Nantucket Daffodil Festival

May 4th, 2013

You might want to grab a cup of coffee.  This is going to be a long post.  We are fortunate to have friends who live on Nantucket Island.  After David’s class reunion last year, several of the classmates were invited to visit Moses and his wife Maryanne there for the Spring Daffodil Festival.  It was our fourth time on the island.  Nantucket is one of my favorite destinations in the United States.  It works its magic on you from the first time you step off of the ferry until you throw coins in the water (to ensure a return) on your voyage back to Hyannis Port.

The classmates and wives (minus Maryanne who was cooking for us) gathered in front of the Sconset Post Office while we were on a guided bus tour of the island.

Sconset, or officially Siasconset, is a small village on the east side of the island.  It is known for its small grey shingled beach cottages and profusion of roses in season.  There is a story behind this particular cottage.  The last time David and I were on the island, we picked up a picnic lunch in the Sconset Market and then wandered the paths around the village looking for a spot to eat.  This charming cottage had a patio with comfortable chairs and it looked to be vacant.

We plopped down, unwrapped our sandwiches and proceeded to eat.  Halfway through our lunch we heard someone cough inside the cottage.  Needless to say, we grabbed our food and ran.  The above picture was taken on this trip.  It just so happened that the cottage belonged to our tour bus driver’s mother.

We took this picture of the Chanticleer Restaurant in Sconset on our last trip.  It was summer and the roses and flowers were in bloom.  Breathtaking!


 Back in town the next day we looked forward to the Daffodil Festival on cobblestoned Main Street.

All kinds of antique cars were decorated with flowers for the parade.

The cars were judged, so everyone went out of their way to be unique.

Some were more elegant than others.

There was also a dog parade.  We were rooting for this dog named Bailey.  She was on the ferry with us on the way over to Nantucket and we bonded.

Here we are encouraging Bailey to do her best.

Nantucket Harbor is usually full of boats and the wharfs are hopping with activity, but since it was so early in the season, most of the boat slips were empty.  It was good to be here before the rush of tourists.

Moses and Maryanne live in this house.  Have you noticed a pattern here?  Most of the houses on Nantucket are grey shingled with white trim.  A local joke is to say “Meet me on the corner in front of the grey shingled house with the white trim”.   Many of the original houses had widow’s walks.  The first industry of Nantucket after it was settled by the English was whaling.  The ships would be gone from port from three to five years.  The wives would scan the horizon from these aeries for the return of their men.  It was a brutal business, but the ship captains made a fortune from the whale oil which was used to light lamps all over the world.

Not only did we enjoy the sights and activities on Nantucket, but we also ate very well.  Maryanne prepared delicious meals for us.  Unfortunately I did not take composed pictures of the food, but I came away with wonderful recipes that I will share with you over several posts.  Our first dinner in their home included Filet of Beef with Paprika, Coriander and Cumin and Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.  The filet recipe came from Joyce Goldstein, former chef at Square One and Chez Panisse.  Joyce made it for Moses’s 59th birthday party.  The pesto pasta is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and is perfect for a crowd.

 We left Nantucket Harbor with a last view of the Brant Point Lighthouse and threw pennies in the water in the hopes of returning to this enchanted island.  As long as our friends are there, I have no doubt that we will be back.  Thank you Moses and Maryanne.


The beef, which gets an aromatic flavor from the spice rub, requires 4 days of marination.  Serve it rare, leaving the end slices for those who like their meat well done.

1 filet of beef, about 3 1/2 pounds
3 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
Hot-sweet mustard

Trim the fillet of any visible fat and silver skin.  Mix together the paprika, cumin, coriander, ground pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.  Spread this spice mixture evenly over the beef.  Place the meat in a large glass or plastic dish and cover.  et sit in the refrigerator for 4 days.  On the third day, sprinkle the meat with the salt.

To cook, let the meat sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.  Preheat a stove top griddle or a large cast-iron frying pan and preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Sear the fillet on the griddle, or in the pan, until brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a roasting pan and roast in the oven until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the fillet registers 120 degrees.  (I let it go higher, as suggested by the butcher’s recipe).  Let the meat rest on a carving board, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes, then slice thin.  Serve with hot-sweet mustard.


12 ounces penne pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (Packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped.  Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in the Parmesan.

Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta, to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Printable recipe for Filet

Printable recipe for Pasta

8 responses to “Nantucket Daffodil Festival”

  1. Sharon Nimtz says:

    Thanks for posting that, Penny, I have been envying you that visit to Moses and that gorgeous island. And what a luxury to be fed so well.

  2. Pondside says:

    This post reminds me of why I read blogs. The pictures, the narrative ….the feeling….all conspire to make me glad I dropped by. The beef that requires four days of marinade……working backwards from Saturday, this will require planning!

  3. Sam Hoffer says:

    How fun and a place I would love to visit. I’m crazy for grey shingled houses. My husband spent his summers on Shelter Island at the end of Long Island and a lot of the houses have that same look. I believe that’s an MGTD in the first car photo. I’ll have to check with my husband. He and his brother had several MG’s growing up and he still has an MGA convertable in our garage.

    So nice to visit friends and eat well. Moses & Maryanne sound like the perfect hosts.

  4. Larry says:

    Looks like a fun trip Penny. We’re planning an RV trip up that way and will try to include a visit to Nantucket.

  5. Susan says:

    I would love to visit Nantucket one day! What a picturesque place. I had to laugh at your luncheon on the patio of the ’empty’ cottage 🙂 What wonderful hosts and the meal sounds delicious! Thanks so much for sharing all of your photos and the recipes.

  6. bellini says:

    What a wonderful way to usher in Spring surrounded by such beauty and good friends.

  7. Barb Bobik says:

    Looks like a good time was had by all. Love the orange sweater & did David wear his orange & black plaid shirt? Thanks for the visual mini vacation & the food looked wonderful.

  8. […] forward to seeing everyone again.  We were all together last in Nantucket which I blogged about here.  Moses and Maryanne took such good care of us that we are hoping to do the same for them in Lake […]

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