Sunday, September 20, 2015

Vermouth Baked Oysters

As many of you may already know, I am NOT an oyster fan.  I do live with the world's biggest oyster lover though, and I am more than happy to support his habit (it's not that bad as habits go!)

Last Saturday, we drove up to Point Reyes Station for a Sonoma-Cutrer wine and cheese event at Farmstead Cheese farm (amazing cheese- more about that later!) After the lunch event was over we hopped back in the Mini Cooper and took a quick detour down to Tomales Bay Oyster Company to pick up small Pacific oysters for Tom.  Fresh, just out of the bay oysters...according to Tom, the only way to eat them.

Sometimes I can eat them barbequed, I suspect it may have something to do with the sauce? Or maybe the white wine for courage?

On our way back through Point Reyes Station, we stopped and wandered through town, and into one of my favorite small bookstores, Point Reyes Books,  stumbling upon Sunset Magazines's "Eating Up the West Coast" cookbook. (Yes, I bought a copy!)

Part travel guide and part cookbook - great pics and fun suggestions for places to visit on our coast. Thumbing through the inspired pages, I ran across a baked oyster recipe.Didn't look too difficult, so thought I would give it a try - who knows, I might even change my mind about my dislike of oysters?

Here's my adaptation - rather decadent and rather yum.  I promise.

  • 6-8 shucked oysters - in shells, DO NOT pour off liquid upon opening
  • Rock Salt - enough to keep oysters level in baking dish
  • 2 slices of best-quality bacon
  • 2 T. finely chopped shallots
  • 2 T. Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup rough chopped spinach leaves
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. finely diced fresh tomatoes
  • 6 tsp. dried bread crumbs
Snipped chives and lemon wedges for serving.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook bacon until crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Reserve bacon fat for sauteing the shallots.  When cool, crumble bacon, set aside.

2.  Saute shallots in bacon fat over medium heat until golden brown. Then add in the Sweet Vermouth to deglaze pan; stirring around the edges and base of the pan. Simmering for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the cream and simmer gently until slightly reduced and bubbly; 2-3 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add the chopped spinach, stir constantly until the spinach wilts; 1-2 minutes. Season with the hot sauce, salt and pepper.

4. Pour rock salt into a rimmed baking dish - enough to keep nestled oysters upright while baking. Place the oysters in their shells on the rock salt and top each with approximately 1 T. of creamed-Vermouth spinach mixture, covering each oyster completely.

5. Top the oysters with 1/2 tsp. chopped tomato, crumbled bacon and then finish with a generous sprinkle of bread crumbs.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden on the top and bubbly around the edges.   

7. Time to eat! Serve with a lovely Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.

Let's just say, I may have been persuaded to change my mind after I baked up these fabulously delish, rich baked oysters!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Beachcomber - 5 More Styling Ideas

Presenting Five More Ideas inspired by Tim Neve's "Beachcomber" look -  remember, this is a look that incorporates what you already have in your home, and strives to not be "cluttered". Which can be a challenge with  your collection of found sea shells and driftwood. 
(it's a real challenge for me - I have way too many shells and chunks of sea glass!)

  What we are going for is a slightly-rustic beach house style for fall, but still elegant and welcoming.

Styling by Tim Neve- love that vintage wicker piece!  Image from "Sand Castles"

Neutral tones full of texture with the large seashell, white wicker table and the interestingly patterned garden stool echoing the style. Note also the grey fringed wool (cashmere?) casually thrown with the mix, creating a warmth and luxury texture in this space.

Easy to create for fall - just hide your bright colors, add a throw in soft beach tones of driftwood or grey, and then arrange your favorite summer found seashells!

Five Ideas to recreate this soft, natural coastal look:

1. Lighting is so essential when the light starts to fade earlier and earlier in the fall...
Add a Wicker or maybe even a natural rope-wrapped lamp, keeping the coastal feel with a touch of "Beachcomber" (we like these new ones!)
Hannah White Wicker Lamp - almost a vintage feel with white washing and a natural burlap shade

Add a natural textural feel with real rope - Rustic Rope Wrapped Lamp

A "fillable" glass lamp is always my go-to if you have limited space and lots of beach "finds"  The natural cork shade and chocolate ribbon detail on this Margate Lamp gives it just a little extra "oomph"

2. Add a knit throw - use pattern and texture in neutral shades to create the calming sense of fall at the coast.
Cable Knit Always works - love the classic styling for all seasons!

Stripes in pretty "driftwood" are always a welcome addition!  Love this Beach Striped throw for its' incredible knit softness and for the reversible striped look.

