The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It

The Feast of the Seven (Give or Take) Fishes: Our Family’s Progressive Dinner 2013

Ah, the annual Christmas progressive dinner. The dinner in which my two older sisters and I get to make food for our families and each other in an attempt to make a merrier Christmas while traveling around the countryside and trying not to overeat at the first stop.

It is tougher than it sounds.
This year, our progressive dinner was at one stop only and the theme was seafood. We transformed my living room into a dining room and the dining room into the living room so all eighteen of us could sit at one table. Other than rearranging most of my house, I was the appetizer, so my job was easy.

The appetizer sister gets to sit back, serve small bites, and relax. Meanwhile, the other two sisters worry about something burning and/or not being cooked right at her house and the thought that everyone might eat too much at the first stop thus leaving a lot of food at her house with no one to eat it.

Again, tougher than it sounds.

An issue for me was that we went out of town the day before the party for Christmas with my husband’s family, and I arrived home four hours before the party started. Yikes.

Luckily, my food was easy enough to get a lot done ahead of time.
I served shrimp with a spicy homemade cocktail sauce and pickled okra. I liked it a lot, and it was pretty festive with the red and green in a little glass. It was also dang easy. The only thing I had to do was boil water for the shrimp, mix the sauce, and assemble the little boogers.
We also had Miss Kay Robertson’s shrimp salad from her Duck Commander cookbook. Since I was low on time, I made the decision to save all the shrimp I had for my other dishes and supplement the salad with two bags of frozen crawfish tails that I warmed up in butter before I added it to the salad as Miss Kay said to do. It was pretty good. It was creamy and crunchy.
The last thing we passed around was The Pioneer Woman’s Skewers of Glory. Glorious might be a stretch, though. I precooked the bacon a little, used canned pineapple to make things easier, and I assembled the skewers when I got home.
I was disappointed in the marinade, which was mostly at the bottom of the pan and not on the skewers, and the time it took to get the dish done. I cooked my skewers at least twenty minutes longer than PW said to and that’s even with the fact that I had precooked the bacon. Not fun when people are waiting for their first course.

Still, it was another memorable miracle of a dinner. Our main course was salmon served with a dill sauce that I will think about for ages, roasted vegetables, and rice. Devine. Dessert was an angel food cake.

Everyone ate too much, and we laughed too hard.

A good time was had by all.

Homemade Shrimp Cocktail
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup pickle relish
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce

Combine all and chill. In a small glass (I used tasting cups), layer the cocktail sauce, then the okra, then fill to the top with small shrimp.


Soul Food/Duck Dynasty Appetizers

The oldest Foodie sister was the appetizer course this year for our family’s progressive dinner. She did not disappoint.  She went all out.

She, like many of us, has recently fallen in love with Duck Dynasty.  I adore that show.  In the food truck/guys on strike because of uniforms episode, Miss Kay sells her boudin from a food truck when she has unexpected leftovers.  (I tell you what, if Miss Kay ever comes out with a cookbook, there is a special place on my counter next to Trisha, Paula, and Ree just for her book. She? Rules.)  That boudin episode was the sister’s inspiration.

So, we were feasting on Duck Dynasty soul food.  It was like a brush with greatness.  I felt like a celebrity!

Well, a celebrity who makes duck calls from Louisiana, at least.


We had alligator bites.  I ate more than my fair share.  Not to be cliché, but they did taste like chicken.


Shrimp and cheesy grits with bacon-one of the sister’s specialties.   I had two helpings.


Pork boudin here served on one of our grandmother’s platters, I think.  I liked it.


We also ate these boudin bites, but I heard they were spicy.  I didn’t eat one, but the ones who did said they were good.


Crawfish pies-again I heard spicy so I skipped these.


Boudin balls.


Finally, alligator boudin.  The sister did a fabulous job, and we all tried something new and exciting.  That’s an accomplishment for our group.

While at a different party early this Christmas, a friend of ours who is originally from Louisiana explained boudin to us.  According to him, real boudin is blood sausage.

I wish he hadn’t told me that.

I was too chicken to try most of the boudin, but what I did eat was good.  It makes me wonder why Miss Kay had leftovers.

And, I also wonder how she makes it.  Where is that cookbook, Miss Kay?

%d bloggers like this: