Sunday, September 13, 2009


I realize Labor Day was a whole week ago, but it took me this long to recover enough to actually write about it! It was such a fun and silly weekend. And actually, we were in LA all last week and I'm really just getting around to going through all my pictures now. We headed to the Cape on Saturday morning along with 5 of our good friends. Well, 6 if you count Iesha, Colucci's fish.

The weather was gorgeous all weekend, so we spent pretty much the whole time camped out on the deck.

I, of course, spent the majority of the weekend in the kitchen.

You know I love cooking for a crowd. This was a particularly interesting crowd to cook for because my friend De is a vegan. I really enjoy cooking vegan food, so it was fun coming up vegan versions of all the dishes I made - and sneaking some vegan food in on the rest of our friends. I researched a bunch of recipes before the weekend, but so many of them use weird processed products as meat and dairy substitutions. For me, vegan cooking is all about highlighting fresh, delicious produce, so that's what I tired to do.

On Saturday night I made a risotto, an easy thing to do for a crowd. The risotto started with carrots, celery, onions, and garlic cooked in olive oil and white wine, then I added the rice and cooked it with vegetable broth, and then peas and sauteed mushrooms. The risotto was vegan up to this point, so once it was cooked I just put some aside for my vegan dish. Then I added shrimp and seared scallops to the risotto, and topped with a little butter.

Derek helped me by putting together a beet salad with pecans and goat cheese on the side.

For dessert everyone ate vegan! On Friday I had baked a vegan peach pie, using delicious local peaches. For the crust, I used my usual basic pie crust recipe but replaced the butter with organic, non-homogenized vegetable shortening. It turned out pretty good!

I served vanilla ice cream on top for the dairy eating folks, but I also got some pretty good coconut milk ice cream for those who were not lactose inclined.

Our friend Douglas also brought some clown cookies and black and white cookies - apparently called "half moons" in these parts.

Sunday morning I made a big batch of pancakes with blueberries and bananas. I made a vegan version by replacing the milk and eggs with almond milk and smashed bananas.

Lisa cooked up some bacon for the meat eaters.

Charlie the Seagull was of course with us all weekend. Colucci fed him leftover pancakes for breakfast.

Sunday's activities included a few rounds of badminton.

And some serious kite flying. We got this kite so far up in the air we tied on 5 kite strings.

I watched from the kitchen.

They finally brought the kite in when it got dark and we couldn't see it anymore.

For dinner that night I made bouillabaisse, one of my specialties. I started by julienning carrots - it took me half an hour to cut all these! I don't know how they have those relay competitions on Top Chef where they julienne 5 pounds of carrots in like 4 minutes.

Lisa was my sous chef and helped with the chopping.

The dish came out delicious. To the saffron-infused tomatoey base I added mussels, cod, shrimp, and lobster.

And for the vegan version I replaced the seafood with potatoes, and cooked it down a little more so it was more of a thick stew.

On the side I served a French bean salad.

And broccoli crunch.

You'll have to excuse the blurry pictures - my photographer was a little drunk at this point in the evening. After staying up way too late playing De's version of The Match Game and many rounds of Bananagrams, we arose Monday morning to our last delicious meal. Lisa helped out in the kitchen yet again and took charge of breakfast, cooking eggs to order, bacon, and veggie sausage.

I contributed with a fruit salad.

We also tried out my early wedding shower present from Lisa - a juicer! It was so cool. I made some delicious watermelon juice and apple-cantaloupe juice.

I can't wait to try out more flavors! Unfortunately, Derek and I had to leave a little early on Monday to catch a flight to LA. The rest of the crew hung around on the beach for the day and locked up when they left. Or at least that's what they told us...some of them may still be down there....

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