Dining Outside the Home: Ray’s Seafood in Rye, New Hampshire! Baked stuffed lobster doesn’t get any better than this. No cracking the shell and digging for the meat. The chef at Ray’s Seafood takes care of that for you. As the server places the plate of succulent lobster chunks bathed in high-quality sherry and parmesan seasoning on the table, take note of the buttery cracker topping. It’ll makes your taste buds drool. Not what you’d expect from an ordinary fish shack. Ray’s is a cut above the rest. Go for the freshest seafood and house-caught lobster. But also go for an outstanding ocean view.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Open-Faced Sammie! The popularity of open-faced sandwiches has been brewing since the 15th century, when it was typically eaten for breakfast, lunch, snack, or supper. Although the layers have changed, butter or cheese remain the favorites as spreads, plus any combination of meat and vegetables. This is where your personal palate comes in. Or, perhaps whatever you have on hand in the refrigerator. Gardens abound with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes. But don’t limit yourself there. I find avocados to be perfectly satisfying, especially with a crispy slab of applewood smoked bacon. Like I said, the choice is yours. One thing is for certain, it’s definitely easier to eat an open faced sandwich with a fork and knife.
2 slices pumpernickel rye bread, artisan-style
1 tablespoon sea salt butter
3 slices Swiss cheese, divided
3 slices bacon, cooked
1 ripe avocado, pitted and mashed
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tomatillo, chopped
1 tomato, sliced
1 egg, hard-boiled and chopped
1/8 teaspoon Everything But Bagel seasoning
Toast artisan pumpernickel rye bread. Butter with sea salt. Place 1 1/2 slices of Swiss cheese on each piece of toast. Microwave on High 15 seconds to melt cheese. Layer with 1 1/2 slices crisp bacon. In a small bowl, combine mashed avocado, lime juice, and garlic powder. Mix well. Fold in chopped tomatillo. Spread over each sandwich. Place two tomato slices over avocado mixture. Spoon chopped hard-boiled egg pieces over tomatoes. Sprinkle with Everything But Bagel seasoning. Makes two open-face sandwiches.
Dining Outside the Home: Petey’s Summertime Seafood in Rye, New Hampshire. The menu said “Award-Winning Clam Chowder”, just the facts sprinkled with a second helping of bragging rights. As the waitress swept by our table, balancing a tray of four steaming bowls of clam chowder surrounded by cracker packets, it left behind an amazing aroma too tempting to resist. First course decided. Next up, an incredible dish known as “Baked Stuffed Lobster Pie ‘n Butter”. When the staff recommends something they eat (often) themselves, prepare to enter Lobster Heaven. It truly does exist.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Cucumber Strawberry Sandwiches! Here’s a combination you will truly enjoy: crisp sliced cucumbers with juicy sweet strawberries. Together they come across as eye candy. Whip up a creamy spread of sea salt butter, Neufchâtel cheese, and Italian seasonings to slather across the top of a toasted slice of artisan rye bread. Add a sprig of dill, sprinkled with tiny thyme leaves to crown things off. The results may find you believing you embarked on a journey through the charming countryside of Tuscany.
CUCUMBER STRAWBERRY SANDWICHES
8 ounces Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons sea salt butter, softened
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1 large cucumber, sliced
1 pint strawberries, stems removed and halved
2-4 slices rye bread, toasted
Fresh dill sprig, for garnish
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
Cream together Neufchâtel cheese, butter, and yogurt until smooth. Fold in Italian seasoning and dill to blend. Refrigerate one hour. Slice cucumber; halve strawberries. Toast rye bread; slather with seasoned cheese spread. Top with cucumber slices and strawberries. Add dill sprig and thyme leaves for garnish.
Just north of the Hamptons on the Eastern Seaboard is a small community called Rye, where lobster is plentiful and people drive there to eat seafood. Yes, please. We indulged ourselves in a monstrous lobster roll, broiled lobster on a stick, crispy fried clams, and chunky clam chowder. Thank you, Leah, for the exceptional service!