Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Coastal Good Eats and Views

This week we are settling into our new hood here in the Carmel/Big Sur area. We took the 35 minute or so drive down coastal Hwy 1 yesterday to see what our camp host sites will be like at Pfieffer and ate at the local restaurant Nepenthe.

The campground is beautiful, nestled down deep in a valley of redwoods. I am not sure what site we will land in yet because Betty the ranger we have been speaking with was off duty yesterday. The park is right near a few essentials like the post office and of course a beach where we can bring the dirty little dog. I did not grab any shots of the campground but here is what our beach of choice for daily walks looks like...

It's a good one. We spotted dolphins fishing the kelp beds and the waves were nice and big (this is a requirement for me... I want the constant sound of them crashing to accompany me on my walks.) It was windy as hell but so it goes. Rudy fought with seaweed. And sometimes... the seaweed even seemed to fight back. It was fine entertainment.

Lunch at Nepenthe was nice. It is off the charts silly expensive ($17.50 for a portobella mushroom sandwich) but then I guess you pay for the view and the real estate it sits on when you eat there. There really is no such things as cheap eats in this neck of the woods. I liked the atmosphere of the place though, it was really casual and anytime I get to sit outside to eat you win me over.

After lunch we drove back up the coast and stopped off at a few beaches that we had spotted on the way down.

It was getting on in to early evening and was quite cloudy so my pics are kind of dark. I guess you can see well enough what the place looks like though. The sky was beautiful casting spotlights out on the water through the clouds..

Yesterday we stopped off at the farmer's market and were thrilled to find baskets of zucchini blossoms at one stand. We bought some and the woman gave us her recipe for cooking them as well. I made them today for lunch and they were quite good (and easy to make.) If you happen to stumble upon some in your local market here is the recipe I followed...

Bar D Ranch Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

makes 4 appetizer/side dishes or 2 light entrees

8 zucchini blossoms with baby zucchini attached (female blossoms)
16 teaspoons soft goat cheese, feta or ricotta ( I used goat cheese and did not come close to using or needing that much)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 cup finely chopped tomato
salt and pepper to taste
a few shredded leaves of basil

Gently open the zucchini blossoms and place 1-2 teaspoons of cheese in each. Close the petals to enclose the cheese. (This takes a minute to master... the first one will have you all "What the Hell am I doing?)

Make a fresh tomato sauce by softening the shallot in butter and then adding the tomato to cook for a few minutes until soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the basil. Place the stuffed blossoms on top of sauce and cover the pan to cook (on low heat) for around ten minutes until the zucchini is tender. Serve on top of the fresh sauce.

Here is a shot of my zucchini in the pan...

They turned out really well and tasted fantastic. I used a bit more shallot than required and we had really beautiful heirloom tomatoes to make the sauce from. Also the goat cheese was locally made, loaded with fresh herbs and garlic. I would totally make these again if given the chance (it's not everyday you find these blossoms.)

Billy is starting work on a few Carmel Beach scenes and I am sure oodles of Big Sur work will follow. The landscape is endlessly paintable here. I will post a few paintings once they are completed.


Momo said...

That recipe looks great! I have some zucchini coming in right now so I am going to make them!

lorenzstudio said...

We stayed in Big Sur one night on our month-long honeymoon when we went mtn biking in Sedona, Jet Skiing on Lake Havasu, Backpacking in Yosemite, Riding around the streets of San Francisco...and I thought that was a big trip!

Bethany said...

Hi Loren... yeah, you can wear yourself out in Cali. There is too much good stuff to see and do. Your trip sounds like it must have been a blast! I hope you had jet packs on your butts if you mean that you were bike riding in San Fran. Ouch!