Monday, December 13, 2010

Fabulous Key West Shrimp and Lobster Recipe for the Holidays!


Welcome Ryan Van Fleet - my guest bloggger from Key West Florida  (#1 place on MY bucket list!).  I met Ryan on Facebook, after commenting on a recipe he posted on the Coastal Living Magazine facebook page... 







He then sent me this lovely note, and I thought you all might enjoy meeting him too!

"Loved your website and thank you for liking our stone crab posting on Coastal Living! 

My wife and I live in the middle Florida Keys in Tavernier. 

I work full time as a fishing mate at a local marina here in the Keys. 

We started our seafood business a little over a year ago now. 

The fish stone crabs, and lobsters that we sell are caught by my friends who work as commericial fisherman in the Keys. 

Hope all is well and check out my fish and seafood recipes at www.twostarfishseafood.com.

Have a Happy Holiday Season!

Ryan"


Key West Pink Shrimp and Florida Spiny Lobster Tails Sautéed with Hot Key Lime Butter Sauce

Robbies' of Islamorada, FL
http://www.robbies.com/
About 80% of vacationers ask me how I cook seafood now compared to when I lived in Minneapolis, MN. 

I tell them, not much has changed except that I am a much happier cook. Mainly, because I following my 8 simple rules for Florida Keys cooking:

1. Keep it simple

2. Do not be afraid to screw up.

3. Take a risk.

4. Ask for help. 

5. Don’t be in a hurry.

6. Be yourself. 

7. Have a back up plan.

8. Relax

This recipe is sure to be a hit around your dinner table this holiday season! 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter plus 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon of your Favorite Hot Sauce

1 ½ tablespoon Key Lime Juice

½ tablespoon minced garlic

2 pounds medium Key West Pink Shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined

1 ½ pounds of spiny lobster tails (about 4 small tails) removed from the shells removed from the shells and coarsely chopped.

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup of white wine

6 cups of pasta or rice.

Prepare the Sauce early in the day: Place 8 tablespoons butter in a small bowl and allow it to soften at room temperature. Add hot sauce and lime juice; stir to mix well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate this until needed. 

Melt 2 tablespoons plain butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Key West Pink Shrimp and Florida Lobsters and sauté, stirring frequently, until shrimp just turns pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Reduce heat to medium. Add mushrooms, scallions, and wine. Sauté, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add key lime hot sauce butter and stir until the butter melts and is well blended with seafood. Serve with hot pasta or rice. 


Enjoy!

Ryan
http://www.twostarfishseafood.com/
Ryan's Blog: http://ryansislandtimehappyhour.blogspot.com/

Thanks Ryan for letting me share just a little window into your fabulous life in the Keys!



Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Quick Stop for Hot Chocolate at Nick's Cove - Tomales Bay

We've been trying to get up to Tomales Bay for weeks to get Tom some fresh oysters - he claims that the sweetwaters that come from Tomales are the best oysters on the planet.  Last Saturday we made ourselves a promise to head up to Hog Island and grab a dozen or so.... Don't tell, I think our friend from Hog Island miscounted the dozen, as we came home with 17 oysters!

It's crab season here in Northern California, so not only did Hog Island have oysters, but also LIVE fresh dungeness.  Dang, none for us on this trip.

If you have ever driven on Hwy 1, you know how windy and twisty it can be, you also might know how it can also be especially brutal when you get behind someone going 25 miles per hour.  Which is exactly what happened to us last Saturday after we loaded up our oyster stash.

Not a bad thing though, we decided to stop at Nick's Cove and Cottages for a hot chocolate break.  Not just any hot chocolate though, it may have had touch of alcohol in it.  Not sure what exactly was in this hot chocolate,  but it turned my cheeks pink and warmed me up! Finished off with a big dollop of whipped creme,  it was perfectly yummy.  

You may have read about Nick's Cove and Cottages in Coastal Living Magazine's profile of the West Coast's Best Seafood Dives, or like us,  may have just driven by many times and never stopped.  What a treat we discovered!  

Fine dining, white tablecloth covered tables,  an oyster bar, big view windows looking out over the gorgeous ripple-strewn Tomales Bay, a very friendly and welcoming staff, all put together with coastal decorating accents, and a long history of fishing and shellfish farming in Northern California. They have the most darling cottages  to rent, some right on the water, and some across the street with water views, all remodeled with homey creative nautical touches.  Very romantic!


After warming up, and visiting with the "hot chocolate"  bartender, we decided to take a stroll out to the Nick's Boat Shack.  

Next time, we will take our drinks out here to enjoy!  (wasn't the sky interesting?)


All decorated for the holidays, the Boat Shack has a piping hot barrel-shaped wood stove inside, plenty of chairs and tables for everyone to sit and enjoy the views of seals, shorebirds, boat traffic, a setting sun, and of course,  Tomales Bay.  

