Tag Archives: Cape May

MORE BEACH & AMAZING STIR-FRIED BEEF with RICE NOODLES (serves 6-8)

Cape May

Cape May Point, New Jersey

Our week at the beach was one long party from morning to night. There is nothing quite like waking up and lying in bed thinking about what to do first……should I run, should I go to the bakery  for pastries, what time should I hit the beach…..all such trivial thoughts…..and I loved every second of it!

Stir-fried beef with rice noodles

Stir-fried beef with rice noodles (recipe below)

When the Life Guards ended their shift at 5.30pm, bottles of wine and cocktails emerged from the depths of people’s coolers (including ours) and the evening took on a whole new atmosphere.

jy

Lovely Cape May Point late afternoon

It was really fun mixing drinks on the beach and then settling in to watch the light changing.

Everyone has tried this at least once!

Everyone has tried this at least once…right??

By this point we had usually lost one or two of the kids who were exhausted from the sun and ocean and had no excuse as delicious as ours to linger on the beach.

jg

I loved watching all kinds of boats sail by our beach

 Chat was non-existent at times as we each sat in our own quiet reverie sipping our lovely drinks.

It was also really lovely watcing all kinds of sea birds hunting for food

It was also fun watching sea birds hunting for food

When we did talk it was mostly about dinner preparations and who was on what task. Nothing would be done however until after a visit to the cool and invigorating outdoor shower!

jyg

This bird blended perfectly into his surroundings

 The last evening my daughter stayed in the water until the last possible moment. The only company she had were the waves and a pod of dolphins swimming further out.

This Bird may have been eyeing up my daughter very close to my daughters head

A Bird eying up my daughter for his lunch!

Happy Hour is approaching

🍹Happy Hour is approaching🍹

We packed up on Saturday morning and left our little spot on Cape May Point for another year. It rained all the way home.

Junior Life Gaurds in training - very Baywatch!

Life Guards in training

 I made a great Asian Noodle Dish one night and here is the recipe – it was scrumptious and a big hit with everyone!

🏄

*This is a great Blood Type A Recipe if you substitute the beef for Salmon or Tofu*

You will need:

3-4 tbs olive oil

2 lbs top sirloin beef – cut into very thin pieces (or salmon fillets without skin – two 3 oz pieces per person)

2 medium sweet onions, sliced in half and sliced thinly

4 cloves garlic – finely chopped

2 carrots – grated

4 cups chopped spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)

1 cup chopped peanuts (simple place the peanuts in a plastic bag and roll with a rolling-pin or bash with a mallet)

1 lime cut into 6-8 wedges (for serving)

1lb rice noodles (I use rice noodles from Thailand. Try to find imported rice noodles if you can. They are the same price as the brands produced in the United States but are so much better in texture and taste – anther good importer is any rice noodle from the Roland company)

Roland Pad Thai Noodle Brand

Roland Pad Thai Noodle Brand

Dipping Sauce & Marinade (I used this mixture for both as it was less hassle):

Mix together in a medium bowl with a whisk:

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin (sweetened sake found in the Asian or Ethnic section of your supermarket or Specialty Store)

2 tbs soft light brown sugar

2 or 3 cloves garlic – finely minced

juice of 1 lime

1 tbs tomato ketchup (sounds odd I know but this adds another layer of acid)

Method:

kv

This is an amazing dish with tons of flavor and can be made very quickly!

*put big pot of water on to boil for the rice noodles and cook according to instructions. Drain in colander and rinse throughly with cold water to stop cooking and to rinse out the starches*

1 – Put sliced beef in a bowl or ziploc-type bag and add about a 1/4 cup of the soy mixture. Mix it all up to coat everything and leave in the fridge for at least a half hour or overnight.

OR

Place salmon fillets into a baking pan or shallow casserole and add a tbs of marinade/sauce for every 6oz of salmon and turn to coat. Place in fridge for up to 30 minutes (or several hours)

*set aside the rest of the marinade/sauce for the noodles and for the table to be passed as needed*

2 – Place a big saute pan or wok on high heat and add 2 tbs of oil. When the oil is hot, stir-fry the beef in batches for 3 to 4 minutes until all the meat is cooked. Transfer to a bowl as you go and add more oil as needed. Keep meat warm in a low oven (170*) while preparing the rest of the dish.

