Seafood and Shopping…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

I’m still recovering from last night’s Interpol show at Orpheum Theater (in a good way- they were phenomenal!) and getting ready to launch into my work day- but I wanted to share some of my favorite steals/finds and photos from my annual trip up to Hampton Beach this past weekend!

Labor Day might be the unofficial end to the Summer, but to me and my family- the *true* way to send off the season and get ready for the Fall is to eat as many lobster rolls, scallops and crab cakes as we can while stocking up on bargains at the Seafood Festival.

This year’s festivities were particularly special since it was the first time we were able to bring Oliver with us! He’s such a wonderful, curious and friendly dog- but crowds and loud noises can sometimes make him anxious- and not everyone in Hampton is as mindful of their pets as I am with mine. On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave him home alone all day- which makes him terribly depressed- so I opted for a somewhat unconventional middle ground.

I bought a dog stroller- and Oliver LOVED it. Not only was he able to see all the action (and eat the occasional French fry I’d sneak him)– but when he got worn out from excitement, he was able to lay down comfortably and sleep peacefully while I wheeled him around from booth to booth. Of course, once we’d left the actual festival- I brought him to the shore so he could run free and enjoy the sand and surf, too!

If you’ve got a smaller/medium sized dog that might need one of these in busy, crowded situations- I highly recommend checking out the selection of carriers on Amazon. Mine was made by VIVO- and it was great quality and super easy to assemble, and even easier to clean, pack up and store for safe keeping when the day was done. There’s plenty of storage space for your pet’s treats, toys, etc. and yes- a cup holder for you, too. I kept my much-needed coffee within reach most of the morning.

Overall, it was such a fantastic day- even though it was a bit chilly along the coast. It was nice spending the morning and afternoon eating great food, watching the ocean, and playing some really old arcade games (that have been around since I was a kid!) along the boardwalk with my mom, my cousin- and Oliver.

Of course, I didn’t just eat amazing food. I did some shopping, as well- and scored some really great deals at some of the shops who were clearing out their merchandise for the season before they shutter their store fronts for the Winter!

While there were plenty of novelty t-shirts, sandals, bikinis and bikini cover-ups on sale- I found a couple of Fall-appropriate pieces that I’ve already started integrating into my wardrobe over the past couple of days!

This grey and white striped, collared sweater was hanging out all by it’s lonesome outside of Dudley’s– and when I tried it on and realized not only how flattering it looked but also how warm it would keep me in the Fall- I had to have it. The end of the season price? $7.50. How could I say no?

Additionally, I spotted this peacock feather printed maxi skirt in the very back of one of the boardwalk shops- where it was marked down to $17. How beautiful are the colors in this skirt? I recently paired this with a pair of brown, knee-high boots and an olive green turtleneck during one of our chillier days- and it looked so lovely.

I had mentioned earlier this week that I’m a big fan of anything with sea life printed on it- so when I saw this sterling silver octopus pendant (marked down to $12)– I knew I had to have it to layer with my other pendants and plain chains.

I really love unexpected and unique designs like this- and I feel the octopus (which is a bit sinister looking, really!) is going to catch some attention if people see it mixed among my other every day necklaces!

I tried a sample of this easy-to-make dip from Moose Creek, and oh my gosh- was it delicious! All you need to do is add a little mayonnaise, a little cream cheese, the dip- and as much lobster meat as you want- and you’ve got a really tasty appetizer to serve at your next get together.

Each packet of dip was $4 and can serve quite a lot of people- so it was well worth the price!

And finally, no trip to Hampton is complete without a stop at Sanborn’s Candies! This year I scored some individually wrapped “chocolate leaves” and a half pound of their soft, decadent and amazing chocolate nut fudge to share with my mom and cousin on the drive back home. It was the sweetest way to end the afternoon!

If you’re ever in New Hampshire at the end of the Summer and have the opportunity to check out the Seafood Festival- I strongly recommend it. Parking and traffic is easiest first thing in the morning- and going on an empty stomach is pretty much mandatory so that you can try a little bit of everything from all the great restaurants and food trucks that come to town to showcase the superstars of their menus.

And be sure to bring cash- since not all of the vendors are equipped to handle debit/credit transactions. It’s thankfully not too common- but it does happen!

I know I’ll be back again next year for it!