There's even a phone inside to phone in your orders!  Now that we know this, this is what we will be doing next time we go out to visit. (Again, totally romantic!)

Loved their outdoor Christmas Tree!  Covered in simple white lights, and oyster shells dipped in silvery-blue oyster shells - my kind of holiday decoration.

Here's a close-up photo. Looks pretty easy to make these; clean oyster shells, glue, silver glitter, and a few ornament hooks.  Hmmm.... maybe I should have saved all of those oyster shells from Hog Island?

We will be back for dinner soon!









Monday, December 6, 2010

December Exploring on the California Coast

I don't really care if there are a few raindrops. As long as I can see the waves and hear the Pacific, I am more than good.  Besides, raindrops create spectacular rainbows...  

We were able to stop the car at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, jump out and run down to the beach quick enough to get this rainbow before it disappeared.

After breakfast at Gazos Grill, (a great place for Sunday breakfast on Hwy 1, just past the Lighthouse) we headed back north hoping to be able to outrun the rain for a quick beach walk.




We've driven by Cowell Ranch State Beach countless times, but never stopped.  On Sunday, we stopped.

Wow.  

It's an extremely peaceful (easy) half mile walk down a gravel path to get to the beach.  Bird watching - hawks play in the wind. Half way down the path, you will come across the "Whale Gate" -a lovely rusty reminder that Cowell Ranch is still a working farm,  and has been for many generations.

 I needed this...
Needed to hear the roar of the Pacific...
















 Not a single soul on the beach except for us....












Found a few beautiful shells to carry home in our pockets.... Tom even found a few tiny pieces of green and blue sea glass.








I think I can tackle Monday.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homemade Eggnog.....

Whew! Busy Thanksgiving week with Allison and Alex visiting from Seattle.  I miss them terribly - am such a mom....




We were quite the tourists!




Downtown San Francisco tour started with lunch and a quick tour of  Chinatown and North Beach.  Not exactly sure what we ate, but it was pretty darn good! 


Then off to the Fillmore District .... After having some yummy coffee drinks at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, we headed  to the Johnathan Adler store (one of my very favorites!), and 


then down to take Allison's picture outside of the Betsey Johnson store (Allison's favorite).  Alex, of course, waited in the car....  Gorgeous sunny day!  Kids were glad to be here in CA, as Seattle was being pounded with snow and ice.  Can't honestly say that I miss that.


Over the hill and down twisty, steep Lombard street!  Don't worry, I am driving, Allison is taking the pictures. -



Then off to Pier 39 to see the sea lions, check out the holiday decorations and do a 
little window shopping at all of the shops along the pier. 




(Santa stopping off for a bite to eat on Pier 39!)




 Sea lions appeared to be pretty content lying there in the sun!  



With a final stop at Ghiradelli Square for a big bag of mixed chocolates. (we were out of our stash at home!)



Whew!  Back home to make Alex's Eggnog.  In order to make this right, you have to make a day ahead of time, be patient and let your eggnog sit overnight


Ingredients:
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brandy (or more!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Place milk and evaporated milk in a large saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat - stir constantly!

Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and eggs in a large bowl.  Gradually add hot milk to egg mixture - also stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return milk mixture to pan; cook over medium-low heat until thick, about 10-12 minutes - don't forget to stir! Pour into a pitcher and stir in brandy and vanilla.  Press plastic wrap onto the surface of eggnog, and chill overnight.

YUM!

Tour continues tomorrow!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Santa Cruz Sea Glass Festival - November 2010

On a rainy Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, we spent the afternoon at the Santa Cruz Sea Glass Festival.  This year the festival featured 37 artists, and was held at the Coconut Grove on the famous Santa Cruz boardwalk.  A little sideways rain, a little wind, but not enough to stop this Northwest beach girl from exploring some fabulous sea glass treasures!

Met some amazingly creative people - 

Santa Cruz Sea Glass Company put a ton of time and effort into making this year's festival a success. They have an outstanding collection of sea glass from Santa Cruz and Monterey beaches, some of which actually glowed when a light was applied.  The biggest crowd was gathered around their booth!

This is just one example of Krista Hammond's art - chunky beautiful tumbled sea glass treasures! 






Christeena of Sea Glass Jewels is a lucky lucky artist, living for half of year in Key West, and the other half collecting sea glass in Greece.

Liked her unique silver pieces and colors, most of her glass does come from walking on the beach in Greece - tough duty.   I admit it, am a tiny bit jealous of her jet setting!

Polly of BluMag Photography had a great idea - she uses her incredible photographic talent to capture photos of sea glass and beach objects on her local Aptos beach. She then uses those images on beautifully made black lacquered jewelry boxes.  Unique idea from the shores of Monterey Bay...

Hope you can see this "tree" with pieces of sea glass ornaments - what a great idea!  Not just for the holidays...