*If using salmon, fry in oil on high heat for 3 minutes per side and reserve and keep warn in a low oven*

3 – Turn heat down slightly and add the onions and garlic and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes before adding the carrots. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so.

4 – Turn the heat to medium/low heat and add the drained and rinsed rice noodles. Add about a half cup of soy sauce mixture and stir. Add the cilantro and spinach at this time. When noodles have warmed turn the heat off (or down to low if not serving straight away).

5 – Divide between shallow bowls or large plates and top with a serving of the beef, (or salmon), a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and about a tablespoon of peanuts. Use more garnishes if you love them!

At the table pass more cilantro, peanuts and some Sriracha sauce.

People addicted to Sriracha sauce end up doing this to most anything remotely asian in stlye

People addicted to Sriracha sauce end up doing this to most anything remotely Asian in flavor.

This dish can also be prepared with a fish protein or with no meat whatsoever. If using no meat, you can fry tofu (using the same method as the salmon)

kh

This can also be served with fish like salmon – since the protein is prepared separately from the noodles and veggies, it is easy to make two different proteins to satisfy all tastes and diets (instructions for using salmon are given in this recipe)

Cape May 2015

Cape May 2015

BEACH GAMES & SALMON with CAPERS & CREAM

Our dinner last night (Salmon with Capers and Cream)

Our dinner last night (Salmon with Capers and Cream)

It has been three days since we arrived at the beach and we have already settled into a nice rhythm.

I love the colorful umbrellas strew along the beach

I love the colorful hotchpotch of umbrellas strew along the beach

A few years ago the kids would have been jumping on our bed and begging us to go to the beach as soon as we opened our eyes, but now that they are older they are happy to sleep in and hang out in the cool of the house until the hazy seaside heat begins to dissipate.

Strolling on the beach in the late afternoon

Strolling on the beach in the late afternoon

This morning we strolled over to The Red Store for chocolate croissants and caramel-filled buns for breakfast before there was even a mention of the beach.

The Red Store

The Red Store, Cape May Point

We got to the beach at about 3pm. and set up our little camp. When you sit around with six other people the constant chatter and running around doesn’t really lend itself to picking up that book you were determined to read. Right when you get to that good bit someone asks you to pass them towel or begs you to play frisbee or paddleball.

Dave was determined to conquer the skim board

Dave was determined to conquer the skimboard

I noticed that the only people reading were the ones who came alone so they could actually enjoy a good book against the backdrop of the ocean, with the sound of the waves mixed with the pleasant din of touristy noises playing in the background.

Ide and Marie-Lyse were content to lounge in the ocean

Ide and Marie-Lyse were content to lounge in the ocean

The kids are older now and not content to just dig for hours in the sand. Dave brought a couple of skimboards and he and our son spent quite a bit of time trying to get the better of the thing. You throw it out in front of you when a wave is hitting the shore and jump onto it and sort of hydroplane across the water. So far neither one of them has spent more than a split second riding the board and have had quite a few spectacular falls. We’ll see.

Calder running for the little blue paddle ball!

Calder running for the little blue paddleball!

I was happy enough throwing a ball around in the water, take pictures, munch on snacks and generally laze around until we headed back to the house at 7pm for cocktails and dinner.

Nap Time

Nap Time

After dinner we all walked back down to the ocean to enjoy the cool night air and the empty beach. It was wild and windy and so different for the scorching hot afternoon.

Cape May Point lifeguards practicing boat maneuvers.

Cape May Point lifeguards practicing boat maneuvers.

We played paddleball and ran around by the water’s edge until we couldn’t see each other anymore.

Ide's after dinner beach romp

Ide’s after dinner beach romp

 Salmon with Capers & Cream (serves 4)

This dinner was so quick and easy and a great idea for any of you who want to make something scrumptious in a hurry. I made this with rigatoni pasta because we had pasta leftover form the night before. I simply reheated the noodles in the sauce right before serving.

