cape meals

Easy for a crowd

We had big numbers at the Cape this weekend. Though I can take no responsibility for it (I was there with both kids and no husband) I have to say, the meals were super-successful and seemed relatively easy to prepare, serve and clean up after.

Friday night was Green Posole, the most delicious quesadillas—I don’t know what André did, he said it was just olive oil—and a gorgeous salad. We did our new-ish paper plate, buffet-style, eat-outdoors-while-kids-run-around thang and it was seamless.

Saturday we had Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Tzatziki, sausages and salad. The pasta dish is always a winner and is super-easy to prep ahead of time. Also, it doesn’t need to be served super-hot which is good when you’ve got people coming and going, which we did.

Thanks to Jenya and André who really pulled the whole thing off.

Summer birthdays

Labor Day 2016We close out every summer with a birthday celebration for my sister Anna. We either have steak or Mexican, and I almost always make a cake. This year was a steak year. But first, we had sidecar cocktails, veggies, dips, cheese, crackers, ribs from the smoker, shrimp cocktail, lots of family, 8 trips to the grocery store, an epic happy birthday song, and one husband almost lost at sea.

We really earned our sidecars that night. First, we had an awful lot of people and were just plain disorganized, thus the 8 trips to the store. Then, Shane decided to go for a nice kayak as hurricane Hermine approached.

Shane is a big, strong man, but he’s no match for a hurricane. While I decided whether to be mad at him for being dead, or mad at him for not showing up to make cocktails on time, my dad and Bob kept their wits about them. Dad and Bob drove around the bay looking for a big, stranded man and found him. He arrived back and made sure everyone had a sidecar in hand just in time for Sid to serenade his Auntie Anna.

Once we had everyone more or less intact, we sat down to steak accompanied by tater tots, Iceberg Wedge Salad, and ultimately Belgian chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting (which some folks chose to eat as a Cake ‘n Cone).

I made Belgian chocolate Cake with Malted Chocolate Frosting for Anna’s birthday two years ago. It was amazing, but the filling—though interesting with white cake mix for flavoring—didn’t seem entirely worth the effort. This year I made it with just the malted chocolate frosting and 3 layers of moister-than-moist cake. It was a tremendous hit and I’ll be sure to make it again.

Thanks to all the folks who helped out with the kids and my mental state while Shane was off battling the hurricane and possibly dead. And happy, happy birthday Auntie Anna!

 

 

 

Many hapi returns

Lemon cakeThis was a special (hapi*) weekend. We had two wedding anniversaries and two birthdays to mark. We celebrated with a big dinner on the lawn by the beach, with lots of food and a real chill atmosphere. And cake, natch.

*There were no ordinary birthday candles, nor were we able to find the right letters to spell “happy” “birthday” “anniversary” or any of the initials of the folks being fetted.

We started the evening with local steamers dug by someone in our group, probably Drew. The young Patriots fans were particularly smitten with the clams.Young Pats fans love steamersThese beautiful paper straws looked so nice with the vegetarian appetizers. Olives and pretty strawsDinner was served buffet-style on a favorite old picnic table, which my mom and I insist on keeping even though it’s literally biodegrading before our eyes.Dinner on a licheny tableWhile one of my kids was napping and the other was out fishing, I revisited an old favorite cake recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. I chose glazed lemon cake, because I was not in the mood for chocolate mayonnaise cake and I wanted to use an analog recipe for a change. Lemon cake

• Glazed Lemon Cake •
From the Silver Palate Cookbook

Ingredients
½ pound ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (it’s ok to use regular milk mixed with 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice)
2 tightly packed tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon Icing (Recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.

Pour batter into prepared tube pan. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan, set on a rack, for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and spread icing at once, while cake is still hot.

Lemon Icing
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 tightly packed tablespoons grated lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice

Cream sugar and butter together thoroughly. Mix in lemon zest and juice; spread on warm cake.

Cape meals: the one that fell apart

On the 4th of July, we thought it might be nice to have a sit-down dinner, it being a holiday and all.

The day started out well, we planned the meal—a variation on the traditional salmon & peas—we swam, we played, we ate Caprese salad in the Ultra Lounge. Then we sat down to dinner and things fell apart.

It started when we put the little guys at their own table because the big table was all full up (and then some). The pre-schoolers never want to sit and eat anyhow, we figured they could graze and play while we enjoyed a meal.

The little guys did not like it. They did not like it at all. The called the United Nations for Toddlers and all hell broke lose.

I honestly don’t know what happened after that. I just know that we vowed not to have a sit-down dinner with kids for at least another 4 years.

Happy 4th of July!

 

Cape meals: cookout

I’m going to get through my vacation posts one way or another. At this rate, you might be reading about early July in the middle of December. Which could be nice, or depressing.

