Sunday, July 31, 2011

time and tide

Our annual family week on Fire Island has come to an end. We managed to avoid the hottest week of summer in the city and instead lolled around the walkways and beaches of the Fair Harbor community.
The long wooden boardwalks on this car-free, tranquil island connect the bay to the ocean.
Sand, driftwood and grasses define the landscape.
Bicycles become the best mode of transportation.
A boat would come in handy too!
A walk along the ocean requires nothing more than bare feet.
Adorable wooden cottages, closely spaced, side by side are so inviting and they ooze a cozy charm. Just don't speak too loudly or your neighbor will hear you.

OK let's get down to eating:
Our own cozy little rental cottage was packed with my kids and friends of my kids. A lot of mouths to feed. 
 Grilled ratatouille makes excellent use of fresh summer vegetables and the whole dish can be made outside so you don't miss a minute of sun and fun.
My sister suggested we serve the ratatouillie over her fried polenta triangles. The kids considered these crispy cornmeal cakes to be a revelation and gobbled them all up.
A white bean salad makes an easy and tasty accompaniment. Add lots of chopped celery and onion to the beans, a handful of fresh mint and a garlicky vinaigrette for dressing. 
The hardest part about being on Fire Island is having to say good bye at the ferry dock.
But all wonderful things do have to come to an end and we are already dreaming about coming back next year.

Love the pictures! I visited Fire Island once in the early 80's, and the pictures brought back memories!

As for the dishes - is the fried polenta hard to make? I think that's something my own finicky kids might enjoy! Easy summertime dishes like the ones you mention are always best served alongside easy-going, simple wines. During the summer I drink mostly whites and Roses. The wonderful thing is, you don't need to spend a lot of money. During the hot days of the season, I rarely will spend more than $12 or so on a bottle of wine. There simply is no need to. In fact, my favorite go-to wine this time of year is $7.99. It's a Torrontes called Lo Tengo. For sitting outside on the patio, you just don't need a "serious" wine.

Last night, I went to a friend's house for a barbeque. Hamburgers, hotdogs, lobster, and various pasta salads were served. (My contribution was a beautiful salad of cucumber and a variety of heirloom tomatoes, tossed with mint, parsely, olive oil, lemon juice and a sprinkle of red wine vinegar, with some crumbled feta on top...yummy!). Of course I brought along the Lo Tengo, as well as two of my other summertime favorites: Burgans Albarino and Domaine Sancet Cotes de Gascogne. The Sancet is an intriguing blend of Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc...not your everyday varietals! It is a very pretty, floral wine with high acidity, and is delicious served with summery salads. It's bright with peach and pear flavors...and very refreshing!
These everyday wines are a perfect match for a variety of foods, which makes them ideal for impromptu summertime get-togethers. It doesn't matter what foods you serve - they will be enjoyed! They are, what I call, "crowd-pleasers". I always have plenty on hand, to open for unexpected visitors, or to bring to a friend's house. Just remember - for summertime, keep it simple!

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