Salmon wit Capers and Cream

Salmon with Capers and Cream

You will need:

4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ozs each and cut in two lengthways)

salt and black pepper to season fish

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 tbs capers (unrinsed)

2 medium tomatoes (cored and diced)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (more if you love it!)

1/2 lb rigatoni pasta

Method:

1 – Season the prepared salmon (see instruction in list of ingredients) with salt and pepper. Put saute pan on medium heat and let it warm up. Add the butter and the oil and when it has melted, add the salmon in a single layer. Cook until browned (about 4 minutes). Turn and add the capers. Cook for 2 minutes.

*put pasta water on to boil and cook pasta according to instructions (it will be done at the same time as your fish)*

Cook Salmon on one side, turn and add capers

Cook Salmon on one side, turn and add capers

2 – Add the tomatoes and cream and turn heat down to low. Cover and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the thickness of your salmon).

Add tomatoes and cream.

Add tomatoes and cream.

3 – Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with parsley. Serve!

The sun has set for the day

The sun has set on another glorious day

BACK AT THE BEACH and A KILLER RECIPE FOR A ROASTED CORN SUMMER SALAD – All worth writing about!

It has been quite a while since I posted something on this blog of mine and being back in Cape May for our Annual Trip with friends is the perfect opportunity to write about something and share a couple of amazing Summery Recipes (including cocktails!).

Back on the familiar beach

Back on the familiar beach

 We set off, as always, on Saturday and now that we have gotten the hang of this routine, have found that is it best to bring dinner already made for that first evening. When we get to the house all anyone wants to do is race to the beach and take in the ocean in all its Summery glory – who has time to cook!

Roasted Corn Salad: crunchy and delicius

Roasted Corn Salad: crunchy and delicious

I decided to make this amazing corn salad the focal point of the meal. I knew it was going to be hot and that the air would be sticky with humidity, so eating something refreshing and cold would be the perfect counterbalance. It was also super easy to make at home  and transport (along with some cooked chicken and fish).

Nothing like having a plate of warm cookies to nibble on after dinner.

 I even made a big batch of these cookies (toffee and chocolate chip) which are great sweet snack on the beach or warmed up for dessert.

Filling the car to the brim with a crazy amount of groceries and kitchen tools (good knives and my trusty giant All-Clad pan), as well as our clothes, paddle ball, boogie boards and all manner of digging equipment is so worth the trouble.

Cape May Point, New Jersey

Day 1: Cape May Point, New Jersey

Now the whole week will be about fun and relaxation with no worries about what’s for dinner.

Mod Sand Castle

Mod Sand Castles

Calder diving into the waves

Calder diving into the waves

Marie-Lyse

Marie-Lyse

Evening Cocktails on the Beach

Evening Cocktails on the Beach

ROASTED CORN SALAD:

5 ears of fresh corn – shucked

1 red pepper – finely diced

1 yellow pepper – finely diced

big bunch fresh cilantro – chopped (about 2 or so cups)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs mirin

juice of 1 lime

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

salt to taste

Method:

Dry Roast the sweet corn for 30 minutes

Dry Roast the sweet corn for 30 minutes

1 – Put a skillet on medium heat and leave it to get warm/hot for about 3 minutes (cast iron, stainless steel work best – do not use a non-stick pan). Place corn on skillet and time for about 30 minutes. Turn every 5 minutes. It will get brown and roast in spots. Turn heat down if this is happening too fast (you will know because corn might crack or pop!).

My new citrus squeezer from Orivieto, Italy

 Make dressing (fresh lime juice is key!)

2 – While corn is cooking dice the peppers, and chop the cilantro. In a small bowl whisk the oil, soy sauce, mirin and lime juice, pepper flakes (if using), and add a pinch of salt. If it needs more salt, add a pinch at a time. If you would like it to be a little sweeter, add more mirin.

