Throughout the year, I fantasize about the meals I am going to create at the beach. I read cookbooks and flag complicated salads for lunch and grilling recipes with interesting sauces and sides. I imagine table settings and the family and friends who are going to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I have a vision.
Then summer comes and it all goes right out the window. I am back to basics. Farm fresh, yes. But basics. Tomatoes and mozzarella. Corn on the cob. Steamers. Soft shelled crabs (try cleaning them, oil/salt/pepper and putting them right on the grill for 5-10 minutes -- they are delicious). Shrimp on skewers. Salmon and tuna and sea scallops, all plainly grilled. Ribs and chicken with Pete's BBQ sauce (from Guido's in the Berkshires). An occasional rib eye steak.
Turns out everyone is just as happy as they were years ago when my sister, sisters-in-law and I labored all day, in and out of the kitchen prepping and turning burners on and off, so that we could present the Voila! meal. Which was then devoured in the same time as most any other.
There's something about farm fresh, simple and yummy and fresh air that--together with good conversation and laughs--just makes everything perfect. No need to exert oneself unnecessarily. A good rose and simple is always best. Took me a while but glad I finally figured that out.