Tag Archives: vacation

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.

jhg

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