Friday, July 19, 2013

Watercress is Lovely with Avocado

It really is. When creating something fabulous to eat, it is good to remember juxtapositions -- foils. The peppery, spicy nature of watercress is rounded and tempered so nicely by the buttery avocado. The Black Truffle Oil I drizzled on top was a similarly decadent, soft and rich complement to the greens. Black Truffle oil is a very worthy indulgence, by the way. My pricey little tin ($18!) has lasted almost two years now in the fridge. Because of the intense flavors here, I didn't even add vinegar or lemon. This is simple, whole food at its finest. An indulgence!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Mountains!

Continuing our happy vagabond existence lately, we've been indulging in more active pursuits than when the kids were younger. I'm finding the hiking, swimming, snorkeling and boating have reawakened a bit of my own youth, though now that we are back home I'm wiped out. What a wonderful vacation -- it was so good for all of us. This is our backyard view from the villa we rented on St. John. Amazing.

A memorable snorkeling afternoon was at Cinnamon Bay. At one point there was a lovely, steady downpour of rain which was refreshing and magical as the drops evenly covered the surface of the calm, warm water. Those are my grown-up babies before the rain. They enjoyed climbing barefoot for hours all over the rocky cliffs along the beach.

Wildlife was in abundance on St. John. The island is 70% U.S. National Park land and is very undeveloped. Chickens and roosters lived in the yard of the villa. Their skittishness was daunting for this amateur photographer. There's nothing like an authentic "cockadoodledoo" in the morning! Also in our yard were iguanas of all sizes. Here's a big guy who loved to sun himself on the same branch every morning just off our deck:

We encountered deer and donkeys on the beaches and even mongoose! They seem to be gentle-natured when not wrangling the King Cobra of Kipling lore. I never saw a snake at all on the island, and I doubt there'd be Cobras, but then I was surprised mongoose are common there, so . . . what do I know?

When we rented a dinghy for a day, several large sea turtles swam right along the surface next to us, one after another over the course of an hour or so -- lifting their kind faces out of the water to take a breath and peer at us with their large, expressive eyes. Once, we startled one and his animated reaction -- lifting his whole head out of the water and shooting us an alarmed expression with his mouth wide open before darting underwater -- left us in a fit of giggles.

We had so much fun!

One night we girls enjoyed experimenting with hair like when Wynne was little.

My villa-made vegan food was simple -- grilled veggies, beans and rice with a tomato and garlic compote here. There was quite a bit of pasta -- not gluten free, so I will catch up on my healthier diet here now, but we all loved it. We did go out several times as well, and I was happy to see Wynne trying out some vegetarian fare -- all her own choice.

Our last sunset on St. John did not disappoint. What an amazing show -- what an amazing week.