Down by the Sea

Patrick Kelley on the beach in North Carolina

August means the Kelley’s head off to the Cape Fear Coast and the antebellum southern port city of Wilmington, North Carolina. This year, my plan is to blog from the coast. I will tickle your taste buds with recipes and descriptions from all the local spots—some southern fare, some seafood, and some just local-yocal.

When I started this blog on January 1 of this year, I thought I would write weekly entries of hospitality and food escapades. But, ah, the life of a busy magazine editor—always on a deadline! The life of a working mom and wife! And, the life of one who loves to welcome you to our home!  All good but not much time left to blog.

I plan to take photos (yes, more photos from now on because I got that camera  — a Nikon Coolpix L120 — I talked about in Wintertime Dessert Party), I hope to draw you into my coastal experience. Let’s try it. See you soon.

It’s Too Hot to Eat

Hot Tomatoes! photo by Cassandra Birocco

I remember growing up in western Pennsylvania. The summers were hot for a short period so no one had air-conditioned homes. On these hot days after we got home from the pool, my mother would say, “It’s too hot to eat!”

So that meant dinner would be all fresh vegetables from my dad’s garden. I remember the succulent tomatoes we would eat right off the vine like an apple with the juice dripping the whole way down our tummies. And the kids debated: is tomato a fruit or a vegetable? And, dad would say: “These tomatoes are so good, THEY’LL DRIVE YOU NUTS!

Hot Town, Summer in the City
Fast forward to now. It’s July, it’s Virginia (in the Washington, D.C., area), and it’s hot and humid. The temperature is about 104 degrees when you factor in the humidity. The Congress should be in recess but they are staying in town to pass a budget deal. Drat, that means the traffic is still bad. And, as mom would say, it’s too hot to eat. So, tonight’s dinner was:

  • Fresh sliced tomatoes from the local farmer’s market (I can’t grow them, the squirrels and deer eat them right off the vine!) Tomato tips: Don’t ever refrigerate a tomato! If the tomato reaches the point you have to refrigerate it, then eat it. (I never met a tomato I didn’t like.) Also, consider peeling your summer tomatoes. A good, ripe tomato’s skin will peel off easily if you hold it in the palm of your hand. And, there is nothing like a peeled tomato, don’t ask me why but my grandmother peeled her tomatoes and so do I.
  • Basil from my herb garden plus a taste test of lemon basil and cinnamon basil a colleague gave me at work today
  • Sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
  • A freshly baked, warm baguette from, believe it or not, Safeway (it’s on the way home)
  • A little olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar, salt and fresh ground pepper
  • The drink: Sprodkas (my own creation, named by my husband Bill. People now ask for them by name when they come to our home.)

I really have nothing original to say to close this blog—it’s too hot to think. So, I’ll just say “bon appetit” like Julia would say.