Going on vacation is always and should be a fun & exciting adventure. The anticipation is probably the best part. Of course if you are fortunate enough to experience something new or just going back to a favourite sanctuary is also very fulfilling. But “coming home” is such a good feeling. I may have written on these pages before that every time I go away and get exposure to how other restaurants are run I come back to mine with such an overwhelming and renewed appreciation. I’m not saying that I think I have the best restaurant on the planet it’s just that sense of familiarity of my smiling staff, my loyal customers and the value you get from our menu, I can only feel so blessed.
On another note I had the same sort of feeling when I returned to my familiar dance floor. As many of you know I started Salsa dancing just over 2 years ago. And on this recent vacation I went to a Salsa Festival. The anticipation was crazy. I would be doing Salsa in the middle of the Film Festival Capital of the world, Cannes, France. Two nights on the beach dancing under the stars at the foot of the Mediterranean and one night in the Palais des Festivals where all the movie stars have treaded their heels. And to top it off the featured band was one of my favourites; Habana d’Primera direct from Cuba. Yes, it was a memorable experience. Dancing under those stars with a warm tropical breeze coming off the Sea was truly magical. What could possibly top that?! Well, I know this sounds crazy but the night after I arrived home I went directly to my Wednesday night Salsa hangout located in a very non descript part of East Vancouver where the German community hang out and drink Tuborg and Carlsberg (which is Danish btw). And there, without a doubt, I had some of the best dances ever. Perfect floor, happy faces, great variety of music, polite, attractive and genuine leads who could spin me like there’s no tomorrow. It’s always nice to get away to re-group, re-fresh, re-energize but really, there is no place like home. Thank you my Provence family and my Salsa family.
So let me leave you with some recipes. These are some of my favourite summer dishes that are very easy to make and I’m going free style with the recipe method. Message me if you have any questions.
Seared Scallops with Siu Choy, Fresh fennel and Citrus Vinaigrette.
This recipe can be made as a light meal or tasty appetizer.
What you’ll need:
5 Scallops per person
Head of Siu Choy (yes, I know this is suppose to be French but I happen to like Chinese cabbage)
1 bulb fresh Fennel
Quarter of a Red Spanish Onion
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (as fruity as possible and don’t cheap out here, it’s worth it)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Take the head of Siu Choy (found at most fruit and veg markets) and cut in quarters. Julienne 2 of the quarters and save the rest. Take half a fresh fennel bulb and slice it as thin as possible. If you have a mandolin that would be ideal otherwise use a very sharp knife. Add a quarter of a spanish onion thinly sliced as well. Cut one grapefruit and one orange into segments, (see photos) and squeeze the juice from both and pour over Siu Choy.
Pour in the olive oil, salt & pepper, mix everything together and let marinate.
In a hot pan pour in some light oil and sear scallops on each side for a minute or until slightly opaque and still soft to the touch. Evenly distribute the salad in the middle of the plate and place the scallops around. Drizzle with the leftover juice/olive oil from the salad. For an extra bite put some fleur de sel on each scallop (totally optional).
For the Orange Olive Oil Cake, I’m not gonna lie, it’s not mine… I think this recipe from David Leite is fantastic. I made it at a recent party and it was a big hit! http://leitesculinaria.com/20321/recipes-portuguese-orange-olive-oil-cake.html.
I gave it my own little twist of flavour and added some lavender to the cake mixture. I serve it with some fresh seasonal berries and Mascarpone cheese creamed with some honey, orange zest and some lightly whipped whipping cream.
bon appétit, aq