Tuesday, September 28, 2010

R is for Oysters....

Well, not really. But it's the best way to remember which months are the best for oysters.  September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April - all of the other months of the year, oysters are busy reproducing, and are a little skinny, so they really are only recommended for the  barbecue.  

(photo taken at Hog Island Oysters at the Ferry Building in San Francisco)
 
On the barbecue is about the only way that I will eat them!  Some of my favorite memories  of eating oysters, were grilled on my dad's barbecue, dipped in a spicy bbq sauce, on a hot summer day on the back of the Gypsy Miss.. .It was so fun to be anchored in Westcott Bay, in the San Juan Islands, we could then dingy into  Westcott Bay Sea Farms, and buy their fresh oysters right off their dock.  Little tiny Westcott petites.. a cross between  the Miyagi from Central Honshu and the delicious, tiny Kumamoto from Kyush, rich, sweet, salty. So perfect when dipped in lemon + melted  butter, or a spicy sauce.  My dad still talks about those oysters!

Growing up we had oysters on our beach, but the tide was too swift, and although my dad tried everything to get them to stay on the beach they would simply get swept out with the tide. Or the starfish and moon snails would feast on them, leaving nothing but the shells. Luckily, we were close to Hood Canal, and we did have friends that would invite my dad to bring a bucket to their beach!

(photo taken at Twanoh State Park - Hood Canal)

I digress...

Since we are starting prime oyster-enjoying season, I thought I would share some oyster ideas with you.   Who knows?  Even I, non-oyster girl,  might give these another shot!  They are Tom's favorite food.....

(Make sure to check out our pretty oyster shells votive holders - hand crafted on Cape Cod)


 
 
Oyster Stew - This recipe is pretty darn simple, and one that came from my grandmother and my brother, Jeff.  I had to call him to get the low-down. According to my him, this is all you need - no extra potatoes, etc.
  • 2 dozen extra small oysters
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 /4 cup leek, onion or celery which ever you prefer
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T. of chives finely chopped


1. Combine milk and cream in medium saucepan. Drain oysters, save "liquor" and add to milk mixture.  Heat milk mixture slowly until hot, but below boiling point.

2.  Saute' veggies in 2 T. of the butter until soft.  Add oysters and saute' briefly until edges are slightly curled.  Transfer oyster mixture to milk, and add salt and pepper.  Cook until oysters are nice and plump, about 3-4 minutes. Serve with chopped chives, and some french bread - enjoy! 
(Small Seashell Bowls - $26.99 set/4)


 Fried Oyster Caesar Salad - 

Sent to me by one of my Facebook Friends - Imageglow Candles, from Joanne Weir's culinary website and blog. (serious foodies need to check her out!)

18 fresh oysters in their shell
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 whole eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil for deep frying, peanut, corn or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced                                           
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets, soaked in cold water 10 minutes, patted dry and mashed
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 small hearts of romaine, leaves separated
1/2 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano

Shuck the oysters and reserve them separately from the oyster liquor from the shell.  Discard the shells.

Place the flour in a bowl.  Place the eggs in another bowl and whisk with 2 tablespoons water.  Place the bread crumbs in a third bowl.  Season the flour and bread crumbs with salt and pepper.  Dredge the oysters in the flour first and tap off the excess.  Next dip them in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs.

In a small saucepan heat 1-inch of oil to 375°F.

For the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the reserved oyster liquor, the garlic, mustard, lemon juice, mashed anchovies and egg yolk until well blended.  Add the olive oil slowly in a steady stream and whisk until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Deep fry the oysters, a few at a time, until golden, 1 minute.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with the dressing until the leaves are coated.  Add half of the Parmigiano and toss again.  Place on serving plates and top each plate with 3 oysters and sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmigiana.  Serve immediately. 

This might be the perfect salad bowl for your gorgeous Caesar Salad!



Of course, you could always just make it simple and serve fresh, on the half shell.... a little lemon, some cocktail sauce...


Beachcomber Oyster Plates - $29.95






Traditional Oysters Rockfeller (from All Recipes.com)
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 24 unopened, fresh, live medium oysters
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked spinach
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon anise flavored liqueur
  • 4 cups kosher salt - spread on a serving platter (17" Oyster Shaped Serving Platter)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. Clean oysters and place in a large stockpot. Pour in enough water to cover oysters; bring the water and oysters to a boil. Remove from heat and drain and cool oysters. When cooled break the top shell off of each oyster.
  3. Using a food processor, chop the bacon, spinach, bread crumbs, green onions, and parsley. Add the salt, hot sauce, olive oil and anise-flavored liqueur and process until finely chopped but not pureed, about 10 seconds.
  4. Arrange the oysters in their half shells on a pan with kosher salt. Spoon some of the spinach mixture on each oyster. Bake 10 minutes until cooked through, then change the oven's setting to broil and broil until browned on top. Serve hot and bubbly! 


