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Welcome the New Year with appetizers

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By Judyrae Kruse
Herald Columnist
It's almost time to end this year and start a whole new one, so if you need to figure out a couple of appetizers to trot out New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, no problem, we have it covered.
First, not only a tried-and-truer, but a must-make recipe. As Lynnwood cook Vee Harris tells us, "I just wanted to thank you for Lavon Woodey's appetizers you included in the Nov. 23 Forum, especially the bacon-water chestnut wraps.
"I came home from work on Wednesday cold and tired ... with much left to do before Thanksgiving. As I sat down with a glass of wine, my husband handed me The Herald. I perused your column when it mentioned appetizers. The bacon-chestnut recipe seemed unusual enough to look over. How simple yet flavorful!
"I went to the grocery store later in the evening and found what I needed. Thursday afternoon, I made it up. It was an instant hit! Even my picky teenager liked it. Since returning to work, I have sent this to a half-dozen co-workers who are planning to include it in their next holiday menus.''
Vee winds up with, "You can be sure I'll have made this again for Christmas and beyond -- so hopefully I can get some extra for myself!''
Incidentally, when Lavon shared this recipe with us, she mentioned, "As for the bacon-chestnut wraps, the sauce gives a twist to the usual plain bacon-wrapped chestnuts.''
Now, specifically for all of our razor clam enthusiasts, and there are a lot of us who can't wait to load up our favorite clam-getting gear and head down to the ocean beaches, we have a unique "smoked'' razor clam appetizer. This one's the personal favorite of clam know-howist Dan Ayres of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Olympia. And tra-la-la: There's no actual smoking involved.
Just haul a limit's worth out of the freezer, thaw and you're good to go. If a whole limit's worth isn't workable, use however many you have or want, and cut down the amount of sauce accordingly.
Bacon-water chestnut wraps
1 pound bacon, cut in half crosswise
2 cans (8 ounces each) water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce
Fry bacon until almost crisp; drain. Wrap each water chestnut with a bacon piece and secure with a toothpick. Place in an ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, mayonnaise and chili sauce, mixing well; pour over the chestnuts and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen wraps.
"Smoked'' razor clams
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 limit razor clams, cut into small pieces
In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, liquid smoke, Worcestershire, lemon juice, seasoning salt, chili powder, celery salt and garlic powder, mixing well. Add clams, mixing well.
Turn clams and liquid out onto a rimmed cookie sheet or shallow pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Stir and drain frequently, saving the liquid. Store clams and reserved liquid in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Will keep, refrigerated, 2 to 3 weeks.
The next Forum will appear in Friday's comics pages.
Story tags » CookingNew Year's

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