3 – When corn is roasted, place on a plate or board to cool. When it is cool or cool enough to handle, take the corn from the cob using a knife and work in straight lines from top to bottom (hold the corn upright in your hand).

Mix everything together

Mix everything together

4 – Put the corn in a big bowl with the peppers and cilantro and mix in the dressing, stirring well to coat everything.

Here we had it with a lots of yummy stuff like Asian Marinated Salmon, chicken, avocado and crunchy romaine lettuce. Alway nice to add a squeeze of lime juice!

Here we had it with lots of yummy stuff like Asian Marinated Salmon, chicken, avocado and crunchy romaine lettuce. Always nice to add a squeeze of lime juice!

You can serve this in any number of ways: as part of a green salad, in a taco, on grilled fish or poultry – anything really.

Here we had it with some fried tofu in a homemade flour tortilla

Here we had it with some fried tofu in a homemade flour tortilla

See you tomorrow!

See you tomorrow!

REMEMBERING SUMMER 2014 – 1ST INSTALLMENT: CAPE MAY

Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, New Jersey – The very first thing we did when school ended in June!

When school started last week it had the depressing effect of abruptly ending my summer. The weather is still warm (unbearably so today!) but my mindset has shifted into more of a work-mode – Drat!

Lots of reading and paddle ball!

Lots of reading and paddleball!

I want to sit here for a few hours and recollect this most wonderful Summer and talk about some of the highlights (great and small) via the eye of my ever-ready camera!

Back on the familiar beach

Back on the familiar beach

  These are the moments in my life that are no longer lost on me. (and to think all it took was several decades of blindness!). This will be my third annual installment about our trip to Cape May Beach in New Jersey for a week with our friends, and every year a couple of gem moments stand out.

My friend Celine kicking off the Summer!

My friend Celine kicking off the Summer (and that’s not water in her glass!)

This year, it was my disbelief at how much the kids had grown up since we first began this ritual only three years ago!

Let's try the boogie boards

3 years ago

Three years in my life has bestowed my face and body with more “character” (my kind way of saying I have a few more wrinkles and feel a little creakier), but my kids and their friend Marie-Lyse, blossomed from children into teenagers and grew a collective 5 feet!!

This time

This summer!

Going from children to teenagers comes with obvious changes, but as  far as these three friends, and siblings were concerned, all bets were off when it came to hanging out together on the beach; the usual crab hunting,

Find those critters!

Find those critters!

boogie-boarding,

one two three

one-two-three

Paddleball,

Hurling the ball to the girls in the surf

Calder hurling the ball to the girls in the surf

and bucket and spade action were the top priority.

where there is sand, there is also a bucket and spade close by

where there is sand, there is also a bucket and spade close by

Suddenly being cool (or trying to be cool) wasn’t important anymore.

Stay up Ide!

Stay up Ide!

 Our routine was pretty much the same; late morning breakfast,

Butter Bun from

Butter Bun from The Red Store (A great restaurant in Cape May point, minutes from our house – more about The Red Store below!)

followed by the 3 minute trek to our spot on the beach and then, home for cocktails and a lavish dinner and late night chat, with maybe a walk on the beach.

This is probably one of the only places people doon't bat an eye when they see a grwon woman playing with a plastic bucket in the sand - lucky Celine!

This is probably the only places people don’t bat an eye when they see a grown woman playing with a plastic bucket in the sand – lucky Celine!

One of the reasons it is imperative for people to leave their homes for a few weeks during the year is to give them a break. When you separate or “break” away from your house you feel suddenly free. Why is this?

Marie-Lyse taking a break from fun

Marie-Lyse taking a break from fun

For me, it is simple: when I am supposedly relaxing at home, I still find myself cleaning or shopping for dinner and God know what else. I cannot sit still, always finding things to do. But, when I am stranded in a pretty cool house by the beach there is nothing to distract me, no laundry ( I lie, there is the pile of sandy towels to attend to each evening!), no running here or there, no anything.

lots of walks on the beach

lots of walks on the beach

I end up being busy thinking up a million different ways to have fun: invent new cocktails, explore the lighthouse a quarter-mile away, collect pebbles on the rock beach, dig holes in the sand (actually it was Dave who decided to dig holes – yes, a grown-up!).

