Monday, August 30, 2010

Specialty Salmon Sliders on Cornbread Rounds! Seafood Heaven...

While perusing this months' Coastal Living Issue, I came across their article "3 Tasty Simple Sauces".... hmmm... maybe we could try one of these recipes for the weekend?

Started out using their recipe for "Fish Sliders on Cornbread Rounds with Red Pepper Mayonnaise", then Tom and I did our own interpretation.  Not too many ingredients different, just gave it our own spin!  I will give you all their recipe and our "fixes"!

 For the fish sliders....
1 pound Salmon Filets (Coastal Living used Halibut) -Gave us an excuse to go down to our favorite fish market in Half Moon Bay....
3/4 tsp paprika
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of ground red pepper
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons of Milk
2 cups of Italian Style Bread Crumbs (CL used panko -Japanese style breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil (CL used veggie oil)

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs with milk in another shallow bowl.  Place breadcrumbs in another shallow dish. Dredge both sides of fish filets in seasoned flour, and then dip in egg mixture.  Dredge in breadcrumbs, and then place in frying pan - after oil is hot.


2. Place fish in hot oil mixture (butter and oil), cook two minutes on each side or until golden. (doesn't our salmon look pretty?)

Cornbread Rounds...
I totally cheated on this part  (hey, at least I am honest!) and  used a boxed mix of cornbread with some extra Bisquick thrown in, as my kitchen is too small to keep cornmeal on hand. The other extra ingredient that we added was fresh chopped rosemary from our small deck garden.  The perfect touch!




Here's CL recipe if you want to make cornbread the real way!
1 1/4 cups of yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1.Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together eggs, milk and butter; add to the dry mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Pour batter into a lightly greased 15 x 10 (we used 9 x 13 pan) jelly roll pan, spreading to the edges of pan.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, let cool completely in pan on wire rack

3. Cut cornbread into rounds using a 2 1/2 inch cutter. (I used a wine glass!) Place cornbread rounds on a lightly greased baking sheet, broil 1-2 minutes until browned, then flip and brown the other side.  Be very careful, these will burn quickly.  Don't walk away and forget about them!

Can you see my cornbread rounds waiting to go under the broiler while Tom is finishing up the fish? He's such a good sport, and we have such a great time cooking together.

Coastal Living had a great recipe for Red Pepper Mayonnaise, but we tried something a little different - 
Sun Dried tomatoes with fresh basil and rosemary..
Mix together:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small garlic glove
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes, the ones packed in olive oil. Drain some of the olive oil off before adding to the mayonnaise mixture

Then stack your sliders! Spread the mayonnaise on the broiled cornbread rounds, add lettuce, and your fish - we also added yellow heirloom tomatoes (soooo good!)

Voila'! Pretty little sandwiches - 






We served our complete dinner with a roasted combination of Yukon golds, red potatoes, a red pepper, tossed with a garlic glove, olive oil, and herbs de provence. So incredibly easy; mix all together, about an hour before roasting, roast at 425 for about 30 minutes, then serve!

 Accompanied by a side of Tom's yummy cucumber salad!  Of course, we had to open our special bottle of Testarosa Chardonnay that we got at the winery a few weeks ago...  

Wonderful Sunday dinner!










Friday, August 27, 2010

Lemon Drops for Date Night - part of our Weekly Feature series!

Last weekend, we packed up a picnic lunch and played tourist in our city by the bay. Driving over the Golden Gate towards Marin County, I always marvel  at the sights below in the bay;  sailboats racing, freighters coming in and out , cruise ships, fishing boats, seals, we even saw a school of dolphins once!


 These photos are taken from the Golden Gate  bridge deck looking back towards Sausalito and Fort Baker - I could stand here all day and simply drink in the views of the incredible blue-green water of San Francisco Bay.  (Can you tell that I love living here?)


