Yesterday we woke up, at a KOA somewhere off i5 in Eastern California, and it was March. The sun was shining softly through the windows. We laid in our beds huddled under the blankets, hands still waking up, stiff from the cold. I made a cup of coffee, just for the smell of it, a warm mug, some wafting steam. There was dew dripping down the top windows, but not crawling into the car for once. It was one of those mornings that I felt totally in love with van life, happy just to be where we were.
Our plans to escape the winter months this year were met with vicious rainstorms, work obligations, funerals, car repairs, wet beds from leaking windows. We tried to stay positive. We took trips, together and separely, sought warmer weather, saw people we needed to see. But I will say the rain got to us. So yesterday it felt good to see the sun again, to feel the warm air, to unpack our bags and reorganize our rig. It’s funny to say that we’ve been “out of town” but this felt like coming home.
We flew back to California two days ago. Ilana was in Hawaii on a family vacation and I was in London on a 10-day bender of eating and drinking. We thought we’d hate coming back to California, but it felt surprisingly good. We decided to spend a sunny day in Marin before driving South, exploring the coast and eating some of our favorite oysters.
We drove into the Point Reyes Seashore, forty minutes on remote roads through fields of cows grazing and tall sand cliffs until we reached what felt like the end of the Earth. An untouched coastline, waves crashing into sand for miles, a few plots of seals sunbathing by the cliffs. It was aggressively windy. The light was harsh, the sun so bright it made the landscape look cartoonish.
On our way out, we stopped at Hog Island and shucked some oysters at a picnic table overlooking the oyster farm. We sat on a bench in the “reserved picnic area” (decidedly not free) and shared it with a young family and a happy couple taking selfies with their oyster knives. We wanted to make a mignonette to eat with the oysters, so we broke open a bag of all our kitchen supplies – knives, cutting board, microplane – chopped a shallot and zested a grapefruit and a small chunk of horseradish. We probably looked insane, but it was worth it.
Hog Island oysters are meaty and sweet and lend themselves well to grapefruit and black pepper. This should go well with most oysters, though. Try adding a little extra grapefruit juice and/or some grapefruit segments for saltier East Coast ones.
This makes a fair amount of mignonette so either shuck a lot of oysters (why not?) or reuse & repurpose it - we added extra olive oil & made a salad dressing for some kale, roasted chickpeas, and avocado.
White Grapefruit Mignonette
Makes: ~1/2 cup
Zest the grapefruit and then juice it into a small bowl. Add vinegar, minced shallot, horseradish, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
Add a 1/2 -1 teaspoon of mignonette to each oyster. Finish with a very small drop of good olive oil. Serve on ice.
1/2 white grapefruit
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbl grated horseradish
2 tbl olive oil, to taste
fresh ground black pepper