6.18.2014

Fried Oyster & Shrimp Po Boys + Everyone was welcomed..

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"I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all……. No, I do not weep at the world 
– I’m too busy sharpening my oyster knife."
                                 - Zora Neal Hurston, Dust Tracks On A Road


A while back, I had this crazy notion that I should start hosting Sunday Suppers. Not every Sunday, but maybe once or twice a month. In the beginning, it was a very small gathering of a few folks that I’ve known for years. One recently moving here from New Orleans and gladly helped in the preparation of “green” gumbo. Then it moved to a neighbor or two, who last Sunday brought a few friends. So my table of six became one of sixteen and we ran out of food. Good news is, where there is no food there is Bourbon.
Golden spirits and warm hearts build lasting friendships. So I’ve been told..
It’s here that I looked around my table at the array of people, all walks of life, and all different in some way. Sharing stories and laughter all over food.
Everyone was welcomed...

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There has been a lot of talk about race in the media. With ridiculous pop stars making videos, NBA owners telephoned rants, and an unfortunate issue my 13 year old had to deal with. I find myself explaining to my daughter more and more how those words or slurs can only hurt us if we allow it. How this path has been paved for her to walk along, although it can seem heavy-laden with endless steps, it still leads you to the top of the hill to stand with everyone else. With the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou, we’ve starting talking more about her life and reading her poems.
“Still I Rise” being one that I favorite due to it’s poetic words ability to relate to much more than just race. We read it together, my daughter and I, then talk about it’s meaning and how it makes her feel. I’m overcome with emotions when I read this poem and think of the shit that has rolled my way and the fact that I can’t protect my daughter from fools..

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She still has trouble with understanding; I still have trouble with understanding.
However, it’s there, that unfortunate issue of learning how to maneuver through ignorance and more so ignorant people. These were things that I witnessed and was taught much earlier than her.
Things that I’d hoped my children would never have to.
I learned the history of my ancestors that wasn’t taught in school and how to not use the past as a crutch or an excuse to explain away my failures, but rather as a sword and a shield to slay those who stand in my way and cover those who stand with me in the fight.
Except on Sundays..
On Sunday, I’ve decided to trade in my sword for my cast iron skillet and my dinner table will take the place of the shield. Here I will fight the battle of intolerance over food and drink.
So no matter your race, who you choose to love or whom you choose to pray too, you’re welcome here. We all sit at the same table, sometimes talk too loudly and always laugh too much.
There’s a seat for you at this table, that’s full of acceptance and understanding and sometimes Fried Oyster and Shrimp Po Boys…
So dinner starts at 6.
I hope that y'all can make it..

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“You may shoot me with your words. 
You may cut me with your eyes, 
You may kill me with your hatefulness, 
But still, like air, I’ll rise.." 

 Keep rising my friends…

Speaking of rising. My friend (James Beard Award-Wining Author) Adrian Miller literally wrote the book on Soul Food. Now, he is expanding his talents to a documentary series that will highlight the stories and rich history of African American presidential chefs. With the help of filmmaker Joe York and a few others, Adrian will bring the amazing and often complex history of these chefs to life. To find out about the chef that saved George Washington from being poisoned by peas and more about this compelling new project, as well as help Adrian reach his kickstarter goal, click here… He’s only in need of a few more backers to make this all come together.


 




Oyster & Shrimp Po Boys
Prep Time-25 mins Cook Time- 15 mins Yields- 4 sandwiches 


Ingredients:
16 oysters, shucked
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons hot sauce
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
Salt and Pepper to taste (I used about a teaspoon each)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons dried parsley
Peanut Oil, for frying
4 French Rolls, sliced lengthwise in half
Lettuce
Sliced Tomatoes
Dill Pickle slices

Directions:
Drain Oysters and place in a small bowl. Cover with 1 cup of the buttermilk and allow to sit for about 15 minutes.  Place shrimp in a separate bowl until ready to fry.
In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ¼ of buttermilk, hot sauce and eggs.
Combine the flours, salt and pepper, paprika, and parsley in a bowl, whisking to combine.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot, pour enough peanut oil to fill the pan halfway.  Heat oil until a deep fry thermometer reaches 350.

