caesar salad / cinnamon rolls / clams / crab cakes / lemon bars / oysters / recipes / s'mores bars / seafood boil / steak oscar / weekend

a fun, food filled weekend at the beach!

Hood Canal

The beautiful sunset on Hood Canal…
I am so lucky to not only have met Joe, but that Joe has an amazing group of family and friends…plus he has a boat and double bonus, his family has a place on Hood Canal. Joe and I both love being on the water, near the water, around the water…and especially love getting out of the city for a few days. Hood Canal is just 2 hours from Seattle – 1 hour ferry ride + 1 hour drive after you get off the ferry…perfect for a weekend escape. This weekend we took some of our friends and “the girls” (the Bellas!) up to the cabin for a weekend of sun (+ major heat wave, 90+ heat all weekend), great food, drinks and fun.
Usually I like to plan ahead for weekend’s like these and make sure that I have plenty of food, drinks and stuff for everyone for the whole weekend. But this time I was in LA for work until late Thursday night and ended up winging it much more than I had intended. Thursday night I made some Lemon Bars (Smitten Kitchen-recipe w/less filling) and S’mores Brownies (Food Network)…both were great, but was up so late that I had a rough start on Friday for work! Other than those two items, I didn’t really make or prep anything else for the trip.
The only thing I had thought about in advance and talked to the boy about, was making sure we got some seafood while we are up there…there is nothing better than catching crab, digging for clams and getting some shrimp right out of the Canal…actually it is pretty awesome. So knowing we were hoping to have some clams and crab this time, I thought about what else to make for the 9 people we had up there this weekend and decided to go in this direction…
Friday dinner – we just did a small BBQ – some burgers, brats, veggies, salad, chips/dips — this needed to be easy and quick since we wouldn’t be up there until close to 8pm!
Saturday breakfast – Trader Joe’s cinnamon rolls ended up landing on the menu – since I had a couple extra rolls in the fridge, but I decided to kick up the frosting a bit! The icing packet is a little less than exciting, plus I just like my cinnamon rolls better with cream cheese icing. So I improvised! I took the packet that came with the rolls – added approximately 2 TBSP Philly cream cheese, 1 TBSP butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract — and voila — it worked out better than I could have expected. With the cinnamon rolls we had some Spicy Maple Bacon (have linked to recipe from Paula Deen here, I don’t really use a recipe) — I use Creole seasoning (like Tony’s) instead of chili powder and find it adds way better flavor. And it really it is THAT good. 🙂
Saturday lunch – pretty boring, we wanted to make it easy on ourselves with some assorted sandos from Subway (picked up by some visitors coming up on Saturday), chips, veggies, dip, etc. With all the clamming and crabbing happening, we needed lunch on the run!
Saturday dinner – this I thought turned out soooo good, I am still dreaming about it! We had great appetizer trays with all different kinds of cheese and cured meats with crackers…and then we had some fresh butter clams that I steamed. The closest recipe to what I did can be found here. They were AWESOME, served with some crusty bread to soak up the broth and were gone in minutes…

Steamed Clams in wine, butter, garlic broth…
Then we moved onto a Caesar Salad – which is pretty normal, except I always make fresh croutons for my salads…along with a ton of shredded Italian cheeses, and finessing the dressing a bit by mixing 1/2 Caesar Vinaigrette and 1/2 Creamy Caesar — is the best way to go for knocking out an incredible, crowd pleasing Caesar Salad.
Then we did some steaks, which had been marinated all day in a simple olive oil, worcestershire, garlic, dijon mustard, soy sauce, lemon and sea salt/pepper. Grilled to medium rare and then served with some fresh lump crab on top, covered in a bernaise sauce – and served with grilled asparagus…it was AWESOME!

Steak topped with lump dungeness crab and covered with bernaise sauce – served with asparagus
And with the amount of crab that we caught that day, I even whipped up some crab cakes as well…can I say best Crab Cake Recipe I have ever made?!? And I have been through my share, but these were amazing – not much in the way of extra fillers, filled with big lumps of crab, and a zesty/spicy taste that brought out the sweetness of the crab. I looked up a recipe on my phone from one of my favorite sites – Simply Recipes and was lucky enough to stumble upon this one. I served it with a quick sauce, Ivar’s tartar sauce, with some mayo, a touch of ketchup and some sriracha for heat. It was not bad for last minute…

Fresh Dungeness Lump Crab Cakes – from Simply Recipes
All of this was served with warm garlic bread and some really good Washington Wines, out on the deck at the cabin – overlooking the beach and Hood Canal. Then we followed that with the desserts that I made ahead…it was the PERFECT day in so many ways. 🙂
All in all, the best of weekends…N
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