When we do beach in Minnesota, it’s at a lake, of course. Or even better, it’s on a lake, in a boat, with a cooler full of snacks & supplies, good tunes, and enough engine oomph to pull the water ski- and intertube-inclined of the group. Ahhh, warm sun, cool breeze, cold beer, beautiful views. That’s summer, baby, and I’ll take it.
Or more accurately, I took it, yesterday, at Green Lake with my aunt Mary & uncle Bruce. Nathan and I drove out to their lovely farm, near Kerkhoven, Saturday evening. I’m not usually one for the drive, but we took a new route (to avoid – big surprise – road construction) and given the recent rains and the angle of the late-afternoon sun, the scene was breathtaking. The effect was lush rolling hills covered with silver-y green fields literally sparkling in the breeze, I’m not kidding. I’ve never seen anything like it (and I’ve done a lot of driving west of Minneapolis). Less than 30 minutes into our drive I felt completely away and relaxed, ahhhh.
We arrived at The Farm in time for dinner, with my aunt Marge and uncle Jim joining us as well. I had picked up a few cheeses, acacia honey, dried fruit, and crostini at France 44 before we left, so we enjoyed that on the porch before our dinner: salad with peaches, greens, and almonds, followed by grilled steaks, farmer’s market new potatoes, and grilled corn on the cob brushed with hoisin-orange butter (yum, recipe is here). Basically, the perfect summer dinner, followed by the perfect summer dessert surprise…DQ Dilly Bars! Man, I hadn’t had a Dilly Bar in so long, it tasted great, just like when I was a kid. Nathan was thrilled; Marge and I scored free Dilly Bars (message on the stick, natch, under the ice cream; for the Willmar DQ, however, so I left mine with Mary!).
Yesterday morning we were up – lazily – for coffee, pancakes, berries, and sausage on the deck, over-looking the countryside, so beautiful. Mary made delicious sandwiches on fresh bread, Bruce loaded up the boat trailer, and we took off for Spicer, the put-in for Green Lake. After a quick stop to check out my cousin Michael and his wife Amanda’s beautiful new home, by 1:30 pm we were cruising, eating sandwiches, and stopping to chat with my cousin Kim (she lives on Green Lake and came down to the dock to say hi). After a bit Nathan jumped in the lake and tried to get up on skis, then moved on to wake-riding on the tube. By 5:00 pm we were heading back to shore to grab dinner at Melvyn’s – fried walleye for me, of course, most certainly not caught in Green Lake but completely of the lake anyhow (my Grandpa Meyer fished Green Lake almost exclusively).
And then we headed home…Mary & Bruce back to The Farm, Nathan and I back to the city. In a little more than 24 hours, back in our own beds.
So here we are. A little browner, a lot more rested, ready for the week. Thank you Green Lake! And of course, thank you Mary & Bruce! (I’m thinking more fried walleye for dinner, I’m needing more than one piece this summer; plus, as I like to do post-trip, I can stretch out the idyll for just a bit longer… With a crisp white, and a big veggie share salad, I should welcome myself – and John, who was in NYC for the weekend – home quite nicely.)
Moderate it: let’s face it, walleye fans – with its light and flaky texture, walleye must be fried to achieve greatness. I prefer mine dredged in a bit of flour and fried in butter, the way my Grandma Meyer made it. The key to keeping the meal moderate is to serve fried walleye alongside something a bit tart and crisp – as in, a simple salad of greens, radishes, scallions, dressed lightly in a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette. Enjoy.)