The weather turned out cold and wet on too many of our days in Tennessee. So what do you do when it’s nasty outside? We cook, and then we eat. Or maybe take a ride, and then we eat. One night I tried to replicate Brigsten’s Oysters Bienville (I even had the New Orleans recipe) and although it was tasty, it fell short of my expectations. Still, baked oysters are good regardless of their ingredients.
“He was a bold man who first ate an oyster” Jonathan Swift
On December 30 we met Stephanie and her guy, Kevin, in a little pub in the Appalachian Trail town of Hot Springs, NC. They had already dined, so we made do with fried mozzarella and prosciutto rolls accompanied by local craft beers. Kevin’s an outdoorsman who makes his living in higher education teaching philosophy. He is of the patient sort and tolerated my rattling well (as near as I could tell). LSU and Notre Dame were duking it out in the Music City Bowl on the big screen TV. Yes, that one ended badly for my team, but then if they won them all, they’d be Alabama. Oops, not this year!
Kevin likes: “When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche
On New Year’s Eve we put together a big batch of grillades and grits. This is hard to believe but neither Kat nor I ever had that dish in all the years we lived in New Orleans. Our first taste of grillades came at ol’ buddy Caldwell’s home in Shreveport where he was hosting a pre-wedding feast with a hundred or so of his closest friends. Those grillades were so good I’ve made related versions of them dozens of times since. This version was adapted (for the available ingredients) from Emeril’s recipe. It was so good the leftovers were gone by the time we arrived the morning of New Years Day.
I like: “In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.” Friedrich Nietzsche
The black-eyed pea has surpassed cabbage, Bloody Marys, and everything else as the go-to dish for New Year’s Day. We did blackeyes along with some onion andouille and Martha White’s cornbread. Julee really wanted cabbage as well, but as people who are now on a fixed income, that big money ain’t in our future. Since it ain’t, why bother with cabbage?
You gotta like: “I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need, if I die by four o’clock.” Henny Youngman
Better yet: “When you get your big money, you better buy everything you can get. You know you can’t take it with you: I ain’t never seen an armored car at a funeral yet!” Dr. John
Happy New Year, ya’ll!