Wednesday, May 11

Camp Blogaway 2011: Paying It Forward

Until last week, I had never been camping. OK, it wasn't hardcore camping. It was Camp Blogaway. We bunked in cabins with heat and bathrooms. But we did have to bring our own sleeping bags, which to me is camping. Since I don't own a sleeping bag, I borrowed one from a Navy friend of ours who said it kept him warm for months when he was stationed in Alaska. Despite this US military grade sleeping bag and my toasty flannel pj's, I was unable to get my core temperature up.

That first night, I finally gave in, plugged in my hair dryer and blasted hot air into my sleeping bag. After thirty minutes, a sous vide Susan was finally warm enough to fall asleep.

Here's what I learned about my camping abilities: I don't have any.
*I'm unable to generate enough body heat to survive temperatures below 55 degrees.
*I didn't know I had to bring bath towels, so I dried off with paper towels after my shower.
*I got lost on a one-way loop trail.

In spite of my camping failures, I did learn a lot at Camp Blogaway, none of which will help me on an episode of Dual Survival, but will definitely help me in my quiet, comfortable, soothingly warm life in San Diego.

*Be part of a community: Our lives are full of communities. It could be a mommy and me community, a blogging community, an art community, you name it. Whatever your community is, make sure you're contributing something positive to it.
*Be authentic: Stop comparing your self to others. Be who you want to be, not what you think others expect from you.
*Define success for you: Think seriously about what "success" means to you. Is it higher blog traffic, a bigger pay check, more time with your family, a sense of self-worth? Then work honestly and diligently toward achieving that success.
*Pay it forward: Promote other people, celebrate their successes, be as generous as possible.

Scallop stuffed avocado with mango salsa

In the spirit of paying it forward, I'd like to list a few bloggers with whom I made a personal connection. I hope you check out their blogs and make your own personal connections: Sarah of Average Betty, Lana of Bibberche, Dara of Cookin' Canuck, Diane of Created by Diane, Andrew of Eating Rules, Jean of Gluten-Free Doctor Recipes, Jennifer of Kitchy Cooking, Adair of Lentil Breakdown, Stacy of Little Blue Hen, Amee of Rabbit Food Rocks, Stephanie of Recipe Renovator, Julie of Savvy Eats, Shefaly of Shef's Kitchen. Thanks to Patti Londre of Worth the Whisk for her leadership and enthusiasm, and to Ray for taking the great photo of us pictured at the top of this post.

Now for the recipe. Just like Camp Blogaway, these simply fresh and elegant Scallop-Stuffed Avocados with Mango Salsa are all about community. The avocados were given to me by the amazing folks at the California Avocado Commission, and the bay scallops are from my friend and fisherman extraordinaire, Tommy Gomes, of Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego.

Scallop-Stuffed Avocados with Mango Salsa
Makes 4 avocado halves
Printable recipe.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound bay scallops
2 medium-large avocados of your choice

Mango Salsa:
1/2 medium mango, peeled and diced (about 1/3 cup)
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime (about 2 teaspoons)
Couple pinches of cayenne pepper
Couple pinches of sea salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large skillet over medium-heat, warm oil. Add scallops; saute about 4 minutes per side, or until meat is opaque and scallops have a golden seared crust. Remove from heat.

2. In a medium bowl, combine mango, scallions, lime, cayenne pepper, salt and cilantro. Toss well.

3. Slice avocados in half, remove the pits, and rub the flesh with lime juice. Divide the scallops evenly among the four halves. It's OK, if you have a few scallops tumbling on to the plate. Top each half with a scoop of mango salsa. Serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

First of all, thanks so much for the mention! You rock! And I had no idea you weren't a camper! I guess we talked about so much other stuff that weekend. Funny that you used paper towels ;)
Also, i've seen a lot of avocado recipes lately, and yours def. catches my eye. I'm gonna make it. Pic is gorgeous.

Patti at Camp Blogaway said...

Susan, despite your "belief" that you're no camper, I would have to disagree. You were one of the most beloved presenters at camp, so generous with your advise and insights. The other campers LOVED that you brought books to sign. And by Sunday, you looked pretty well broken in, just like the rest of us -- a hearty bunch after all. Hope to see you at future camps!

Lentil Breakdown said...

Susan, it was great meeting you, and thanks for paying it forward! If you'd like to forward that incredible-looking avocado, I'll gladly stay in recipient mode.

Lentil Breakdown said...

Susan, it was great meeting you, and thanks for paying it forward! If you'd like to forward that incredible-looking avocado, I'll gladly stay in recipient mode.

Julie @SavvyEats said...

Thank you for the shoutout, dear!

And how funny that I was celebrating the warmth for much of the weekend (though the evenings did get chilly)...this is why you live in CA and I live in upstate NY ;)

Liz the Chef said...

Terrific post - burst out laughing about the paper towels after your shower!

Amee said...

