Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This weekend I am heading to the mountains in Southern California for a blogging conference and a whole gamut of emotions is playing havoc with my mind…excitement, insecurity, fear; you name it. Mostly I feel inadequate.
The honest truth is, most days when wading into the blogging pond, I feel like a fish swimming upstream, struggling against the current, without the slightest clue of what I’m doing. I stress about whether I’m staying on task, paying enough attention to Search Engine Optimization, or where the perfect balance lies for pinning my posts on Pinterest.
All the unknowns and unanswered questions can make my head spin, my heart beat faster, and leave me with an uncertainty of what to do next. My blogging thus far has been kinda like the analogy of the blind squirrel and the acorn, every once in a while I bring one home.
It was much different in my former career as an operating room nurse. After all, I had been in the nursing profession for 18 years. Here, I was well respected, knew my job inside and out, and on most days, didn’t suffer from any lack of self confidence whatsoever.
I knew exactly what needed to be done and set about doing it…I was the one someone might come to looking for answers, not the other way around. I was good at what I did and I knew it, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took years of practice, learning and self discipline. I had to stretch myself to get over my fear of standing up to doctors when needed, and hone my skills of observation to give the very best care I could to my patients.
And so, I find it is time to stretch myself once again; re-learn how to be relaxed outside my comfort zone and acknowledge it is okay when I don’t have all the answers. Most importantly, I need to continue putting one foot in front of the other and not get discouraged when the road gets rough. A step backwards now and again is not unusual. This is a journey, and one that I am fortunate and happy to be on. I have the privilege and opportunity to do what I love, and so I have already won! Therein lies my true success.
Today’s recipe is all about cold and fresh. Gazpacho is so deliciously complex with multiple flavors to tantalize the taste buds. Use only the freshest of ingredients and serve well chilled for best results. Recipe adapted from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Jan Aaron & Georgine Sachs Salom.
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- lemon juice from ½ lemon
- freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- 5 almonds, blanched
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 tbsp chili pepper oil
- 3 Pounds ripe tomatoes
- ⅓ cup green pepper, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 large cucumber,peeled, seeded and finely diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups good quality tomato juice
- ¼ cup good quality red wine vinegar
- 2 large avocados, peeled and cut into large chunks
- Heat grill or broiler to 400 degrees (high heat).
- Place shrimp in plastic ziploc bag. add lemon juice, a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch or two of sea salt.
- Close bag and gently shake to allow shrimp to be well covered with marinade. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove shrimp from bag and place on skewers.
- Place shrimp on grill (or in broiler) for about 5 - 6 minutes, turning once about midway through cooking, until shrimp is bright pink in color. (do not overcook or shrimp may have a rubbery texture).
- When pink, remove shrimp from grill.Allow to cool for 5 minutes, remove from skewers. Cover and refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, place blanched almonds, garlic and chili oil in pestle (or on cutting board) and mash until ingredients becomes a paste.
- Place in the bottom of a medium sized earthenware or pottery bowl.
- Place tomatoes on broiler pan, and broil for 5 minutes or until tops of tomatoes begin to singe and split. Turn tomatoes and broil, doing the same as above to the other side.
- Remove tomatoes from broiler and allow to cool for several minutes.
- Peel tomatoes, and chop into large chunks, taking care not to crush the tomatoes and reserving juice from the tomato.
- Place all into bowl with almond and garlic paste.
- Add onions, peppers, cucumbers, olive oil, tomato juice and red wine vinegar.
- Stir gently until combined.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours to allow flavors to blend.
- Once soup has chilled and when ready to serve; ladle into large bowls and top with 3 or 4 large shrimp and chunks of avocado.
- Serve immediately.
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