The girls liked to climb into the life gaurds after they left the beach in the evening

The girls liked to climb into the life guard chair after they left the beach for the evening

And that was all we did really. There was no real objective and I began to feel like what my kids must feel like when there is no school. It is no problem for them to drop everything and be “in the moment” as they say. It takes me a little bit longer to shake off the guilt of being idle, but after three years of being stranded in Cape May for a week, I have finally gotten the hang of it.

Playing paddleball with Calder after dinner (dorsn't everyone?)

Playing paddleball with Calder after dinner (doesn’t everyone?)

So for a week, I sat in my deck chair reading or dreaming about dinner, while I watched the kids have the time of their lives.

Ide digging for disgusting sand crabs!

Ide digging for sand crabs!

And no one was more oblivious to the world around them than when Calder, Ide and Marie-Lyse were playing on the beach or in the ocean together.

waiting for that big wave

waiting for that big wave

While I watched them I knew I was looking at something special, and so found it easy to stop thinking about the world and all my problems, and instead be amazed by their faces as they appeared and disappeared in the water.

yeah!

yeah!

And then of course, there was the food…and it was STELLAR!

Pesto and chicken with crisp romaine lettuce for lunch

Pesto and chicken with crisp romaine lettuce for lunch

We packed wonderful lunches every day with cold drinks and ate whenever we felt like it.

Soft shell crab

Fried Soft shell crab

And the thing that would revive us each evening (and spur me on to make dinner), was a refreshing Cape May Cocktail (Cape Maytini!).

Cape Maytini: 1 shot vodka, 1/2 shot of triple sec, 2 shots of good quality lemonade, shaken and poured over ice - deliciously refreshing

Cape Maytini: 1 shot vodka, 1/2 shot of triple sec, 2 shots of good quality lemonade, shaken and poured over ice – deliciously refreshing

After an outdoor shower followed by a cocktail it was very easy to mill around the kitchen and get dinner ready together.

Pork Lo Mein

Pork Lo Mein

 One night we had Asian, the next night French, and the next a Fish Fry, depending on who was doing the cooking.

Whole Chicken slow-cooked in white wine and fresh herbs whcih I brought from my garden. (this cooked while we lounged on the beach!)

Whole Chicken slow-cooked in white wine and fresh herbs, which I brought from my garden. (this cooked while we lounged on the beach!)

One of the meals that I most remember was the night Celine cooked a boatload of fresh sole fish.

Fried sole

Fried sole

Before going to the beach one morning, myself and Celine headed to The Lobster House with the intention of buying a few dozen crabs for dinner. When we got there and saw a pile of freshly caught sole, we both instantly thought, “Fish Fry!”

Rice with pesto and veggies

Rice with pesto and veggies

While Celine fried the fish, I made a rice and veggie medley.

Expertly chopped lemons

Expertly chopped lemons

Dave Chopped lemons (I know, a real chef in the making!)

Romaine and Mozzarella salad

Romaine and Mozzarella salad

and then Celine made a fantastic Romaine and Mozzarella salad.

our spectacualr dinner

our spectacular dinner

The whole thing was completely amazing and we managed to eat 4 lbs of fish between us!

Freshly baked croissant from

Freshly baked croissant from The Red Store in Cape May Point

Some mornings I treated us to some yummy pastries from the cafe five minutes walk from our house.

The artful truck of a landscape gardner in Cape May Point

The artful truck of a landscape gardener in Cape May Point. We came across it while walking to the restaurant.

One day we treated ourselves to brunch at The Red Store, a fantastic little local restaurant (and the same place I got the wonderful pastries)

one more look at this amazing truck!

one more look at this amazing truck! It is at times like this I am so glad that I have a camera attached to my shoulder.

The Red Store is this great little restaurant run by Lucas Manteca and Deanna Ebner, who focus on locally sourced food and support local artisans like beekeepers who supply their little restaurant shop with honey,

and all sorts of other locally grown products.

