Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Camp Blogaway 2011: Paying It Forward

Until last week, I had never been camping. OK, it wasn't hardcore camping. It was Camp Blogaway. We bunked in cabins with heat and bathrooms. But we did have to bring our own sleeping bags, which to me is camping. Since I don't own a sleeping bag, I borrowed one from a Navy friend of ours who said it kept him warm for months when he was stationed in Alaska. Despite this US military grade sleeping bag and my toasty flannel pj's, I was unable to get my core temperature up.

That first night, I finally gave in, plugged in my hair dryer and blasted hot air into my sleeping bag. After thirty minutes, a sous vide Susan was finally warm enough to fall asleep.

Here's what I learned about my camping abilities: I don't have any.
*I'm unable to generate enough body heat to survive temperatures below 55 degrees.
*I didn't know I had to bring bath towels, so I dried off with paper towels after my shower.
*I got lost on a one-way loop trail.

In spite of my camping failures, I did learn a lot at Camp Blogaway, none of which will help me on an episode of Dual Survival, but will definitely help me in my quiet, comfortable, soothingly warm life in San Diego.

*Be part of a community: Our lives are full of communities. It could be a mommy and me community, a blogging community, an art community, you name it. Whatever your community is, make sure you're contributing something positive to it.
*Be authentic: Stop comparing your self to others. Be who you want to be, not what you think others expect from you.
*Define success for you: Think seriously about what "success" means to you. Is it higher blog traffic, a bigger pay check, more time with your family, a sense of self-worth? Then work honestly and diligently toward achieving that success.
*Pay it forward: Promote other people, celebrate their successes, be as generous as possible.

Scallop stuffed avocado with mango salsa

In the spirit of paying it forward, I'd like to list a few bloggers with whom I made a personal connection. I hope you check out their blogs and make your own personal connections: Sarah of Average Betty, Lana of Bibberche, Dara of Cookin' Canuck, Diane of Created by Diane, Andrew of Eating Rules, Jean of Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes, Jennifer of Kitchy Cooking, Adair of Lentil Breakdown, Stacy of Little Blue Hen, Amee of Rabbit Food Rocks, Stephanie of Recipe Renovator, Julie of Savvy Eats, Shefaly of Shef's Kitchen. Thanks to Patti Londre of Worth the Whisk for her leadership and enthusiasm, and to Ray for taking the great photo of us pictured at the top of this post.

Now for the recipe. Just like Camp Blogaway, these simply fresh and elegant Scallop-Stuffed Avocados with Mango Salsa are all about community. The avocados were given to me by the amazing folks at the California Avocado Commission, and the bay scallops are from my friend and fisherman extraordinaire, Tommy Gomes, of Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego.

Scallop-Stuffed Avocados with Mango Salsa
Makes 4 avocado halves
Printable recipe.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound bay scallops
2 medium-large avocados of your choice

Mango Salsa:
1/2 medium mango, peeled and diced (about 1/3 cup)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 2 teaspoons)
Couple pinches of cayenne pepper
Couple pinches of sea salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large skillet over medium-heat, warm oil. Add scallops; saute about 4 minutes per side, or until meat is opaque and scallops have a golden seared crust. Remove from heat.

2. In a medium bowl, combine mango, scallions, lime, cayenne pepper, salt and cilantro. Toss well.

3. Slice avocados in half, remove the pits, and rub the flesh with lime juice. Divide the scallops evenly among the four halves. It's OK, if you have a few scallops tumbling on to the plate. Top each half with a scoop of mango salsa. Serve immediately.