A Day At The Beach
The weather here lately has been absolutely sweltering. It’s not just the heat, although temperatures have been in the mid to high 30s. What’s made it hard for a lot of people is the humidity. It’s that last bit that makes 35°C feel more like 45°C. The air is heavy with moisture, and sweating it out (the body’s natural cooling off method) just doesn’t work. Notice, I said, “a lot of people”. I’m not actually one of those people. Although I could happily do without the humidity, I really, really love the intense heat.
One summer, hubby and I visited Palm Springs, California, in July. It was one of the hottest days of the summer. The thermometer registered 45°C. Palm Springs does not suffer from humidity. So, that intense heat felt more like I was cooking in an oven. Honestly, it felt really good. The only issue was returning to the rental car – all black, sitting in full sun, windows rolled up. My hand automatically reached out to the door handle … and burned. So, there we stood on the sidewalk, trying to figure out how we were going to get back into the car. With the edge of our t-shirts to protect our skin against the burning intensity of heated metal, we did eventually get the doors open. All this to say that, although heat can be inconvenient at times, I just can’t complain about it.
So, last Saturday, when the mercury was reaching the red zone, we decided to head to the beach. Sand, surf, a brilliant blue sky and, surprisingly, very few people populating the beach, we set up camp and prepared to enjoy the next four hours. The beach we went to is part of a larger municipal park, so there are lots of other activities to indulge in. So, after an hour or so, hubby went kayaking and left me happily with my book.
Once we were back together, it was time for lunch. Like most beaches, this one had a concession stand selling hot dogs, chips and drinks. That’s ok sometimes. But, I’d brought along a lovely lunch for us. The night before, I fired up the bbq and grilled stretched and flattened pizza dough. Because it was so thin, it cooked very quickly. I drizzled olive oil over it and tossed on a mixture of fresh herbs from my garden (oregano and thyme) and a pinch or two of sea salt. I packed it into a container and left it out on the counter over night. Also the day before (and since the bbq was already heated), I roasted 4 Sheppard peppers. (Those are the long, red ones.) Once I’d peeled the burnt skin away, I seeded them, sliced them into thin strips. Then, I added a garlic clove, olive oil, parsley and salt. It’s the perfect salad-like beach dish to go with the grilled pizza. I also brought along a bean and potato salad. This one, too, is one of my favourites. It’s made with boiled flat green beans and boiled chopped potatoes that are then dressed with flavoured oil. The morning before beach day, I stirred together a few sprigs of mint, olive oil and garlic. Just before dressing the beans and potatoes, I add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, pack it in a spill proof container and off you go. I packed a tall bottle of water and a plate of figs into the cooler with the rest of the food, and we were good to go.
It was an awesome day at the beach with great food!