Since we have 4 family cottages in the same vicinity, meal times are often communal. These tomatoes along with pounds of apples were dropped off by my nephew who had a surplus of both from his garden. When we make too much salad at supper, we run the remains across or up the street to whatever family hasn’t finished up their dinner. If you are out on your own you will invariably be invited to someone’s place for supper. If you happen to ride your bike by when everyone is eating brunch on the deck, you will be pulling up a chair and digging in, in no time. When Sister #3 has catered an event and has extra dessert around, all the kids will be invited over for make-your-own sundaes. When Sister #2 is making eggs Benedict or anyone has taken a pie out of the oven, word goes around really quickly.
We typically eat two meals a day: brunch when the guys get home from the tennis or volleyball courts and then dinner. Bacon is a mainstay at many weekend brunches, pictured above with wild blueberry pancakes.
At “Life is Good” everyone pitches in on the cooking and whomever hasn’t cooked has to help with the dishes. J1 will whip up his fabulous Denvers or Boo and the Frenchman will make everyone waffles (with real maple syrup, of course). The grownups typically can manage until happy hour.
But the toddlers like the Wee One and her cousin may need a picnic of cheese, crackers and strawberries!
The surplus apples mentioned above were fantastic with slices of cheddar and fig & kalamata olive crackers. These were placed on an over-turned tree stump between two swinging hammocks one snack time. Some of the gang bring spring rolls and samosas for communal happy hour. This summer I often put out antipasto, marinated artichokes, olives and feta and loved it each and every time.
The surplus tomatoes also mentioned above went into this caprese salad with huge basil leaves that I harvested from home just when our vacay had begun.
Our favourite dinners are those centered on the grill. D does a great job with squash and mushrooms and peppers. New potatoes were amazing with rosemary & sea salt. Whatever mixed greens had arrived in our garden share were sautéed with garlic and lemon juice.
One evening we enjoyed a batch of moules et frites (mussels and fries). The former made with wine, garlic, butter and whatever fresh herbs were available and the latter cut thin, blanched and then finished on the barbeque. We dined el fresco on this evening and to our surpize the Wee One loved the mussels as much as the adults. Unfortunately, so did the bears which are plentiful in our area, as the beach house is located in the midst of a provincial forrest. At 5 the next morning, D woke to a sound, looked out of our bedroom window, to see that an absolutely enormous creature had unsecured the clamp down handles on the garbage can, dumped out the mussel shells and lay on his (or her) tummy for their feast! We are not about to accidently forget to secure the garbage can in the shed again any time soon.
Even though I am not the greatest baker, I make the occasional pie or crumble utilizing the bounty of summer fruit.
The best dinners of all are the random ones that miraculously become delicious times together. The first weekend of our vacation, it was casually mentioned that we were invited for boccia and beer by my eldest nephew. The games attracted more of the family and when it was time to disperse for dinner, he suggested that we all bring what we were preparing that evening and put the finishing touches on together. There were hot dogs, slow roasted chicken, left over monster pork chops, taco salad, kale salad and the sweetest corn on the cob I have tasted this season. There were 17 family members at dinner. I called it a “30 Something” supper. Do you remember that show?
My nephew’s trick with the corn is that he soaks it still in its husk and then places it on the barbeque until the husks burn away. He then throws half cobs into an enormous pot with butter and salt and recruits someone with upper arm strength to jostle the pot around until the cobs are perfectly seasoned-YUM!
Kath’s quote: “Well, I haven’t really anything to eat at home, I began, but then stopped, as I realised that a dreary revelation of the state of one’s larder was hardly the way to respond to an invitation to dinner.” ― Barbara Pym
Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.
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