I’m finding that after writing about being at the beach for the past 3 days I really don’t have anything more to add. Nothing exciting or unusual ever happened (not counting the fact that I wore a bikini for the first time in 20 years and put my head in the ocean!), and now I realize that is the whole point.
Up to now I had never spent any more than a day at the beach and so never got into that mentality of a totally relaxing kind of holiday frame of mind. People who absolutely love the beach either do so because they enjoy swimming, surfing and generally spending most of their time in the water, or, are the kind who like to just “be” by the sea, in their lounge chair reading a book, or content to watch their kids or grand kids endlessly playing in the water.
I feel a bit guilty admitting this but, my idea of relaxing is going to a new city (or at least near one), and getting immersed in the culture, the people, the language. I like to feel connected to people, and that does not really happen at the beach (for me at least). The beach feels more like a place were people are together, but they don’t want to be disturbed.
At this point I will admit to learning one interesting thing on the 4th morning of our beach vacation, and it is to do with the wonderful lonely wreck just off the pebble beach we visited, (above). My friend Kelley told me they made these ships in Cape May, New Jersey as an experiment in World War II which had cement in their framework. The idea was that they could not be sunk by the enemy during battles fought at sea.
OK – so I had to find out more. I discovered that twelve of these cement ships were built to the tune of $50,000,000 but turned out to be impractical because of their weight, and incidentally were not even completed by the end of the war. This little bit of knowledge added to my beach experience! I suppose you could say that I cannot relax, but I like to think that a little brain stimulation is my kind of relaxing.
However, despite being somewhat out of my element, there were things I loved about being at the beach: it made me sit and watch my kids for hours and hours having fun with their very best friend. It kept me in a lounge chair (too hot to move) and compelled me to be still for several hours at a time. It slowed my life down, and that was probably a very good thing.
My friends told me that they booked the house for the same time next year and very graciously invited us to join them again. I may very well accept their offer.
I made this for lunch on our 4th day and it was a big hit – give it a try!
Quick Pasta with Sausages, Bacon & Herbs in White Wine Broth
You will need:
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, small dice
2 sprigs fresh oregano
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 pieces streaky bacon, sliced into pieces
4 breakfast sausages, sliced into pieces
1 medium yellow squash, sliced, then diced
4 cups spinach leaves (chopped if large, leave whole if you are using baby spinach leaves)
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup veggie or chicken broth
sea-salt and black pepper to taste
1lb pasta (I used mini ridged penne – Barilla brand)
1 – Prep all ingredients. Put big pot of cold water on high heat for pasta and cook according to instructions. When pasta has cooked scoop out about a half cup of pasta water and reserve in case you need it later in the dish. do not rinse.
2 – Put large saute pan (big enough to hold final dish) on medium/low heat and add the oil. Add the sausages, bacon and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions soften and meat begins to brown and release fat.
3 – Add the squash and herbs and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
4 – Add the wine and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for another 3 minutes or so. Taste and add sea-salt and pepper if you think it needs it (you should be the judge of this).
5 – At this point the pasta will be cook. Immediately add to veggies and broth, along with the spinach leaves. Stir everything together (the spinach will wilt and cook in a minute or so). If you would like a “looser’ sauce, add some of the reserved pasta water until you are satisfied with the consistency.
Divide between shallow bowls and add some Parmigiano Reggiano if you like.