Had a great conversation with Gary, of The Sea Glass Journal.  What a cool display of sea glass finds he had from the East Coast! (including some flotsam and jetsam)  When I got home, I checked out his website - educational and interesting for us sea glass enthusiasts.  When you get a chance, check out the The Sea Glass Journal too, I think you will like the articles, pictures and information that can be found here.




Met Joselin Iselin, the author of a fabulous photographic art series of  "beach" books.  Loved her, and had so much in common.  Could have talked to her for hours about beach combing and beach preservation.  Am looking forward to touring her San Francisco studio the first week in December, should be a great blog post!

"Beach, a book of treasure" (click to read more)  was released this past spring and can be found at your local bookseller.  A little history, a little beach walking, shells, sea glass... would make the perfect gift for the holidays!  Try Liberty Bay Books for availability....

The best part of the festival?  I got the chance to meet one of my sea glass facebook friends in person!  Aileen Cabral, the artist behind Art of Seaglass  makes fabulous, original silver art pieces embedded with brightly colored pieces of tumbled beach glass collected on Southern California beaches.

Small world too, my friend Janet, who owns Potlatch Gallery, knows Aileen also and sells her creations in her gallery.

Had no idea how talented she was until I had the opportunity to see her jewelry in person. All hand crafted and designed by Aileen.  Wow, think you will love too!


The best part of the whole day?  Tom bought me some gorgeous pieces of Aileen's jewelry.  Have to confess,  I have worn these almost every day since he bought them for me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shellophilia: Incurable, but treatable (Gosh, I hope not!)


Guest post from an incredibly talented artist, and very good beach girl buddy,  Chris Anderson Chenault.  Enjoy!





.....It is said that there is only one hobby that is also a recognized mental illness; bibliophilia, the compulsion to collect and store books...

Evidently, the members of that think tank have never met a hardcore sheller!

We can't help it.  Somehow, any time we get near a sea shell, it inexplicably follows us home.  In advanced cases, this behavior has been known to expand to include other categories; such as "flotsam" and "jetsam". Oy

Spending hours and days on the beach with one's chin on one's upper chest and eyes trained on the sand/rocks/pebbles/driftwood/dune grass isn't such a bad way to experience nature.  And when the weather is foul, spending comparable hours prowling the offerings of obscure flea markets and little-known shops can be equally rewarding.

Ah, the thrill of the treasure hunt!

We sneak back into the domicile lugging suspiciously bulging objects in plain brown wrappers.  When inquiring minds in the household cast questioning looks our way, a feasible response is always at the ready: It's for "A Project"!  (note the capital A and P)

I believe the clinical term is "justification".....


Now comes the pressure of producing the proof of the "The Project".    Easy!  We're preparing for the next holiday!  Every year our island home features a big Christmas tree covered in shells, most of them gathered from our own beach.  The white on green with little (non-flashing) lights is beachy and forest-y at the same time.  Which suits me just fine, since our local forest come right down to our local beaches.


Some our ornaments are:

  • oyster shell with pearl added
  • Sand dollars with mono-filament line through the keyholes
  • finger starfish with silver thread through bead caps on one end
  • tropical whelks lightly dusted with opalescent sparkle
  • restaurant scallop shells (why waste them???)
  • Local cockle shells highlighted with pearlescent acrylic paint
  • The obligatory Dungeness crab claw accents with gold
  • Fragments of coral
How many ornaments?  In this case, nothing succeeds like excess. We display literally hundreds of these, but they store compactly in a document box during the other eleven months.  Seashells are delicate and tough at the same time, and grandchildren have been known to chew on sea stars.  I love that our ornaments are intended to be manhandled by our little guests.  Anything that is pokey or treasured is hung out of reach.


Seashells are beautiful tied to gift packages, and a garland of sea stars is perfectly charming above a doorway or among the folds of window treatments.

A very happy holiday season to all, and God Bless us, every one!

Chris










Blogging Friends, wishing you lots of luck finding beautiful sea shells (and flotsam and jetsam!) for your upcoming holidays.   Looking forward to hearing about all of your projects;  for ornaments, sea shell trees, table scapes, gift wrapping ... Will be looking for ideas to share!

Here are a few of Chris's other creations at Caron's Beach House:
All inspired by her life on an island in Washington State!

Hand Painted Sea Glass Floats hiding among the sea grass


And here's the details! http://www.caronsbeachhouse.com/servlet/the-344/coastal-pillow,-beach-cottage/Detail    14 x 22 indoor/outdoor pillows with hand painted sea stars

More Starfish Pillows!
 19 x 19 Hand painted orange or green starfish on pretty indoor/outdoor pillows

Great Blue Heron Beach Cottage Pillows
http://www.caronsbeachhouse.com/servlet/the-389/beach-house-pillow,-beach/Detail
















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