First a stop at Point Bonita Lighthouse. Have got to remember that the bridge to the lighthouse closes at 3:30.. we made it down the trail and through the rock tunnel, but we were too late to cross over.  Dang it!  Oh well, it was still a spectacular view out to the Pacific Ocean.  Can you see the fog bank?  Lying in wait to roar back in as the sun sets into the sea...
Then we drove to the top of Mt. Tam - the highest point in the Bay Area for a wide-sweeping view of the city, the bridges and everything surrounding.  The picture is a little hazy, but I think you get the idea... windy, twisty, I close my eyes most of the time we drive on these crazy roads! Tom loves driving on them, I just hang on tight - trying very hard to let on that I am a little freaked out.  The views on the way up are incredible!  Found a park with walking trails on the top, and decided that we needed to come back another day when we had the whole day to explore.


Yay!!! Now back down the mountain to Sausalito for Lemon Drops at Scoma's. (my reward for not totally freaking out on the drive down!)  These are pretty special lemon drops as they are made with Limoncello liqueur. The best part is,  of course, we get to enjoy them at Scoma's overlooking the Bay. Hope you can see Angel Island, Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge off in the distance, with just a shadow of the moon showing...


Last Saturday we had the best time taking pictures and gossiping about the anchored super-yacht  that was visiting our fair city.  Scoma's fun bartender had all the details: Owned by a super secret Russian billionairre, it's 394 feet long and with a price tag of $300 million. Everything inside is custom and over the top design. We thought it looked  a little like something out of a James Bond Movie! Here's a fun article from the Wall Street Journal with more details, including how several of the companies that helped build it went bankrupt - "A" Superyacht.   


Cannot even fathom this kind of wealth and excess.  To be honest, I really don't want to. Fun to talk about, but in my humble opinion a little wasteful, There's a lot of ways to spend $300 million;  starting with the Feeding America program....   (sorry, I will get off my soapbox!)




On to the lemon drops - not sure if this is the recipe that Scoma's uses, but it does look good!  Recommend using your best martini glasses, for me that's part of the whole experience.  A delish cocktail just does not taste right in any old glass!
(picture taken at Scoma's with our Calamari appetizer) 


Limoncello Lemon Drops

  • 1 1/2 oz. Absolute Citron Vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. limoncello lemon liqueur
  • 2 oz. sweet and sour mix
  • 1 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes; shake well.  Swirl half a lemon around the rim of a martini glass (the more elegant the better!) and dip in sugar.  Pour the contents of the cocktail shaker into the glass, and serve with a nice lemon slice.  Yum!

I confess, as I was packing a set of these sealife martini glasses for shipping, I broke 3 of them, and am left with one..so tonight my lemon drop is going into the non-broken martini glass!   Hmm... I do have the shakers in the warehouse too....

Have a fab weekend!




























Thursday, August 26, 2010

Escaping the Heat, a Picnic at the Beach

Hit the road around 5:30 after packing the picnic backpack with a heirloom tomato salad, butter in a dish, and sauce for crab dipping.  Quick stop at Lunardi's (our favorite local grocery store!) for fresh cracked crab, chilled white wine (to drink in our plastic beach glasses, of course!)  and a loaf of their crusty sour dough bread.

Wish I could tell you that we had a romantic sunset to watch, wish I could tell you that the wind was not cold - but I would be lying.  It was still wonderful.  I got to be on the beach, breathe sea air, hear the pounding surf and watch the fog roll in like waves...



We had a few dinner companions that were very happy to sort through our empty (sort of) crab shells...


I did get my lime green glass photos though!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coastal Style with Vivaz

Last year when I started writing my business plan, I realized that there were a few things that were really important, critical elements to  owning my business. If you have ever owned your own business, you will know what I am talking about - there's so much more involved than just buying some products, posting the pictures, pricing  and then trying to sell them.  Whatever items you choose as a business (retail) owner to sell, those items reflect your company, and your company's stance on humanitarian and  environmental concerns, and how we are all interconnected. (see Caron's Causes for more info!)