There's a few recipes to get you started for the oyster months!






 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crusin' to Bean Hollow Beach...

Fired up the Pontiac, (reliable beach car!)  packed up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then headed south on Hwy 1 last Thursday.  A little attitude adjustment was way overdue.  If I can just breathe a little ocean air, soak in the aqua marine views and get my toes in the sand, I am convinced that I am just a much better person to be around.  

Yes, I did drive fast, (I don't have a supercharged engine for nothing!) with the sun roof wide open and the windows down.  And yes, I did have the stereo cranked up with Robert Plant and Alyson Krause keeping me company.

But, I do have a little bad news to report.  While I was having such a perfect afternoon at Bean Hollow State Beach... enjoying a little lunch, getting caught up on my Coastal Living Magazine reading, watching pelicans play in the breeze.... I dropped my lunch bag with the camera in it.

 Dropped it right on the lens.  I think it's broken.  Sounds like sand grinding in the lens mechanism, (gee, do you think??)  and now I can't retract the lens back into the camera.  Felt sick to my stomach, and tried not to let it ruin my excellent afternoon. Thank goodness though, I did manage to save the images off of my little Olympus from my day at the beach adventure.



Bean Hollow is a California State Beach located on Highway 1,  between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay.  There are two parking lots, separated by about a mile, but connected by a beach walking trail.  The views from this cliff walk are simply unspeakably beautiful.  



It was about 70 degrees at the beach, gentle breeze, stunning day to be on the California coast.  





A lone grey heron doing a little fishing for lunch




 Harbor Seals galore can be seen playing in the surf and sunning themselves on the rocks! 

Wish me luck on the camera repair - feeling a little lost without my trusty companion.




Friday, September 24, 2010

Pebble Beach ...

No, not the "golfing" Pebble Beach.. .just a small unassuming rocky cove that I discovered yesterday at Bean Hollow State Park.     What a find though - just off Hwy 1, about 17 miles south of Half Moon Bay!





 Deep with sea washed, tumbled pebbles - so polished that they resemble gemstones; all colors of jade and agates!  These pretty little stones have been tossed in this cove for thousands of years and are smooth to the touch, you can even walk through them in bare feet.  I sat here for over an hour sifting through the colors, finding tiny sea shells and one piece of amber sea glass. My friend Patti would know instantly what each stone was but, alas I can only recognize the agates....

Wow.... could not have asked for a more perfect September afternoon.  I am pretty lucky that I am able to  "skip school" once in awhile.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Asking the Barefoot Contessa...

Ah... 2 hours on the plane from Seattle back to San Francisco, the perfect time by myself with no distractions to get caught up on my magazine addiction.  On the flight up to Seattle, I read the entire Sunset Magazine - it's now all marked up with fun things to do in the Bay Area, recipes to try, places to visit... more about that later!

Now on to House Beautiful, savoring each issue in its' entirety, turning the pages, marking up articles to share on my Facebook page...

 I have 3 issues to catch up on, starting with the July/August issue. I must be hungry  though, as I immediately turned to the "Ask the Barefoot Contessa" column!   Here's what I found, and what I made for dinner on Wednesday night; "Spaghetti with Shrimp and Broccoli"... easy, easy easy.  Never thought about roasting shrimp (prawns) but they sure turned out gorgeous, pink, juicy and NOT overdone.





You will need:
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups of broccoli florets 
  • Good Olive Oil
  • 1 pound shrimp (16-18 per pound) shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • 1 pound good pasta - we used whole grain
  • 8 large garlic cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
**Not on the Barefoot Contessa's list, but I also roasted red peppers and fresh cherry tomatoes from our deck garden

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, bring a large pot of water to boil with 2 tsps. of salt


2. Combine the broccoli, (and red pepper if you choose)  1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper on a sheet pan , spread out and roast for 5 minutes.


3. Remove from oven, and then spread shrimp and tomatoes with the broccoli, return to oven and roast for another 8-10 minutes. (look how plump the shrimp/prawns are!)


4. Meanwhile cook the pasta in the pot of boiling salted water, according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water before draining the pasta.


5. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the finished pasta. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it begins to turn golden.  Add the red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds more.  Carefully add the reserved pasta cooking water to the garlic and oil, then bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, add 1 tsp. of salt and simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced by about a third. 
        **Hint: we used 1/2 cup of white wine in place of 1/2 cup of the pasta water**


6. Add the drained pasta to the garlic oil and toss.  Take off the heat, add the cooked shrimp and broccoli, plus the parsley and Parmesan cheese.



7.  Voila"!   Serve with a nice white wine and some crusty fresh bread, and enjoy!  

Have a wonderful weekend, get outside and enjoy some nice fall weather.   I think we will be headed down to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero in San Francisco for some farmer's market shopping - will send pics if we do!

We've had a very eventful week at Caron's Beach House - here's where we've been featured!