Beach Plum Jam form Jalma Farms

Beach Plum Jam form Jalma Farms

They also have a star pastry chef, Michel Atelier who made the mouth-watering pastries we ate most mornings.

for brunch, the girls started out with berry smoothies

for brunch, the girls started out with berry smoothies

It is a laid back place where you can bring your own bottle of wine if you so choose (darn, forgot the champagne for mimosas – next year!)

Quiche Lorraine with Fresh green Salad

Quiche Lorraine with Fresh green Salad

I had a lovely Quiche with a great garden salad, while others of us tried some of the omelets.

Hame and Cheese omelet with savory homefries

Ham and Cheese omelet with savory home fries

Next year we plan on having dinner one night ( I’ll let you know how it is!).

A lush pond which I ran around most mornings!

A lush pond which I looped around most mornings!

And there it is, another Cape May trip has come and gone. We played on the beach,

Calder & Ide

Calder & Ide

took time with friends,

Just hanging out

Just hanging out

played strenuous sports (!)

Played lots of paddleball

Paddleball!

And dug a hole big enough to put a chair into and eat your lunch in private!

A very large hole (this hole kept Dave busy excavating for hours!)

A very large hole (this hole kept Dave busy excavating for hours!)

All in all, a trip worth remembering.

sunset Cape May Point, New Jersey

sunset: Cape May Point, New Jersey

Layered Turkey Curry: Great Dinner For Tired Swimmers and Hole Diggers! (serves 6 or more)

I make lots of dinners that can be classified as “curry”, and here is another one I made while at the beach a week ago!

Great Take on Turkey Curry

Great Take on Turkey Curry

Once you have a good curry powder you should feel free to use it in all kinds of dishes, either as the main flavor or used as a subtle background palate pleaser. I toss it into anything that might need a little boost of flavor or to add an aire of complexity to the dish. It has saved many a dinner for me, many a time!

Hole diggers

Hole diggers

For me the spices used to make curry powder are not so much about heat as they are about how they add an exotic twist to something ordinary. Of course you can use a blend that singes your taste buds and numbs your lips if it adds to your enjoyment, and I have certainly gone both ways depending on my mood.

Green Cardamum Pods

Green cardamom pods and seeds

The good thing is that I made sure to scoop a hefty handful of my favorite blend when I packed all things culinary for the beach a couple of weeks ago. I will admit to being one of those people who does not like flying-by-the seat-of-her-pants when it comes to arriving at a rental house for a week in the hopes that the person who stocked the kitchen is as passionate about food as I am. I have learned over the years what the essentials are, and besides coffee and Maldon salt, curry powder is another one of those can’t-live-without ingredients as far as I’m concerned!

Tired Swimmers

Tired Swimmers

I know, there is also a picture of just-opened cardamom pods, and this is because I have discovered how useful a flavor booster they can be when your pantry is paltry!  Anyway, about those little green pods…have you ever bashed one open with a mortar and pestle and taken a whiff? The smell sends you reeling to aromatic heaven. It has a distinctive minty fragrance with rich tar-like overtones. It feels like it gives balance to the heady-ness of curry spices and I love using these little black seeds in everything lately. In other words: they came along to the beach too.

I also packed a giant bag of herbs from my garden!

I also packed a giant bag of herbs from my garden!

The last thing I think is essential when leaving your kitchen for a week or so is a bag of fresh herbs. I find if I have fresh herbs, certain spices, salt and good stock cubes (I packed my trusty Rapunzel Vegetarian cubes with Herbs) I can make the saddest of meat and veggies taste good. Luckily the supermarket was not too shabby so we ate like kings every night.

the beach makes you hungry

The beach makes you hungry

This curry was a sort of experiment as the one thing I forgot was my big work horse of a pan for making one-pot meals. I wanted to make a curry type casserole but could only find a thin roasting/lasagna style pan. I made do, and cooked each thing separately in a small pan on the stove-top and then layered the ingredients as I would a lasagna into the cheap-o pan, topping the whole thing off with a broth-y sauce, and then baking it in the oven.

