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Archive for April, 2012

This is an adaptation of lobster rolls, one of my favorite New England foods, using crawfish, my all-time favorite food, which is reaching its peak this time of year. You could call this crawfish salad, but doing so ignores the importance that the roll plays in this tasty sandwich. This recipe works with shrimp, too. Halve the ingredients to make for one person.

Crawfish rolls

Ingredients:

1 pound of cooked and peeled crawfish tails, cooled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
juice from 1 lemon
Cajun or Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chacherie’s) to taste
pinch of Cayenne pepper
4 hot dog buns (New England style split top are preferred)
butter or margarine

Directions
Coarsely chop the crawfish tails and then liberally sprinkle Creole seasoning. Put the crawfish in a medium mixing bowl and add the cayenne. Mix in the lemon juice and mayonnaise using a fork until all of the crawfish is coated. Cover and chill at least an hour in the refrigerator. (Overnight is OK too).

The rolls:
You really need to have New England style hot dog buns to get the best taste for this. If none are available, you can lightly trim the crust off the top and bottom so that they can be buttered. Heat a large skillet and grill the outside of the closed buns as you would a grilled-cheese sandwich.

Once the buns are done, split them open and fill liberally with the crawfish mixture. Serve with Zappe’s potato chips. One roll is a snack, two makes a meal.

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It’s spring and it’s Easter and all around us we see evidence of life reborn. But this afternoon, I got to witness the rebirth of a Nashville landmark that was battered by the elements two years ago and then took a pounding in the court system as insurance companies tried to find a way to not pay, which is their main purpose in life if you think about it.

Yep. I went to Opry Mills today.

Opry Mills has always had a special place in my heart. The mall was announced when I was dating my ex wife and we watched its progress on our trips to Opryland Hotel whenever I was in town. We didn’t know it at the time we set our date, but the mall opened on our wedding day, much to the joy of many of our guests who spent the afternoon of our wedding there.

There were lots of neat stores there when it opened, including Bass Pro Shop, which many of us from Louisiana had never seen before. They employed the best salesman on the planet when they opened, too. I know this because he sold a boat GPS system to my dad, who was never able to master the art of programming a VCR.

We went to the mall a lot early on. Rainforest Cafe was one of our favorite restaurants. We even joined the Rainforest VIP program so we could get in without waiting.

But as the years wore on, we drifted apart (my wife and me and us and the mall). Then the rain came on May 1, 2010, and the mall was underwater. My marriage didn’t last much longer than that.

A few weeks ago, after the owners decided to move forward without the help of their insurance company, Opry Mills was born again. And I am in the first few months of my new life, too. Only now, I live 5 minutes away.

I wanted to go to the grand opening, but decided there would be too many people. So I waited until the Saturday after. but there were too many people. traffic backs up on the highway at opening time and stays like that all day long. So I didn’t go that day. Or the next. Or the week after.

Today, I said what the heck. Bed Bath and Beyond reopened and I got a 20% off coupon in my email. Right now, BBB is my BFF as I restock the accessories for a household. So I drove by the traffic jam to the next exit and took the back way to the mall, behind Opryland Resort. If you haven’t been yet, that’s the way to go. And as soon as you can find a parking spot, take it because there are none near the building.

Be prepared to walk.

Some of the old stores are gone. Barnes and Noble for one. It’s on West End Blvd. near Vanderbilt these days. Nothing has taken its place in the mall. Also gone is the apple store, which sold everything apple except for apples. Glow in the dark putt-putt golf is gone as is the Gibson Guitar Bluegrass Showcase. Wetzel’s Pretzels, where I had my first pretzel dog, is gone too as is the AT&T store where I got my first cell phone right after our honeymoon.

But there’s lots of new stuff. There’s a Pretzel Annie’s. I love Pretzel Annie’s and planned to get one on my way out of the mall. But it turns out that I didn’t want a pretzel as bad as the 20 people already in line when I got there, so I’ll save that for another trip.

There’s lots of new restaurants, including Macaroni Grill and Chuy’s. A place called Claim Jumper will open soon. The Aquarium and Rainforest are back, too. I saw a sign that said hush puppies and thought it might be a place where I could get some fried catfish, but alas, it was a shoe store.

Bass Pro Shops is back. Actually, it’s been back for over a year. It owned its store and apparently had a better insurance policy than the mall did, so it reopened last year. For whatever reason, it no longer opens into the mall, so if you want to go there, you have to go to the outside entrance.

I don’t know how long it will take before the newness wears off and there won’t be a line of cars on Briley Parkway to get in. But the Bed Bath and Beyond is a lot bigger than it was before. They have a larger selection of kitchen gadgets than the other BB&B’s in town, so I will return often.

And having a new Kitchen Collections store in the mall is a bonus too.

A successful start to a new life for an old mall makes me believe that my new life will be successful too. Scrambling eggs on my new stick resistant enamel fry-pan tomorrow morning is evidence of that.

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