It is beach time again and I thought that would mean lounging around reading, swimming and writing long meandering posts of my observations and what I have been cooking. Well, that’s not exactly how it has been working out!
My friend Kelley and I are have been abandoned by our spouses this year to fend for ourselves. What I can I say…the week at the beach was booked for a year, circumstances changed and Kelley and I were the only ones free this particular week, (Dave managed two days before leaving). How could we disappoint our children who had been dreaming about this moment for what seemed like an eternity when you use “kid logic” (they live in different countries!)
Who knew it would be so much more difficult to do this with only two adults. This year I am chief cook and bottle washer while Kelley is errand boy and wrangler of all things beach-related.
This left very little time for that novel I was looking forward to reading and writing down what I have been up to.
We have also had a few misadventures, like the first day when we were not thinking sensibly and dragged everyone to the beach at high noon, resulting in burning my poor fair-skinned son to a crisp!
Then there was the day we were determined to stay on the beach even though the wind was whipping sand in our faces and our big umbrella was threatening to uproot itself and sail away down the beach.
Or the other evening when we felt so bad because the kids couldn’t swim all of that day because of the sudden appearance of hundreds of jellyfish keeping them out of the water, and then letting them swim in their clothes when we went for a walk on the beach in the evening. This left me with a pile of sand-ridden clothes and towels to wash: never again!
Yesterday we thought we had finally gotten things right: leaving for the beach in the later cooler afternoon, buying my son something to cover his entire body to guard against another case of sunburn, and getting food ready before we left to quickly throw on the grill for dinner upon our return.
However, when we got to the beach the jellyfish had decided to stick around and I’m afraid digging holes in the sand did not appeal to my teenage boy so he went back to the house to mope and the girls decided the only thing to do was remove the jellyfish from the water, one shovel load at a time.
They had done this the day before and now they were getting profession. They dug a wide pond-like hole several feet from the water and filled it with water with their trusty orange beach bucket. Then, for the next couple of hours they filled their pond with jellyfish until it looked like a pink pulsating planet.
It didn’t rid the ocean of these stinging creatures but it did mange to keep them busy for hours and even managed to amuse anyone who walked by who were also more than a little put out by not being able to enjoy the water.
By about 7pm, Kelley and I, who had enough of the beach for the day, asked if they were ready to leave? They kept asking us to wait just in case there was a chance that the jellyfish would magically decide to go our to sea leaving them to swim at least once that day.
We would have held out only it looked like it was going to storm and we didn’t want to get struck by lightning!
When we got back our barbecue plan was foiled by the rolling thunder so we had to cook our lovely marinated chicken in the oven. It was good but would have tasted so much better eating it from the grill outside on the porch.
Okay, so we have two beach days left and this morning I said to Kelley, “how about ousting the kids out of bed early, taking them to the beach before the jellyfish invasion, no long preparations, no snacks, just towels and sunscreen?”
He popped out of his chair and said “ready in five!”
They were installed in our usual spot by 10am and Kelley took the first shift while I escaped to be alone for the first time in 5 days!
A text from Kelley sent the news that the waves were perfect, there was a cool breeze and the kids had not left the water since their arrival.
I have not seen sight nor hair of anyone in two hours.We may have finally got it right!
Foiled Fish Recipe
This is a great way to feed plenty of hungry beach goers and allows you to spend them with them rather than tied to the kitchen!
All it requires you to do is wrap fish in some foil with some great flavorings in the morning, letting everything marinate, and then throwing the foiled packs into the oven for 15 minutes to cook!
You will need:
4 pieces of firm white fish or more for more people (tilapia, flounder, haddock, cod, fillet trout, monk fish etc)
1/4 cup extra virgin oil
1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
several grinds black pepper
8 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Wash and dry fish.
2 – Tear off 4 large pieces of heavy-duty foil and double it. Lay fish is center. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
3 – Mix oil, wine, and lemon juice together and spoon over the fish carefully. Add 2 sprigs of thyme to each fish and fold packet neatly but not too tight. (This can be done hours or up to 15 minutes ahead of time)
Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and check to make sure the fish is cooked through, and serve with all of its lovely juices.
You can serve this as is or with some sautéed spinach and rice, some pasta or a salad.