WRITTEN ON July 21st, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Uncategorized

Last Sunday night, the hubster and I had a rare treat: we were invited on friend’s boat for a cocktail cruise, complete with picnic dinner.  We were so excited; it was the highlight of our weekend plans.

I’m kind of in awe of the fact that we live so close to the water.  I’m a beach baby, a water rat; I start to feel landlocked anywhere west of Harrisburg.  Still, though we were close to the water growing up in Baltimore, with the Inner Harbor a 10 minute drive and Annapolis and the bay a mere 45 minutes away, going to the beach remained a treat.  We weren’t a boating family, so any time I got the opportunity to make a guest appearance on a friend’s vessel, I jumped at it.

We’ve been taking full advantage of our month long “stay-cation.”  When we lived in Manhattan, we spent every summer weekend high-tailing it to the beach, or the country, or just about anywhere that wasn’t New York City in the dead of July.  This year we didn’t have to do that.  We’ve stayed firmly put for the last four weeks, enjoying the house and the luxury of hitting the beach for a couple hours and still getting to sleep in our own bed. We’ve spent Friday nights having cocktails overlooking Huntington Harbor, dreamily picking out which boats would be ours. But Sunday was my maiden voyage through the harbor.  It didn’t disappoint.

The six of us arrived at the docks in high spirits. The day was no different than the previous fourteen: blisteringly hot, with nary a breeze to be felt on land. The water was the place to be.  We drifted out of the harbor on the Rusty Belles, waving at fellow boaters, cracking beers and feeling pretty great about ourselves and the evening ahead.

We anchored in a little cove after a oohing and aahing at all the fancy houses on the water that we could never in a million years afford (but again picking out which ones we’d have, of course). Before unpacking our pot luck picnic, we all decided to take a dip.  I’ll admit to getting a little freaked out when I felt a small jelly fish brush past my leg, but all in all it was the relief I’d been seeking all week. Lying back to look up at the sun setting in the sky, tasting the salt water on my lips and breathing in the briny scent of the Long Island Sound, I felt about as close to perfectly happy as I have in a long time.  I might start a new movement called Float Therapy.

Clambering back onto the boat, rather ungracefully, we piled our plates high with the best that summer has to offer: grilled lemon chicken, corn salad, orzo and haricot verts salad, tomato and mozzarella, and brownies with balsamic macerated strawberries.  We clinked our wine spritzer and gin and tonic filled glasses to lots of things that night: summer on Long Island, good food, new friends, perfect sunsets, the Rusty Belles, and a captain who was sober enough to guide us home.

The corn salad is this recipe, with the addition of 1/2 diced cucumber and 1 tbsp cumin.  Find the brownie recipe here, and top with: 10 sliced strawberries tossed with  2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar ad 1 tbsp brown sugar.

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