Trying  find companies that believe in the same things that we do is a BIG part of our mission as a small business, and it truly is more of a challenge than you know!  We were so excited to begin a working relationship with Vivaz Style early this year, after I discovered their gorgeous hand-crafted coastal serving pieces and hand-blown glassware at the San Francisco Gift Show. Vivaz is are a young company here in San Francisco, with big dreams. I think they will even have some of their items featured in the Gump's Christmas catalog this season!  Vivaz believes in the some of the same things that I do;  helping artists and their communities and doing it all with a constant theme of reuse and recycle! (near and dear to my heart)


Here's a blurb from their company:
"Vivaz was formed in response to quality and environmental concerns of global sourcing of products. We felt that quality, handcrafted products could still be found at reasonable cost closer to home.  Closer sourcing should result in reduced consumption of fossil fuels and lower shipping costs. And if, the could be made from reclaimed materials, using environmentally-sensitive methods, they should be even better."


(pictured 14.5" Polished Clam Shell Dish)


I love their creative coastal entertaining serving pieces with their simple polished beauty!  Could see this Acapulco Bowl (it's 18"l x 12"w) welcoming guests as they entered my new beach home.... filled with shells, sea glass, driftwood and maybe a ivory candles.  My idea of a perfectly simple elegant table scape!



The Acapulco Bowl


Vivaz makes a whole series of these polished napkin boxes - crab, starfish, polished clam, scallop - you've got to see them all!  Here's the sea star design (yes, it's my deck and my wine in the background!) We think that these make the perfect seaside housewarming, or "thank you for inviting us to the beach" gift!


Starfish Napkin Box


In case you get invited out for a "yachting" excursion - here's an idea too! 


Anchor Napkin Box




Love these products, not only for their beauty, but for their creators' philosophy about sustainability!  These aluminum products, called pewter in Mexico, are made in the centuries-old method of sand casting. Fine sand is sifted and then packed around a pattern in a wooden frame. The pattern is removed, and molten, recycled aluminum is poured into the void. The rough casting is removed when cool, and the sand, the wooden frame, and the pattern are all used again in the next casting.  Excess material removed from the rough casting in the finishing process is also reused, melted down and poured into subsequent castings.  


Divided Shell Serving Dish


We are having record breaking heat in the Bay Area of California - perfect excuse for me to head down to the beach to conduct my own photo shoot with my new lime green seahorse etched, Vivaz hand-blown glasses. In the meantime, I can show you the turquoise seahorse glasses that I added to the site a week ago, shot in the sand with a little collection of shells that we discovered on a stretch of Half Moon Bay beach...


Vivaz's hand-blown, etched glasses are created from recycled materials, using the same methods used for centuries around the world.  I love these! Thick glass with slight bubbles from the hand blowing, true color through out the glass....


We so enjoy our Sunday morning walks at Half Moon Bay... was able to show Tom my newly discovered stretch of beach - nearly empty, full of shells, sea glass and an occasional seal swimming by. Look at the awesome sea urchin that Tom found!  Yes, it is real; deep purple color with most of the spines still attached.  Cannot wait for another Sunday photo shoot!


Here's the rest of our finds from that morning - could not believe all of the sea urchin shells lying on the beach, tangled up with kelp and seaweed.  Big treasure hunt for me!


Wish me luck as I head back down to the beach today to cool off and escape our 103 degree heat!  I did  hear a rumor from the cute boyfriend that we may be having a dungeness crab picnic, with some yummy fresh crusty sourdough bread....


Hmmmm... now where did I put that picnic basket?  Where's my crab crackers? I think I have some plastic wine glasses... 


(P.S. Vivaz's product can be found on the Caron's Beach House website, in our Entertaining at the Beach House Category)







Thursday, August 19, 2010

Entertaining on the Coast - New Weekly Feature!

 Happy Thursday -  I am sorry to see summer disappear so quickly, especially since we really didn't get to enjoy a very warm one here in the Bay Area - coldest summer on record.  Not complaining, we did have lots of bright blue skies, and NO rain.  Also lots of fog, a lingering gray marine layer nearly every day, accompanied by temperatures 10-15 degrees cooler than normal. (I still wore my shorts everyday!)

