Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nantucket, Again

It seems that during the past two weeks the only thing that allowed me to navigate through the  horrendously hot dome that covered most of the country, and egregiously, New York City, was the thought that I'd be on Nantucket Island very soon.   After a rather comfortable drive up to Hyannis (I kept the windows open the whole way - never turned on the A/C)  here I am once again.

The BEACH, which had been my mind's headline was my first destination after a misty night's sleep.

Island friend, Anna Bender of The Weaving Room,  made BLTs on some sort of seeded Finnish bread that she found at one of the local shops.  Mind you the BLT has its season right now when local tomatoes, ripened straight through on the the vine, are the stars of the vegetable show.  It's their tart-sweet flavor and slurpiness that give the sandwich its character. And, to tell you the truth, I think that the BLT is the sandwich to eat on the beach.  Something about a salty sandwich consumed in the salt air!
I picked up a bag of the Nantucket Bake Shop's unique shortbread cookies for dessert and fortification after a few rolls in the surf. They're very thin, buttery and crunch like a pieces of toffee.

We were joined at the beach by our good friend, New Orleanean-Nantucketer, photographer ne plus ultra, David Halliday - who made quite a photograph himself carry vibrant purple and shocking pink umbrellas - which we never used because it was far too windy.

I love the way cinnabar orange rose hips look nestled next to still-blooming dusky pink rugosa roses.  The entrance to the beach is blanketed with rose bushes.

Back home to sister Laura, and brother-in-law Jim's great place out on the island's east end.  Laura dug up some Paonazza d'Egitto beets which I took into the kitchen - while she continued to tend to her endlessly blooming garden.  I proceeded to cook the beets according to a recipe that Laura says I gave her.  I didn't remember - but now I will - 'cause it's that good.


1.  Cut ends off as many beets as you like, peel, rinse and shred on a box grater
2.  Coarsely chop a clove or two of garlic.  Saute in olive oil until pale gold.   Add the beets, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until beets are tender - about 40 minutes.  Or cook to the consistency that you prefer.
3.   Finish with salt to taste and a splash of vinegar.
4.   Serve topped with sour cream and chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, basil, chervel, etc.

Laura planted a row of assorted lettuce with seeds she ordered from a place called Wild Garden Seed.  The pictured row is a sampler of the unusual and delicious leaves.  The tall, Christmas tree-like head is called strella. 

Book signing - "Italy Dish by Dish", and "Shopping in Marrakech" at Mitchell's Book Corner.
Thank you Annye's Whole Foods for providing delicious snacks and fine wine.

Remember the photo from an early June entry where I pointed out the cut in the sand between Sesachacha Pond and the ocean.   Well, here it is up close.  Spent a refreshing afternoon swimming in the pond.

I had a nice visit with my friends, Thom and Bart and had a personal tour of their luscious, fairy tale-like garden.  Visiting the enormous oeuvre is a voyage to another world!

Back to the ocean.  Gentle, sweet waves.  I spent lots of time in water without worrying whether I would make it out without being thrown against the sand.  Just had to worry whether the adolescent seagull would steal our snacks.

A trip out to the island's own soccer field to watch the summertime men's league play.   Wow, the island sure has evolved since I began coming here decades ago.  What a treat.

Another local treat were the oysters that I was served for dinner at my friends' home.  The Benders, Anna & Steve had just harvested the sweet, briny mollusks.    Anna opened them and served them on ice cubes - that a a faint spritz of lemon.  Basta.

SUSANSIMONSAYS: see you soon Nantucket.

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