I have to laugh when I think about where I was a year ago. I won't say that things were bad... just lots of uncertainties. I started 2012 very scared. I was terrified not knowing what each day would bring or when work would come in. Never did I imagine such a fruitful first year of freelancing. Nor did I expect to travel as much as I did. Italy, Kentucky, Ohio, Oregon, Maine. Maybe that's why these last 12 months flew by the way they did. Lots and lots of traveling.
2013 is looking to be an exciting year. There are projects in the works, trips planned, and the arrival of a new family member (my sister is due in March). I'm still getting used to the life of a freelance photographer, but I don't think I've ever been happier than I am now. And I can't wait to see what's in store.
I know that lobster isn't as cheap for everyone as it is for us in New England, but if you happen to splurge on some crustaceans to celebrate the arrival of the new year, I think there are two ways of preparing them: 1) with butter and lemon or 2) this bright and beautiful salad with fennel, avocado and citrus. One is a lot healthier than the other (it's the salad), which means you won't feel guilty if you have a couple slices of chocolate cake after (or a bottle of champagne... because if you're going to eat lobster, you must have champagne. It's a fact).
Fennel, Avocado and Lobster Salad
(Slightly adapted from a recipe by Jeremy Sewall, chef at the Island Creek Oyster Bar)
2 1/2 pounds live lobsters 2 ripe avocados 1 head of fennel, shaved thin 2 oranges, segmented and juices saved 2 cara cara oranges, segment and juices saved 1 small red onion, diced 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped 1 sprig thyme 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 handful baby arugula Kosher salt and black pepper to taste 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Make the dressing by putting the orange and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Add the thyme leaves. Reduce liquid in half. Once this happens, remove from heat and let cool. Whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook the lobsters by steaming or boiling them. Once they are cooked, shock them in a bowl of ice water. Once they have cooled, remove the tail, claw, and knuckle meat and chop into thin pieces (but not diced).
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the orange segments, red onion, cilantro, and fennel. Pour enough dressing on top to coat it.
4. Pit the avocado, cut it in half lengthwise and then slice thinly.
5. On four separate plates or one larger platter, place a healthy handful of arugula on the bottom. Top with avocado slices, then orange/fennel mixture, and, finally, the lobster meat. Season with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. If necessary, sprinkle a little of the dressing on top of the salad.