The Lobster Boil has become an annual tradition here at Snug Harbor, Cape Cod. My late aunt Carole was the one who started the tradition, and we’ve done a good job of keeping it up. I think she’d be proud.

The day started with Rose, Alicia, Amelia and me making flag cupcakes. Easy and fun. The recipe is below.

Being a non-lobster eating person, I’m somewhat eluded by the lobster boil process. It involves boiling a lot of sea water over a fire and adding seaweed then lobsters. According to everyone, the seaweed and salt water add flavor to the lobsters. Maybe it’s that straightforward.

Before dinner we had Sea Breezes on the boat with Drew’s Clams Casino, clams on the half shell, and Cathy’s delicious guacamole.

It still blows my mind that five year old Rose loves raw clams and oysters. I know I should be used to it by now, but she still impresses me every time. Particularly now that she loads them up with hot sauce beforehand.

When we got back from the boat (which was at the end of the dock), the lobster boil continued, along with cocktails, the rest of dinner prep with even more clams (roasted with chorizo) by Drew.

In addition to lobster we had baked potatoes on the grill. Wayne butters them on the outside, wraps them in foil and then roasts them on the Weber. Steamed corn, Anna’s kale salad (here’s the recipe, which she only sort-of follows, Anna says the trick is to “massage the shit out of the kale”), and a roasted pepper, lime, garlic scape and purple romaine salad by my mom. It was way too much food.

Andre, Rita and Cathy stayed up late into the night picking lobster meat from the remaining lobsters and pieces for another meal. Happy 4th of July everyone!

• 4th of July Flag Cupcakes •
from this recipe by Martha Stewart
makes 18 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

For the Frosting:
1 lb confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3 teaspoons milk

For Decorating:
Blue food coloring
Red licorice ropes or sticks cut into pieces

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.

Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and add to the butter a little at a time, mixing on low and then medium speed between each addition, until combined. Add vanilla and mix to combine. If the icing is too stiff, add milk, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is met.

Set aside a small amount of frosting, about 1/2 cup and color with blue food coloring to use for the stars. When the cupcakes are cool, frost each one generously with white frosting. Use a small ziploc bag with a hole in the corner or a pastry tube to pipe 9 (or whatever number you want, but 9 is easy) stars in the upper-left-ish of each cupcake. Cut strips of red licorice to use as the flag stripes and apply using the picture above (or Martha’s picture) for reference. That’s it!