I had a looooong day. I drove to Pennsylvania very early this morning for the funeral of a friend that I loved dearly. It was a 4 hour drive round trip, and a rough day in general. Nellie was an old neighbor of mine from my childhood in Brooklyn, and her husband Victor was absolutely devastated by her death. Watching him grieve today was a sobering reminder of just how precious our loved ones are, and how important it is to relish every single day we have together.
When I got home, I was feeling a bit pensive, sad, and tired–understandable, after the day’s events. Vic and Nellie were married for 56 wonderful years. I can’t even imagine the pain that he is feeling tonight.
Instead of giving in to the grief, Rich and I decided to spend some time together in the kitchen, whipping up a dinner we’d seen featured on Tyler Florence’s “Ultimate” series: the Ultimate Seafood Feast.
We made Raw Oysters on the Half Shell with cocktail sauce and cucumber mignonette, Oysters Casino, and Roast Lobster with Panko breading, with some Zesty French Fries on the side.
Rich shucked the oysters expertly, while I made the panko stuffing and casino butter. The cucumber mignonette was a little vinegary when sampled by itself, but paired with the oysters, it was PERFECT. Very fresh and light and summery. The Oysters Casino was very tasty, with nice notes of lemon.
We had a shot of Limoncello to start, and then paired the dinner with a bottle of 2006 Rodney Strong Chardonnay.
The thing that struck me most about today is that it wasn’t some special occasion–it was just an ordinary day, really. But, the dinner helped elevate it to one of those days that will stand out as one to remember. It was a beautiful evening, spent with my family, just enjoying one another’s company, and appreciating all that we have, most especially our deep and abiding love for one another.
I can’t think of a better tribute to my friend and former neighbor, Nellie DeRosa, who passed away on Monday at the age of 77. She was the glue that held her family together: a loving, giving, generous woman who was taken much too soon. Right now, I’m sure she’s up in heaven, catching up on old times with my Dad, and watching over her wonderful family. My heart goes out to them tonight as they grapple with their loss. I also take a moment to offer up a prayer of thanks and gratitude, for the time that I have with my own family.
Carpe diem. Seize the day. Words that resonate with me, especially on days like today.