Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beach + Debauchery = Debeachery?

My family is fortunate enough to have the use of a wonderful beach house located on one of the myriad salty inlets in the region. Owned by my grandmother (venerable matriarch of the clan, and a majorly bitchin' gourmet cook in her own right), the house boasts spectacular views of the local terrain, not to mention a kickass kitchen that was remodeled a scant few years ago after a disastrous water leak. We've hosted many a family get-together there, not to mention quite a few parties of a rather more... adventurous nature.

It's one of my favorite places to cook, eat, and drink. The location right on the beach makes gathering shellfish easy: we can walk right out the door and collect mussels, oysters and clams, and have them shelled and cooking in a half an hour (longer for mussels, since they have to be cleaned and de-bearded). In good seasons we can also put the crab pot out and have fresh Dungeness, steamed in an old industrial-sized pot on the bulkhead two steps from the beach. A cold plunge in the salt sound after lunch and a bonfire after the sun goes down, and you've got a recipe for heaven.

Birthdays have been a favorite reason to celebrate. My family has hosted birthdays at the beach house for as long as I can remember, and the tradition continues, with friends old and new. There's always plenty of fun and games, but I have to admit that a big part of my visits there have to do with food - creating menus, cooking special dishes, mixing drinks, and just playing freely in the kitchen. One weekend we had a Kung Fu moviefest, and Lexi churned out a 12-course Chinese meal to die for. Other weekends have been one long surf-and-turf grillgasm from start to finish. Not long ago Lexi's significant other brought down a luscious, dark, homebrewed mocha stout for spouse's birthday, to go with ribs so delicious even I enjoyed them... and the list goes on.

These shots are from my 35th birthday (I won't tell you when that happened). They're an introductory sampling of the sort of fare in which we indulge at beach house parties. Trust me, there'll be more of these to come.

I'm a huge fan of Lexi's Angels on Horseback. She usually makes them with oysters, but here she did a variation: big, fat scallops wrapped in bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled. Yum!

More scallops (I think these ones were steamed with Old Bay seasoning, but I don't recall), along with steamed crayfish.

I think Lexi (and perhaps the spouse) invented this drink. It's called a Mertini. I don't remember what all exactly was in it, other than fruit and ice and some liqueur or other, plus a plastic mermaid. I don't think the recipe really had much to do with an actual martini, the name just worked out that way.


  1. I seem to recall it was the spouse who came up with the Mertini. He's quite the mixologist. Where's the recipe for Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters?

  2. Yeah, I wasn't sure about the origins of that one, since I recall there was some discussion aforehand about making some special drink or other.

    The recipe for Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters is coming. I have to actually get the ingredients and mix one up so I can get totally wast... er, so I can take fancy pictures of it and post them.