THE WEEKEND DOUBLE is not the latest in lotteries -- although it can be chancy. It's the beach house foursome, in which you invite another couple to share your ocean-front A-frame in the latest variation on the Washington power game.
Even if you and your Significant Other usually settle for steamed crabs and junk food, you'll want to treat your friends to at least a bit of a sit-down. But the food stores at the beach tend to be fairly limited; and anyway, why should you waste tanning time laboring over a hot stove? Play it cool by limiting your Friday night shopping to one bag, and your kitchen forays to 20 minutes at a time .
The trick is to design the menus with interlocking ingredients, cutting the cooking time in half. By starting off Friday night with peel-and-eat boiled shrimp, you can get halfway into Sunday's shrimp salad lunch. Slice your tomatoes all at once, and eliminate any mess involved in Saturday's broiled tomato sandwiches. Grill Sunday's steak along with Saturday's chicken; steam all vegetables simultaneously. In fact, if you want to boil the pasta ahead of time, you won't have to even look at a hot stove on Sunday.
FRIDAY DINNER: Peel-your-own boiled shrimp; sliced tomatoes vinaigrette; room temperature limas (or snow peas) with sour cream and cracked pepper. SATURDAY LUNCH: Open-face grilled tomato, bacon and cheese sandwiches.SATURDAY DINNER: Mesquite-grilled Cornish hens, steamed asparagus and blackened onions.SUNDAY BRUNCH: Artichokes stuffed with shrimp salad.SUNDAY DINNER: Cold sliced London broil and pasta primavera.
Send one person to the store Friday night (see grocery list) Then enjoy the weekend in the following order. FRIDAY NIGHT: Boil all the shrimp. Place the London broil into the teriyaki marinade (I use lock-top plastic freezer bags -- they're easier to turn). Slice all the tomatoes. Shake the lima beans or snow peas in a hot skillet, using melted butter if they're fresh; if they're frozen, the frost on them is probably enough to keep them from sticking. Set one serving aside and refrigerate, and stir sour cream and black pepper into the rest. Dress half the tomatoes with oil and vinegar; dump about two-thirds of the shrimp onto the table. When everyone is full, ask them to peel the remaining shrimp. While somebody else washes up, chop the extra pound or so for the shrimp salad. SATURDAY NOON: Layer split English muffin halves with slices of tomato, Canadian bacon and cheese. Run under the broiler. Soak the mesquite.SATURDAY DINNER: Start up the grill. If you're bored by mesquite, lay some fresh rosemary branches on the charcoal instead. Split the Cornish hens, rub with butter or oil, garlic, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and grill. Peel the papery outer skin from the onions; rub with oil or butter, and lay on the grill, turning as they blacken and soften. Meanwhile, steam all the asparagus, setting a bunch aside; and when that's done, steam the artichokes. When the chicken is done and the fire has settled, put the steak on; but cook only to rare, then let it rest all night before slicing. You can even put it back in the marinade.SUNDAY MORNING: Stir mayo and/or sour cream into the chopped shrimp. Scrape out the choke from the middle of the artichokes and stuff with shrimp mixture. If you feel energetic, boil the pasta. (Note: Early risers may nibble on leftover English muffins.)SUNDAY NIGHT: Slice the cold marinated steak on the bias. To make the cold pasta primavera, slice the extra asparagus into inch-long pieces, coarsely dice the last of the tomatoes, add the last few limas, and leftover shrimp or artichokes or chicken or onion or anything and mix with the cooled pasta. Dress with mayonnaise thinned to taste with white wine vinegar.
3 pounds of shrimp
4 or 5 ripe tomatoes
One package of Canadian bacon
One medium log of cheese with hot peppers
Six English muffins
Two Cornish hens
London broil, 1 1/2-inches thick, enough for four people
1 large bunch fresh asparagus
2 boxes of lima beans (or a hefty bag of snow peas)
4 large, firm white onions1 box pasta or a pound of fresh pastaButter
Lime or lemon
One bottle of teriyaki marinade (or a jar of homemade sauce).
Cupboard staples: salt, pepper and garlic; cocktail sauce; white wine vinegar and oil; mayonnaise; butter; aluminum foil; mesquite briquets.