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Posts Tagged ‘cape cod’

cranberries

 

At the beginning of the month we were in Provincetown out at the end of Cape Cod.  The stay is our most favorite fall get-away which we have been doing annually for over 10 years.  Not only is the fish and shellfish extraordinary, but the Saturday farmers market gives us all of the earthly goodness to accent it.  The last Saturday we were there brought the first cranberry harvest of the season.  I bought a few pounds which I’ve turned into spiced cranberry relish for the upcoming holiday tables.  Here’s the recipe, but you can find other cranberry recipes in my book, The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles, should you want further inspiration.  This recipe should make about 1 quart of relish.

4 ½ cups fresh cranberries
¼ cup each freshly grated orange and lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh hot chile, such as jalapeño or Serrano
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup light brown sugar
⅔ cup red wine vinegar

Combine the cranberries, citrus zest, chile, mustard seed, and pepper flakes in a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and stir in the sugar and vinegar.  Bring to a boil; then, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the berries have popped and the mixture has thickened slightly.
Remove from the heat and either spoon into clean containers and store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.  Or, pack the relish into clean, sterilized jars, cover tightly, and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  The latter method will allow you to store the relish at room temperature for up to 6 months.

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We were trying to figure out how many years we have been making a fall trek to Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod to walk the beach, eat great seafood, and toast the magnificent sunsets, usually with our best buddies Lynn and Doug.  (And this year our “almost-daughter Anne and her husband joined us, too.)  Neither Steve, Lynn, Doug nor I can remember, but for however long it has been – 10 years or more – we have begun each day there with breakfast at Café Heaven on Commercial Street.  It is the most welcoming spot run by 2 open-hearted guys, Alan in the front and Patrick in the kitchen.  We walk in the door and find a seat and Alan has coffee on the table, 3 regulars and 1 decaf.  The menu is imaginative and the food delicious.  One specialty, Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict, is seen on almost every table every morning.  We usually opt for simpler dishes.  Open for breakfast and lunch early and late in the season and for 3 meals a day during the height of the summer crowds, Café Heaven is truly a little bit of heaven on Cape Cod.

 

 

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Oysters

 

You either love ‘em or hate ‘em – I’ve found there is no in-between.  We happen to be a family that loves them.  Steve and I have just returned from our annual fall visit to Provincetown where oysters are on the menu every day.  Always on the half shell – never fancied up.  No mignonette, no lemon, no dippin’ or drizzlin’ at all – we just slurp them right from the shell.  This year they were particularly salty/sweet and very plump.  I don’t offer a recipe ‘cause, for us, only nature can provide the perfect dish – just some photos so you can enjoy our feasts just a bit.  And, along with the oysters, Steve shares a snap of Lynn’s (our vacationing buddy) found beach treasures.  The little starfish seemed to be everywhere on the beach – some struggling to make it back to the water and some for whom it was too late to make the dash.

 

 

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On our annual trip out on the Cape, we have fish or shellfish every day.  All of the seafood is so pristine that I usually serve it raw or just simply cooked – why spoil something so delicious in its own right with sauces and such?  The only exception is when I do something with pasta.  One of our favorite pasta dishes is linguine with clams for which I don’t really have a tried and true recipe – after all, I’m not an Italian grandma!  For our clam night this year, I incorporated some very sweet little yellow cherry tomatoes that we had picked up from a local farm along with a charming bouquet of nasturiums that the farmer’s dear little daughter had picked, tied with ribbon, and sold for ice cream money.  The end result was absolutely delicioso.  Here’s what I did – there is no real measurement – just guage how much broth you want with the amount of clams and pasta you are going to be serving.

While you are cooking the clams, cook the linguine to al dente according to package directions.  For the clams, put a nice layer of olive oil in the pot.  Add a good measure of chopped garlic – I use about 8 cloves (you never can be sure about those vampires lurking around) – then when the garlic is smelling up the oil, add a cup of white wine and then let it bubble for a few minutes to allow the winey flavor to mellow.  Then, add a bottle of clam juice, a cup of chicken stock, and a cup or so of fresh chopped clams.  Let it cook for a couple of minutes,  or until very hot.   Taste and season with pepper and, if needed, salt.  Add your clams, cover, and cook until all of the clams pop open.  If, like me, you have some sweet cherry tomatoes, add them along with the clams.

When all of the clams have opened, stir in some chopped parsley.  Drain the pasta well and toss it with a touch of extra virgin olive oil.  Transfer it to a large platter with sides (so the broth doesn’t run off).  Pour the clams and broth over the pasta.  And, the crowning glory,  julienne the nasturium flowers and leaves and sprinkle them over the clams.  You can’t believe what a wondrous marriage of flavors come together with the sweet clams, winey broth, and spicy nasturiums.

 

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