Friday, January 10, 2014

A colorful scallop tartare... & getting unstuck

So you know, life happened, some seriously stormy weather. And then, an escape to Paris, a breath, a lungful of air above water. An escape but also a step back, a spot from which to judge the state of my life. Difficult holidays. Too much family turmoil to be as carefree as I would have liked. Constantly overextended, scrambling, frantic.

And stuck. Chaos leads to rigidity, law of physics.

Scared to write again, scared to blog again. To stare at the blank screen, to grab my camera. After this hiatus, what if I have nothing left to say? To contribute?

A lot of us have that feeling, I suppose. In a rut. Afraid to try something new, a new recipe, a new ingredient. Afraid no one will like it, afraid it’ll be a terrible failure, that it just won’t work. Yet I know better. Failure is not trying. Failure is letting myself stay stuck. Failure is giving in to fear. Success is doing our best, being kind to ourselves, and daring to get unstuck, to move forward, blindly if need be, but move forward nonetheless.

Come to think of it, there is no such thing as success and failure. Those concepts have nothing to do with what matters. Nothing to do with life. Removing them from our reasoning might just be the key to moving forward.

So how to get unstuck? A good dose of acknowledgement and compassion for oneself, another of self-care, to be with oneself, grounded. And a sparkle or two of inspiration. I had two of these sparkles this week.

I took Pablo to see the shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center. And as we’re looking at the exhibits, I realize he is a complete blank slate on this topic. He’s seen a rocket in a couple of books, but basically, he knows nothing of it. Eyes wide, he’s observing and learning, engaged, with a completely fresh, open-minded perspective. Microgravity, space travel, the universe, the earth, stars and nebula, astronauts, energy, engines... he was in awe! For a few minutes, I saw things through his fresh, brand new eyes. Through his open mind, his awed perspective. And I was inspired! I was moved to tears, actually. Such an uplifting feeling.

And then, I re-read this attempt of a poem I wrote a few years ago. And here I am... getting unstuck once again.

I wish you a happy New Year, full of inspired and inspiring moments, self-care and lungfuls of fresh air and fresh perspectives.

So here we are, floating about in a sea
The image of a boat, in a bubble above our heads
The water pulls us, the waves batter us
We drift about our lives, waiting endlessly 
But perhaps on a calm day, unexpectedly
If we're not too busy keeping our heads above water
Or tasting our lips, or tears, salty
For one instant, we may experience who we are
Right there, we feel our plexus, our very core
And there, from our center
A cord has been growing
It has been there all along
Umbilical in a way, our visceral truth, a mother
That cord lies ahead of us through the sea
Like a bridge, a lifeline
Taut, as if attached on the other side of the horizon
To worlds to be discovered
Lives to be lived
A fate we cannot foresee 
We can ignore it all right
And think of the boat
In the bubble above our head
Or hold on to that cord
Heaving ourselves with all our might
Toward whatever lies ahead
So heaving myself off of my insecurities and doubts, I am here to share this very pretty dish I adapted from the French cooking magazine Saveurs. Colorful and delicate, a touch of beauty on a plate. Also a good way to introduce scallops to a shellfish newbie. Pablo loved it (picking the pomegranate seeds and popping them in his mouth brought some fun to the table as well :-)

Scallop Tartare with pomegranate & avocado

Adapted from Saveurs magazine, winter 2013

Age for babies : 12 months and up for shellfish, I would skip the pomegranate seeds and just do scallops and avocado until 18 months and up depending on chewing abilities.

Prep time : 15 minutes
Rest time : 10 minutes

Serves 4 people

12 medium size fresh scallops
1 avocado ripe but still firm
1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 lime
3 tbsp olive oil
Microgreens for garnish

Rinse and dry the lime. Grate the zest off, mince it finely and set aside.

Squeeze the lime into a bowl. Add the olive oil. Dice the scallops and place in the lime/olive oil marinade. Mix and place in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Dice the avocado.

Gently stir together the avocado, scallop mixture and lime zest.

To shape the tartares in small serving plates, you can use a small springform pan (with no bottom): place it on the plate, fill it with the tartare, unlock the spring and remove gently.
Otherwise, you can simply put a mound of the tartare on a plate, and shape it with a small round ramekin for example.

Garnish with some microgreens. Serve cold. (You can make the mixture a couple of hours ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until ready to plate.)

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  1. I am always happy to see that you've written a new blog post. :) I adore your recipes and your perspective on life, and Pablo's, too. I hope blogging comes a little easier for you soon!
    p.s. can't wait to make this

    1. Thank you, Vanessa! Let me know what you think when you try it!

  2. Welcome back! This looks delicious. A great way to introduce scallops to kids, I bet.

    I enjoy your blog very much and am glad you found the courage to come back. I know from experience how hard it can be to start writing again after a long break. So, maybe you will inspire me.

    It's so strange: For some reason I was thinking about you tonight and how I hadn't gotten an alert about a post from you in a while. I came to my computer after putting my daughter to bed and checked out your website to see if I'd missed anything, and saw that you had a new post with today's date. As I read it, the email alert about the post came in. So I will take this as a sign to return to self-expression myself!

    1. Things can happen strangely like that ,can't they? Hope you do find your way to self-expression indeed :-) Thank you for your encouraging words.

  3. So glad you're back!! This looks wonderful. We will try it when I grow my microgreens!

    1. Thanks so much, Erin! Fyi, you can easily skip the microgreens for this one! :-)

  4. So glad you are back.


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