Sometimes all you need is a little change of scenery.
I am sure you can relate after the spring we all endured of home schooling, home working, and home, home, homing. Our family canceled our regularly scheduled Euro vacation, and packed up the VW bus old school style and headed off on a little road trip. We woke up at the crack of dawn, poured hot coffee into our thermoses, and headed northeast toward Cape Cod.
We are usually very efficient travelers who rarely check bags and can handle any obstacle a gate agent throws our way, but this summer everything is different, and we embraced it.
I watched my husband trying with all his might to stifle comments while I packed the bus with grocery staples (who goes to the Cape without a box of Old Bay and cocktail sauce?), boogie boards, Caterpillar digging trucks, shovels, sweaters, and more than one bottle of wine. We hit the road early to avoid traffic on a hot day… our vintage ’69 bus does NOT have air conditioning. So we had a full day ahead and back roads to explore. Stop for scones in Newport? Great! Photo op at the fire station in Jamestown? Yes! Picnic in Barnstable? Sure! I have to admit there is a certain luxury to being on your own schedule.
We planted our flag for a week in Wellfleet, MA. I found Wellfleet to be an idealic east coast beach town complete with oyster shacks, a historic grey and white shingled town center, and a dash of boheme. The outer Cape has the most spectacular and huge National Seashore beaches perfect for a summer of distancing and seal watching. And the occasional whale or shark sighting!
My very stylish market editor friend, Sabine (@sabinerothman), grew up spending summers in Wellfleet, and she sent us with a great list of natural ponds to visit and best place to slurp oysters. Mac’s on the Pier proved to be our favorite spot with its uber casual picnic tables in the sand vibe. When in Wellfleet, always start your evening with a dozen Wellfleets! Another great tip is to spend and evening at the Wellfleet Drive in movie theater. James is still talking about how he got to stay up late with his buddy Russell and sip lemonade while watching Zootopia on the big outdoor screen.
I guess the sign of a successful holiday is that you are a little sad to return home. So I kept the east coast feeling going in my kitchen this week. Lobster rolls are the ubiquitous summer treat all up and down the northeast coastline. We had our fair share, so I’m mixing it up with shrimp rolls.
1 lb. shrimp
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 scallions, chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
4 hot dog buns
chopped chive and paprika for garnish (optional)
Boil shrimp with shell on in a large pot of salted water. Let shrimp cool and then peel and devein. Chop shrimp into large bite size pieces. Place shrimp into medium size bowl and stir in mayonnaise, celery, scallions, lemon juice, vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, lightly butter and toast 4 split hot dog buns. Fill the buns with the shrimp salad and top with chives and/ or paprika. Serve along with some crunchy Cape Cod potato chips, and you are basically on the Cape!
If you are like I am, you try to spend minimal time in the hot kitchen in the summer. You also need a good side dish to bring along when the invitation arises. Enter my friend, Ali, who whipped this winner up for a warm day spent by her pool. I got the recipe immediately.
Ali’s Potato Salad
Adapted from a great Gourmet magazine recipe by Maggie Ruggiero
1/2 red onion, cut lengthwise into 1/4 wedges
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Toss together the onion with 2 Tablespoons of the vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Marinate at room temperature until onions are slightly softened and pink, about 45 minutes.
Cover the potatoes with salted cold water in a large pot, then simmer uncovered, until just tender 15-20 minutes.
While potatoes cook, whisk together the Old Bay, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 of vinegar in a small bowl.
Drain the potatoes in a colander, and when cool enough to handle but still warm, peel and cut into 1/2 inch wide wedges. Toss warm potatoes with the vinegar dressing in a large bowl. Add onion mixture and olive oil, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with a little more Old Bay and serve warm or at room temperature.
Lastly, while we are on the topic of perspective, I wanted to share the last words written by Congressman John Lewis in case you have not read them already. What a shining example of peaceful leadership. I love his advice of getting into “good trouble.”
Wishing you all a pleasant point of perspective… ideally with a sea view.
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