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Cooking on Vacation

SarahJB's picture

We're going to a beach house this weekend, and I'm making a list of essentials and a list of stuff to buy for a few days of good eating. We're on the beach, so I'm definitely checking out the fresh seafood, but I thought I would do some really nice steaks for the first night, maybe with a bearnaise sauce and some fries. What do you like to cook on vacation that's not too involved or doesn't require too many ingredients?

Napie's picture

(post #37872, reply #1 of 32)

Reservations :)

SarahJB's picture

(post #37872, reply #2 of 32)

I thought about that too. :-) It is a vacation, after all!

Lee's picture

(post #37872, reply #3 of 32)

We generally eat out 2 or 3 times over the course of a week's vacation and cook the other nights, which is enjoyable.  It's fun to shop for whatever local ingredients might be available and I keep the menu simple.  When we had our vacation home in Key West, we ate fish and seafood almost exclusively while we were there.  I'd make a nice salad to go with whatever we bought that day at the fish market, a fresh veggie, maybe a salsa, a simple side like couscous or seasoned rice, some Cuban bread, a glass or two of wine -- it doesn't get any better.  I'm not above using prepared foods and packaged mixes for sides when we vacation.  Near East, for instance, markets some very nice rice and whole grain pilafs.  I used to buy boxes of Knorr seasoned rice in the Keys and they were pretty good, too. 

roz's picture

(post #37872, reply #4 of 32)

We have an opportunity to go to Daluis, France, about an hour north of Nice. A cottage is being rented for us and have no idea how equipped it will be. I can't bring my knives...only carry-on baggage. I'm hoping food will be the least of my concerns.

I am hoping for a good open air market, a decent grocery and a bakery. We'll just eat what is available....But am curious about what others have to say.

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Risottogirl's picture

(post #37872, reply #6 of 32)

I'd bet on there being a nice market nearby in that area...when are you going? We have always traveled in the south of France in September and October and have found the markets to be plentiful.


Most places we have rented there have been decently equipped (better than city apts) and quite often the owners are nearby and can provide anything else you might need.


You'd be amazed what I can do with just an Opinel :)



Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay


Edited 9/9/2009 10:40 am ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

sally ryan's picture

(post #37872, reply #7 of 32)

We're heading for Cape Cod on Friday (from Canada) for a week's condo stay.  I'm looking fwd to creating some great seafood meals. 


I'm with Gretchen when she says she can eat better at home for a fraction of the cost. I can't recall the last restaurant meal that didn't leave me thinking I could have done it better.  To be fair, I don't frequent any famous or five star restaurants in my neck of the woods. Also, eating at home eliminates the drinking and driving issues and a few extra glasses of wine can't hurt.


As for lunches, I hope to find some eating places with an ocean view.  If the showers hold off!


Always buy a local cookbook on my travels too.


Best meal I ever had on the Cape was a dish called Lobster Pie. Not really a pie, served in a shell with lobster, sherry, butter and cream.  Topped off with crushed potato chips.  I've made it at home since, but it's not as good as it was that first time.


 


 


 


 


 

Gretchen's picture

(post #37872, reply #8 of 32)

Don't count on grilling if you are in a condo. Fortunately for us, ours is on the first floor, but we have to take the grill away from the building when we use it. When the kids are there, it's their job. DH and I just don't bother, and there is plenty to fix, not grilled.


Have fun.


Gretchen
Gretchen
sally ryan's picture

(post #37872, reply #9 of 32)

There are gas grills poolside, so hope to use them!


 

courgette's picture

(post #37872, reply #10 of 32)

We do the timeshare condo thing and when the kids were younger and all with us we would either take them out or order pizza one night. Their choice. The rest of the time I cooked simple meals. We would all go to the grocery store ( My rule: I refused to go alone as I was on vacation too) everyone got to choose something we didn't ordinarily buy: sugared cereal, ice cream novelties, etc.


I took staples from home stuff like sugar, s&p, olive oil, rice, any spices/seasonings I wanted to use. I sorta would plan a few dishes so I knew what to take and we'd get what looked good for the rest.


We have booked Edisto Island for March and for the first time it may just be DH and me....suspect the kid will want to go on a drunken trip to Quebec with his friends. It is a rite of passage here. Note that when the girls went, we didn't know all the details....probably better in the long run. In any case we went to Edisto two years ago and loved it. It is somewhat isolated and has a gorgeous beach for walking. Cheap golf. what more can you ask for?


 


Mo

thecooktoo's picture

(post #37872, reply #11 of 32)

We have a condo in Williamsburg and go down at least 4 to 6 times a year.  That's the one time I get to cook what I want.  Just me and DW.  I fix breakfast in, we eat lunch out and stop every day at the market and pick up what we want for dinner.


For those of you that know Williamsburg, we always have at least one lunch at the cheese and gourmet shop next to the Fat Canary; then one at The Trellis (Marcel Desaunier) and always a salad, soup and wine lunch at Olive Garden!


Jim

Gretchen's picture

(post #37872, reply #12 of 32)

Edisto is lovely. And, ah yes, CanAm days at the SC beaches. More Canadian plates than American.

Gretchen

Gretchen
courgette's picture

(post #37872, reply #13 of 32)

Exactly why we don't go to Myrtle Beach anymore! D**m Canadians!


Mo

MadMom's picture

(post #37872, reply #14 of 32)

I know!  Can't swing a cat without hitting a Canadian, LOL.  Sort of like Florida with all the retired New Yorkers, right?



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courgette's picture

(post #37872, reply #15 of 32)

It's the Quebecers that have taken over Florida.....


Mo


Technically they're Canadians, they just don't think so.....


