Boat Weekend 2012

July 14, 2012 § 2 Comments

It’s Boat Weekend and the party starts in Port Huron and ends on beautiful Mackinac Island.  We’ve all come a long way since our college days of passing the Yucca around the fire, but for each generation it’s a rite of passage.  Today it’s a time when family comes home and friends gather from far and near.    The party isn’t complete without wonderful food and drinks to capture the essence of Michigan summers.

“Euchre”: a card game which is popular in Michigan and seemingly, nowhere else. Oh alright…maybe parts of Ohio.

Grilled Great Lakes Whitefish with Tomato-Caper Relish

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 35 minutes


1 large tomato, seeds removed and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon diced red onion
3-4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives and chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 tablespoons capers plus 2 tablespoons caper liquid from bottle
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds whitefish fillets, pin bones removed if necessary, and cut into 5-inch pieces


1. Make a relish by combining diced tomato, vinegar, onion, herbs and capers. Reserve.
2. Clean and oil grill grates. Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.
3. Whisk together caper liquid and olive oil. Place fish fillets on a sheet pan lined with foil and pour or brush caper-oil mixture over fillets. Lightly season fillets with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
4. Place fish on grill, flesh side down. Cook, covered, 4-6 minutes. With a spatula, carefully flip fillets and continue cooking an additional 4-6 minutes or until flesh has just turned white. (Whitefish cooks quickly, will continue to cook after it’s removed from the grill, and you don’t want to overcook it; it will dry out and lose moisture and flavor.) Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the reserved tomato salsa over each fillet and serve.

Geez-o-pete!”: Related: “Geez-Louise!” A Michigan expletive for polite company, having something to do with Jesus and St. Peter. The funny thing about this one is that in Cincinnati, they say “GEE-zle.” In Ireland: “JAYsus.”

Fried Couscous Salad from Giada De Laurentiis



  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) box (1 1/4 cups) couscous (recommended: Near East)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small or 1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover until the liquid had been absorbed and the couscous is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a fork, fluff the couscous and break up any lumps.

In a large, nonstick skillet heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard. Increase the heat to high and add the couscous. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 minutes. Continue to cook the couscous, stirring every 5 minutes, until toasted, about 25 minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large serving bowl and cool for 5 minutes. Add the ricotta salata, cucumber, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, and basil.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until the couscous is coated.

“How’zit goin’?” In other parts of the world, the equivalent of “what’s up?” or “how are you?”

Summer Peach and Tomato Salad

  • 1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 pound ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 pound heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
  • 1/4 pound heirloom cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons small basil leaves or torn basil

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Combine vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over peach mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

“Kripes Almighty!” This one sent in by John Z, as another unique Michiganism similar to “Geezopete!”

Easy Peach Cobbler


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cups fresh peach slices
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
  3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  4. Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

“Parrty Storre”: US equivalent: liquor store. There’s one on every other block. We like it that way, cuz ya never know when the urge fer a Moosehead’ll hitcha. Or, ya know… could be Stroh’s.

Yucca Cocktail

10 sliced lemons
10 sliced limes
3 lb sugar
1/2 gal vodka
8 lb ice

Put the Vodka and the sugar into a container (see plastic bear container in photo below as a suggestion). Slice 10 lemons and 10 limes and add them to the Vodka.  Close lid tightly, sit around a bonfire and pass the Yucca. Each person shakes the Yucca until the sugar is dissolved.  Once dissolved pass and drink up.

“Up North”: common for anywhere in the state north of the middle of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, say around Alma. If yer goin’ Up North, it’s usually fer a vacation er fer deer huntin’.

This is for Mary, who brought us together.  And my Mother will never forget meeting her for the first time- lying on the sorority house floor, fixing her ID so that she could get into Waldo’s.  Let’s go for one, Mary.

Love you!


For more Michigan sayings and words go to Michigan Native.


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§ 2 Responses to Boat Weekend 2012

  • Babs Smith says:

    Yes! The Blue Water festival. One of my high school friends had a cottage in Lexington, we used to go up of the festival weekend and go crazy!
    Love that Peach and Tomato Salad. What a GREAT idea!

  • Oh Maureen, I just finally have made it thorugh all of my July posts that I missed. This blog made me smile and I know Yucca and Strohs was a right of passage for many of my friends. Thanks for the smile and I hope I didn’t horrify your mom too much back in the day!

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