I have a busy week coming up.
Even if it’s a pretty typical week, it always looks the most hectic from the perspective of Sunday night.
Do you know what I am talking about?
I tend to get the Sunday Blues, and start worrying about the work week right when I should be soaking up every last glorious minute of the weekend.
And this weekend was pretty great.
My beautiful friend Lydia is going to have a baby, and today was her shower.
It seems like I was just at her wedding!
This picture cracks me up because we look so fancy.
We are generally covered in food, with our hair in a crazy knot with no make-up, huddled over the stove.
We are kindred spirits and a perfect match in the kitchen. I love cooking with her, though I think it’s a bit alarming to outsiders.
Recipes are not followed.
Messes are made.
We like simple, gutsy food, and we are constantly tasting, throwing in more garlic, or ginger, or chilis.
We talk to each other in loud, incomplete sentences, and before the baby bump there was usually lot’s of wine involved.
It’s quite a process.
Our husbands hide in the living room.
Earlier this week she and Tom had Artie and I over to their place for a walk in the woods with our pups, and she cooked us a fabulous dinner.
I helped a little bit, but mostly just asked her a million questions about her pregnancy and the baby, and filled her in on what is new in my life.
Last time I saw her she barely had a bump.
It had been way too long.
This is a cabbage salad with mint, peanuts, cukes and chilis, with a ginger-soy dressing.
And here is some divine, sweet and hot chicken dish, with seared baby bok choy.
I’m going to have to get the recipes from her.
But as you can imagine she’s got a lot on her plate now, with a baby coming so soon.
Not that pregnancy has slowed her down much.
We had a great, muddy walk with the dogs.
She is 8 months pregnant, waddling through the woods (at a pretty decent clip, I might add) just enjoying these last few weeks before she becomes a mother.
She hardly seems overwhelmed, or exhausted.
She’s inviting people, and smelly dogs into her house - feeding us all delicious food.
As you can tell by the intense look on Scout and Otis’s sweet faces, she was talking to them in her crazy animal voice and feeding them too.
Lydia is a perfect antidote to the Sunday Blues.
She makes you laugh, and feeds you, and reminds you not to sweat the small stuff.
Or the big stuff for that matter.
Lydia is also a Glutard.
My slightly offensive pet name for people with Celiac disease.
She can’t eat gluten.
Since I know she will be cooking up a storm until Tom tells her it really is time to go to the hospital to have this baby, I thought I would include an easy, gluten-free recipe in her honor.
Something to keep up her strength while she chases Otis through the woods…
and gets ready to have a baby!
The key to really fabulous scallops is to buy the good ones.
They are expensive. But they are worth it. Look for “dry” scallops
The cheap ones are soaked in an icky solution.
You also want to get your pan screaming hot, so you get a nice caramelized crust.
And be careful not to overcook them, they should be just warm in the center.
The parnsip and celery root puree is a yummy mashed potato alternative.
But you can really pair these scallops with anything.
Salads, rice, quinoa, pasta.
Corn or rice pasta, if you are a Glutard like Lyds.
Anyway, I hope you’ll try it.
And I hope you tell those Sunday Blues to get the heck out, and enjoy what’s left of the weekend.
I’m starting with a glass of wine and a bubble bath.
Seared scallops with parnsip and celery root puree
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 large parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, muscle removed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Extra fresh thyme (for garnish)
1. In a large pot of salted water, combine the parsnips and celery root. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the vegetables for 25 minutes or until they are tender. Drain them into a colander.
2. In a food processor, combine the vegetables, thyme, butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
3. Sprinkle the scallops with salt. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the vegetable oil until very hot. Add the scallops in one layer (avoid crowding the pan; cook in two batches if necessary). Cook for 3 minutes, turn, and turn off the heat. Let the scallops sit for 1 minute. Sprinkle with pepper. Divide the puree among 4 warm plates. Add scallops to each one. Garnish with thyme.
Recipe by Catherine Smart