Summer Cooking on Cape Cod

Photo Credit: Megan O'Leary
Photo Credit: Megan O'Leary

Summer on Cape Cod…hurray, it is finally here!!  Next week is Memorial Day weekend, the official kick off to summer 2015!

Summer means to me:

Lazy days with family by my Gram’s pool.

Pop up Pilates (courtesy of Get Lively) with my sisters and nephews on the beach.

My  youngest child home from college (as any parent of a college age student knows…re-entry can be hard but we always look forward to them coming home!)

Relaxing on my deck and……

A BBQ every weekend!!!!!

The Cape Cod BBQ is the subject of this blog, and as much as I love the burgers, kabobs and linguica, I love the side dishes even more, so here goes….

Side dishes could populate my blog all summer long, so many to choose from, but today I pick:

Mussels with Tomatoes and Spinach (Aunnie H original recipe)

Kale, Lemon and Parmesan Salad (from: Layers of Happiness)

Let’s start with the mussels. For it to be a true Cape Cod BBQ, and I am a born and breed native, it just HAS to include local seafood!

Ingredients:

– Olive oil

– Minced garlic

– White cooking wine

– Butter

– Canned tomatoes with olive oil and garlic

– Baby spinach

– Fresh mussels

This is a very simple recipe, with huge rewards.  I use a large stock pan, what us Cape Codder’s call a “Lobsta” pot!

Add 3 TBSP of olive oil, 1 cup of cooking wine, ½ stick of butter, 1 can undrained tomatoes, 2 TBSP minced garlic and simmer until the butter is melted. Add 3 cups baby spinach and 3 lbs fresh mussels.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until mussels are all open.  If the mixture gets dry or starts to burn on the bottom add another ½ cup cooking wine or ½ cup water.

Serve in a large bowl with a ladle so all your guests can scoop bowls full that include the broth.

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Ease of recipe: 5

One pan, minimum clean up, this recipe is delicious and could not be easier.

Taste: have to give it a 6 on a scale of 1 to 5!!!

Made this for a lovely Mother’s Day BBQ I had at my home last week and everyone was in awe, the taste cannot even be described, you just need to try it for yourself.

Presentation: 5

The picture tells it all!

Cape Cod Mussels, Spinach, and Tomato Dish.
Cape Cod Mussels, Spinach, and Tomato Dish.

Kale Lemon and Parmesan Salad

This is a huge hit and so healthy! I have made this recipe three times for events I have attended or hosted, and everyone asks for the recipe.  The link to the original recipe is above, but each time I have made it, I have tried a few little tweaks.

Ingredients:

– Fresh kale

– Fresh green cabbage (I have made it with the romaine, but the salad pictured is made with green cabbage)

– Shallots

– Olive oil

– Dijon mustard

– Basil

– Lemon juice

– Golden raisins

– Raisins (have not tried making it with the currants listed on the recipe, but the raisins seem an adequate substitute and think Cran-raisins could be used as well)

– Minced garlic

– Cashews (prefer cashews to almonds)

– Parmesan cheese

I begin by shredding the cabbage (used the outer dark green layers) and the fresh kale in my Cuisinart.  I used about 6 large cabbage leaves and a strainer full of washed kale.  After the greens are shredded and in a large bowl, I use my mini Cuisinart to chop 1 ½ cups of raw unsalted cashews (just a personal preference over almonds), add cashews to the green mixture and then add ½ cup raisins and 1 cup golden raisins.

Prepped Kale for Salad.
Prepped Kale for Salad.
Cape Cod Summer Cooking!
Cape Cod Summer Cooking!

Set the mixture aside and then using the cup attachment to my Ninja blender, I combine ¼ cup olive oil, ½ cup lemon juice, 2 TBSP basil, 2 TBSP Dijon mustard, 3 TBSP minced garlic, ¼ cup parmesan, and 2 shallots chopped.

Dressing made in the Ninja.
Dressing made in the Ninja.

Just on a side note about the shallots…I was very curious today when buying my shallots.  I use the self scanner, which is a very useful tool when you are trying to keep your grocery bill under control, no sticker shock at the register!  When trying to print my label for the shallots, I could not find shallots under the onion tab??  In my frustration I clicked on garlic, and low and behold there is the shallot!!  A quick Wikipedia search tells the tale of the shallot, it appears it REALLY is an onion, but in the past had been identified as a separate species.  It is however, part of the genus Allium, which includes onions and garlic, so it seems the classification at the Stop and Shop scales are not too far off!

Not to digress, too much!

I blend the mixture on puree and pour over the prepared greens in the bowl, mix and have a tasty, healthy side dish.

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Ease: 3

It does require adequate kitchen tools and a bit of time, but well worth the effort.

Taste: 5

Incredibly delicious, it has the combination of all the different tastes blended to perfection.

Presentation: 4

Looks very nice in the bowl, easy to serve with a slotted spoon or pasta claw.

As next weekend brings Memorial Day on Cape Cod, it will surely be all about grilling and seafood!

Enjoy and Happy Summer!

Aunnie H