Last week my cousin came to visit for a few days from Sunnyvale, California. She has lived on the west coast for the last 35 plus years.
Growing up we lived about a half hour away from each other in small towns in Pennsylvania. Our mothers were sisters and enjoyed a very close relationship.
Through most of our youth our families shared many holidays together. Thanksgiving at their home, Passover, and the Jewish New Year at ours, and much time spent together at the home of our grandparents who lived near us.
Many Sundays my sister, brothers, parents and I would all pile into our car and with our grandparents in theirs, we would make the trip caravan style to my cousin’s house for a backyard barbeque and an afternoon of baseball.
Those are wonderful memories to have. While my mom and her sister and their cousins all seemed to settle down where they were raised many of our generation flew a bit further from the nest.
That kind of extended family we grew up with no longer exists. College, career paths, marriage and children have led many of us to put down roots far from the home where we were raised.
The close relationship our parents had with their siblings and their own parents we witnessed growing up has impacted our lives today.
It is the reason to this day that we all try to stay connected regardless of the distances.
Be it through weddings, bar-mitzvahs, family reunions, or simply by driving 3 or 4 hours to visit a cousin who has recently moved to her coast we continue to maintain the strong connection to family the foundation of which was laid down for us so many years ago.
We planned a busy few days for my cousin. She arrived in time for lunch, and with the temperature in the 80’s I thought a summer salad was called for. I chose a Shrimp Salad, cold roasted golden beets with a citrus vinaigrette, a summer fruit plate, and a crusty baguette for the menu. For dessert a fresh peach tart .
Here is the recipe for the wonderful shrimp salad…
Ina’s Shrimp Salad ( from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten)
Note: This recipe serves 12 but it is easily adapted for serving less.
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon cut into quarters
4 pounds large shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 shrimp per pound) *
2 cups good mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 cup minced red onion (1 onion)
3 cups minced celery (6 stalks)
*you can also buy frozen large shrimp already shelled and deveined with the tail on. Defrost in the bag overnight in the fridge and proceed with the directions below. Remove the tail after cooking.
When cooking shrimp use plenty of salt, and do not overcook!
Bring 5 quarts of water, 3 tablespoons salt, and the lemon to a boil in a large saucepan. Add half the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Cook uncovered for only 3 minutes or until the shrimp are barely cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Let cool; then peel, and devein the shrimp.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine or vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and dill. Combine with the peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings. Serve or cover and refrigerate for several hours.