Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Night Clam Chowder

C'mon admit it - we all watched the Oscars last night.  Who wore the best dress, which actor was the most handsome, who wore the worst dress... who looked fabulous on the red carpet.... glamour, glamour and more Hollywood glamour!  My fave?  To tell you the truth, I thought Anne Hathaway was the best!  She just looks incredible in anything, has such a wide range of talent,  and had such a fun time presenting and making the whole show fun.  (picture courtesy of Yahoo)

So that we wouldn't miss a single second of the show, I whipped us up some incredible clam chowder - not your average clam chowder.  Average, New England clam chowder would have been just too blase' for Oscar night!

Inspired by Hog Island's Manilla Clam Chowder, with my own twist... No flour added,  using only fresh clams and veggies.

Serves:  6-8

  • 1/2 pound bacon 
  • celery - 2 cups sliced.  I tried "red" celery last night - wonderful addition!
  • 1 med. yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • carrots - 1-2 cups chopped
  • 2 T. butter
  • 6-8 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered into bite-sized cubes.  DO NOT peel!
  • 4-6 lbs of small Manila clams in the shell 
  • 1 + cup Sauvignon Blanc white wine ( be daring like Julia!)
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Wash clams in colander, make sure that there are no cracked or open shells.  Discard bad clams...

Step 2: Cut up potatoes, and place in stock pot with 5-6 cups of water - no salt.   Bring to a boil, cook until al dente.  Do not discard water!

Step 3: While the potatoes are boiling, in a second heavy-bottom pot melt the butter with the thyme. Render the bacon in the butter and thyme (over low heat, careful not to burn); once bacon is rendered add onions and celery, cook until vegetables are translucent. Add carrots and cook until bendable without breaking, then add the potatoes and 4 cups of potato water.  Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

 Step 4:  Add the Sauvignon Blanc (or other good white wine) and let simmer for just a few minutes for flavors to blend

Step 5: Add the whole, fresh scrubbed clams.  Put the stock pot lid on and simmer gently until the clams open.  

Step 6: Ladle into individual bowls and pour a little cream in each bowl.  Now you are ready to serve!

Voila'!  Pour a glass of the chilled Sauvignon Blanc and serve with a rustic loaf of bread 
and you have an elegant feast.  

Have a great Monday - 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring is almost here on the California coast. Ice plants galore on the cliffs at Half Moon Bay just beginning to show their glorious colors!

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Just Beachy" in Snowy Gig Harbor

Judy Thorne, of Just Beachy calls herself a "shellaholic." She began collecting shells as a child in Southern California and now needs only to step outside her beachfront home in Gig Harbor, Washington to turn a beach walk into a treasure hunt.  The snow photos are all from her front yard this past week during more crazy weather that the Puget Sound is experiencing! 

Formerly a travel public relations consultant, Judy's best souvenirs havealways been shells and sea glass, and she has mementoes from Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Burma, Thailand, England, Bermuda, the Mediterranean and destinations in between.  

 (Nude Beach - BRRRRRR!!)

"Just Beachy" creations are handmade with legally collected and non-endangered shells and sea life in Judy's Shell Shack studio on the beach. 

 I have been to her house, it's not exactly a shack! It is definitely filled with shells, and shell creations, and a few things from our old store in Poulsbo.  Judy and Gordon's beach home sits within 10 yards from Colvos Passage, and what a treat it is to be in their house. 

 Big view windows to enjoy life go float by; fishing boats headed into Gig Harbor, freighters on their way into the Port of Tacoma and more than a few graceful sea lions. Oh, and lots of playful harbor seals too!  (hmmm.... must be salmon close by)
Judy and her husband Gordon invited Tom and I over for holiday mimosas in December, and I was absolutely enthralled with her vast shell collection.  Check out this bowl filled with a tiny sampling of her beach walks around the world...

P.S.  YUMMY Orange-Mango Mimosas. Thanks Gordon!

We are very excited to be presenting Just Beachy Creations at Caron's Beach House - come see all of her creations, and look for even more in the near future.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Living our Vision for Eco/Beach Friendly Products

When I reopened Caron's Beach House , it was incredibly important to me that we find products that fit our vision for "green" home decor, using recycled items and featuring artisans that also support those ideals. (it's harder than you think...) 

Imagine my delight, when I received Jolee Pink's e-mail about her EcoArt Shore Pillows.  I am very excited about carrying her work on our website, fabulous easy-care, modern beach house pillows made of earth-friendly organic textiles and water based ink for her hand printed designs.  Not to mention the use of an unique fiber fill made from recycled plastic bottles! 

Best of all, she's a West Coast beach girl (just like me!) living in the small beach town of Encintas, California.  We hit it off right away on the phone and through e-mail.  I know you will enjoy her too!

From her press kit: 
California artist Jolee Pink started her career as a graphic designer. After moving to the seaside town of Encinitas, CA, her appreciation of the ocean environment grew along with an interest in working with clay. Jolee studied her natural surroundings to create captivating ceramic sculptures infused with an organic appeal. Winning national recognition for her outdoor sea life sculpture garden and interior mural work, Jolee started her innovative company,  to showcase her colorful ceramic sculpture and stylish design for the home and garden. 

