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Friday, May 28, 2010

Making Lunch Out Of Leftovers, and the Awful Truth About Beach Cottages

I'm showing off our family beach house just a little bit this Friday, and in a way you might not expect.

Also -- some nice lunch ideas, recipes (of a sort) included.
But first, a little bit of what you don't see when you look at those magazine or blog photos of beautiful beach houses . . . .


It takes some doing to keep a waterside house in good shape -- especially one near salt water.
It's not all white and aqua and shells and beach chic.

Without constant maintenance, these things happen:

Rust on the big white cleat on our bulkhead.

Our neighbor's bulkhead, slowly rotting away. She is a busy lawyer, and rarely visits.

On the edge of one of our deck planks, an odd colony of lichen or moss has taken hold.
It looks like odd teensy trees are growing there. Can you see those red-tipped trunks poking up?

Among the decor items at a beach house are some odd fellows.

Tiny crabs:

Transparent baby shrimp. You can see their insides from their outsides.

On the deck, a doomed Parson Spider is blissfully unaware that he is soon to meet his Maker.
I'll spare you the pictures the kids took of the aftermath.
It's bad enough I showed you ants in closeup yesterday!

That's my Show and Tell for Friday.
Visit My Romantic Home blog for more exhibitionism! :-)

For Foodie Friday, we're doing lunch. Twice. I hope you are hungry.

What do you do when there are people needing lunch, you haven't been to the market,
and there are just some random leftovers in the fridge?

You make something up!

That's sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic in the plastic bowl, some leftover pan-fried
Long Island flounder in the bag, a bit of grated Asiago cheese, some cream cheese . . . .

Let's make a cold soup.

Into the food processor goes the broccoli rabe; puree the heck out of it. Toss in a few chunks of cream cheese, a handful of grated Asiago, pulse and puree that, and then thin it all with whatever you've got; I had lowfat milk, but I wish I'd also had some good chicken broth.

We will have it cold, so after a final go-round in the Cuisinart,
it's ladled into bowls, and a little dribble of cream is swirled into it.

Only I don't have cream; milk substitutes.
Not as effective, but heck -- it's just us! Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can do this with almost any leftover veggie.

My Mom did this all the time with the zucchini her kids didn't eat. She called it "Vicchy-squash" and served it cold -- pureed the zucchini, added a bit of milk or broth, some salt -- that was it! No need for any cream cheese; I added that to the broccoli rabe to temper the bitterness.

Now what about that flounder?

Preheat your oven -- 500 degrees.

Put the fish into a bowl and mash it coarsely with a fork. Add in some grated cheese, a plop of mayonnaise, a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix it all up with the fish, until you have a coarse, paste-like mixture.

Cut a baguette into slices, and brush a small amount of olive oil on top of each; pop them into a 500-degree oven and toast for a few minutes till they smell amazing, and look golden. Out of the oven, cover each bread slice, topside, with fish mixture.

Back into the oven, till warmed through and slightly browned on the tips.

Lunch! Cold soup, hot fish sandwiches.

If you don't have leftover flounder, there are other fish in the sea. Or supermarket.

Go buy a couple of cans of solid white tuna in water, and make these sandwiches:

Heat your oven to Broil. Gather your ingredients -- these things, plus an onion:

Slice up the onion -- I used a red one -- and saute it in a bit of olive oil till nicely squiggly and translucent.

Drain the canned tuna, and mix with:
mayonnaise, capers, dried oregano, the juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon depending on your taste, and a grind or two of pepper.

Taste to see if you've got enough oregano; it's surprising how much it can take!

Slice a crusty loaf -- ours is our favorite sourdough -- and cover each slice with tuna salad. Add some cooked onions to the top, and then some cheese.
I used sharp cheddar, but provolone or Swiss or just about any other cheese would work as well.

Into the broiler, top rack, for 3 to 4 minutes or until hot and slightly browned and bubbly.

These sandwiches are also great with thinly sliced ripe tomatoes in place of the onions.

With a bit of salad, or cole slaw, or just some red ripe grape tomatoes,
they make a terrific lunch. Just ask Alida:

She didn't want her face in the pictures;
probably doesn't want to be identified as the girl who ate two big tuna melt sandwiches!

But we were all members of the Clean Plate Club that day.

Michael Lee West hosts Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

At Cindy's Romantic Home, it's Show and Tell Friday.

Have a wonderful weekend -- the traditional kick-off to the summer season.
Fly the flag! It's Memorial Day. -- Cass


  1. Cass, I've always loved tuna melts, but mashed fish on bruschetta?? Brilliant!!! I am SO doing this! And the cold soup is something my Nonna always did too-yum!
    xoxo Pattie

  2. Cass,

    Wonderful! Squiggly is a cooking term. I don't know why I read blogs with food so early in the morning. Love the tuna with melted cheese.


  3. Oh, gosh, Cass...this all looks and sounds delicious.
    I've always figured cottages by the water had a few problems that we don't have out here in West Texas...:))
    xo bj

  4. Seriously yummy lunches!
    The maintenance is one reason that TGD has never succumbed to my pleas for a summer house. He loves the beach and we've rented many, many places - but he always says that the maintenance, taxes and insurance can rent a carefree place whenever we want. Hard for me, who grew up with a family cottage, but I have to admit that the makes sense!

  5. Happy Memorial Weekend my friend…Hugs and Smiles Gl♥ria

  6. I've never cared for leftover fish, so it usually gets divided up between the dog and the cat. NOW I know I just never knew what to do with it. NOW I know I'll purposely plan to have leftover fish. This is brilliant!

    Yes, living by the beach does have its drawbacks. The salt air and humidity here in the South means no pretty fabrics that aren't made for outdoors, they just turn moldy in a matter of days. And the rust? I don't need to tell you about the rust. But, I couldn't imagine not living by the sea.

    Okay, I'm going to take fish out for dinner (and lunch tomorrow).

  7. Oh the shrimp and spider make me itchy.

    But do you happen to have an extra plate?

    I hope you'll stop by and see my video for a French Macaroon video. There are bloopers. :)

    I am also hosting a giveaway for a French Basketeer tote.

  8. These look absolutely delicious! So does the soup! Come over to my blog...there is a surprise for you!

  9. Looking good!
    Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


  10. "nicely squiggly" LOL Funny how I knew EXACTLY what you meant, too! :-)

    I have 1/2 a loaf of French bread leftover & I know know what we're having for lunch today. Thanks for the idea!

    Oh & no more bug pictures, please? They make me shudder & I get goose bumps. Yuck!

  11. It looks delicious, i am hungry just watching your dishes! good weekend

  12. You cook by the same method I use -- with what is there at hand. Looks like you got some real winners out of these leftovers. I have been under the weather and on a liquid diet for a couple of days, and now my tummy is growling after reading this! I must be getting better if food looks good.


  13. Hello Cass, what a wonderful place you have! I did have my dream house in the country but health issues took us to much much warmer climate and now we reside in suburbia! I just can't get use to it! How wonderful to be able to just walk around your yard and NOT hear your neighbor sneeze! AHHH the good ole life...darn......... :) you have sooo many wonderful!


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