Saturday, August 7

taking weekend guests on a beach picnic



August's look 
at weekend entertaining, Part II:
Take weekend guests to the beach for a sunset dinner & picnic.  
~Quick and easy ways to start your weekend~


throw clams on a grill then take off just when they open






"pack up dinner and take it to the beach at the end of a hot summer day.  This is a refreshing way to greet your guests after they've most likely sat in summer traffic to get to you.  It's relatively easy and way to kick off a weekend while hosting guests".  

Arrive at the beach in time to miss the crowds...
We packed up tin plates and linens, filled the cooler with salads and cool drinks and soon after our guests arrived, we headed to the beach.   This particular Friday evening in August I made two salads; a take on Ina's Chinese Chicken and a Cold Sesame Noodle salad.  We brought logs for a fire and even a small grill.  We roasted hotdogs and clams and topped off dinner with cupcakes and homemade smores.  
MY NOTES AND THOUGHTS ON INA GARTEN AND THIS RECIPE  
I love Ina, and although I am yet to meet her I see her milling around East Hampton often.  We miss her great shop, Barefoot Contessa, as it was a convenient place years back to pick up items on the way to the beach or if hosting a gathering.  Now we have her wonderful cookbooks and boxed treats to contend with.  See below Ina's Chinese Chicken Salad adapted from her cookbook, "Barefoot Contessa Parties".  This is one of my favorite summer cookbooks as there are so many easy to make recipes.  However, I tweaked it a bit for this night, adding chopped romaine lettuce, chopped the chicken and other vegetables into bite sized pieces and omitted the red peppers to make a salad my kids will eat.  I also topped it with crunchy chinese noodles for a bit more crunch.  I did make the dressing and it is delicious, however, when I am pressed for time I cheat and buy bottled dressing - my favorite is Annie's Shitake Teriyaki - honestly it is good when in a pinch!
 Chinese Chicken Salad recipe:
4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) Olive oil 
Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1/2 pound snow peas (or asparagus, sliced into thirds) 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 2 scallions, sliced diagonally 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted  1/2 cup vegetable oil
dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil 1/2 tablespoon honey 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted Up to 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 2. Place the chicken on a sheet pan. Rub the skin with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Let cool. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.     3. Combine the chicken, snow peas and peppers in a large bowl.  4. Whisk the dressing ingredients, and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds, and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature


This summer I stocked up on dozens of these fun colored 
Chinese take-out containers and serve various salads in them.  I also use my lacquered bento boxes tied with string, which stack nicely in my cooler.  
keep it simple but delicious:
we grilled clams and hotdogs on the grill
& then there's time for Smores.

Sesame Noodle recipe
This is a super simple asian noodle salad which can be made hours or even a day in advance - I like to make it,  let marinate, taste again later and possibly add a bit more sauce before serving to keep it moist
2 lbs. cooked udon noodles 
2 chopped scallions 
1TBS sesame seeds 
1 TBS peanut butter 
1 TBS tahini, 
soy sauce to taste
2 TBS peanut oil 
1/4 C olive oil 
splash of japanese sake  


The sun is setting and time to throw a line and
just for fun.  



 this one was a tad burnt
roasting marshmallows and making smores 
tops our evening!

Gabby's homemade seaside cupcakes packed in a bento box!


8 comments:

Renae said...

Tamara,
This reminds me of beach dinners I had as a kid in southern California! I love s'mores.....
what a great time....why don't you just go introduce yourself to Ina? She seems persaonable...I would!
I will jot down that chicken recipe....looks so yummy!
xx

Anne Lubner Designs said...

What a great way to start a weekend at the beach, guests or not! That dressing recipe with peanut butter in it sounds delicious, must try it soon.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this story because we are actually renting in east hampton this summer and the Ina story is very helpful. Your tips on hosting guests comes in handy too and I plan to print out the whole blog and use it over the next month as we get one guest after another. thank you for your time. Allison Meyer

Housewife Bliss said...

I love a beach dinner, looks like you know how to pull out all the show stoppers, just adore the coloured boxes, great idea!

Anonymous said...

okay going out to get my ingredients for smores because I haven't had one since I was a kid. The picnic looks great and what a smart idea to take your guests to the beach because no mess. enjoying the blog as well, cheers!

Anonymous said...

Awesome Blog. coming to you via Caron's Beach House Blog and Face Book.

Thank you!

Empress of The Eye said...

Tamara, glad to find you. We have lots in common it seems. I just finished a house on Skimhampton Rd last spring. I will be out after labor day to shoot the interiors maybe we can find Ina at dinner in the 1770 Tavern? I introduced myself! Also, I live in Palm Beach and witnessed my first Polo Match there. It was also the first of the Gay Polo League in Wellington. What a fab bunch of guys.
I am thrilled to find you. I love your blog and will keep up with your adventures. (Great format with the once a month topic.)
Jane
www.empressoftheeye.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Here you go again with your casually decadent dinners! We expect a reprise in July, ahemmm. Hopefully we'll have some treats from Maine in our cooler;)