Hazy and hot

Hazy and hot weather also makes you thirsty!

The result surprised me. It was really an interesting way to cook everything and was supremely delicious. I was glad I had to compromise as it has now freed up my brain into thinking that you don’t have to have the best pan in the world to get great tasting food… although, I must say right now that I will only be parted from my stainless steel all-clad pans when prised from my cold dead fingers!

_______________________________

*This is a great Blood Type A diet Recipe EXCEPT omit the cream and add more broth – Yes there is curry powder but if you use something mild, I say it is fine, unless you are ultra sensitive*

You will need:

olive oil (for frying)

sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

2 lbs turkey breast, sliced

1 medium onion (white, yellow or sweet will do)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 zucchini, cut into large chunks

6 cups baby kale (or chopped regular kale)

10 mushrooms, sliced (white,  crimini or shiitake will work)

4 or so thyme sprigs

4 to 6 green cardamom pods (bashed open and seeds removed and reserved)

2 tbls good quality curry powder (if it has a lot of heat, reduce the amount)

2 tbs all-purpose four

3 cups broth (or 1 good quality bouillon cube, either chicken or vegetarian and water)

1 cup heavy cream

*serve with basmati rice – make enough for 6 people*

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season meat lightly on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put a big saute pan on high heat and add about 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot brown the meat on both sides, making sure not to crowd the pan as you go. You will need to do this in batches and add more oil as needed.

Sear the turkey

Sear the turkey

2 – Layer the turkey in an evenly in the bottom of a roasting style pan or casserole dish. Scatter the zucchini on top.

Layer turkey, then zucchini

Layer turkey, then zucchini

3 – Turn pan down to medium and add a little more oil, followed by the onions and garlic. saute for 2 or so minutes before adding the sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes. Add the thyme sprigs.

Saute rest of veggies

Saute rest of veggies

4 – Add the curry powder and cardamom seeds and stir everything together for about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir well. Add the liquids 1 cup at a time, adding the cream last. Stir as you go and turn heat up slightly. Cook until mixture begins to bubble. Turn off heat. Taste sauce for addition of salt and pepper.

Add curry powder and liquids

Add curry powder and liquids

5 – Sprinkle kale in an even layer on top of the zucchini and then do the same with the onion and mushroom mixture. Pour the sauce over everything and place in preheated oven for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Add baby kale, then veggie mixture

Add baby kale, then veggie mixture

6 – Remove from oven and let the dish rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Add sauce, then bake

Add sauce, then bake

Serve as is or with your favorite starch: bread, rice or pasta!

Serve on its own or with rice

Serve on its own or with rice

A few Days At The Beach AND A Quick Way to Feed People with Minimum Effort: Foiled Fish For Four (or more!)

Evening at Cape May Point

Evening at Cape May Point

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!

Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

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!)

Calder

Calder

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.

Ide

Ide

This left very little time for that novel I was looking forward to reading and writing down what I have been up to.

Marie-Lyse

Marie-Lyse

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!

Cape May Light House

Cape May Light House

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.

Looking for nice rocks on sunset Beach

Looking for nice rocks on Sunset 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!

Fried!

Fried!

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.

Jelly Fish Farming

Jelly Fish Farming

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.

Must be mating season

Must be mating season

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.

No swimming today

No swimming today

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.

What life guards do after 5pm

What Life Guards do after 5pm

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.

Lots of fishing but as Dave said "I've never seen anyone catch anything!"

Lots of fishing but as Dave said “I’ve never seen anyone catch a fish!”

We would have held out only it looked like it was going to storm and we didn’t want to get struck by lightning!

Kelly grilled Scallops

Kelley grilled Scallops

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.

and shrimp (so we did get lucky with the grilling one night!)

and shrimp (so we did get lucky with the grilling one night!)

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!”

on the beach

on the beach

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.

uh

Another look

I have not seen sight nor hair of anyone in two hours.We may have finally got it right!

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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!

Foiled Fish

Foiled Fish

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

Method:

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.

