Let me wish all ye faithful a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year one more time. I haven't sent individual messages, but you know who you are and how much I appreciate your loyalty and your comments. I blog largely for myself because it's important for me from many points of view, and I blog for you too of course. Thanks.
I didn't take any pictures on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Sometimes you're either having too much fun, or you're too busy, or you're too tired to pick up the appareil photo. We ate our oysters on New Year's Eve. I did them North Carolina style, which means briefly roasted in a hot oven (makes them easier to open and more appetizing for the slightly squeamish) and served at the table with cocktail sauce (tomato sauce, vinegar, chillies, and horseradish). We also made a French mignonnette sauce, which is wine vinegar flavored with chopped shallots and coarsely ground or crushed black pepper. It was a success, and we have fresh oysters left over for today's lunch.
Oysters for sale at the New Year's market in old Saint-Aignan. Prices were lower in 2005...*
Dinner was pan-roasted magrets de canard — duck breast filets — served rare with an orange sauce, prepared by our hosts. Delicious. With that, there was a gratin dauphinois (potatoes au gratin with cream) and nice fresh green beans. And with all that food, we drank... let's just say... a certain number of good wines — mostly from the Loire Valley, except for some Champagne.
The old (and only) bridge across the Cher River at Saint-Aignan — there used to be a mill here.
We often park the car down by the bridge and then walk up into town when we go to the market.
The weather has been wet and windy for a few days, so we were more or less confined to the house on 12/31 and 1/1. Still, Callie and her canine friend Lulu needed to be walked. I didn't volunteer. I had taken Callie out on her two previous walks, so it wasn't my turn. And then we all actually stayed up until midnight to welcome in the New Year. That's two hours past my normal bedtime, so I was pretty wiped out yesterday (Jan. 1).
The display of wintertime pork treats in a charcuterie stand at the Saint-Aignan market
For our New Year's Day lunch back at home, we put together our traditional cassoulet using confit de canard (duck leg/thigh sections cooked in their own fat and left to cure for three months in that fat in the refrigerator), black-eyed peas (for good luck in 2014), and Toulouse-style pork sausages. Here's a link to an earlier post about it. Incidentally, I heard a cook who has a show on the French Cuisine+ TV network say yesterday that for some people in France, it is traditional to eat lentils on January 1 because that is supposed to bring you health and happiness for the rest of the year. Les grandes traditions se rencontrent.
* I reached back in time eight or nine years to find the photos I'm posting today.