Thank you all so very much for your kind words after my dog died. We miss Jezebel tons but we are keeping busy (and showering her brother Jake with lots of extra attention)…we’re doing okay :)

For the past week and a half, my husband and I have been home while our kids are away at camp. It’s been a really wonderful “staycation”…the type of experience I recommend for all parents, if possible! My husband usually travels quite a bit for work and is only home on the weekends, which means we don’t get to spend that much time together. Having almost 2 straight weeks for just the two of us to hang out has been really, really amazing.

Earlier in the summer, we came to the realization that our house was in major need of deep cleaning, some painting, and a bunch of small fixes here and there. We also hatched a plan to redecorate our kids rooms. With the kiddos gone, we’ve been working steadily to accomplish these tasks (except for the painting…we hired someone to do that) and it feels really good. We rented a 10 yard dumpster and got rid of SO many things that were cluttering up our home; we’ve also donated lots of items and even sold some at a yard sale.

In addition to all the working (and multiple trips to Ikea), we’ve played a lot, too. We’ve gone on lots of walks and hikes, and watched a bunch of movies…Crazy, Stupid Love was my favorite! We’ve also been cooking a lot. Because our kids don’t really like fish or seafood, and we don’t eat it much when they are around, we’ve had it for a lot of our meals. We thought this Seared Scallops recipe was really terrific.

I adore scallops. They are a great source of protein and they are SO quick to make…seriously, this recipe only takes about 10 minutes. I adapted it slightly from my friend Lynda and it’s a keeper, for sure.

I love the idea of the Pea Purée on which Lynda served her scallops, but peas aren’t in season now so we enjoyed ours over chopped broccoli and yellow squash (from our garden) sautéed with garlic and olive oil instead. I think these scallops would also be great over rice (or any grain, really); pasta would work, too (but seriously…when does pasta NOT work?).

I LOVE the Alaskan Weathervane scallops from Vital Choice(<--affiliate link). They are pricey but delicious, and wild/sustainably harvested. I think they are worth the occasional indulgence, but otherwise just use the best quality scallops you can find. As for the gremolata, you can play with it, if you like: parsley and mint are more "traditional" gremolata ingredients, I believe. I like using preserved lemon rind because it's so flavorful (instead of "regular" lemon zest); if you do this omit the salt in the gremolata, since preserved lemons are already quite salty.

Recipe for Seared Scallops with Gremolata

Ingredients:

For the gremolata:

*1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
*1-2 garlic cloves, minced
*2-3 teaspoons finely minced preserved lemon rind (or finely grated lemon zest)
*1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (omit if using preserved lemon rind)
*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the scallops:

*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 tablespoon butter
*1-1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops
*Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1.Prepare the gremolata by mixing the cilantro, garlic, preserved lemon rind (or lemon zest), salt and pepper together in a small bowl. (Or just mix everything together on a cutting board--that's what I did.) Taste and add more garlic, salt, and/or pepper, if necessary.

2. Pat scallops completely dry (this is extremely important) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil with butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the scallops, making sure not to overcrowd in the pan. Cook, turning once with tongs, until brown on both sides and just cooked through (about 4 minutes). Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining scallops. Serve over the accompaniment of your choice, with the gremolata spooned over the scallops. Serve immediately.

Adapted from TasteFood.