Hey y’all! It was a whirlwind summer spending most of our time out on the boat, which led into a whirlwind fall with school starting, and soccer, and Scouts. We certainly made the most of it, but now that the weather has finally turned to fallish behavior, I’m excited to be in the kitchen more often.

I’ve had this one hanging around in draft posts for months now. Figured I should take the opportunity to share this recipe from over the summer that we really enjoyed, before I delve into the heavier cold weather stuff…

I’ve long been a fan of things prepared in a foil packet, we’ll make them quite a bit when out on the boat or camping. They’re easy, tasty, and offer an easy cleanup – a trifecta of awesomeness when it comes to diining in the open outdoors. But this one. This one really takes it to a whole new level on the flavor front, guys.

Composed of ingredients that are plentiful here in my neck of the woods, but also readily available elsewhere – tender littleneck clams, shrimp, sweet corn on the cob, baby red potatoes, smoked sausage, and a few lemon slices. Sealed up in a piece of aluminum foil and tossed on a hot grill, the juices that are released as the items cook are sealed in, creating a perfectly prepared packet.

A pretty heavy clambake, with minimal effort and time.

One of my favorite things in this world is a soft chewy pretzel. Sadly, most of the pretzels you find commercially these days are just sub-par excuses for what a pretzel should be – doughy twists of sadness. Sure, they’re edible dunked in mustard or cheese sauce, but I’m trying to live my best life y’all. Life is too short to eat shitty pretzels.

I’d made pretzel buns a few years ago, and they were surprisingly easy. Not to mention that they turned out absolutely delicious, and gorgeous. I was worried about the whole boiling process, but it was no big thing  – it’s as easy as cooking pasta.

These pretzel bites use the same process. There isn’t much rising time for the dough, so they can be made in a relatively short timeframe – perfect for snacking/munching/party purposes. They’re addicting, and you can’t help but eat “just one more”.

Then, there’s the sauce. Beer and cheese are awesome together to begin with, but in liquid form – kicked up with a little mustard and Old Bay? Pure heaven in a bowl. Do yourself a favor and pick up a six-pack on your way home one night soon, make these pretzels, and enjoy someone’s company – or Netflix and your couch. No judgement.

Source: adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

There is nothing that says “comfort food” more than a pot of beans bubbling on the stove. I got this recipe a couple of years ago from my friend and part-time neighbor Nancy, I’ve mentioned them before. We met at this bloggers event hosted by Maryland Tourism, and it turned out they have a vacation house next door here on Chincoteague, literally. It’s a small world after all.

Nancy’s husband Len and their daughter Kelsey own and operate Louthan Distilling in Baltimore, who offer amazing locally distilled whiskey and bourbon. Needless to say, we became fast friends, and usually will get together for a potluck type situation when they are down. I always ask that Nancy bring these beans when we do…

Pintos, tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices are simmered in a beer broth for a couple of hours, to make for a flavorful and tender bean – that lends itself great for burritos, or tacos, or on top of cornbread. Also great mashed up and served refried. If you don’t have the time to spare, you can make them in under an hour (from dried state) in the Instant Pot – you’ll find directions for that included with the regular recipe below.

A hefty dose of cilantro stirred in at the end, and a pint of beer on the side – and you’re good to go. Speaking of beer and locally crafted goodness, have you guys heard that we now have a brewery here on Chincoteague Island? The first on the the Eastern Shore of Virginia. W00t!  I know, I know – so exciting!

Black Narrows Brewing Company opened their doors at the end of December, and we couldn’t be happier that they’re here. It’s run by a wonderful family, they use local ingredients, and their beer is epic. If you’re visiting the island make sure to stop by and see them on Chicken City Road – right behind the Brant.

Enjoy a pint, and get a yourself growler (or three!) to bring home. The Louthans are heading into town this weekend actually, and I can’t wait to get up there with them and enjoy a pint. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Fall has arrived here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia – which means, oyster harvests are in full swing in the waters surrounding our little peninsula. From the salts on the seaside, to the sweeter guys harvested out of the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers on the western shore – we have such an amazing variety of oysters in Virginia.

A couple of weeks ago the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce hosted it’s 45th Annual Chincoteague Oyster Festival – an event that’s anticipated all year long. Fried oysters, steamed oysters, raw oysters…a true celebration of the briny bivalve.

I was running around taking photos to earn my keep, in exchange for my ticket. But, I managed to tote over my little portable grill and snag a few oysters to throw on it, to get some photos to share of this super easy way to prepare them with you guys.

Oysters on the half, brushed with a simple garlic-herb butter while on the grill. Couldn’t get easier, delicious, or more impressive. If shucking isn’t your thing, you can steam them until they pop open, and then pry off the top shell – the garlic butter will still keep them plump and juicy.

If you’re really lucky, like I was on this particular day, you may find a tiny friend lurking inside your oyster. Pea crabs are considered a delicacy by many around here, tender yet slightly crunchy little crustacean parasites that like to set up shop inside our oysters. We eat them, but if it’s not your thing – by all means, serve them their final eviction notice before enjoying.

A few minutes on the grill is all you need, just until you see the butter start to sizzle. A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to finish.  Enjoy them hot, and be prepared to reload the grill. You can’t eat just one!