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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cajun Scallops

I've lived a whole lifetime since we last talked... and it seems that I have emerged stronger. Sometimes certain circumstances seem so daunting there comes a crossroads; a choice. The choice for me was to crumble or to look within and pull from a strength that I reserve for the hardest times in life.



Most of you know by now that my mom is terminally ill. This was a complete shock since my mother has never had a medical problem in her life. She is 71 but looks and acts 50. She is completely self sufficient, could throw her own suitcase into the overhead bin of an airplane while traveling the world solo and out squat many of us. So when the words "stage 4 brain cancer" came out of the doctor's mouth, all we could really do was stare at each other in disbelief. Of course this spurred the all encompassing question in my mind: "Why?"



Well, I don't know the why and I probably never will. But what I do know is that I watch my mother's continuous grace under fire. She is the epitome of strength, of mercy, of love. She still smiles just as big. She still has a sparkle in her eye. She is humble and honest and courageous. In the wake of radiation, her hair falling out, the right side of her body failing her and her beautiful face swelling from massive doses of medication, she doesn't complain. She only hugs her family with all of the love that a mother could give and suggests that we go get hamburgers and shakes and fries and mud pie with a huge smile and her car keys in her hand. She insists that we live it up and party like rock stars with the time we have left together. I wouldn't have it any other way.



I know that many of you have lost parents, or children, or other loved ones and some of you have lost them without warning. For that, I am deeply sorry and wish you peace. I am grateful and humbled that I have time with my mother. Whether it is days or months, it is time and I am taking full advantage of every minute.



I know that one day sooner than we all hope for, the inevitable will happen. I am deeply saddened when I think of what lies ahead. But I am equally grounded in the fact that I embody my mother's spirit and she will truly never leave me. I have her strength and her decision making ability. I have her warmth and her genuine compassion for others. I have her giving spirit. I have my mother's adventurous side and the little part that likes to flirt with danger. I am forward and honest because of her. I am my family's rock, all because of my mother. Some of these qualities took me years to achieve... other's were just innate. But they are all qualities that I am proud of and come squarely from her example.



I chose Cajun Scallops to honor my mother. Cajun because she's spicy and scallops because they've always been a family favorite.



So here's to you mom! You are and forever will be my hero.



What you'll need:


Olive oil

1 large red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

1tsp Cajun seasoning

1/2tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium, gluten free)

1 pound of fresh sea scallops

Tabasco


What you do:


Get out a heavy frying pan and coat it with some olive oil. You can use coconut oil or other oils if you want. Get the pan nice and hot and toss in your scallops. There's a little trick here: Don't stir the heck out of the scallops. Just let them sit, first on one side and then the other. I would say about a minute per side depending on the size of the scallops. You want to cook them until they are just opaque inside and not like rubber superballs. I always do a "practice scallop" and then cut it open to check the "doneness". Remove the scallops to a plate and keep warm by tenting with foil. Throw in the onion and saute it until it's soft about 5 minutes. Add in the Cajun seasoning and pepper and stir until well combined. Now stir in the chicken broth, the garlic and a dash or two of Tabasco and start scraping the pan to get up all the browned bits of flavor goodness. Really give it a stir and a scrape. You are making a quick sauce here. Once the sauce has reduced slightly, turn off the flame and add the scallops back in to coat them with the sauce. Serve immediately so the scallops don't continue to cook.


Enjoy!