A shrimp boil is a basic, yet awesome, concept. I love communal eating - food, friends, and great conversation are a fantastic way to spend a summer's day!
Get a big pot (we used 5 litres the first time, 15 litres yesterday). Add some seasonings - we used a liquid shrimp boil concentrate, but you can use Old Bay Seasoning or create your own. Then boil a ton of water. Add the ingredients according to how long they take to cook. Potatoes, asparagus, corn, shrimp, crab, and so on. If it boils well, you can add it!
Timing is everything with a shrimp boil. When the water comes to a roiling boil, add the first ingredient - usually the potatoes. Let it return to the boil and time it from when it boils up again. Add the next ingredient, boil it up again, and time from that point. We added the potatoes, then the shrimp, then the corn (it's very fresh, so it only takes a minute or so). When it's done, pour it onto a table covered in paper and eat with your hands. Bring salt, butter, lots of napkins and a bone bowl (for your shells and bits), and you've got yourself a party.
The great thing is that you can customize this to your tastes and to what is local to you. We live in the Corn Capital of Canada - Chilliwack (and possibly the world. Take that Mitchell, South Dakota!) - so we get our corn from roadside stands, picked fresh that day. The potatoes are new potatoes from local growers, and the shrimp could conceivably come from the waters off Vancouver Island (I think they were a product of Thailand, but we tried!) The asparagus was local, but we could have used green beans.
Serve with Nanaimo bars afterwards - again, courtesy of my amazingly awesome husband - and iced tea, and it's a perfect way to spend a slightly too warm summer day!
I bought some garlic honey from the farmers' market last week, so today we're having chicken wings with new potatoes and corn. Yum.
I guess there are some things I like about summer...