3. Use an interesting bowl or Large Clam Shell (can be faux!!) for showing off your summer collections.  Don't hide those special memories of time at the beach - show them off in something natural and pretty.

Coral Textured White Bowl

4. A garden stool is always a versatile furniture accessory! Add a tray to the top = instant side table

There are so many options for finding the right ceramic stool for your home, the above examples are just a few that I found for around $105.00 at  The trick is to find the right one that fits your style to add some interest and functionality to your room.

5. Think about trading out your art for the season. Simple frames in beachcomber tones of warm wood, or beach washed grey.  Doesn't have to be expensive - could even frame inexpensive black and white prints,  or try my favorite idea of framing a nautical chart from your surrounding bay.

Nautical Art wall from the Coastal Living Showhouse on Coronado Island - 
image source: Nautical by Nature
Vintage artwork is always fun too!  Or vintage-like art, look for distressing and natural textures like the linen fabric backgrounds in these Calming Coral Sealife pieces.

Take a look through what art you already have hiding in another room in your home, maybe just do a little rearranging?

We are hoping to inspire you to slow down, take a deep breath and live at the beach every day of the year.

Sand Castles can be purchased at Liberty Bay Books on my Book Page!
Get the Look - Beachcomber - Pinterest Page
Beachcomber Styling at Caron's Beach House

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Get the Look - Beachcomber Style!

I just hate to think about summer disappearing... but I do love the quiet and calm of Autumn at the beach. The change in seasons is signaled by rich textures found in knit sweaters, the warmer colors of fading leave in the softened sun light. Plenty time to slow down, come inside and sort through my summer beach finds.

This year, we have curated a new collection that we're calling "Beachcomber", and can't wait to introduce you all to our ideas behind the story to create this look.  Neutral, but not really "neutral", this style is created by incorporating rich textures, soft knits, natural fibers like wool and wicker, with the fabulous patterns spun in nature. Think design inspired by water tossed driftwood tones, the soft ivory shades of found sea shells, bits of coral and the myriad shades of grey in beach sand...
(image: Jenny Wolf Interiors)
It all started earlier this summer when I spotted Tim Neve's book "Sand Castles", at Liberty Bay Books while on our annual trip to the Pacific Northwest.  Added it to my stack! (I have a major issue with design books - am a very happy "addict")

And after several long conversations with my "girls" in Poulsbo, I came to the conclusion that we ( needed to present some kind of West Coast style; it's a look that is a little hard to pin down - and one that we've been missing.  So, I put on my thinking cap, grabbed my notebook and started creating some boards on Pinterest to collect my ideas.

Driftwood.. bleached seashells... sea glass (my other addiction) smooth stones and natural bit of beauty from our beaches.

When we got home to Half Moon Bay, I finally had a chance to really take a look at all of the pages of ideas found in Tim Neve's Sand Castles. The gorgeous photography of Johan Palsson instantly takes you away to Tim's Australian coastline, and you are drawn to his travels creating the fabulous styles shown in these Interiors Inspired by the Coast.

His inspirational rooms and vignettes are divided up into five different sections in the book; the first one being "Beachcomber" - which is exactly how we wanted to present our Fall Coastal Style.

P.S.  I have devoured every page of this Interior Design Book!

"Celebrating the natural sunbleached tones and sea-worn textures of salvaged treasures" 
 (Chapter 1 intro "Sand Castles")
Just a tiny bit of my summer collections; I can't resist pebbles worn smooth by our ocean, tumbled sea glass and tiny shells.  We are so lucky to live where our beaches are fully stocked with nature's beauty!

Not too fussy and never pretentious, the Beachcomber style is a home decorating look that feels relaxed and carefree. A little bit Scandinavian, hints of the Nordic with more than a dash of Northern Californian, this is our Autumn 2015 go-to style to welcome our friends and family to the beach!  

Here are just a few of the things we're adding to our new curated collection....

Beachcomber Knit Grey Throw

The Maggie Lamp - reminds us of bleached, wave tossed sea shells

Soft thick, knit throws in beach faded shades of ivory, aqua, navy and driftwood. Just the right "cozy" accessory for watching a storm on the coast!

Anchor Vases
Organically shaped and hand blown sea glass green vases with tiny anchors - fabulous for filling with shells, or fall foliage.  Maybe even a "bouquet" of driftwood?  (More on that idea next week!)

Here are a few more places to check out our ideas for our new curated look for fall:
1. Pinterest Board - Get the Look Beachcomber Style

Embracing Fall this September  - join us!

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

Most Popular Beach Posts!