As 2011 came to a close, I learned a valuable lesson (although – in theory – I knew it all along). It’s a story about an oyster …. well, actually 36 oysters …. and celebrations-gone-awry …. . You’ll laugh, perhaps shake your head in disbelief, or roll your eyes in a “What-was-she-thinking?!” way. But, there is a moral to every story, and I will guide myself accordingly in 2012. Absolutely.
I like to do things somewhat “over the top.” Those who know me well are snorting loudly with laughter as I write this (how rude!). So, this is how my New Year’s Eve went:
AM – Tidied the garden (back front and side), went to the corner store to get sundries, then off to the local grocer to buy 24 mussels, a salmon filet, 24 oysters, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame. You may be wondering how many people was she having over for New Year’s Eve? The answer: just me and The Husband. My theory has always been to buy more, rather than less (that way, you won’t run out). The natural question would be: Why all that seafood? Well, this was the plan: make Oysters Rockefeller and Mussels Marinara for NYE and the salmon filet for NY Day.
And then the grocer told me that they didn’t have oysters (fyi … the salmon filet that I bought could feed a family of 6 and will last a few days…but, I digress….). “NO OYSTERS!” … exclaimed heatherfromthegrove (actually, more like a shriek, than an exclamation). The guy at the seafood counter shrugged his shoulders, completely unfazed that he just ruined my fantasy of an aphrodisiac-infused evening.
PM – So, I went home with the mussels, salmon, strawberries and champagne and then called Whole Foods to verify that they indeed had oysters and that they would keep two dozen aside for me. The time, at this point, was 2 pm. I travelled to WF and lo, and behold, the seafood guru had the oysters set aside for me (only later did I realize that he added twelve more to the pack …. at my cost, of course!). Always looking for the right tableware, I stopped by Z-Gallerie to get a platter for the oysters. I found a beautiful large faux-oyster shell that would be the perfect platter for my Oysters-bloody-Rockefeller! I arrived home at 5 pm.
Because ambience is Everything, I had to spend the next 3 hours decorating — the house, front/side/back yard. This involved decorations, balloons (don’t ask!), and candles.
At 8 pm, I commenced with the cooking. But, first, I opened a bottle of champagne (not the Grande Dame, which was reserved for midnight). As I sipped, I prepared the Rockefeller filling, thinking the oysters would be a breeze.
Note: I had never cooked oysters before.
At this point, you are probably wondering “Where is The Husband?” Immersed in his work on the computer, completely ignoring me as I proceeded to take the holiday celebration waaaaaaay over the top.
I would like to say, at this juncture, that the ambience was gorgeous …. the house looked beautiful. But, again, I digress …
I then began to prepare the baking pan, filling it with coarse sea salt and placing the pan in a precarious position in my overcrowded, space-challenged kitchen. I began washing the oysters and started to “shuck” them … but realized that I did not have an oyster knife (blunt implement) so, I was forced to use a knife.
You know where this is going, don’t you?
As I “shucked” the oysters, I managed to nearly sever an artery in my wrist and stabbed myself in two other parts of my hand ….. and, as Murphy’s Law would have it, the pan filled with the coarse sea salt fell on the floor, spilling salt everywhere. Everywhere. I had to take a deep breath, get a bandage for my hand and then vacuum the floor, before resuming the”shucking.” Meanwhile, my black Lab — Bacchus — was stubbornly staying under foot in the kitchen because of the fireworks outside (he is terrified of fireworks) and wouldn’t leave my side. At 11:38 pm, on New Year’s Eve, the table was set — complete with tasty appetizers (hors d’oeuvres), fine champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and, yes, the f-ing Oysters Rockefeller. We toasted the New Year at midnight, enjoyed our feast, and I made a vow:
In 2012, I will make a supreme effort to keep things simple.
“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think” – Eleanor Roosevelt