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A Day at Singing Beach

July 22, 2009

When I was a kid, I loathed the onslaught of summer in Arizona. It was the worst five months of the year in Phoenix, even three whole months without school was no consolation. If it wasn’t for air conditioning I probably would have run away from home by age 10. I now reside in the city of Boston, and although my seasonal loathing now starts 6 months later on the calendar, I can honestly say, without fear or embarrassment, that summer rules.

It is especially good when I can gather up a few friends and head to the beach. Last weekend, some of the Oldways team headed north to Singing Beach, a beautiful little area right next to the sleepy town of Manchester-by-the-Sea (yes, the actual town name). In true bathing beauty fashion, we started the afternoon with icy Pimm’s Cups. These are simple, delicious cocktails with a hint of quinine, ginger and spices.

cocktails

After taking time to warm my skin in the sun, I had to go swimming. It was as if the Atlantic was a Siren and I was a poor Greek sailor, the draw was that strong.* Even thought the water was cold, it didn’t matter; I was swimming, I was happy, I was…hungry. Coming out of the fray after my third dip, we decided to tuck into the sandwiches I made that morning: Grilled Portabella Subs with Gruyere

grilled mush sub

These were so easy to make and they were delicious. Two of my favorite things in a recipe! It was a warm day and since they are vegetarian, we didn’t have to worry about the meat-mayo-sunshine combination that loves to breed bacteria. I would love to try them again with different cheese variations like smoked Gouda or fresh mozzarella. Without the cheese, these could be great hiking lunches.

Grilled Mushroom Salad Subs (courtesy of Rachael Ray)

Ingredients

  • 2 baguettes, halved across, split and some of the soft insides removed
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 rounded tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and wiped clean with damp cloth
  • Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, a generous handful
  • 6 cups, a package, deveined triple washed spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 pound manchego cheese (common Spanish sharp table cheese, available in the specialty cheese case) thinly sliced or sharp cheddar may be substituted
  • 4 piquillo peppers, pimientos or roasted red peppers, patted dry and cut into strips

Directions

  1. Preheat a grill pan to medium high heat or prepare outdoor grill.
  2. Turn the oven on moderate heat. Place the hollowed bread in oven to crisp, 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. Place mushrooms in a shallow dish and pour marinade over the caps. Turn caps in marinade and season with salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes. Prep your parsley and spinach.
  4. Grill mushrooms 4 to 5 minutes on each side and remove to a cutting board a few at a time. Thinly slice the mushrooms and transfer back to the dish you marinated them in and add parsley and spinach as you go, layering hot mushrooms with the herb and greens. Once all the hot sliced mushrooms combine with the spinach, the greens will wilt up a bit. Toss the salad and adjust the salt and pepper, to your taste.
  5. Pile the salad into crispy bread and top with manchego cheese and red peppers of choice then set bread tops in place.

*no shipwrecks occurred in the making of this beach day

– Adriene

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