But now, I’ve got to get to work and get things done. Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Two If By Sea…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

One of my favorite things about living in New England is that for as long as I’ve been here and with all the exploring I’ve done over the years- I still find new places I’ve never visited before that delight, dazzle, and surprise me! That’s why when a friend recommends going someplace unfamiliar or even a bit unconventional- I rarely protest. You just never know what you’re going to see and find!

Case in point? This past weekend when my BFF Sean- who is just as much of an adventurer as I am- suggested we spend an afternoon catching a boat to Georges Island (about 45 minutes off of Boston Harbor.) Now, I love the sea- and I love sailing- but most of my boat experiences have been limited to areas around Cape Cod and in some instances, right off the coast in New Hampshire. I’d never actually visited Georges Island before- and it’s one of the few Boston Harbor islands that Sean hadn’t visited, either. Of course I said yes!

Georges Island is home to the remnants of Fort Warren. When construction of the fort completed in 1860, it served as a prison for captured Confederate soldiers/sailors and as government offices- and continued to be utilized as a control center until 1947. It now stands empty and foreboding on the island- but can be explored by visitors during the day. Although a lot of it has since crumbled or has been overtaken by nature again- I had an absolute blast photographing some of it’s flooded corridors and tunnels!

Below are some of my favorite snapshots from the Fort! Click on an image to make it bigger!

The fort is allegedly haunted by a widow who went to the island to rescue her imprisoned husband- only to die by hanging once she’d arrived there and was subsequently captured- but Sean and I didn’t see her around. Believe me- we looked.

After the island closed for visitors for the day and we’d returned and docked back in Boston Harbor- Sean and I headed over to The Barking Crab to soak up a little more sun in their outdoor seating area and indulge in margaritas, crab cakes, baked haddock- and some good ol’ Boston Cream Pie while the sun began to set. The place is a little pricey- but oh so worth it if you love seafood as much as I do!

It was a beautiful afternoon- and worth the little bit of red I got on my shoulders later on that evening (it’s since gone away!) Someone please remind me to reapply SPF *before* I start drinking margaritas and get forgetful.

And now, I’ve got to get to work and make enough money to eat at The Barking Crab again!

Just kidding- but I do have to get to work so that I’m not completely swamped by noon.

Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone! See you all on Friday!

The view from Dinner! 7/8/18.

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Mini Lobster Rolls

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Despite the fact that most of this past weekend was rained out- I still had an amazing couple of days off from work and out of town- and even found the time to whip up one of my favorite recipes in-between thunderstorms that had rolled through the area and (briefly) interrupted some outdoor dining plans with friends.

Having been born and raised in New England- I’m very particular when it comes to seafood. If it isn’t directly from the ocean-to-the-table, then I want no part of it- and it’s pretty much an unspoken rule that clam chowder cannot be anything less than exemplary.

Of course, there are many varying opinions when it comes to one favorite Summertime recipe in particular- the lobster roll- which can take on many different forms and incorporate many different flavors. Wanting to create smaller portions of the standard hot dog roll or 6″ sub-sized version to make these easier to pass around during the aforementioned outdoor dining plans- I used a fool-proof recipe that excludes the unnecessary ingredients (looking at you, shredded lettuce) and instead features some unexpected flavors that actually work surprisingly well together- like dill and Dijon mustard.

And these don’t take long to make at all! Even better!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1¼ pounds cooked lobster meat, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 mini brioche hot dog buns or rolls
  • Chives, for garnishing

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice and mustard. Stir in the lobster meat, celery, scallions, parsley and dill; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, brush the melted butter onto both sides of the hot dog buns and/or brioche rolls and then place them in the hot pan. Toast until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes.
  3. Fill each bun with lobster salad. Serve immediately, garnished with chives.

Even though we had to eat these inside once the rain started to pour down instead of outdoors and under the shade of the trees as originally planned- it didn’t take away from the experience of biting into this recipe for the first time. Between the lobster, the lemon zest, the Dijon mustard and the dill (and don’t forget those perfectly toasted rolls/buns!) this was like a beach party for my taste buds.

And, for some added seafood flavor- why not throw some chopped shrimp or scallops into the mix, too? I’ve done it before- and it tastes incredible!

But now with it being Monday and there being a stack of work on my desk- I’ve got to dive right into this and start getting things done!

Have a great Monday, everyone! Here’s wishing you all a good week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Crispy Baked Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Yesterday was a bit strange around here- with severe thunderstorms sweeping through the state well into the evening. We even had a tornado watch in effect for a few hours- but thankfully nothing came of it apart from some slightly terrifying lightning and a bit of rain/hail. Just another late-Spring-early-Summer day here in New England, really!