On our second day of vacation we had cookout stuff (burgers, bacon-wrapped dogs etc.) served buffet style. We ate on the porch so we could watch the kids while they played instead of eating—because that’s their MO—and make sure that when they jumped off the dock it was the acceptable kind of jumping off the dock.

For the non-meat eaters—eater, actually—there were two salads, chips and sautéed shitakes. Or maybe the shitakes were for the burgers.

Can you spot the very special guest?

We heart summer. xo

Cape meals: fish & fish edition

4 days into the work week, our time off feels like forever ago already. Pictured here is our first day of vacation and I’m already feeling sentimental. It was a potluck on the beach with paper(!) plates and no formal seating. Perfect for unruly toddlers (one in particular) and a huge group.

Lots of seafood had been caught that day. Raw clams, the freshest of fresh sushi, and homemade ceviche, with cocktails and a dusk beach fire, perfect. I even tried a piece of sushi, figuring it had probably had better life than what you get at the store or restaurant.

For dinner was fish &chips, and lots of veggies. Drew was brilliant enough to bring the Fry Daddy outside so he could enjoy the evening and not stink up the house while he breaded and fried his day’s catch. Big platters of veggies, crinkle fries and salads arrived from who knows where and we all sat on the porch and beach to eat while the sun set.

My mom has historically not been supportive of paper plate use. I can live with tossing the occasional paper plate when the alternative is washing up after a crowd of 20 or so. My mom is also not a fan of un-concealed trash cans, thus the note on ours.

More soon! xoxo

Vacation teaser 

  We’ve been on vacation lately. I’ve been doing a great job of documenting dinner, but falling short when it comes to posting. 

We’re going to eat late tonight, so I fed the little guys an early dinner on the beach. The pork chops were a fail, the salted cucumber slices received a fair reception, and the pasta with butter was a hit. 

Now I’m sipping wine on the beach. The 3.5 year old is trying to teach the 2.5 year old to pee in the marsh, the men just sailed in, and the big girls are heading out for a paddle in the kayak. 

Summer evenings are my favorite.

Pizza on the Cape

We had such a tiny group at the Cape this weekend that Shane was able to do his pizza thang. He made dough in the morning, took a nap with the babe, and then started pumping out the pies around 6:00.

My mom, always the trooper, contributed two big salads which she made while tottering around on her walker with her busted up leg. I’m not sure if “pumping out pies” or “tottering around” are real expressions, but you get what I mean.

We all crammed into the smallest room in the house, because it was all candlelit and cozy—thanks Shane—and made the chit chat while we waited for each pie to come out.

The first was a simple cheese, for the kids. We had 4 kids around this weekend, 3 of which technically eat food. One kid refused to take out his pacifier or get off the couch, and another decided he’d prefer an egg. This worked out as it left us with one pizza-eating kid and plenty of cheese pizza to get the adults started.

The next pie was a non-dairy for Jenya. Shane and I thought about this in advance and remembered that delicious potato and rosemary pie from Sullivan Street Bakery. It wasn’t the same as Sullivan’s but it was really good.

Things were kind of a blur for me after that. Sid eventually did get off the couch and dragged a stool and his guitar to the middle of the smallest room in the house, where we all were. He sang Happy Birthday at the top of his lungs repeatedly, making it difficult for us to concentrate on pizza, or have a conversation.

The pies started winding down around 10pm. At that stage the kids may or may not have been in bed, but things had quieted down enough for me to register a white pizza with arugula, ricotta & lemon, and a salami, basil and garlic cheese-less pie.

The next day, I managed to catch a glimpse of Shane’s dough recipe which I’m sharing with you here. Your guess on the instructions is as good as mine.

xoxo

Just another Cape birthday (not)

My little sister turned the big four-oh a few weeks ago. In a way, it was just another Cape birthday. We had a Mexican feast, we had Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, we had a shitload of people.

The big difference this year—besides this being the end of her 30’s—is that my sister is married now! We all agree that it was worth the wait. Happy next decade little sis.

Golden anniversary

I have to tell you about my sister’s birthday dinner. But before that, I have to tell you about my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

We had a small celebration on Cape Cod—the big one will be in a couple of months—to mark 50 years of wedded bliss. Kidding. This is the real world! But seriously, they’re a pretty awesome couple, we should all be so lucky.

Shane pretty much commandeered dinner, my mom did the decoration, and I made the cake (natch).

We ate homemade pizza, meatballs, roasted cubanelles and salad, on the beach by the fire pit at dusk. So not-bad. So very not-bad at all.

The meatballs were lamb and pistachio from the Polpo cookbook, and the cake was a Lemon Pound Cake with Poppyseed Icing from Joy the Baker. See photo captions for more details.

Happy 50 M&D xoxo