This post made me smile a lot! I love "sous vide susan" always cold too! And i ALMOST forgot a towel too! Photo is beautiful. It was great to meet you. You are so charming and i thought your advice on community and commenting etc was very well thought out and genuine.

Anonymous said...

Camp was such an inspirational event for me. I love my communities at home and in person, but just hadn't considered how much community is formed by the sharing of information.
It was fun to see old friends from prior conferences and to meet special people like you.
Love the getting lost on a one way loop trail. so glad you found your way back to the hearth.

Food Glorious Food! said...

This is soooooo tempting! I love seafood and this is ideal fr small party... great presentation!

averagebetty said...

Susan, You filled me with so much inspiration and direction -- thank you for spending time with me... teaching me.

Now let's make a video!!

The Cilantropist said...

Love this recipe Susan, and it was fantastic to meet you this weekend at Camp! Your camping woes made me laugh, but I can sympathize - even though I have been camping loads of times, I know how it feels when your body temp just cant seem to adjust. :P

In any case, this is a great recipe using avocados and scallops, and those scallops from Catalina are awesome - just got some this weekend myself!

The Teacher Cooks said...

Sounds as if your camping adventure was fun. The avocado looks delicious!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

shef-Yeah, you don't want me on your Survivor team. ;)
We did talk about a lot of stuff, and I can't wait to do it again!

patti-Aw, you just warmed my heart with your kind words. Thank you so much. And next time-- winter coat, gloves and boots!

adair-Hehe. They're all gone! Loved meeting you too.

julie-I'm so glad you enjoyed the weather. You can't go by me. I'm always, always cold. I think I'd turn into a popsicle in NY.

liz-Yeah, between paper towels and hair dryers, I eventually got the job done.

amee-Almost is the key word there, huh! I don't recommend using paper towels. Ever. I adored chatting with you, and can't wait to get together in Austin!

jean-Beautifully said, my dear. I felt the same way. I loved the intimacy of camp that you don't always experience at other conferences.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

fgf-I'm so happy you like it. It's really wonderfully fresh and tasty.

sarah-You're a doll, and I loved meeting you too. Thanks for the kind words. And, yes, let's do that video!

amanda-Oh, I'm so happy to hear you went to Catalina too. Isn't their seafood amazing? And the folks are just so knowledgeable and friendly.

teachercooks-It was lots of fun, and the avocado is oh-so-good!

Jennifer (Savor) said...

Awesome report - reckon we dont want to camp at the beach this summer. Lovely to have seen you again!

Lana said...

Susan, thanks so much for the mention:) Meeting you and listening to your advice was one of the highlights of the Camp for me. I am so happy that we live close to each other:)
I wish I knew you were cold the first night! We could have commiserated! I was not able to fall asleep because my nose was cold throughout the night:) I got up to put the socks on, and then slept with the pillow over my head to warm up my face, and in the end I had to don a heavy hoodie on top of my flannel pajamas. The next night was much more pleasant with the heat turned up somewhat.
I am a tropical creature and I thrive in warm weather, even though I grew up in a moderate climate, just like you:)
I am going to stop now - but I am looking forward to our get-together:)

Unknown said...

that is a very delicious and creative salsa & presentation! A good one to remember for my picnics since I be not much of a camper :(

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. said...

This looks like so much fun! I hope to meet you one day soon, fellow sandwich author

Stephanie Weaver said...

Susan, thanks for the mention, for your very helpful session, and for being such a lovely person inside and out. While you might not be a "camper," you absolutely won the most stylish award. Having grown up taking every vacation in a camper, and then more than 10 years of church camp retreats, I was so in my element there. I really wish I'd know you were without a towel... I would have happily loaned you one! Loved sous vide Susan. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

cheryl said...

I had such fun with you, even when we got lost on the one-way trail and I thought I saw a pack of bears. (Thanks for not outing me.)

~ Chef Louise said...

it was great to meet you at camp. you forgot to tell everyone about your fabulous sense of style at camp... not to mention your "fancy" flannel pjs, too cute. your panel advice was authentic, thank you so much.

Elizabeth @Asian in America said...

Susan,thanks for a terrific post...such timeless life lessons and awesome recipe. I love MANGOES, grew up with them in our yard. This is a new twist to salsa.Must try this one! PS:Would have gone to Camp Blogaway, if it wasn't so far for me!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Ha! I had to laugh at the thought of a sous vide Susan, and letting lost on a loop trail! Great point (especially the one about success) and a great community recipe!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hi Everybody!
Apparently when Blogger went down last week it took many of your comments with it. If a comment of yours is missing, I'm so sorry!

Cookin' Canuck said...

Susan, it was so good to meet you. You are so generous with your knowledge and time. I hope that we have a chance to connect again in the future.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post and your words of inspiration. You are one of the bloggers that inspired me to chronicle my family's food journey. Thank you for the food and for the calm, kind perspective.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

dara-You're most welcome. I too hope we connect in the near future. You're just lovely.

ricekernel- Really? That's so wonderful. It doesn't get much better than inspiring other people, and if I can do that, then I thrilled. All the best to you!