First there was the pork-fest, and then there was the seafood extravaganza. Bill's brother, Ray, came back up for a couple of days after he and the rest of them headed down to CT to visit with Nina's part of the family late Sunday. Ray arrived Wednesday afternoon and helped with the installation of the Anniversary Toilet, and he, Bill, Alex, and Julia went out for sushi while I was taking pictures at the beach class that night.
On Thursday, while I was being tortured fearing for my life drowning in my own saliva losing feeling in my fingers from clutching the armrests so tightly having a root canal done and a new core put in, Ray, Bill and the kids went down to Galilea, to the docks, to get some lobsters for our dinner. They got 3 pound-and-a-half lobsters, 3 culls (lobsters missing a claw) and a dozen crabs, too. When they returned, I was sitting on the couch reading and slurping ice cream on the side of my face that wasn't numb.
Bill and Ray cooked up the crabs for lunch in a half-boil/half-steam kind of thing with liberal amounts of Old Bay seasoning thrown in. It smelled SO GOOD, and despite the state of my mouth, I was able to join in. Carefully.
The kids - Alex especially - worked hard picking the meat from the crab legs and the bodies (well, I don't think Julia worked on the bodies at all, but Alex sure did), and Ray told stories about his and Bill's father and grandparents. We sat around that table for an hour, hour-and-a-half, just picking crabmeat and talking. It was lovely.
Well, okay, most of it was lovely.
Anyway, we saved the liquid leftover from the crab boil/steam - more stock for the freezer! And I would use some of the stock the next day for risotto - I'll recap that whole deal in the next post.
After lunch, Bill, Ray and Julia went back out to get a few more things for dinner. (Sometimes it's just all food, all the time. From eating lunch to planning dinner in seconds.) They came home with a bunch of cherrystones (small quahogs), potatoes, conch (big snails), ummmmmmmm...and I don't remember what else.
Oh - and a bouquet of sunflowers because Bill wanted to get me something nice. :)
So on to dinner.
Here's what we made:
Bill made a Rhode Island style chowder (plain broth; no milk or cream) which was fabulous.
He also cooked up the conch and ran it through the food processor (to get thin slices) for me and I made snail salad. Yum. I just used a pesto mixture - the last of the stuff I froze last summer - it's just the olive oil and basil leaves, and to that I added more olive oil, some lemon juice, some rice vinegar, and salt and pepper.
We boiled up the lobsters. Always good.
I made these clamcakes that were phenomenal. Bill had found the recipe in a chowder cookbook by Jasper White - they were actually corn fritters, but I added chopped clams to the batter as well, and they were SO good that we ate too many and couldn't finish all of our lobsters. Really.
I also whipped up a batch of stuffed squash blossoms so Ray could try them.
Oh, yeah, and somewhere in there I also made a blueberry pie.
I said to Bill today that I can't remember the last time we had only ONE food item being prepared at a time. We seem to turn our house into a mini restaurant and we have all sorts of dishes working at once.
But when we sit down to eat, it's all worth it.