Hilton Head Vacation Urges Me to Take a Bite of Life Before it Recedes into the Sea.**Misc. / July 11, 2016
I love traveling. It’s the only way to change yourself into something brand new without having a transplant! It allows you to acquire another layer of consciousness, cultivate a deeper gratitude, and whether you’re ready or not, an appreciation for how small you really are.
And nowhere is that more true than by the sea in the summer.
I believe every moment spent near the water offers insights, and healing. Here on Hilton Head Island, there are no roaring waves, no 50 foot cliffs that drop into sapphire springs of swirling foam like they do in San Diego, or Pismo Beach. No cool evening breezes. It’s hot and very sticky. Why walking out in the air at midday will produce sweat in a matter of seconds as though you’re moving forward through an invisible wall of melting gel. Here everything is intensified into a relentless, carnal furnace that demands a larger and larger glass of sweet tea be consumed with ever greater urgency.
On it, or near it; it matters little. I just know the coast’s proximity to me is everything. I love it when the muddy, mollusk-covered marshes appear above the receding coastal tide. They’re black and ancient. Teeming with the undulating blanket of clay and creatures, and if followed they give way to upended ghostly roots of 100 year old trees that produce a silhouette of colonial conquests, pirate tales, and revolution. And all of it is speaking in prose through stifling humidity, and echoing through oyster shelled seawalls.
But know this, the soil is conscious, and alive, and knows you’re there. This is the gift of the sea.
As you read on, you’ll discover this is more of a travel log with a few food photos added in than a recipe laden post, but I felt you needed to understand where my head was while cooking each day. Surrounded by friends vacationing with us, I never cooked alone. First, my Sous Chef, Duncan the Golden Retriever who is loyal, endearing and loves DogTV means you’re never without a smiling face.
Vicky and Richard our gracious hosts and partners in crime, literally gave me their wonderful kitchen. They provided a calm and beautiful place to stay, and Vicky’s shutter snapped like the ticking of a clock, capturing my spatula, knife or spoon as I transformed each Farmer’s Market ingredient into something as pretty as possible.
During the entire week of searing, sauteing, spreading, slicing and braising I realized that doing so in a place that is surrounded by the sea is a constant reminder of how all of life ebbs and flows. I just found myself wanting to swallow each memory as it crashed upon me, curling my toes around these moments that rise, fall, ebb, flow and complete me. I couldn’t get enough of the bright food, the azure water, the lazy and twisting Spanish Moss. Everything was just perfect.
I’m not really sure how we packed so much into such a short amount of time. But isn’t that just like life? You blink and you’re 50. You can’t wait for the perfect wave. You just have to enjoy every moment.
Enjoy the recipe narrative and photos!
Roasted Farmer’s Market Veggies with Grilled Dijon Chicken Breasts and Rosemary Crostinis
Filet Mignon with a Fig, Port and Balsamic Reduction alongside Butter Sauteed Sweet Potatoes
Seared Pork Loin and Asparagus Spears with a Spicy Peach Ginger Sauce
Eggplant Tomato Marinara and Rotini Pasta with Farmer’s Market Italian Sausage, with Butter and Truffle Crostinis
Simple Blueberry Scones