A picnic on the beach watching the sunset: a perfectly romantic image. But things are not always what you envision them to be. The sun sets in the west and Rockaway beach faces south- east, so the sun wouldn't set before my eyes, but that wouldn't stop me. The beach in the early evening it was mostly deserted save for a few beach goers making their way from the shore, wiping the sand off their feet and shaking out their towels. To me the beach is best enjoyed when no one else is there. Often I go to the beach on a rainy day because I don't like to share. Earlier that week while working in the Hamptons I took a morning walk to the beach on a misty day and it was just me and the sandpipers. Standing in one spot, the fog was so intense I could not see for more than 50 feet in any direction. Perfect solitude.
On this particular evening I packed a String Bean and Potato Pesto Salad, Indian Egg Salad, Sage Mushrooms and of course a nice chilled bottle of white wine. I brought a big blanket to lay on, but ended up climbing onto the lifeguard stand. I am vertically challenged, so I enjoy a view from above sometimes. It was freezing so I used my blanket for warmth and to shield me from the whipping wind that made me feel like I was eating my meal on an episode of Survivor after being left to fend for myself on a deserted island, teeth shattering waiting for a life boat to save me.
Trying to serve the meal on my little tin plate was very tricky. I need extra arms. And forget about the wine. There was no possible way of managing to keep my plate from flying away while pouring a glass. This wasn't the tranquil beach dinner I imagined, but the food tasted good, and the instead of watching the sunset the strong winds brought some kite surfers to the beach for me to watch.
STRING BEAN AND POTATO PESTO SALAD
Boil your string beans and potatoes until soft but not overcooked. If you cut up your potatoes into small quarters they cook in the same time as your string beans. In the mean time prepare you pesto. In a food processor, blender or with a mortar and pestle, combine fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt and parmesan cheese. Toss the pesto with the warm boiled potatoes and string beans and serve warm or chilled.
INDIAN EGG SALAD
Hard boil a few eggs. Heat a small pan with oil and sautee cumin seeds and black mustard seeds until the seeds start to pop. Let them cool. In a bowl mash the eggs with mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne (optional), salt and pepper along with the cumin and black mustard seeds.