Now, drain the oysters from the milk. In batches dip the shrimp and the oysters in egg mixture, then in flour mixture. Then place in the pan with the hot oil to fry. Make sure not to over crowd the pan. Only fry a few at a time in batches until all the seafood is cooked and golden brown. Drain fried Oysters and Shrimp on a paper towel lined plate.

To serve, open the French rolls that have been sliced. Spread each side with the creole mayo. Top with lettuce, tomato and pickle slices.
Feel free to add more toppings or to just eat the fried shrimp and oysters right out of the grease. That always works for me.. 


18 comments :

  1. Beautiful words, beautiful photos, beautiful recipe. So wish I could join your Sunday suppers!

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  2. Such a beautiful post, so wonderfully written and so thought provoking. Such lovely, wistful images too. I think the world would be a much nicer place if we all sat down to Sunday Supper together.

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  3. This post is so beautiful, Erika. And I love the idea of Sunday suppers... I might have to start that same tradition in our own home, starting with these mega-yummy po boys.

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  4. This post is just lovely. I'm sorry you had to have that conversation with your daughter. Still I Rise is incredible and I love hearing Maya recite it in her melodic way. Way to combat negativity and ignorance by accepting all at your table, a table we would all love to share with you. I love a good po boy and yours look amazing.

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  5. Erika, this post! It resonates with me in ways you could never know and I appreciate it so much. I grew up with my dad's (white) family, since my mothers is in Korea. One of whom had zero issue with telling me outright that she pleaded with him to not marry my Korean mother (wrote him letter, after letter when he was stationed in Seoul) and for goodness sake not to have children with her, because it's wrong to mix and to "put a child through that." Why a person who is supposed to be family would say that to a kid is beyond me. In my rebellious (read, smartass) nature, I told her that seemed more like her problem than mine. I still think that and I always will. There are a lot of fools out there, but we don't have to accept their foolishness.

    On a less serious note, I bet I could smash two of these po boys right now...even if I weren't a ravenous pregnant lady.

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    1. Cindy, thank you thank you for sharing this with me.. "put a child through that" now ain't that some shit.. There is just so much ignorance out there.. I just had to talk about it.. I could say much more but didn't want to seem like I'm on some Kanye West like rant ... I would make all the po boys for you my beautiful ravenous pregnant friend.. xo

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  6. So many beautiful words and a beautiful recipe Erika. Gathering together, to share food, love, companionship and fight intolerance. A beautiful uplifting thing and I so wish I could join you.

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  7. Oh, girl. My heart was so heavy reading this, and it goes out to you and your daughter. I know I can't fully fathom what you're going through, but I know from my experience there have been so many times where I brandished that sword you speak of and didn't have the grace to do like you're doing -- fry up some delicious po'boys, find peace, move past ignorance. Thank you for your beautiful words and invaluable lessons. Wish I could pull up a chair with you on Sunday at 6. So much love for you, Erika!

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  8. What a post! Beautiful and thought provoking; probably my most favorite post this week.

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  9. The post is beautiful and reminded me of so many hateful/ignorance experiences I encountered in my childhood. There is no easy way to face them and I don't even think I am over them, yet a fews decades later. I hope only good experience for your daughter in the future.

    Btw, I am drooling for this po boys. It makes me so hungry right now :)

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  10. I want to talk more about these things. My brother is bo-racial (we have different dads) and for so long I couldn't see his experience - how in felt uncomfortable in the sweet white washed suburb we grew up in. It wasn't until I moved to the South that I understood my blindness and ignorance to the lack of acceptance in our society. I still can't truly understand his experience, but removing my blinders helped.

    Lots of love to you and yours Erika.

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  11. So incredibly delicious. Nothing better than gathering with friends paired with delicious food.

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  12. new to your space but your writing and photography has drawn me in completely...

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  13. Erika, I loved reading this post. It hit close to home, growing up I went through some of this from both sides of the family and then as an adult. Our experiences make us who we are and your daughter is fortunate to have a mother like you! XOXO

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  14. Erika, I am so glad you're out here doing what you do! <3

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  15. Hi Erika, just read about you and your blog in "FoodandWine.com" Keep up the great eats! Already added you to my favorite list! Cant wait to try some of your recipes!

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  16. Hi Erika! Just read about you and your blog on "FoodandWine.com" Keep up the great eats! I cannot wait to try some of your recipes! Already added your blog to my favorites!

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Thank you so much for your comments... I read each one with a kool-aid smile..