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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Thyme for tilapia and lime

Sleeps wit' da fishes

Sleeps wit' da fishes

The other Saturday I rambled down to Bee Heaven to pick up a tilapia and some callaloo for dinner. If you’ve never done that, you’re missing out on some good eating. The fish are ridiculously fresh. They were swimming early that same morning just before getting put on ice. You won’t eat anything fresher unless you catch it yourself. When you order a tilapia, you get the whole fish. It’s your job to scale, gut and clean it before cooking, but that isn’t too difficult to do. The average weight per fish is about 1.5 pounds, maybe a bit more.

The tilapia is farm raised by Wayne and Carmen of American Viking Aqua Farms, a mom-n-pop operation right around the corner from Bee Heaven. Although the fish is a bit more expensive than what you can get at at the grocery store, it has been raised without chemicals. Technically they are not organic because the fish food isn’t, though Wayne and Carmen want to move in that direction. They also use a biofilter to clean their water, and have a natural filtration system which lets them use the nutrients to grow native mangroves for use in bioremediation projects.

Plans for Mr. Fish were to roast it whole. It was scaled, gutted and cleaned, then its cavity stuffed with slices of lime and branches of fresh thyme, and more lime slices on top. Was baked it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes (more or less), until the flesh flaked when stuck with a knife.

Mr. Fish meets his demise

Mr. Fish meets his demise

Mmmmmm good eating! The flesh was tender, moist and delicate. Limes on top kept it moist, and the flavors of lime and thyme permeated. Well, maybe a bit too much lime… will try with lemon next time, and use a bit less, and add garlic or onion. I don’t pretend to be a chef, or even a halfway good cook, but I have my moments and this was one of them. Your meal is only as good as the ingredients!

If you got a tilapia how did you prepare it? Feel free to share your recipe in the comments section below!

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Lychee freezer jam

The first batch of lychee freezer jam

The first batch of lychee freezer jam

Do you remember June, when lychees were bursting everywhere? The summer fruit sale offered pesticide-free lychees from Possum Trot Nursery and I loaded up.

My friend Kattia, who grew up in Homestead and now lives in Sanford with her husband and son, was craving lychees since June, when I told her about the crazy season we had. Wasn’t able to drive up then with fresh lychees, so I filled my freezer. (Yes, you can freeze lychees, then peel and eat like mini popsicles. Kids love ’em.) With the start of the CSA season almost around the corner, it was time to unload my freezer and make a run north.

Kattia loves to make jam. She had made me delicious mango jam a few summers ago. But what to do with thawed lychees?

Came across a simple recipe for lychee freezer jam on the Lycheeyum blog. It was our starting point. But 1 1/2 cups of sugar sounded like way too much. This was the first time either one of us had heard of freezer jam. It’s a no-cook process that doesn’t require heating the fruit, or working with hot jars and boiling water. There’s a video on the Ball canning site that shows how to make freezer jam using their freezer pectin. We tweaked and combined both recipes. Here’s our version:

4 cups lychees (fresh or frozen) and their juice, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 packet freezer pectin

1. Combine lychees, juice, and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Add freezer pectin, and stir for 3 minutes.
3. Fill plastic freezer jars. Allow mixture to sit for 30 minutes. It’s ready to use!
4. Keep jam in refrigerator for 3 weeks, or store in freezer for up to 1 year.

Got the freezer pectin and freezer jars at the Sanford Wal-Mart. (That’s where I stumbled across the Redland Best avo’s a few aisles over.) The recipe was very easy. You could even make this with your kids. A grownup would have to pit the fruit, as a sharp knife is required. The chunks of lychee were a bit big in this batch. Next time I’d run the fruit through a food processor to make the pieces smaller and more spreadable. Thawed lychee doesn’t mash very easily. Don’t know enough about canning to suggest an alternate to sugar. Wonder if agave would work as well.

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