Tom and I treasure our Friday nights on our little deck.  Wonderful time to unwind  from  busy weeks,  trying our local gourmet cheese, fresh crusty bread or an appetizer recipe that I've discovered somewhere, usually from a Facebook, Twitter or blogging buddy!  We share a nice bottle of wine, or a new cocktail concoction that we've whipped up  in the blender - Tom is partial to his "dry" martini's, but he can be persuaded to try something new too!

Since we are enjoying fresh, ripe mangoes and lots strawberries here in the Bay Area, I think this is what I am going to toss into the blender for our Friday night date - what do you think?  Looks pretty scrumptious - 

(photo and recipe courtesy of my friend Rum Shop Ryan -  

Mango Tango Cocktail Recipe

Mango Daiquiri (makes 2)
3 ounces rum
1 1/2 cups mangoes, cubed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 ounce triple sec
4 teaspoons sugar
2 cups ice cubes
- Blend in a blender until smooth. Pour 1/4 of drink mixture into a glass.
Strawberry Daiquiri (makes 2)
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce strawberry schnapps
1 ounce fresh lime juice
dash grenadine
dash orange juice
2 cups ice cubes
- Blend in a blender until smooth. Pour 1/4 of drink mixture on top of Mango Daquiri mixture.
I will let you know how they turn out  - if you have a favorite recipe, send it to me, and I will share.   Will be publishing a new Friday night date treat every Thursday!

I saved a few of these fun swirling fish wine glasses just for me, will see how they work for our mango - strawberry cocktails blend!



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Introducing Crabby Chris - My New Beachgirl Featured Artist!

Amazing how networking works!  I received the nicest e-mail a few weeks ago from my new friend Chris, who was referred to me by a wonderful customer from my old Poulsbo store.  Wow! We have so much in common - we hit it off immediately,(beachgirls and mermaids usually do!)  and now I am featuring her incredible talent for making beautiful, durable, affordable, and long lasting beach cottage pillows on the Caron's website.

All hand-painted in bright bold colors on Camano Island, in Washington State, Chris uses her trusty camera to walk out on a low tide to capture images of Puget Sound sealife; red dungeness crabs, bleached white sand dollars, big colorful starfish. She then renders these sea creatures on her fabulous indoor/outsdoor pillows.  And, I do mean fabulous!

 Here's a little bit more about Chris, in her own words - and then I will show you all her beach house pillows featured on my site!


"Born in Oregon way back in the previous century, my background is in interior design and soft crafts, which I designed for national publications. Have made my home on a very big sand spit and two islands in Washington State. Love to catch, euthanize, cook and eat Dungeness crabs, just as I have been doing since my early days on the Oregon coast. Sorry, no work allowed during crabbing season! As to how I got my nickname, it was tossed at me and just stuck. I'm not cantankerous; I'm actually alarmingly cheerful. I render images of decapod crustacea, their associates and environs in fabric, paint, photography, flotsam, pulp, enamel, line art, verse, and a few media I haven't tried yet!"

In the Pacific Northwest  kabillions of seastars can be found and they come in all colors! One beautiful summer's day on a very low tide Chris  found an orchid-colored one that measured 18" across! But the ones that best set off her  favorite Adirondack chairs are these guys in blended blues. They definitely make a bold statement; the smaller stars measure 9.5" across and the large one 13"!


Blue Starfish Pillow




Measuring 19" x 19", this fabulous beach cottage pillow is stuffed with polyester fiberfill in its own removable polypropylene casing; a simple spot cleaning or even a hosedown will keep it looking fresh season after season. Drawn from Chris' live model, Fabio, he is rendered in bold red and trimmed in charcoal for a very non-beige accent. Looks great on your deck, patio, garden bench, hammock, rowboat or beach blanket.

Bold Red Crab Pillow


We love this dungeness crab hiding among Puget Sound rock weed! This 19" x 19" acrylic all-weather throw pillow is handpainted, stuffed with polyester fiberfill in a polypropylene casing. Wears well outdoors and in; a hose-down or spot cleaning is usually all that is required to keep it fresh!

Hidden Among the Seaweed....




