All about Abalone

This last week, Wes and I ventured up to northern Mendocino county with our lovely friends Willis and Devon.  They were celebrating their two year anniversary and invited Wes and me to come with them for a little northern exposure.

The group

Packed down with all sorts of diving equipment, loads of food and dark chocolate, no cell phone reception, and Willis’ amazing driving skills, we set off on our adventure.  I still can’t remember the name of the town we stayed in, but know it is exactly 25 minutes north of Fort Bragg.  It was about a 4 hour windy, curving drive from San Francisco; I know I will never forget my time spent on the 128 highway. Willis found a beautiful house right on the ocean that we were able to rent out for the weekend.  The town had all of 50 people living in it.

Our main goal for the weekend was to relax and to catch some abalone. We were successful!

Our abalone shells

Before this weekend, I honestly had no idea what an abalone was. But, after a little wikepedia help and youtube videos, I became pretty well versed.  Abalone are large sea snails housed in absolutely beautiful shells (once you remove all of the gunk).  To catch them, we had to venture out into the Pacific in 7mm wetsuits and dive down and pry them off of rocks. I say this like I actually helped, but I actually only floated and swam on top while all the others did the heavy lifting.  One too many episodes from Shark Week had me a bit nervous to do any serious diving.  However, there were no casualties and everyone in our group did great.  We brought home 6 abalones.  Luckily for us, one of Willis’ friends is an abalone expert and offered to remove the abalone “steak” from the shell for us.  It was quite a job, one I’m very glad I did not have to take part in. 

We had been instructed that the best way to prepare the abalone was to cut the steak into 1/4 inch size pieces, then hammer it until it was almost paper thing. Once that consistency was reached, they were to be breaded and fried.  This is where I came in.  Diving may not be my thing, but cooking and frying sure is. 🙂

Ready to be breaded

Armed with Panko, peanut oil, flour, and an egg wash, we got to work.  The boys did the hammering, while I prepared the set up and got the breading seasoned.  All in all, we fried up two abalone and Devon and Willis took the other four home.  I think the abalone turned out great. Right after they got done frying, we added lemon juice for just a little extra flavor.  Served with a simple tomato basil salad, grilled corn on the cob, and dark chocolate brownies for dessert, this meal was one of my favorites of the summer.

Finishing them off with a little lemon

Our spread

 Thank you Devon and Willis for including us in such an awesome weekend. Can’t wait for you guys to come and visit us in Dallas!!


Summer Faves

June is here, officially ringing in the start of summer with the 100 degree heat wave that has taken over Dallas. I’m not even going to pretend like I don’t love it. These are the days I dream of during our few weeks of winter.  So, what more appropriate than a list of my all time summer favorites.

1. Cheap and comfortable summer clothing 

To make it through a Texas summer, one must be prepared with lots of light, airy clothing, that keeps you cool.  I just had a shopping spree at Old Navy and bought a ridiculous amount of $6 dresses. Yes, these will probably only last me through the summer, but at $6, who cares?  The online price now says $10, but check them out here.

I’m also totally loving the romper this year. Yes, I am in my late twenties and I am sporting rompers. Back off. They are totally comfortable, look adorable with a cute white jean jacket, and can be dressed up or down depending on your accessories. I found all of mine at Express, and guess what, they are on sale now! Here I am wearing one of my current romper faves with Ali last weekend

And my last favorite summer item is white tanks and shorts.  Gap, Express, and Nordstrom Rack have provided me with a ton of really cute, comfy, colorful shorts this summer. Pair it with a cute loose white tank top, bright jewelry, and you’ll be set! I have been practically living in my Paige shorts (found at Nordstrom Rack for a steal of a price).

Hating the shoes though…

2. Summer food

Quinoa, fresh corn, lemons, berries, salsas, mango, cilantro, fish tacos, squash, cucumber… I could go on and on.  Meals for the last few weeks have been lots of quinoa salads splashed with a whole bunch of fresh lemon juice.  I just chop up every vegetable I have in the fridge, mix it in with quinoa, sometimes add fish or chicken, and devour. It is perfect after a hot summer workout.  And after eating such a light supper, having a strawberry cake frosted with dark chocolate icing, topped with strawberries is totally acceptable.  Right??

3. Outdoor workouts

This probably won’t appeal to a lot of my friends, but I know my CG girls will get it. To me, running outside, doing sprints, weights, jumping jacks, planks, etc beats the heck out of spending time in the gym. Gross, yes, but I love being in my workout clothes covered in sweat.  Bring on the long runs.

4.  Sunscreen

Love it! The smell of it reminds me of the beach. My late twenties self is totally kicking my early twenties self for not being all about sunscreen.  However, I did read recently that sun damage does not all happen in your teens and early twenties. In fact, according to the article, only about 20% of the damage is done then, contrary to what I used to think. So, hopefully my new love of sunscreen will save my face, neck, and hands from too many terrible sunspots.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a few bottles at Target to keep in your car.  You never know when you might spend the afternoon sitting on a patio somewhere.

5.  Patios and puppies

Nothing better than sitting on a patio with friends and few puppies enjoying the day.  Dallas has some awesome patios that I hope to be visiting soon. To name a few of my current faves: Hacienda, Three Sheets, and Katy Trail Ice House.  Avoid the beer-ritas at the Ice House.  Delicious yes, but quite a few unfortunate side effects, including, but not limited too, dancing, story telling, and talking with a terrible accent.  Eek.

6. Pool parties

Days at the pool with my friends (wearing our sunscreen of course) are one of my favorite memories in Dallas.  I’m still not quite too old for it and plan on spending many a days at the pool this summer. 

What are your favorite summer things??