I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

January 30, 2010

All about me

Have you ever had one of those days where you want to be entirely selfish? Do what you want, when you want and with the people you want? I am sure you have. :) You've turned off your phone, ignored emails, disconnected with the world and perhaps gotten in your car and driven to the beach, the mountains or to any number of random spots where you didn't have to interact with anyone unless you wanted to.

My job lately has been interesting in the least.....changeable by the hour, intense, challenging and it has kept me busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. Still, I am grateful and happy all the same. Not only to have a job when I know there is a ridiculous amount of folks who don't have on, but also to love what I do. There is definitely something to be said for time off though.

Almost every week within my Facebook community I see posts on Wednesday that read "halfway there!" and on Friday "TGIF" and the like. Being in the hospitality industry, weekends are generally not considered time off for me and my fellow hotel/restaurant/chef peeps. We tend to get Mondays off as a rule, sometimes paired with a Sunday and more often than not, our days off are split like the pins in my last bowling game. :(

So it was no surprise that when this weekend rolled around and found me with not only a Saturday off, but also the Sunday I was a little bit excited about it. Not just excited for the time off, but also because I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, except for whatever I came up with.

No surprise, I started off the morning with a beach walk with my Mom. The insanely full moon last night brought on a tide higher than I have ever seen in Ventura. The waves were breaking over the promenade , soaking the unaware walkers and dogs, San Jon Road was closed due to flooding and the beach was littered with cobbles, driftwood and even a telephone pole (possibly leftover from the storm?).

The people watching is awesome, the sea air invigorating and I even got to see my buddy Surfer Bob and catch up with him for a few minutes....great therapy!

Stop number two was the Ventura Farmers Market on Palm Street and Santa Clara...we cruised looking for the best deals and for things we had a craving for or that were in recipes we planned for the week. I think I might have some sort of dirt fetish because I went heavy on the root vegetables....celeriac, beet & potatoes and rounded it out with some fennel, gorgeous baby brussels sprouts, leeks and broccoli rabe.

Lunch was light and enjoyed solo with a book and a glass of wine (yes, I drink at lunch...what of it?). And to make it even better, I got carded when ordering my wine! Yay! And then homehomehome for a nap on my couch.

Oh yes, today was lovelovelovely.

I had several options for dinner this evening based upon Brocks plan for hunting the elusive wild pig. He has unfortunately not been able to bring home the proverbial bacon this year but is very committed to doing so and has gone out several nights in a row. So I remain flexible and optimistic and figure that tonight is an opportunity to make something simple and tasty and test it out on myself before serving it to my sweetie.I got my new Bon Apetit this week and though this sounded terrific....and it was. AND I didn't change it at all. :)

Linguine with Bay Scallops & Fennel

8 ounces linguine
3 T olive oil, divided
1 medium fennel bulb, halved, very thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced
1 pound bay scallops
1 6-ounce container cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1 T Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur (I used Ouzo-leftover from Greece trip!)
4 T chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted but crisp-tender. Using slotted spoon, transfer to medium bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add scallops and sauté until just opaque in center, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with fennel-onion mixture. Add tomatoes to skillet and sauté until heated through, about 2 minutes. Return fennel-onion mixture and scallops to skillet. Mix in liquor.

Add drained pasta to skillet; toss to coat, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped parsley and 1 tablespoon fennel fronds. Transfer to large shallow bowl, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, and serve with lemon wedges.

This was sooooooo yummy. AND if you use less pasta and a little more fennel you can lighten the carbs and it turns in to a lighter dish even though it is still pasta.

Cheers, here's to being selfish!