Friday, August 19, 2011

seared scallop salad.

The origins of this salad, like the New Orleans Ice Cream, came from James's and my honeymoon. A seared scallop salad was the first dinner I had in New Orleans for that trip, and it was lackluster. Let me explain: we were freshly in from the northern part of the state (which, for those not from Louisiana, is about a 5-6 hour trip), it was dinner time, and we had no plans. Our feet took us into the French Quarter, and, regrettably, into a tourist-trap restaurant. We were hungry, and although I was unimpressed by my meal, I was inspired. I knew I could make it better than the restaurant, and here is how I did it.

Blackened Scallop Salad

salad greens
1 apple
dried cranberries
1 pack of frozen scallops
pecans (plus sugar, chili powder, and cayenne)
blackening spice mix, as follows:
1/2 TBsp paprika
1 tsp garlic
1/2 TBsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 oregano
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp dry mustard
balsamic vinaigrette, as follows:
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 TBsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 TBsp olive oil or canola oil
parmesan, for garnish

Prepare a bed of whatever kind of salad greens you prefer (leaf, romaine, mix...). Julienne 1/2 of an apple, and scatter over the lettuce. Scatter a handful of dried cranberries over the salad.

Rinse and pat dry scallops (I recommend 1 pack per person eating). Season the scallops with the blackening spices. Heat the pan with a little bit of oil just below the smoking point, and put the scallops in; stand back because the scallops with pop. Turn them with a spatula till they're cooked through. You can tell because they will start popping and will begin to brown on one side. Be careful cooking with cayenne because when cayenne is heated, it will burn your eyes. Make sure your cooking space is ventilated; open your doors and windows!

Make the spiced pecans: Chop a handful of pecans until they are in small chunks. Put about 4 tbsp of sugar in 1/2 c of warm water till the sugar is dissolved. Add the pecans and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the water and return the pecans to the bowl. Add 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne. Place the pecans on a cookie sheet covered in foil and bake at 350 till done. Stir every few minutes and watch the nuts so they don't burn.

Mix the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients except the oil. Mix well. Add oil and incorporate. Use a jar with a lid, if possible, and shake the jar to emulsify the oil into the vinegar. Or, use a small whisk and a high walled container (like a measuring cup).

To complete the salad: put scallops, scatter nuts, and drizzle vinaigrette over it all. Top with fresh grated Parmesan.

Monday, August 15, 2011

five lives headbands.

I love making pretty things to go on your head-- headbands with feathers, or fascinators, or headbands with loop-de-ribbon-loops, or with velvet ribbon and leaves to make you look like Titania in the fall. I want to make things with my hands, something beautiful and something to make you feel and look beautiful, too.

Everything is ready-made and ready for your head. If you like my style and don't see exactly what you want, let's talk, and I'll see what I can do.

The etsy shop for five lives is open again, full of pretty things for your hair. New items are on their way, and in celebration of going back to school (groan, yay) here is a discount for you. Use "back2school" for 15% off of your purchase until the end of August.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I collect a few things, and I'm afraid that I can be obsessive about it. When I see the next piece to go with my collection, I swoop in and hold it close, just like a bird.

milk glass and monax depression glass

electroformed leaves in gold, copper and silver

pressed pennies

And one day, I found I wasn't alone. Others looked for interesting things, too.
Tell me if you're part of the flock: what do you collect?