Sally Lee by The Sea: Window Shopping for Beach Fall Finds http://www.sallyleebythesea.com/2010/09/window-shopping-for-beachy-fall-finds.html

Coastal Creations and Designs: Everything Coastal Unplugged http://coastaldesign.blogspot.com/2010/09/everything-coastal-unplugged-interview.html

Thanks again for your support, your comments and for following!  


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Woo Hoo! We are the featured story on Completely Coastal!

Very excited to be not only one of Completely Coastal's sponsors, but  I am loving the story she did today on our fledgling coastal home decor online store:  Caron's Beach House.
For the complete story, check out Completely Coastal's blog!  She does a wonderful job of supporting and featuring many beach businesses and coastal artists + Completely Coastal comes recommended by one of my favorite magazines for beach lovers, Coastal Living.

Make sure to check out the sister blog too - Vitamin Sea!  I have been very lucky to be featured there too - http://dailyvitaminsea.com/red-summer-drinks/

Thanks for all of your support for our blogs,  Everything Coastal and Everything Coastal Style, cannot begin to tell you how much it is appreciated.

For my "Social Media" friends, (that's you!)  I am offering a special FREE SHIPPING code for anything purchased on the Caron's website through this Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Code = Jellyfish

** Important: MUST register on our site in order to use the code**







Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ocean Beach - San Francisco

As many of you know, San Francisco is not known for its' crystal clear summer days..... Most of the time in July and August we have fog, lots of fog and lots of "marine layers".  Truly, I am not complaining, (remember, I am from the Pacific Northwest) after the fog burns off we have beautiful clear skies and NO rain.  For me, the fog has its own unique beauty. It rolls in like cotton candy waves from the Pacific Ocean, over our coastal mountain ranges blanketing everything in quiet surreal white strands...

Last week, all of a sudden San Francisco  popped out of the fog and back into summer.   We decided to head down to Ocean Beach and see what we might find - totally expecting to find gray.  Instead, we were greeted by bright sunshine and the incredible blue, green, aqua waves of the Pacific!

Ocean Beach runs the length of the Great Highway in San Francisco, wide open sandy beaches and sand dunes stretching for miles up to the Cliff House and then into the entrance to San Francisco Bay.  

I have gathered sea glass, tiny whole sand dollars, large dark blue mussel shells at Ocean Beach, but this is the first abalone shell that I have ever found.  Was so excited to see the myriad of blues, silvers and greens shining up at me out of the sand, just asking to go home in my pocket.

Have never seen this either - whole live dungeness crabs were washing up in the surf!  No wonder why there were so many shore birds and some VERY large black ravens stalking the edge of the waves.






We love to watch the  kite surfers skim the waves, quickly gathering speed along the water. Some day, when I get brave enough,  I would really really like to learn how to kite surf.  It looks likes such fun and  a total blast!

 Ocean Beach is a beach to simply enjoy the sun glinting off of  the green-aqua color of the water as you walk along, picking up stray sea shells and an occasional sea glass prize while sinking your toes into the soft, gray sand.


 Even better if you are holding hands with  someone you love...

Better yet, if he takes you out for a delish sea food appetizer to share and lemon drops at the Cliff House after you promise to get all the sand off of your shorts, and maybe comb your hair!  (Don't you love this view??)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weeknight Escape Sunsets on our California Coast

Dear Friends,
Wish I could tell you that I packed up some kind of culinary delight picnic dinner but, alas, I had too much work to do.  My over 40 brain can only handle so many tasks before it hits the overload button!  Had to settle for the "gourmet" deli at Safeway for "California Dreamin" sandwiches, chips (in the crunchy bio-degradable bag!) and some lovely cold beer.

You heard that right, I drank beer. It was absolutely the perfect drink  for a hot sunny early evening at the beach.

(PS  I DID NOT find this conch shell here - my mom gave it to me years ago, thought it might be a good photo shoot prop)

Packed up the beach bag:

  1. Wine Charms to re-shoot
  2. Shells to use as props (kinda heavy)
  3. beach towel
  4. camera
  5. iphone
  6. extra bag for shells or sea glass
  7. sweatshirts (just in case)
  8. napkins (I am a messy sandwich eater)
  9. sandwiches
  10. chips
  11. beer
  12. wine/beer opener (stays in the bag)
What do you think of our view from our impromptu beach towel picnic spot?  Not too bad for a Wednesday night after work.

Photo shoot was a little tough, light was not quite right, my pretty little charms were not showing up right on the sand beach.   So frustrating! Oh well, just gives me another excuse to go back to the coast this weekend...

We met several people also enjoying our sunset, and they were kind enough to volunteer to take our picture. Yes, that is my WSU Cougar Mom sweatshirt!













And now for our stunning sunset......







I think I have become a California girl.







P.S. Please please make sure to stop by the Everything Coastal Style Blog today and meet Tricia Rose, the creator of "Rough Linen"! 

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