Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Oysters on the Grill


Because I’m the biggest brat in the world, when I sent my parents a christmas card, I asked for oysters.  To be fair, my mom got a card asking for her specialty cookies, so at least I don’t discriminate between the people who raised me.  Anyway, so when I got home, my father had oysters on ice waiting for me.


This post will be the first of a series, called “Captain James Cooks.”  My father, Captain James Rosemond, runs a dive charter out of Carteret County, NC.  His boat, the lovely vessel Tortuga, is docked on Piver’s Island.  You can see his website here.  It was my father’s mother, Barbara, who inspired this blog, and there are certain things that he cooks that are just mind-blowing.  So the segment will feature the Captain cooking his recipes for us.  The name of the segment was inspired by the legendary navigator and cartographer, Captain James Cook.  In a beautiful cross over of interests, one of my favorite authors, Tony Horowitz, wrote a book about one of my dad’s heroes, called Blue Latitudes.  My dad thought he was really clever when he came up with “Captain James Cooks.”


So about oysters.  While you can usually get mussels year round from all over the world, like most things, oysters have a season.  Usually, oyster season spans all months that end in “-er.”  The season starts around September and lasts through December.  Which makes them a prime holiday food.  We’re not real fancy with our oysters, and most times you’ll see my dad or brothers eating them right out of the shell, but I prefer them with a little extra.  Tabasco sauce is a great topping, as is horseradish.  My favorite combination is a saltine with horseradish on it, topped with the oyster and a little hot sauce.  Guaranteed to clear your sinuses.


Oysters on the Grill
Source: Captain James Rosemond

A few dozen in-season oysters

Saltines to match


Tabasco sauce


Keep your oysters on ice until you put them on the grill.  Heat your grill to 300-400 degrees.  Lay the oysters directly onto the grill and close your lid.  Check them every five to ten minutes.  As soon as the shells open, they’re ready to serve.  Use a shucking tool to remove the oyster from the shell, and either eat or slide that sucker onto a saltine.




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Chocolate Mousse


This year, because of an impending wedding, my father’s new dive charter, and the fact that all of my siblings are either in school, employed by AmeriCorps, or in the Army, we are not exchanging Christmas gifts.  Which is great, I was only asked to bring home pie, which is why this week I made seventy odd holiday cup pies.


So, as a result, Dan and I celebrated our Christmas a bit early, on the 22nd.  Which was a great idea.  I was going to make chicken marsala, spinach tossed in olive oil and garlic, and for dessert, a lovely mousse.  Now, I know you probably think I’m a crazy masochist for making a mousse after what I will probably refer to in the future as the Pie Blitz of 2008, but what is a romantic Christmas without dessert?  Well, it turns out, I am a masochist and a giant clutz.  After I melted the chocolate on the makeshift double boiler, I went to remove it from heat, and sloshed water all over my hand.  Which left me with serious burns and an inability to do anything but whine.  So, I finished off the mousse and watched Gilmore Girls until Dan got home, and HE made the chicken marsala.  I stayed on the couch and watched Gilmore Girls.  Romantic, right?


This recipe, unlike some of the pies I’ve made, is a bit complicated.  It takes a little finesse, and it takes a little time.  Finesse that I mostly don’t have, as I’m a raving idiot who burns herself.  Mostly, it’s just a bunch of whipping.  Whip and whip and whip, then some folding, and then a little chilling, and then a lot of enjoying.


Chocolate Mousse

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp warm water

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup sugar

Heat chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.  You don’t want the bottom of the bowl to be making direct contact with the water.  The water should also be slowly boiling, not rapidly.  Stir the chocolate occasionally until it’s melted and smooth.  Remove chocolate from heat, but keep the water simmering.

Whip cream until it holds soft peaks.  Cover and refrigerate.

Whisk egg yolks, egg, salt, and sugar together until foamy and light.  Place over saucepan and whip with electric beater.  Move the whisk in a circular motion until the eggs are fluffy and hot to the touch.  Don’t keep it over heat too long, or your eggs will scramble.  Remove from heat and continue beating on high for five minutes until thick ribbons fall from the beater when lifted.  Whisk in water.

Fold 1/4 of the egg into the chocolate.  Incorporate completely, then fold in the rest.  Finally, fold in the cream to make it smooth and light.  Pour into serving dishes, cover, and refrigerate at least one hour.

Serves 2.

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Sweet Potato Pie

Usually, I don’t make sweet potato pies.  Though they’re not the same as pumpkin, they’re similar enough that I don’t usually feel the need to make both.  But since I took on the (insane) task of making seventy plus cup pies to bring home for Christmas, I decided to mix it up.  And since sweet potato has a different flavor and texture than pumpkin, I figured doing both would allow some variety.

Sweet potato pie is similar in technique to pumpkin pie.  There are different spices, and I prefer mashed sweet potatoes instead of pureed, but the ingredients are similar.  It’s a pretty delicious pie.  I like a little brown sugar in it, as well as some cinnamon and vanilla.  It has no pecans in it, and besides that it resembles sweet potato casserole in flavor profile.

If you are a marshmallow person when it comes to sweet potatoes, you could add some into the mashed potatoes.  I personally do not like marshmallows in my pies or casseroles, but it acts the same as cheese in a pear pie, it gives some creaminess and a little goo that isn’t there with just the potatoes.

Sweet Potato Pie

2 sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed

1 cup heavy cream

3 eggs


1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

Pie dough (recipe here)

Peel, chop, boil, and mash your potatoes.  Set aside.  Beat eggs.  Add in sugar and vanilla.  Stir in heavy cream.  Slowly add potatoes to this mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes at 475*, then for 40 minutes at 350*

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