We LOVE these beach cottage pillows! I think this one might be my favorite! (Well, I am kinda partial to the crabs too...) Chris has depicted a trio of sand dollars on a 19" square pillow in nontoxic textile paint!  The commercial all-weather fabric is equally at home on your sun washed deck as your custom leather seating. Easy to care for with just a spot clean, quick hosing or gentle wash in cool water; lay flat to dry. Not a reprint or transfer, but her original. 





See what I mean?  I am so excited about being able to feature Chris' work on my website.  All of her  19 x 19 pillows are washable - the outside cover, and the insert, super long lasting, all original artwork.  Also, incredibly affordable at only $44.00 - some of the pillows are even customizable!

Come check out all of the different sealife she's painted in our "Beach House Pillow" category http://www.caronsbeachhouse.com/servlet/the-Coastal-Decorating-cln-Beach-House-Decor-Pillows/Categories

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pesacadero.... a Not-So-Hidden Jewel just off of Highway 1

Gosh!  I am so sorry, have been neglecting all of you this week!  So much to write about, where do I start?

How about taking you all to Pescadero?  Downtown Pescadero is a one-street, 3 block town - population of around 2000, but in the summers (especially on the weekends!) the streets swell with visitors. Pescadero is about 15 miles south of Half Moon Bay, simply drive down Highway 1 and turn left at the beautiful sandy beaches and rocks of Pesadero State Park. Can't miss it! Discover the fabulous Arcangeli Grocery Store, The Made in Pescadero store, fun antique and specialty stores,  enjoy some live music, stop in at the famous Duarte's tavern, and then head back to the beach for a stroll.....




Just have to show you a one of my favorite things from the Made in Pescadero store!  Every piece of furniture  in this showroom is absolutely, beautifully handcrafted of exotic and  native woods, and can be custom made to your specifications.  Art, pottery, photography, pillows, and quilted art round out their gallery offerings. 


 I loved these gorgeous lamps with the seashell  pottery embedded into the base of the lamp, the shade is copper painted with cork layered on top - so pretty.

Acangeli Grocery Company, open since 1929.  I can honestly tell you that the last time we drove down to Pescadero, this destination was the reason why. Their shelves are filled with specialty foods, sauces, honey, jelly and fresh baked bread, local wine, local  and local produce. Where to start?? 


Beautiful local juicy black plums..


Pepper-Cot Sauce. We brought home Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce.  Oh Mi - had bbq'd chicken with this sauce lathered on top,  with a side of fresh corn on the cob this week;  thought we were in heaven!


Artichoke Pesto bread - $3.49!  How could anyone resist this?  We hoard it until every bite is consumed...


Fig, pear,raspberry, strawberry, peach, apple preserves.... so incredibly good!   
We brought home local sage yummy honey, the artichoke bread, the sauce and 
bleu-cheese stuffed olives (Tom's favorites with his martinis!).

Then we stumbled down the street to an antique shop that we had not been in before.  Of course, I was drawn inside, I cannot resist antiquing, you never know what you might find!  We met Judy Seyk, one of the owners of Vintage Collection, and simply had a great time visiting with her.


Look at these! Vintage oars stuck in a pottery crock accompanied by a vintage croquet set.


Fabulous!   REAL badminton shuttle cocks with real feathers.  I had never seen anything like these, Judy thought I was pretty silly for taking all of the pictures, but I could just not help myself!  Loved the badminton rackets too, brought back many happy memories of hot summer days in my grandmother's backyard.


This was my real find of the day though!  Perfectly nautical lantern, constructed of copper that is now all weathered and turned to that lovely shade of verdigris. Can you see the label on the top, "Masthead"?  Wait until it's all cleaned up and the light is working again!

Now back to walk on beach. Truly this is one of my favorites stops on Highway 1, we've even driven down here after work for a picnic. Yes, we do bring wine and plastic glasses to go along with our picnic dinner -

Looking North


Great shells and tiny pieces of driftwood to find.  These mussel shells are about 4 inches long


We didn't find this piece of glass here, but I do take a lot of sea glass and product photos on this beach.  The picture should give you an idea of how fine the sand is...

Sunset is simply marvelous to watch here!





Thanks for coming with me! 









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