May 27, 2015

Quick and Easy Beach Eats for a Crowd

We got our beach on this past Memorial Day weekend. I hope you did too - the weather is Maine seems like it's been fast-forwarded a month, doesn't it? I am NOT complaining, just tip-toeing around, like if we mention it we'll scare it off. 

Despite a brisk wind Sunday, the front lawn of the beach house was perfect for lounging, reading (mocking) fashion magazines, and playing bocce. 

My new thing this summer: steamed shrimp. They're a staple in Maryland and Virginia, but you don't see them served too often in Maine. I stopped into The Lobster Co. in Arundel for some shrimp, where I found a plethora of the crustaceans - even processed frozen Maine shrimp for a very reasonable price! 

But I needed raw, shell-on shrimp (wild caught, even), so they could be steamed in beer and liberally sprinkled with Old Bay. I didn't have a steamer, but they turned out fine simply boiled in beer in a wide, shallow skillet. I served them with "sludge:" melted butter with yet more Old Bay.

As a side note, I about died when I found the Old Bay in the Kennebunk Hannaford. This is the back of the seafood section by the service entrance. See it? No? It's in the bottom right corner of this display, in small spice bottles rather than the traditional yellow and red tin (yes, there are tins, but none of them original flavor - only something about low sodium? Ew.). 

For a cozy dinner for a crowd, we went with Smith Slop, my boyfriend's grandmother's recipe. Egg noodles are layered with sauteed ground beef, tomato sauce, and the a mix of sour cream, cottage cheese, and chopped white onions. It's topped with shredded cheese and baked until warm and bubbly. On a cool night in a cozy beach house, it was the perfect comfort food. 

In another Maine-meets-Maryland twist, the ingredients pictured above are also the base for my family's comfort food recipe: Red Noodles. All you need to round it out? Chopped hot dogs. Don't knock it til you try it! 

My lemon rosemary infused Twenty2 vodka is still waiting patiently until it's destiny can be fulfilled as a star in the Art in the Age Rhubarb, Aperol spritz my friends and I have been dreaming of. Instead, we drank peach-infused bourbon with peach simple syrup, muddled basil, and seltzer, in a twist on a mint julep.

More on our cocktail experiments and infusions next time. But until then, break out the grill and enjoy this beautiful stretch weather we're having!