Jolee’s passion to fuse her artistic expression with home accessories fashioned to promote greener living led to the development of her modern EcoArt collections of organic cotton throw pillows and organic tote bags. 

Her images are inspired by nature, world travels and the southern California coastal lifestyle. She combines bright colors with fresh bold designs to add sizzle and pop to her eco chic home decor line.

Inviting you all to stop by and see all of her designs on our site. Think about mixing and matching to create something new and exciting for spring in your beach house!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Fabulous Family Beach House on Miller Bay

Shayne was one of my favorite customers in our Poulsbo store.  I always looked forward to her visits, sharing stories of her  coastal decorating style, and life at the beach, but I had never been to her house until this past fall.  My friend Suzanne (former right hand beach girl!) sent me a text from Shayne's house to tell me about a party she had been to - and how so many of our things from "Caron's" were gracing Shayne's house.

Got a big lump in my throat, and shed a few tears,  thinking of the fun times and the memories from the store in Poulsbo.  So, I took a deep breath, and e-mailed Shayne to ask if I could have a tour when I was on the Kitsap Peninsula visiting for Alex's graduation.

She was nice enough to invite me over.  Not only did she invite me and my mom over for a visit  to her beautiful beach house,  but she made my Island Cookies too in her fabulous kitchen. What a treat!

Would you like a tour?

Shayne and her husband built and custom-designed their beautiful waterfront home on Miller Bay about 5 years ago. Their home is filled with light, large view windows, and nestled among towering Northwest fir trees.

 It's the perfect family home,  built down the beach from her sister's beach home and  her parents home too. Their home is definitely built for outdoor fun;  playing on the beach, collecting shells, boat rides, and plenty of beach fires.   You could easily find me on a lazy afternoon, swaying gently in the breeze in their hammock... daydreaming.

Love their outdoor shower area on their extensive patio. Check out the  distressed beach house sign complete with hooks for bathing suits and wet, sandy towels!

Here's just a small sampling of Shayne's ideas for kid friendly, easy beach cottage style decorating in the Pacific Northwest!

Entryway cubbies and hooks for everyone - note the family photo of a beach vacation sitting in a painted distressed frame on the top of the cubbies with a collection of recent beach finds... rocks, shells and pieces of driftwood

Shayne confessed that they had carted around the fireplace mantel for years, after having found it in Wallingford (near Seattle).  What a great find!

Slip covered, comfy kid-friendly furniture in their spacious, light filled great room, with their carefully curated collections of beach finds and treasures.  Take note of her white and aqua painted furniture... totally beachy.  I loved this room for its' butter-sunshine yellow walls and cream painted moldings, and window surrounds.

Beach towels always ready to be grabbed for an afternoon on the boat, or on the beach with a good book!

Close up of one of Shayne's favorite treasure finds!  Scavenged vintage buffet that she rescued, painted, sanded, and then added new hardware to give it a whole new life.  It is now is a treasured family piece, with an ever-changing family photo collection display.

Check out the white distressed mermaid weather vane sitting proudly on the buffet.  We were lucky enough to have this featured on one of Coastal Living Magazine's covers in 2006 for our store in Poulsbo, could hardly keep them in stock!

View from the top of the stairs down into the great room - notice the wicker and beach cottage painted furniture throughout her house.  Casual, but still  fun and elegant.

A spot for Shayne and her husband to escape for a little quiet time on their own private deck...

Also note the large rectangular mirror in the great room,  another one of Shayne's creations. If you have ever lived in the Pacific Northwest, you know that light is most precious; Shayne's mirror is positioned to grab all of the light reflecting through their floor to ceiling windows and reflect it back into their living area.  Totally hand crafted  from local bleached white clam shells and white rock tiles.  Loved it!

Kids' room are done in beach, nautical themes too - except for their daughter Grace's room, which is delightfully pink, and beach cottage girly.

Here's Shayne with one of her creations in her son Wiley's room - a hand painted map of Hood Canal, so that the kids can see all of the great beaches that they have explored right around home!

Wiley's room is all done in fun primary colored nautical themes, with a few special vintage nautical touches; old painted buoys and an oar on one wall (not pictured)

Indie's room is all about surfing!  

Grace's room is all about pretty beach cottage  - couldn't you just imagine cuddling up here on a rainy day and reading "The Secret Garden" staring out at the bay, and all of the green?

In their hall powder room I found these fun treasures!

And in their guest house a few more beach touches!

Aren't these candle holders a great idea?  Fill with rocks, shells, or even driftwood and adorn with simple hemp rope and some fun candles!

My mom and I had a great time visiting, and really hope that we get invited back.  This time we will bring the cookies....

The Turgeon family truly is living a coastal lifestyle and enjoying all that it has to offer.  In fact, they have started a new business for specialty sport fishing - stop by and check out all that they have to offer on their Pro Tackle website!

Pro Tackle:
"Pro Tackle sells high end saltwater jigging, popping, trolling and inshore fishing gear. We carry Zenith, Smith, Tenryu, Shout, Spinal, Maniac, Seven Seas, YGK, Luna Bait, MC Works, Daiwa, Pili, Studio Ocean Mark, Yo-Zuri and many more....."

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

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