Dining in the Shadow of Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Today is National Lighthouse Day. Rather than share a collection of lighthouses like we did last year with our Oregon Coast Supper to Remember, I thought it might be fun to pick just one lighthouse. There are so many to pick from, all with interesting stories and rich histories.

I suppose I could have picked one from my home state of California. After all, the California coast has over 40 lighthouses, many offering public tours. Some even offer overnight accommodations. Pigeon Point Lighthouse near Half Moon Bay would have been a great California choice. In many ways, it reminds me of Yaquina Head in Oregon. Pigeon Point is not far from home, a little over 2 hours as the crow flies, and hold some special memories. But those are tales for another day.

I’ve always had a thing for covered bridges and lighthouses. Anytime we travel, if there’s a covered bridge or lighthouse nearby, I’ve got to take a peek. Yaquina Head Lighthouse, near the mouth of the Yaquina River, is one we’ve visited at least once per trip to the Oregon Coast. At 93 feet, Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the state. Yaquina Head Lighthouse was first lit on August 20, 1873. The lighthouse was then automated in 1966 and remains active today. Yaquina Head wasn’t the first lighthouse for Newport Harbor. The first, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, was put into operation in 1871. When Yaquina Head was built just 3-miles to the north, Yaquina Bay became obsolete. Then in December 1996, Yaquina Bay was re-lit with a 9-inch modern optic and now exists as a privately maintained navigational aid belonging to the U.S. Coastguard. It’s fixed white light is visible for six miles.

As for Yaquina Head, typically the lighthouse was home to three lighthouse keepers; a Head Keeper, a First and Second Assistance. The Head Keeper as well as the First Assistance were usually married men with families who shared the a two-story keeper’s dwelling. The Second Assistant, typically a bachelor, also shared the house. In 1923, a one-story keepers’ house was added a short distance to the east. In 1938, a one-story building replaced the original two-story dwelling.

Both dwellings and all outbuildings were then demolished in 1984. Today that space is now a grassy area.

In 1939, the U.S. Coast Guard took over the management of Yaquina Head. During World War II, 17 servicemen were station at Yaquina Head as lookouts for enemy ships. While that sounds farfetched, on June 21, 1942 a Japanese submarine had followed fishing boats through a mine field to reach the mouth of the Columbia River. The submarine’s target was Fort Stevens, some 130 miles to the north of Yaquina Head. While most of the Japanese rounds landed in a baseball field or in the nearby swamp, Oregon wasn’t taking any chances. Lookouts were stationed up and down the coast, including Yaquina Head.

While there are a lot of reasons to visit Yaquina Head Lighthouse, another charming draw point has to be the port town of Newport, Oregon. First established as a small fishing village in 1855, Newport quickly became a seaside resort destination. By 1866, with steamer connections to San Francisco, Newport had earned the nickname The San Francisca of Oregon. In 1884, with the railroad connection from Corvallis to Yaquina City finished, tourism grew more rapidly. When the Yaquina Bay Bridge opened in October 1936, the bridge not only helped with tourism, its construction created job growth since the bridge was built in the middle of the Great Depression. If you like bridges (and I do) an amazing sight to see.

Just as the harbor of Newport has great charm. It’s one of those places the simply invites you to sit on the dock of the bay and watch the ships sail away.

Who could resist all this beauty for a truly inspired Lighthouse Supper with the bounties of the Oregon Coast? And lucky for us, it’s also National Raspberries in Cream Day – so dessert partially created itself. Enjoy – and have an awesome day everyone!

Newport Inspired Lighthouse Supper
Appetizer –
Crab Puffs

Soup –
Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Boules

Main Course –
Sweet Mustard Salmon
Roasted Rosemary Fingerlings with Asparagus

Salad –
Granny Apple Pomegranate Salad

Dessert –
Raspberries in Orange Liqueur Cream

Crescent Crab Puffs
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Parsley
8 oz canned Crab Meat
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon Sour Cream
1/2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 can Crescent Dough Sheet
Parsley for garnish as desired

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a mini muffin tin well, including top of the pan.

Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Snip parsley, set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, gently fold together the crab, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, garlic, Cayenne Pepper, parsley, salt, and black pepper. Once mixed, set aside.

