Simple is best when cooking at beach

Published 2:08 am Saturday, June 2, 2018

We just spent a week at the beach but mostly working to get it ready for summer rental. I did get to eat at Highlands Bar and Grill on my way to the beach (I mentioned this before) but it was a little iffy at one point. Highand’s has become very popular since winning the James Beard Award and it is hard to get a reservation. We always eat at the bar so I never worry about a reservation but this time people were lined up outside the restaurant way early and we got there 5 minutes after the restaurant opened and there was one seat left at the bar. Well, I took the seat while my husband stood and he said if I have to stand to eat we will have dinner here. Well, a waiter I knew came by and I asked if he could possibly get another seat at the bar and he found one and everyone at the bar was nice and they slid down their stools to make room for one more. Everyone was there to eat, not just drink at the bar, and I will say the service was great and the food wonderful.

On the way out we met Pardis, Mr. Stitt’s wife, and she is just as charming as her husband. Everyone was so happy for them after being nominated nine other times for the award. They truly deserved it.

Back to the beach. I find it hard to cook at my beach house since it is all electric and I do love gas. So I fumble around most of the time trying to get things right with the cooking, and also I don’t have the knives I always use. So simple is the motto when entertaining friends.

I use a tried and true recipe like feta shrimp (I have given this recipe before but I bet some of you have never tried it) and it is always a winner. A simple salad and again this year my husband found some chainey briars at the beach and I kicked them up a notch this year and our friends were surprised how good they were.

Chainey briars you may recall from last year’s article, are also called catbrier, bull briar, and greenbrier. It is a curly green native vine, Smilax bona-nox, readily identifiable by the spade-shaped leaves that distinguish it from the other vines in the same locations. One uses the tender ends and you can eat them raw, but they can be grilled or sautéed in olive oil. It is really kinda nice to go out and pick some greens for your dinner by just walking down to the beach.

So for easy, beach entertaining try this shrimp recipe and look for some chainey briars!!


Connie’s Feta Shrimp

Serves 4

1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined) I used a larger shrimp this year and this seemed better and they were also wild caught

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 cup feta cheese (crumbled) always buy the block of feta. The crumbles are ready to use but not as good as the block.

1 tablespoon oregano

1 tablespoon thyme

Red pepper flakes (use as many as you like)



¼ cup olive oil or more if you like

In an oven proof dish put the shrimp, then add the tomatoes, garlic, cheese. Add the spices evenly over the dish. Add the olive oil last and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the red pepper flakes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve over rice. A simple lettuce salad is a perfect addition to the shrimp.


Connie’s Chainey Briar Recipe

One bunch of chainey briars, about as many as a bunch of asparagus. Sauté the briars in ¼ cup olive oil for about 10 minutes. At the end of cooking add ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and ¼ cup chopped walnuts. Delish!