Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Trip to the Beach and Cioppino

Today I was not working so me and the family decided to go to Westport WA right on the Pacific Ocean. Our goal was to play at the beach and just enjoy the day; however, Mother Nature had other plans. It was so cold and windy and we did not bring coats or wear long pants. It was about 85 degrees when we left home and about 60 when we got to the beach with high winds. Needless to say we did not stay long, which brought me to my second and third goals.

Second on my list of things to do was to go to my favorite candy shop and buy saltwater taffy. This is the only place I buy it because it is the real deal and it is so yummy and fresh. They have so many flavors it makes a person's head double take at all the cool flavors. They also have a great fudge counter, but saltwater taffy takes the center stage with me when I go here. It is called Gifts Ahoy Sea Shanty and anyone who visits Westport must go here to get taffy, fudge, and really cool gifts. It is right across the street from all the piers and floats right there in the heart of this wonderful fishing town of Westport WA.
Check out all the taffy flavors. And, I didn't even get all of them in the pictures, there was also taffy above and below the middle racks of which is pictured here. They have so many flavors, it is a taffy lover's dream.

Then my third goal of this visit was to go to the floating seafood shop called Seafood Connection right on the water at Float 8 on the Westport fishing piers. This is one of the best places in Westport to buy seafood. It is fresh off the boats and when it is sold out, there is nothing frozen or anything. Once it is gone, it is gone; you wait until tomorrow if you want seafood from here. It is so fresh. The cool thing is that it floats, you can actually feel the waves beneath your feet as you shop and they wrap up your seafood and ice it right there. You can buy live crabs, live prawns, halibut, and many other types of seafood. This is where I bought my seafood for my Cioppino that we had for dinner. Nothing like a fresh seafood meal with some yummy sourdough to round out a great day.

Another unexpected treat we got was a sea lion popped up out of the water while we were walking down the pier to go back to the car, he was so close and I had put my camera away. I was pretty disappointed that he did not rear his head again as he was maybe 4 feet away from us and that picture would have been great! But we saw him again from afar and so this is the picture I got.

Yes the little dot in the water is the sea lion. They know when the fishing boats come in and hang out while they throw out any fish parts they do not need, or bait they did not use, so they can get a feast when the charter boats come in.

Here is the wonderful seafood I purchased. We got a dungeness crab, mussels, clams, and part of a halibut fillet.

Ok if you have made it this far in this great day story, then here is the recipe for the Cioppino. It is an adaptation of a recipe I found online at Mama Chios Shellfish Cioppino and I changed it up a little bit to make it a little less spicy and to use what I had on hand and what seafood was in season. Just click the link to get the original recipe and here is the changes included.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup merlot wine (we used Fat Bastard Merlot, it was also so good to drink; it is also a great priced bottle at $10 a bottle that tastes like we paid more, it was really good)
2 cups chopped roma tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 cups water

1 dungeness crab, shelled
3/4 lb halibut fillet, cut into bite sized chunks
1 lb clams
1 lb mussels

Heat oil and butter in large pot. Add onion, parsley, and garlic. Cook until onion is transparent. Add wine and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. Stir frequently while cooking 15-20 minutes. Add water, cover, simmer for 30 minutes. Add all seafood except halibut to sauce. Add more water if necessary to make sure all shellfish is covered. Cook for 5 minutes; add halibut, and cook additional 10 minutes. When clams have opened, cioppino is ready to serve.

- if any clams or mussels have not opened, discard them.
- We ate this with some sourdough bread to soak up broth.

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Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Great looking soup!!! And that seafood shop must be incredible!

Heidi said...

Happy late birthday! I want that taffy. It has been long time since I have had some good salt water taffy.