Beach Picnic



Today’s blog post is a few days late as ‘somebody’ forgot their camera cord (I can’t imagine who). My family and I spent this week in Blue Mountain Beach area of Santa Rosa along 30A. If you’re unfamiliar with this area of the Florida panhandle, Highway 30A connects several coastal beach towns along the Gulf of Mexico. We lucked out with perfect weather and spent as much time as possible at the beach. We packed a cooler with lunch provisions and enjoyed some Florida sun (while slathered down in SPF, of course). I usually keep beach sandwiches simple with pimento cheese and white bread but decided to get more creative on this trip. We enjoyed one of my brother’s favorites, a chicken caesar, and my parents' favorite, a tomato caprese with pesto aioli. The beauty of these sandwiches is all you need to do is cook some bacon, and the rest is assemblage only.



For the chicken caesar, slather down toasted ciabatta rolls with Ina Garten’s caesar dressing. Top with fresh baby arugula, grilled chicken, tomato slices, salt and pepper, crispy bacon, more arugula, and some freshly-shaved parmesan. I added an extra 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice to the dressing, which kept it tasting bright and fresh. I made the dressing two days ahead and kept it in a sealed container. You could roast the chicken yourself, but I opted to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save time.


Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa's Caesar Dressing



For the tomato caprese, I made a shortcut pesto aioli by mixing 2 parts mayonnaise with 1 part store-bought pesto. You could make your own pesto, but I wanted to make this as easy as possible while on vacation. For three sandwiches, I made about a half cup of aioli. I think adding lemon juice would also be delicious, but sadly didn't have any available at the beach house. Spread the pesto aioli on the toasted ciabatta rolls, then add arugula, buffalo mozzarella slices, tomato slices, salt and pepper, and more arugula. I wrapped the sandwiches in parchment paper for easy transport.




I packed individual bags of sea salt, barbeque, and salt and vinegar Cape Cod chips. I ran by the local Black Bear Bread Co. in Grayton and picked up snickerdoodle, sugar, molasses ginger, and chocolate chip cookies, which were all extremely good (snickerdoodle is my favorite; I also love their iced coffee). To balance out the chips and cookies, I packed clementines (which I'm pretty sure no one ate - ha!). I filled a second cooler with drinks, bringing Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, Corona Light (with lime wedges), and Diet Cokes.


Cookies: Black Bear Bread Co.




 


Other things to remember:

  • Bottle opener

  • Napkins

  • Trash bags

  • Hand sanitizer/wipes



 

Thanks for reading!

- Sam

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