Edited 9/9/2009 10:30 am ET by courgette

roz's picture

(post #37872, reply #23 of 32)

We're going the last week in September. The DH is giving concertina lessons to a family there. Morning lessons, lunch, afternoon playing time, dinner and probably more music after dinner. Sort of band camp for adults!

We do have a day trip planned to Beaume de Venise, his cousin lives there and we will visit and an overnight. I don't speak French, except one word at a time!

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Risottogirl's picture

(post #37872, reply #25 of 32)

That is the BEST time to visit the south of France IMO, the markets will be chock full of good stuff. And I have never visited ANY French town that lacked a decent boulangerie.


Did the family arrange the rental for you? If it is a cottage that is typically rented out for vacations, it will likely be equipped with at least basic stuff. Maybe you could make an inquiry? In my experience, usually when one signs the agreement there is a list of the stuff in the kitchen - perhaps they will have that list.


I have bought (and left behind) more salad spinners than I can count. I just hate to wash and dry leafy greens without one. That is always lacking and it is too big to bring one and they are too $$ to bother bringing it home with me (besides I have 3 in different sizes).


It would not be out of the question for me to buy an inexpensive chef's knife at Monoprix and leave that behind. It would probably stay sharp enough for the few days I need it :)


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

roz's picture

(post #37872, reply #26 of 32)

Great idea about a cheap knife in case I need one! I had thought of pre-mailing one of my knives, but was too chicken to trust the postal service! A cheap knife it is!

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
SarahJB's picture

(post #37872, reply #16 of 32)

I'm sure finding good food will be the least of your concerns! Open-air markets, fresh bread, cheese, cured meats--all you need to buy is a pocket knife and you'll be set. Have you been to France? Going with people who've been? I lived in Aix-en-Provence for a year and had a wonderful time.

roz's picture

(post #37872, reply #24 of 32)

I've been twice...once with a group of travel agents and once with the DH cycling through the Perigord. My French is atrocious, someone speaks to me and I get brain freeze! All my high school French, college Spanish and adult ed Italian come out garbled!

Aix-en-Provence was lovely for the short time I was there.

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
SarahJB's picture

(post #37872, reply #31 of 32)

LOL! I'm slowly losing my once-fluent French; it's true, if you don't use it every day, it disappears! I do a conversation class when I have time, but it's other non-native speakers, which isn't quite the same as speaking French in France. I have a trip planned in three years after I finish graduate school, and I'm really hoping I still know the basic phrases!

Gretchen's picture

(post #37872, reply #5 of 32)

We go at least 4 times a year and our first night is usually something I have brought (casserole) or some oysters at a restaurant. After driving and settling, I just want to sit on the porch and watch the waves.


I take a couple of salads to have as go withs for lunches or dinners--slaw, marinated vegetable salad, a mix for making a Greek salad, pea salad.


We go to the seafood market several times during the week. We used to eat out 2-3 times, but have decided we can eat at home for a fraction of the price, and better.  Love getting a big piece of grouper and grilling it.


There's a recipe here for a Thai seafood chowder from BA that would be terrific and easy at the beach--mussels or clams, fish, scallops and shrimp--or whatever combo you like.


Gretchen
Gretchen
SarahJB's picture

(post #37872, reply #17 of 32)

I thought the same thing about seafood; I'd rather buy it from a great fish market and cook it myself. Plus I'm a little picky about seafood--can't stand mussels or scallops and certain types of fish--so I'm better off buying what I know I'll like.

Great idea about bringing some prepared salads--thanks.

dorcast's picture

(post #37872, reply #18 of 32)

I rented a house this past month, and the first thing I packed was coffee and Parmalat milk.
Parmalat is the milk that comes in ####box, and doesn't have to be refrigerated until open.

I didn't want to go to the store on my first night, and was very happy to have it the next morning. Of course, if you are not addicted like me, this won't be necessary.

SarahJB's picture

(post #37872, reply #19 of 32)

Thank you! You just reminded me to pack my French press and some coffee! I don't use milk, but the coffee wasn't on my list. I would have been so mad at myself!

Gretchen's picture

(post #37872, reply #20 of 32)

Our villa is outfitted with staples and a goodly spice cabinet so we don't have to do that. We do bring condiments and unusual spices--like saffron for the paella that is often a meal.


When camping and going to our beach place I go through meals and see what I'll need to fill them out.  Don't forget appetizers, crackers, etc. if you have faves from home--or need to clean out the cheese drawer.


Gretchen
Gretchen
suz's picture

(post #37872, reply #21 of 32)

I always bring Italian French blend from Zabars when I travel...ground for the road but only use whole beans in the house.

Marcia's picture

(post #37872, reply #22 of 32)

Don't forget a pepper mill...I believe they make small disposable ones now.

The only place I've cooked on vacation was a house in Maine on Frenchman's Bay. We picked mussels from the bay, and they were the best one's we've ever had. The owner of the camp, as the cabins there are called, left a list of purveyors of food and other things. We were able to get fresh lobster and crab from a lovely woman, and there was a local farmer's market twice a week about ten miles away. We ate very well with local ingredients and things were fresh and wonderful.

Eating out is important, too, of course...you are on vacation, after all!

SarahJB's picture

(post #37872, reply #30 of 32)

Sounds delicious--I think I've decided on clam chowder and whole crab for Saturday night, but I may have to change plans depending on what's fresh/available. I don't think there's a farmer's market around, so I'm bringing veg/fruit with us.

Marcia's picture

(post #37872, reply #32 of 32)

I went back and see you don't like mussels, but what you're planning sounds good. Have a wonderful time...and eat well. :)

Regality's picture

(post #37872, reply #27 of 32)

I really, really hate to cook while I'm on vacation, but as the years add more digestive problems, I've had to start doing it.  But I don't cook anything that would be appealing to you, unless you're a big fan of boiled, plain boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  *L*