne ingredients

For ingredients, you need equal parts (fill a pitcher with half of one, then fill with the other(s)) white grape juice and EITHER ginger ale, or for an even less sweet version with a bit more bite, a good quality ginger beer and plain seltzer water.  I like this recipe because even the ginger ale version is less sticky sweet than the sparkling ciders they sell as champagne alternatives, but the bubbles and white grape juice look equally festive in a flute.

Sham-pagne in tumbler

Or even just a plastic tumbler if you’re the pirate lurching about in the galley on Festival of Lights night.  Joyeux Noel, mes amis!

Or for a warming and intoxicating alternative….

Tom & Jerry in mug

Tom & Jerry’s

I love regional drinks. Sazerac in New Orleans, Mint Juleps in Kentucky, Singapore Slings in…well…Singapore. (not that I’ve been there) But until moving to the Great Lakes region had I ever heard of a Tom & Jerry? Come to find out, buying Tom & Jerry batter at your local store in northern Wisconsin is just part of the holiday routine. Since I have yet to find the frozen batter sold anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic, (please let us all know if you can find it!) here is the….very labor intensive…recipe. One note: this makes more batter than you may have friends, so feel free to cut in half.

12 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. butter, at room temperature
3 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla, rum, or brandy flavoring
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. allspice

Do you remember this?

egg beater

If you’re not hooked up to shore power, this is the most important tool you will need. If you don’t already have one from your grandmother or great aunt, good luck finding one. I can’t seem to find them any more.

Egg whites

Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Beat egg yolks with vanilla until light. Cream butter and powdered sugar; mix until crumbly. This can all be done with a hand mixer or your conventional egg beater.

T&J batter 3

Add egg yolks and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture; mix well. Add spices and egg whites; beat until well blended. At this point it’s best to get out your big wooden spoon to mix the rest.

tom & Jerry final batter

To make the drinks: Place one heaping spoonful of batter in a coffee mug. Add a shot or two of rum or brandy.* Top with hot water, just boiling from the tea kettle. Mix until batter has dissolved. Sprinkle or grate nutmeg on top and serve hot.

Tom & Jerry's final 2

* An Annapolis variation on this is “Tom & Sailor Jerry’s.” You guessed it. Use Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum; so sweet it makes your teeth hurt. But it sure does warm the innards!

The best thing about this batter is that it can be frozen for many weeks. Make it for Thanksgiving and it will last you through New Years. Just scoop out a spoonful of the frozen batter, place in your coffee mug and top with rum, hot water and nutmeg.

Now take in the sensations of the Parade of Lights…crisp air with a hint of nutmeg. Along with the sounds of the seasons being piped out by generators powering their spectacular light and music show of fun, unique and creative floats drifting by. Cheers!

 parad of lights capital gazette credit


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