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

Have a Happy Holiday Season!


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

Robbies' of Islamorada, FL
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. 


Ryan's Blog:

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.


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.

Relax and Live at the Beach Every Day of the Year!

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