Unroll crescent dough sheet on a flat work surface. Using a ruler and pizza cutter, cut rectangle dough into 4 by 6 rows for 24 square pieces as evenly as possible. Press each piece into a mini muffin tin, pressing down to form into the tin.

Fill the cups with the crab mixture evenly. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Let puffs cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.

Arrange on a platter, garnish with more parsley serve and enjoy.

Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Boules
1/4 lb Bacon
1 small White Onion
2 lb White Potatoes
1 tablespoon Parsley
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
4 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Flour
1 pint Heavy Cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
16 oz Clam Broth
2 cups Milk
1 lb Clam Meat, fresh or frozen
4 small Sourdough Bread Boules

Dice bacon, set aside. Peel and dice onion, set aside. Scrub and dice potatoes, set aside. Snip parsley for garnish, set aside. Strip Thyme leaves from sprigs, set aside.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crisp. Remove the bacon from the stockpot and reserve. With the bacon fat still in the stockpot, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Whisk in the butter to melt, then the flour to form a roux. Cook until a light coffee color.

Whisk in the heavy cream, turn the heat to low, and continue to stir as the liquid thickens. Whisk in the Worcestershire, tabasco, thyme, salt, pepper, and clam broth. Let the liquid come to a low simmer.

Stir in the potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes; adding the milk as necessary to keep chowder from over-thickening and to achieve desired thickness. Add the clam meat, simmer, and then remove from the heat. Mix in half of the cooked bacon, reserving the remainder for garnish.

With a sharp knife, carefully carve a circle about 2/3 of the way up the side of each bread boule, making sure not to cut through the bottom. Cutting in towards the center, remove the top from each one. With fingers, scoop out some of the inner bread to form a bowl.

Evenly ladle the soup into each bowl, garnishing with reserved bacon and chopped parsley. Serve with the sourdough top alongside.

Sweet Mustard Salmon
4 (6 oz) Salmon Fillets
2 Lemons
3 tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
Fresh Black Pepper
Fresh Dill

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Lightly spray a 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch deep baking pan with cooking spray.

Place salmon in the prepared baking pan. Cut 1 lemon in half, drizzle lemon juice over the salmon; brush with mustard. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake, uncovered, in the heated oven for about 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

While the salmon bakes, cut remaining lemon into quarters. Snip fresh dill for garnish, set aside.

Season baked salmon with fresh black pepper, garnish with a little dill for a splash on color. Serve with a lemon wedge if desired.

Roasted Rosemary Fingerling with Asparagus
1/2 lb Fingerling Potatoes
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
3 Garlic Cloves,
1 lb fresh Asparagus
1/4 cup Olive Oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly Black Pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 15-inch by 10-inch rimmed baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces, set aside. Strip Rosemary from the stem, mince and set aside. Peep and finely mince garlic, set aside. Trim asparagus of woody ends, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary and garlic. Toss well to coat. Spread potatoes out in a single layer in the prepared pan. Roast in the heated oven for 20 minutes, stirring once.

Drizzle asparagus with remaining oil; add to the pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper just before serving.

Granny Apple Pomegranate Salad

1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
8 cups Romaine Lettuce, torn
1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 large Granny Smith Apple, chopped
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Chop walnuts, lightly toast in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, shaking pan constantly. Set aside to cool.

Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces. Scatter lettuce in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and half of the Parmesan Cheese. Toss mixture, set aside.

Chop apple, toss in a small bowl with lemon juice. Add apples to the salad.

1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, sugar and salt to create a blended dressing. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to coat. Scatter remaining Parmesan Cheese on top, serve immediately.

Raspberries in Orange Liqueur Cream
4 oz room-temperature Cream Cheese
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 cups fresh Raspberries
4 small Mint Sprigs for garnish

Chill 4 wine glasses or dessert glasses.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese, liqueur, and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the heavy cream, begin whisking on low speed, increasing speed as mixture combines and thickens. Beat for 2 minutes at high speed until cream mixture is the consistency of pudding.

Divide raspberries in half, evenly distribute half of the berries in the bottom of the glasses. Evenly distribute two-thirds of the cream mixture to cover the berries in each glass. Gently top with the remaining berries divided evenly among the glasses. Spoon remaining cream in a dollop on top of the berries. Refrigerate at least an hour, or up to 4 hours. Garnish with mint just before serving.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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