Tonight I’ll be heading to the Paradise Rock Club over on Comm Ave to catch a set by Editors (who I haven’t seen in years!)- but before I power through my work day and get over to the venue- I wanted to share a recipe my mom and I whipped up this past Sunday while we were spending Mother’s Day together.

I’m a big fan of tacos- any kind, really- and experimenting with different flavor combinations is something I really enjoy when I’m making my own at home for myself or guests. I also love seafood- so street-style fish tacos are pretty much a win/win. Add some red cabbage cole slaw and a twist of lemon and/or lime? You’ve got a delicious lunch to serve at your next cookout!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE FISH:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought taco seasoning
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ pounds tilapia, cut into 1½-inch-wide strips

FOR THE CABBAGE SLAW:

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (for these tacos, I used a lemon, instead!)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TACOS:

  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 12 tortillas
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (again, I used a lemon, instead!)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE CRISPY BAKED FISH: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. In another wide, shallow bowl, whisk the flour with the taco seasoning to combine.
  3. Working in batches, dip the fish into the egg and then into the flour mixture, tossing well to coat. Place the breaded fish on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the strips are breaded. Spray the top of the fish with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Bake the fish until they are golden brown and very crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Flip the fish with a spatula halfway through cooking to brown on both sides. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. MAKE THE CABBAGE SLAW: In a large bowl, toss the red cabbage with the green cabbage, carrots, red onion, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, rice vinegar and olive oil to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. MAKE THE TACOS: In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream with the lime zest and lime juice to combine. Set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, place 2 or 3 tortillas in the pan and heat until lightly browned on both sides, 1 minute per side. Repeat until all tortillas are toasted.
  7. To serve, place 3 tortillas on each plate, and fill each tortilla with 1 or 2 pieces of fish. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of slaw on top of each taco and drizzle each taco with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the sour cream. Garnish each plate with 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves.

I actually served the minced jalapeño separately so that my mom would be able to control the amount of hot and spicy on her own tacos (she’s very particular!)– and it worked out well! With some sour cream on the side for dunking//drizzling- there were so many amazing flavors incorporated into these- and I’ll definitely be making another batch of them soon!

Here’s to Wednesday being a breeze for all of us. It’s almost the weekend, everyone. Hang in there!

xx

– Ashley –

Stone Stacks and Seafood…

As much time as I spend along the coast in New Hampshire- to the point where I know most of the roads and the sights/places to stop like the back of my hand- sometimes I stumble on something I’d never seen before or that I didn’t know existed and I can still manage to be surprised. Case in point: this past Sunday when I had pulled over to a secluded section of the beach in Northern Hampton in order to answer a couple of texts I had received while I was on the road heading towards my favorite seaside lunch spot to grab a quick bite.

Typically, I’d just sit in my parked, air-conditioned car to answer the texts- but it was lovely out on Sunday- with the sun shining and the temperature not too hot or cold. Instead, I decided to climb up a set of rocks to soak up some Vitamin D and watch the low tide in-between reading messages.

Once I’d reached the top of the rocks along the shoreline, I noticed a path that cut down to a section of the beach where there were a ton of intricate man-made stone stacks (some people call it rock balancing, too- I think.) I mean there were SO many. I’d never seen anything like it before- so I completely forgot about answering my messages and instead grabbed my camera before heading down the pathway to check it out.

I had no idea any of those were just on the other side of the edge of the roadway that I’ve driven by literally hundreds of times over the years- otherwise I would have stopped to check it out sooner! It was such an unexpected sight to see- and I had such a peaceful time sitting among the rocks and marveling at just how much time and patience it must have taken to get some of the stacks just right without causing the entire thing to topple over on itself.

Of course, I HAD been on my way to get food- so when I was done snapping photos- I headed down the coast to the Beach Plum for one of their famous toasted lobster rolls and some ice cold lemonade to eat beside the waves.

The best part of the Beach Plum’s lobster rolls? Absolutely no lettuce to get in the way. Just plenty of meat and a delicious, buttered and lightly toasted roll. That’s all I could ever ask for! So, so good.

Overall, I had quite a nice afternoon- full of surprises and seafood- and I’m looking forward to a planned trip a little further up to Maine this coming weekend if the weather permits!

xx

– Ashley –