Cornish hens, oysters and New Years

Last New Years, I was partying it up with my girls in D.C. This year, I enjoyed a relaxing and long weekend at Grant’s family beach house on Oak Island, N.C. It was awesome. We arrived to 68-degree temps on Friday, in which we went on a beach walk, beers in hand, and then came home to make dinner.

I made an Ina Garten meal of cornish hens, mashed turnips with fried shallots and lemon-garlic broccolini. I’m not going to post the recipes because it will get too long, and let me tell you this took like four hours total to prepare!

First, you make cornbread. Then, you make stuffing with it and stuff it into the hens (Grant got poulet rouge hens – so fancy!).

Then you roast the hens until golden on the outside and cooked through. They were like a richer chicken meat – even the white meat was actually dark. A really nice flavor and the stuffing inside was moist and delicious.

I didn’t much care for the turnips, which tasted too bitter. But Grant loved them, saying they were like a big, peppery radish with fried goodness on top. The broccolini was awesome, sauteed in lemon and garlic.

After dinner, we toasted the new year with a bottle of champagne and I said goodbye to what has been a roller coaster of a year, during which I’ve loved every twist and turn. I went from thinking I had a stroke of bad luck to finding a great new house, completing my first marathon and cultivating new and meaningful relationships that fill my life with joy, excitement and food!

On New Years Day, we woke up early, had breakfast, went on a long run and then came back for bloody mary’s on the porch. This day was going to be in the 70s, so we enjoyed every moment possible outside.

Then we went to the store and got stuff to make lunch: toasted baguette with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. After lunch, we drove to the inlet and walked around for another couple miles, looking for seashells. By the time our beers were empty, we decided it was time to eat again and we had a craving for raw oysters!

We went straight to the fish market, where we bought a dozen fresh oysters, still in shells, a lemon and an oyster knife. I’d never shucked an oyster before, but Grant had, so I prepared a plate with coarse salt and a bowl of our provisions…

Let me tell you – these long fingers were made for prying the craggy shells off an oyster! It was actually really fun and easy.

We ate our oysters with a squeeze of lemon, a shake of Texas Pete, some crusty bread and a frosty Bass beer. It was bliss as the sun started to sink.

I’m the pearl, obvs.

After oysters, we napped on the porch and then opened a bottle of wine while I started hoppin’ john dinner with jalapeno-cheddar cornbread. Then we watched a “Twilight Zone” marathon – my favorite New Years tradition.

I’d like to say it was the perfect start to 2011. xoxo

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3 responses to “Cornish hens, oysters and New Years

  1. Food/happiness, etc. Love and happiness just seeps out of this post.

    And also, yum.

    p.s. I have a hard time with turnips, too. They’re kind of yicky.

  2. Next time, do parsnips. They’re nutty and tasty, especially after roasting. Beautiful new year–harbinger of the year ahead!

  3. I do like roasted parsnips, but never had them mashed. Maybe for next New Years?

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