feasting with friends

Last chance to hold on to summer…

china box clam bakeWe tried. Tried really hard! Mother nature didn’t cooperate. The skies opened up, rain was falling, but it couldn’t deter our last chance effort to make a clam bake happen. Our dear friends were in town. Their arrival back in Michigan is always the perfect excuse to gather the troops. We originally planned on having a pig roast or clam bake when we last all got together in August. It unfortunately didn’t work out. Fast forward 6 weeks later, and there was no way I was going to let the opportunity to slide by. So a summer feast – in the fall – with rain falling – became our gathering. It was our last chance before the weather could take a nasty turn. Fall tends to be a bit bi-polar here in Michigan, but it happened! Lobster, clams, mussels and shrimp, oh my! Throw in corn on the cob, sausage and potatoes and wow! A perfect dinner. Sunday dinner. We started early with drinks and appetizers and a group effort ensued to get dinner on the table by 5:30. An absolute perfect feast with friends. I truly wish these meals could happen weekly, but maybe it’s the “once in awhile” aspect of these meals that make them so special!?!?!

We cooked the entire meal in our La Caja China Box. What is that you ask? Well, it’s basically a roasting box. Food cooks from the top down; charcoal over the food [lid separates the two]; food in the box which is lined in stainless steel to”conduct” the heat. We added about 2 inches of water under the rack the food sat on to help steam it as well. In other words…no mess in the kitchen. Everything cooked up in a mere 45 minutes. As long as the charcoal keeps burning, nothing has to be done to the food. So delicious!

The entire process is described at their website, which can be found at: http://www.lacajachina.com/Clam-Bake_a/347.htm

We altered their process somewhat based on availability of seafood and such. Plus we did season/prep the food with Old Bay Seasoning and a couple bottles of beer. We made it our own and the results were excellent!

Enjoy our photo journal of the feast!

china box clam bake

Shelter from the rain.

china box clam bake

Heating up the charcoal

china box clam bake

Food going in the box

Can't eat outside, so table set-up with disposables for super easy cleanup.

Can’t eat outside, so table set-up with disposables for super easy cleanup.

A "little" drinking while the food is cooking. "Mini Beers" of Licor 43 and fresh whipping cream "foam". So good a trip to the store was made to fetch more :P

A “little” drinking while the food is cooking. “Mini Beers” of Licor 43 and fresh whipping cream “foam”. So good, a trip to the store was made to fetch more 😛

A close up of the food.

A close up of the food. Yum, yum and more yum!

The "ahh, ohh" moment as the food is unveiled!

The “ahh, ohh” moment as the food is unveiled!

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