At the Cabin: Dinner by Sunset

One of my favorite things to do when visiting my mother-in-law, Dione, is sift through her wonderful collection of Sunset magazines. I haven't yet come across an issue that I haven't loved. The July 2010 copy is no exception, especially with its cover story on old-school camper road trips and the awesome guide to California flea markets.

At the cabin, there's a simple system for dividing the mealtime responsibilities. With four couples/families sharing three squares a day for at least a week, there's a potential for lots of confusion. Our solution is to assign each group a general daily task (Kevin and I were responsible for snack foods)... then we all take turns cooking dinner during the week.

We tend to take our recipe selection process seriously, opting for dishes with international flavor. It's no surprise that we found inspiration for our Asian-themed meal (one of this year's favorites!) right in the pages of Sunset magazine:

Clean and refreshing! Ahh...

Spicy, in the best way possible!

As my Abuela would say, this is "uno de mis inventos"

The meal was pretty labor intensive, with most of the time dedicated to prep work. I can assure you, though, it was oh-so-deliciously worth every minute! Here's a look at how it came together:

Kevin, honing his coconut-cracking skills

Our niece, Abbie, harvesting the water

A few good whacks by each of the girls got the rest of the job done

Two summer mainstays: watermelon and "cabin beard" :o)

A triple recipe meant LOTS of chopping, puréeing and straining!

Watched sesame seeds never burn...

The coconut rice was a pleasant surprise, considering I made it up while scouring the aisles at Safeway. (I hardly ever stray from recipes, so this was pretty big for me!) The ingredients were simple: water, a white coconut, and jasmine rice.

Using a Cuisinart, I grated about three-quarters of the coconut meat, which was then lightly toasted in the oven. Then I substituted a third of the water needed for the rice with coconut water and cooked it according to the stovetop directions. When the rice was done, I loosened it up with a fork and stirred in a few handfuls of the toasted coconut. Pretty simple, huh? I really love how the subtle sweetness of the rice balanced the spice in the wings perfectly. Mmm!

As much as I love Sunset, I can't yet bring myself to subscribe. Getting each month's copy in the mail seems like it would be torturous... reading about "living in the West" when we're clear across the country. I wonder if there's a magazine equivalent for those of us on the East Coast. Sunrise, maybe?


PS: You can catch up on the rest of this series!


  1. So what's in the "tonic"? Inquiring minds want to know...

  2. Melon, cukes, mint, lemon juice, tonic water, gin. Click the orange link, it takes you to the recipe! :o)


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