Seafood boil and homemade ice cream for July 4 on the beach
When I was
up, we celebrated Independence Day with a backyard picnic that included
lots and lots of cousins running and playing together all
afternoon. We would all get together for the town’s parade
then come back to our house for the picnic.
It was terrific fun, but the best part of the Fourth of July
us all was that we always made ice cream in a hand-cranked wooden
The day began early with most of my brothers and sisters piling into
Dad’s car for a trip to the ice house. There we would be
enthralled by the huge, menacing metal tongs that were used to lift the
ice block and place it in a galvanized tub Dad brought with us just for
Once back home, he would attack the ice block with a pick to break it
into manageable pieces. We kids loved to catch the
chips as they flung off the block and crunch on them. Then
chunks and rock salt were packed around the tall, metal canister that
would hold the ice cream base that Mom made in the kitchen.
We could never agree on what flavor to make and, like many kids, most
of us liked vanilla anyway so we always made vanilla ice cream and had
a variety of toppings. Most everyone wanted chocolate sauce.
Once the mixture was poured into the canister the long and tedious
chore of churning it began.
All hands, literally, were called on deck to take a turn at
cranking. At first, it was exciting and fun, but before long
would have enough and want to quit.
It was understood, however, that you had to take a turn if you wanted
to eat the ice cream, so we carried on until we were sure our arms
would fall off. Towards the end of the freezing process, it
more and more difficult to push the handle, even using both hands, and
the bigger kids took over.
Now I plug an electric ice-cream maker into the wall socket and place
the mix in an electric powered freezer. And I don’t need ice
rock salt either.
To honor our nation’s independence, I suggest sauces made of two
colored berries - red and blue. Just this once, forget the
Dry ice for your cooler is available at Risky Business Seafood at
Oden’s Dock in Hatteras, but not anywhere on Ocracoke. You
have to pack your ice cream in sufficient ice to keep it frozen, and I
suggest you store it in a chilled, covered stainless steel container.
If you have a small cooler you can dedicate to the ice cream, you will
not have to open it until you are ready to enjoy dessert.
VANILLA ICE CREAM
makers all come
with recipes and this is one we like from our Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
Ice Cream Maker Attachment. Be forewarned: It is
2 1/2 cups
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups
(20 ml) pure
In medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot
but not boiling, stirring often.
Remove from heat; set aside.
Place egg yolks and sugar in electric mixer bowl and whip on number 2
speed about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly
Continuing on that low speed, very gradually add half-and-half; mix
until well blended. Return half-and-half mixture to medium
saucepan and cook until small bubbles form around the edge and mixture
is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in whipping cream,
vanilla, and salt.
Cover and chill thoroughly in the fridge (not the freezer) at least 8
The mixture will then be ready for whichever ice cream maker you are
using. Follow manufacturer’s instruction and then freeze in
airtight container, preferably metal.
This recipe yields 16 servings of 1/2 cup each.
2 boxes fresh
About 1 cup
Mix all together the day before the picnic and refrigerate.
sugar will draw the juices from the berries to produce a sauce. Adjust
sugar as desired.
2 boxes fresh
strawberries, hulled and sliced
About 1 cup
Follow the same technique as with the blueberries.
Another family favorite once we were older and most of us lived in
Florida near fresh seafood was low-country boil, a delicious one-pot
meal that requires minimal preparation time and little clean up.
It is an ideal beach picnic.
It is messy, and that’s part of the pleasure. It contains
corn that you eat with your hands and a variety of unpeeled or
unshucked shellfish that is best cooked in the shell for optimum
For your beach picnic, you need only bring the ingredients -- a big pot
and a source of heat, either a charcoal or gas grill. (You can also
cook on an open fire, but beach fires are temporarily banned on the
seashore because of serious drought conditions.)
Don’t forget a fire lighter. It is more reliable at the beach
Saltwater is readily available for your cooking medium. Just
your cooking pot into the ocean. You can also wash your food
the ocean before tossing into the pot.
Lots of towels would be good, but you can wash your hands in the
Don’t forget garbage bags or bins, so you don’t leave a trace of your
party behind and that includes organic materials such as corn husks and
shells. National Seashore policy requires that everything you
bring in, you must take out.
There is no definite recipe for this seafood boil. Adjust the
ingredients according to your taste preferences. It is best
think in terms of how many people you will serve and how much of each
ingredient a person is likely to eat.
Following is a generous suggestion for six people that allows for a
relaxed, drawn-out dinner at the beach, where we always seem hungrier
Because so little prepping is needed you can spend your time catching
clams and crabs for the pot instead!
FOR THE BEACH
ingredients are fresh
3 dozen clams
2 dozen hard
sausage, cut into thirds
1/2 pounds small
new potatoes (that require no peeling or cutting)
6 ears of
and broken in half
of green beans
Old Bay or
These seasonings and the seawater provide more than enough salt and
pepper, so there is no need to add either.
Generously season the water with Old Bay or Cajun seasoning and bring
the water to a boil. I suggest you use only enough water to
the potatoes and corn. The seafood, when added, will release
delicious liquids into the water, adding to the flavor. The
seafood itself is better steamed than boiled.
First, start cooking the sausage to help flavor the cooking water and
add the potatoes, corn, and beans. Follow with crabs, then
and finally shrimp. You will know it is ready when
crabs are red, the shrimp turn pink, and the clams open.
A loaf of crunchy crusted bread you break with your hands is good for
sopping up the flavorful broth if you haven’t already scooped it up
with half a clam shell.
Fires temporarily banned at the seashore
In conjunction with the state’s ban on open burning, all beach fires
are temporarily banned on Cape Hatteras National Seashore
The use of grills for cooking is still permitted. Caution
be exercised while cooking outdoors and lit materials should be
confined to the grill apparatus.
Visitors are asked to dispose of used charcoal and any smoking
materials, such as cigar or cigarette butts, carefully and away from
any combustible materials.
Additionally, visitors are reminded that fireworks are strictly
prohibited in the National Seashore. They are also prohibited in the
villages of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. This ban includes
When beach fires are allowed again, they are permitted only until 12
midnight and prohibited between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. Ground
are permitted only on the ocean beach below high tide line and must be
more than 100 feet from a vegetated area. Fires larger than
feet in diameter are prohibited. The use of non-wood products
wood products containing non-wood items (e.g., metal, glass, plastic)
for fire construction is prohibited.
Fires are prohibited within resource protection closures or within 100
meters of any turtle nest closure. Before you leave the
you must extinguish your fire with water.
And please remember that all vehicles must be off the seashore beaches
by 10 p.m.