My in-laws have a beautiful home on Lake Gaston, situated right on the border of Virginia and North Carolina (score!). Its one of my favorite places in the world....taking the boat out and catching some sun, grilling out, throwing the pups in the water and watching them try to swim, drinking wine and laughing with the family, drinking wine and playing board games, drinking wine and cooking, drinking wine and reading on the porch...you get the idea. Its pure bliss. Plus, its where my husband and I got engaged. He proposed out on the dock at night and then SWORE he bought me a ring but that he couldn't take it out of the box because he was pretty sure I'd drop it through the deck boards into the water (true). He let me touch the box to prove there WAS a ring, and of course I said yes, even though I hadn't seen the ring (that's true love right there, folks!). Once we got inside he proved that there was in fact a diamond as part of the deal and its the most gorgeous ring in the world. Couldn't be more perfect.
But, I digress. We spent this past Memorial Day weekend at the lake house with part of the in-law clan and had a wonderful time. It wasn't quite as relaxing as it usually is, given that there were 4 dogs and only 8 people to watch the little mongrels. Getting up at 6 AM to feed a whiny little monster while on vacation just isn't right. Good thing I have a husband for that.
We spent a lot of time on the boat, and convinced that I tan easily, I only applied sun block once and never bothered re-applying. Big mistake. BIG. I look like a total freak show. My nose and forehead are bright red but the area around my eyes is white as Casper's backside. I like to read on the boat, so my neck is pale but my shoulders and chest are a deep reddish brown color. The fronts of my legs are a nice brown hue while the backs look like they've never seen the light of day. Its a pretty special look, if I do say so myself.
Luckily my unfortunate appearance was forgotten when it was time to eat. We ate like kings this weekend. Or people who hadn't seen food in weeks. Or people competing in professional eating contests. But it was worth it! I didn't photograph everything we ate, but here's a smattering. And a recipe for the seafood boil we did.....SO delicious, and SO easy. If you have a turkey fryer and a propane tank. And a kitchen timer. And access to frozen crab legs. And someone not scared to work the turkey fryer and who's not afraid of the possibility of burning their fingertips off.
Source: My Mother-In-Law Mona!
3 lbs small new potatoes
3 (12 oz) packages smoked andouille sausages, sliced
8 ears corn, broken in half
10 knuckles frozen snow crab legs
2 pounds E-Z peel shrimp (thawed if frozen)
1 cup Old Bay seasonings
1/4 cup lemon juice
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Fill large turkey fryer halfway with water (and attach to propane tank). Add Old Bay, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and bring to a rapid boil.
Add potatoes and set kitchen timer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add sausage and set timer for another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add corn and set timer for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, add crab and set timer for 4 minutes.
After 4 minutes, add shrimp and set timer for 3 minutes.
Turn off heat and remove food from fryer with large handheld strainer. Serve on newspaper-covered picnic table or in a newspaper-lined bucket. And serve with melted butter if you dare. Enjoy!
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
1/2 pound roma tomatoes, quartered
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, chopped into large chunks
course ground pepper to taste
few drizzles olive oil
fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Mix tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl and pepper to taste. Drizzle olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) and mix carefully. Add basil and serve.