Christmas in Spring

They come in brown paper packages, neatly wrapped and packed.  A few of the packages have a fragrance.  I smell cumin as it passes in front of me and then chocolate and chili powder.   I don’t sashay from curtain to curtain singing, “…these are a few of my favorite things,” however, I am filled with glee and anticipation as the waft of fresh paprika crosses with the elegant scent of vanilla bean.

Christmas in May/June 2

Lotta Almonds

Christmas in May/June

A big white truck has just delivered Christmas to my door in May.  The cache is from Morgan Mills, King Aurthur, Mrs. Meyers and a host of others and will be added liberally to our meals all summer long.  Yipee, yea, I’ll be cooking on my woodstove soon!

Who wants to go sailing on the bay with us this year?!  Click here to make your reservation.

Organizing away my BIG pantry

Caribbean Spiced Snapper with Peach Salsa

Many years ago, the Caribbean was our home in the wintertime. We spent three winters sailing in and around the island chains and learning about local cooking. Occasionally, the island spices still pop up in my cooking – this Caribbean Spiced Snapper is an example. Cloves, allspice, nutmeg and many others spices are not just used in baking, but in savory dishes as well. As you might imagine one of my favorite things to do was go to the markets on each island and talk with the local women about what they were selling that day, how they used it and in what combinations. I found the local market is an excellent way to understand the culture of folks and get to know the true feeling of a place. I think this is true even in the states.  I fell in love with the brilliant colors of their clothing, the musky smells of overripe fruit, the textures of so many new fruits and vegetables all swirling around each other to make it an experience. It got so that I had my favorite market ladies and would go to them first. Purchasing something new each shopping trip helped me learn about how to cook all of the unusual produce I saw.

Caribbean Spiced Snapper
The kind of fish you use is less important than the process. Any firm grilling fish will take well to this technique. Snapper, tuna and swordfish would be the best.

2 pounds snapper

Caribbean Rub:
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup pineapple juice
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Mix together all the ingredients but the fish. Rub the mixture liberally on both sides of the fish. Grill the fish until you can see it is cooked a little more than half way up the side, about 5 minutes. Turn carefully and continue cooking on the other side; the second side won’t take as long, about 3 minutes. Serve with Peach Salsa.

Serves 4-6

Peach Salsa
This salsa is best when served within 1/2 hours of making it. Make sure to finely dice the peppers and onions because they don’t have time to marinate. As alternatives, serve with grilled salmon, tuna, pork, or chicken.

3 peaches (firm, but ripe), peeled, pitted and diced
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon each finely diced red and green pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime
salt and fresh black pepper to taste: use sparingly

Gently toss all ingredients together; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Buy local fish!

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