More of this tomorrow

More of this tomorrow

The Beach, Cape May: Day 1 and deciding on the Holiday Happy Hour Cocktail (with recipe!)

So, it is officially Summer and yesterday, we packed the car to the gills and headed to what appears to be our annual trip to the beach at Cape May, New Jersey.

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The first look at the beach for my kids and their best friend Marie-Lyse!

The traffic was pretty brutal, so what was supposed to be a 3 hour drive turned into 5. This would have been awful except for the fact that my daughter and I decided to use her iPod to make videos of ourselves singing along to whatever was playing on the radio. Yes, it had definite goof-ball qualities but I am pretty sure that it is done on long road trips more than travelers are willing to admit!

Day 1

Day 1

We were meeting our friends who drove from Quebec to meet us at the same house they rented last year. The kids had not seen each other since Christmas when they came to stay at our house for the holiday, and were beside themselves when we arrived. It was so odd, I was a year older and felt every bit of it, and they had grown inches taller and looked fabulous.

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Ide & Marie-Lyse

Instantly they hugged and laughed and then sort of stood back and looked,  feeling sort of shy staring back at their friend who had morphed into a different person, older looking… was that eye make-up?  It was an interesting moment to watch, and then I remembered I was a tired and frustrated woman in dire need of a drink: just to calm the nerves.

Beach finds

Beach finds

Our friend Kelley stood in the kitchen and pointed to the counter and said, “I’ve been to the wine store, what should we open?” I told him that wine was great but that this time I was going to introduce him to a new drink, a cocktail that perhaps we could make a staple of our happy hour for the week. There were no objections.

green rocks

Green rocks

The day before I had killed myself cleaning the house, planning possible menus and packing for our trip, and by evening felt the urge to go to a bar and have a shot of whiskey. What I mean is…have you ever watched one of those movies where the protagonist has gone through some major crisis and the next shot is of him (or her) bellied up to their local bar and nodding to the bartender? Of course you have. Then the bartender would pour the required drink and it would be downed in a single head throw-back. This is how I felt, only I wanted to act as my own barkeep.

Marie-Lyse and Green Rocks

Marie-Lyse and Green Rocks

As Kelley went for the wine opener I asked if there was ice? When he nodded I told him we were going to have something a little stronger. “Like what?”, he said. “Like Vodka”, I replied. He said he hadn’t had anything but beer or wine in “God knows how long”, but he felt my urgency and pointed to the freezer.

The Beach

The Beach

I told him about my crazy day of trip preparations and the need for a drink, and the discovery of having nothing alcoholic in the house, followed by the trip to my sister-in-law next door where we were supplied with what they had: vodka, and then my inventing this drink, which was derived from pure desperation: lemonade from my daughter’s Lemonade Stand and the vodka from next door.

The cocktail

The cocktail

The drink that was created satisfied me to no end and this is what I wanted to reinvent for Kelley, (after all when drinking one needs a partner!). I paired vodka with homemade lemonade over ice. I wasn’t quiet satisfied as I wanted it to be something special and more unique. It is hard to serve up a simple vodka and lemonade in this day and age with all of those mixologists out there grinding herbs and infusing fruits into drinks that should be photographed and not libated! So, I added a sage leaf that I had brought from my garden and served it to Kelley who said, “Why would you put a leaf into a perfectly good drink?”

Well, he drank it! And, the next day we had another, and another. He seems to be fine with the “leaf ” now.

The drink with a leaf in it!

The drink with a leaf in it!

Anyway, we have 6 more days here in Cape May and the only thing missing is Celine, Kelley’s lovely wife and my good friend who could not make it this time around. This week of our adventures of sun, beach, food and cocktails is dedicated to her so she feels a little like she is here with us.

Recipe for Vodka with Lemonade and Sage

1 shot (1/4 cup) of chilled vodka

2/3 cup lemonade (the most natural you can find)

1 slice lemon

1 sage leaf

Method:

Fill glass with ice. Pour vodka with lemonade into glass. Add a slice of lemon and sage leaf. Feel free to bruise sage before adding to release flavor. Drink!

More to come

More to come