Island Cooking

Holiday Recipes

It’s never too early to start planning your holiday feasts, whether it be for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years, this is the time of year when you want to present a memorable spread. Judi Hill has collaborated with Chef Pamela A. McKinstry to reprint her classic Nantucket cookbook Sconset Café, for sale now at the G.S. Hill Gallery at 40 Straight Wharf and from the Gift section of her website

We’re reprinting here three recipes of Chef McKinstry’s from her cookbook that will show up on tables here at Yesterday’s Island this season…

Nantucket bay scallops are justifiably world famous as they are small, sweet and succulent. I think this is an extremely elegant and unique scallop presentation. It is time consuming to prepare but the artichokes can be cooked in advance and reheated just before serving time. The sauce for the scallops is given a slight sweetness by the addition of Grand Marnier, a bit unorthodox maybe, but with delightful results.

  • 6 artichokes
  • 4 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ Cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. bay scallops
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 Cup mushrooms, sliced
  • salt & white pepper
  • 2 Cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbs. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  1. Cut off the stem of an artichoke level with the base. Bend the outer leaves back until they snap off close to the base. Begin at the bottom and work in a circular fashion around the globe of the artichoke. Remove several layers of leaves until the pale, inner leaves are reached. Cut off the top 2 inches of the artichoke and discard. Trim the artichoke bottom with a sharp paring knife to remove the fibrous outer skin. Rub the entire surface of the artichoke with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Drop the bottom into a bowl of cold water acidulated with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice while you prepare the remaining artichokes.
  2. To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Drop the artichokes into the boiling water and cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until the bottoms are tender.
  3. Drain upside down on a rack until cool enough to handle. Using a small spoon carefully scoop out the “choke” and discard. Cover the bottoms to keep them warm and set aside.

The Scallops:

  1. Remove the hard while muscle on the side of each scallop and discard.
  2. Meanwhile, bring the white wine to a simmer in a skillet and poach the scallops for 2 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a bowl and reduce the wine in the skillet to ¼ cup.

The Mushrooms:

  1. In a separate skillet, melt the butter and when it is bubbling, add the mushroom slices. Saute over medium heat until the mushrooms have rendered their juices an are tender. Season with salt and white pepper.

The Sauce:

  1. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan and cook it until it is reduced in volume by half. Add the Gran Marnier and the ¼ cup of reserved wine and reduce another 10 minutes or until very thick.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms and add the drained scallops, season to taste and remove from heat.

The Presentation:

  1. Warm the artichoke bottoms, if necessary, either by steaming or briefly reheating in a 350* oven or microwave.
  2. Place the artichokes on individual plates and spoon the scallop mixture into each bottom. Allowing some to spill over the sides. Serve immediately. Serves 6 as appetizers.


A simple way to prepare and serve duck. The glace de canard is an essential for this recipe but once you have made it, you will have enough on hand for many more meals. If you don’t want to “waste” the duck legs for the stock, simply roast these separately and serve with the breasts and sauce. Another alternative to to roast the ducks whole, then carve and sauce at serving time. You will need to buy an extra duck, however, to make the stock unless you have some glace de canard on hand. Serves 4.

  • 2-5 lb. Long Island Ducks or wild ducks
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, chopped in several pieces
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbs. juniper berries
  • fresh parsley & thyme
  • 2 tbs. clarified butter
  • ¼ Cup raspberry vinegar
  • ¼ Cup lingonberries
  • ½ Cup heavy cream or crème fraiche
  • 2 tbs. glace de canard
  • salt & white pepper

The Stock:

  1. Remove the breasts from the ducks, discarding skin and fat. You should have 4 separate breast filets. Cover these with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  2. Cut the de-breasted ducks into several pieces, discarding as much of the fat and excess skin as is possible.
  3. Arrange the bones and ducks parts, the onions, carrots and celery in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with the oil. Roast at 450* for 20-30 minutes, turning the pieces once, until the carcass is well browned.
  4. Drain off the fat that has accumulated and then put everything into a large pot. Degrease the roasting pan with ½ cup of hot water, scraping up as much of the browned meat glaze as you can. Add this liquid to the stockpot.
  5. Next, add warm water to cover the level of duck and vegetables in the potand over medium high heat bring the stock to a simmer. When simmering,lower the heat slightly and skim off any foamy matter that has accumulated.
  6. Add the fresh herbs, peppercorns and juniper berries and simmer the stock for about 2 hours or until the liquid has been reduced by at least one half.
  7. Strain the stock and discard the solids. Transfer the liquid to a smaller pan and continue to reduce the duck stock slowly until it has concentrated to one cup. This is your glace de canard; it may be frozen for up to 3 months.

The Saute:

  1. Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet until very hot. Add the duck breasts and saute for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Do not crowd the skillet; cook in batches if necessary. If the duck breasts are very large or thick, you should pound them with a meat mallet before sauteing to break the connective muscle structure. This will make it easier to cook the breasts evenly and will tenderize the meat.
  2. Transfer the duck breasts to a cutting board and slice each one into 4 or 5 thin slices, cutting on a slight angle. Cover the meat with foil to keep it warm.

The Sauce:

  1. Deglaze the skillet with the raspberry vinegar and then add the remaining ingredients. Cook the  sauce over medium high heat until it is reduced. Reducing a sauce intensifies its flavor and thickens it by allowing some of the water content to evaporate or cook away.
  2. To serve, arrange the slices of duck on a warm plate and nap with some sauce. If the duck meat has cooled, you may return it to the skillet and reheat it briefly with the sauce. Serves 4 as main course.


A light and luscious cheesecake with a subtle but distinct ginger flavor. This is not as sweet as many cheesecakes, but as its name implies, it is very creamy. If you are an avid ginger fan you might garnish the top of the cake with finely chopped crystallized ginger just before serving.

  • 1 Cup cream cheese, very soft
  • 1 Cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 Cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • ¾ Cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbs. ground ginger
  • 8 large pieces of crystallized ginger, very finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ Cup ginger snaps
  • 1/3 Cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger

The Crust:

  1. Finely crush the ginger snaps and mix with the sugar, butter and ground ginger.
  2. Grease a 9 inch springform pan and press the cookie mixture onto bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.

The Filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Very gradually add the sour cream and heavy cream, beating until smooth.
  3. Add the sugar, eggs, ground and crystallized gingers and blend well.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 325* for 30-40 minutes or until the center is set. Do not over bake!
  5. Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate the cake at least 4 hours before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Articles by Date from 2012