04 July 2006

Bajan Cooking, Philly Style

I'm in the process of making my grilled fish in the manner I learned in Barbados two weeks ago. Actually, it won't be grilled but cooked in the oven since the skies decided to open up earlier and I twiddled away the day playing on the computer and in the kitchen.

Damn, when I think of Barbados, when I look at those
pictures of Payne's Bay or those on my camera I think, "I should be there." Have you ever been somewhere you felt you really belonged? Have you ever felt a oneness with a piece of land, a mountain, an island. I should be on an island. I should be able
to come home from work, change, walk with my dog two blocks away and swim in an ocean or a sea. I should be able to keep a kayak on the beach and take off whenever I want. I should be able to snorkel with fish or turtles on a regular basis. I am a Pisces, after all, and smack-dab in the middle of the sign. There's nothing of the cusp about me, oh no. Here's what Astrology.com had to say about me, based on my birth date, place and time:

Birth Data for Cheryl:
Birth Date and Time..... March 6, 1957 ______PM
Birth Location............. __________, New Jersey
Sun Sign.................... Pisces

Your Sample Reading:

Section 1: How You Approach Life and How You Appear To Others
Ferociously proud and somewhat vain, you like to be impressive and to be seen as Somebody Special. You are not timid, meek, or self-effacing, and are rarely content being in the background or in the subordinate position. You are a natural leader, and do not take orders from others very well. You must have something of your own, something creative - be it a business, a project, a home or whatever - that you can develop and manage according to your own will and vision. Whatever you do, you do it in a unique, dramatic, individual way. You like to put your own personal stamp on it. Find out more with your full-length reading...

Section 2: The Inner You: Your Real Motivation
At heart you are very gentle, impressionable, and receptive -a dreamer. The world of your imagination, feelings, and intuition is as real to you as anything in the outer world, though you may have trouble verbalizing or interpreting your inner experiences in a way others can understand. Mystical, artistic, musical, emotional and imaginative, you have a rich inner life, though you may seem rather unobtrusive and quiet outwardly. You usually keep to yourself. Find out more with your full-length reading...

Yep. Yep. It's all true.

The Caribbean was the first body of water in which I felt completely at ease...no fear at all...no familiar panic when the water was over my head. Peace. Serenity. Home. Safe. I wish I was there again, now.

But here I am, stuck in the Philly 'burbs for a while, unless I decide to not renew my lease and to take a travel assignment to Hawaii instead
. One never knows. "All options are on the table" as the White House and State Department like to say. But I'm celebrating my Indepencence Day by cooking Bajan style. I'm cooking the Bajan fish a certain young Bajan man cooked especially for me almost two weeks ago, the evening I invited him onto my body and into my bed.

Since I had bought the limes and found some mint and
happened to stop by the liquor store for white rum, and since the cutting board already had lime juice on it from salting and marinating my fish (cod and talapia, no butterfish or "dolphin," like I had in Barbados...see marinating fish at right), it seemed perfectly appropriate to mix a mojito for the cooking experience (see finished product at left, complete with Bajan sugar-dipped lime slice and mint leaf).

I only had a few mojitos on the island, having a very hard time finding mint for some reason. I did manage to find condoms aplenty, however. I haven't bought condoms since I purchased them for my son when he was going to the Jersey shore with his prom date (now his wife and
mother of his child) in his senior year of high school. Hope he's forgiven me. I still don't regret it...my point was made. Quite a selection they have down there. It's good to know. There are signs all over the place promoting AIDS awareness. Nice to see a government address real issues rather than craft an Abstinence-Only Fairyland. Condoms. What a concept.

My garlic-herb butter is all mixed and ready to stuff into the fillets. All that's left to do is chop
the sweet peppers, red onions, potatoes and squash and create my masterpiece. It's nearly 8 PM but I don't care. I can reasonably stay up until 1-ish and get plenty of sleep for work in the morning. Here is the prepared product, ready for foil covering and the oven. I made two. One for me (and I'm sharing some with a couple of young girls across the parking lot I like) and one for a young couple in the complex who just had their first baby. God knows, they could probably use a nice, healthy, home-cooked meal. I wish I lived close enough to Mike, Jen and Brendan that I'd been able to do this after Brendan was born. I really would have just dropped off a casserole (vegetarian, of course), peeked and played just a bit then left. If only. Maybe with the next one.

Want my Bajan Fish recipe? Here it is:

Bajan Fish, a la Cheryl

Six to eight fillets of mild fish (cod, scrod, talapia, flounder, butterfish, if available)
Fresh mixed herbs (available in Barbados...I made mine by combining "seafood herbs" (dill, parsley and taragon) with marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme and chives), all fresh.

Two cloves garlic
Two sticks butter (1/2 pound)
Sea salt
Juice of one large lemon

Juice of one medium lime
About a dozen small (baby) potatoes (I used red-skinned and scrubbed them rather than peeling)
Four medium yellow squash, peeled and, if desired, cored then
Two large sweet peppers
One half a large red onion
Salt and black pepper

Wash and gently squeeze fillets dry. Rub them with sea salt and drizzle with the lemon juice and juice of half the lime. Set aside. Chop herbs finely and mix with butter. Mince garlic finely and add to herb/butter mixture. Rinse and dry fillets, split with sharp knife and stuff with garlic-herb butter.

Coat center of foil or bottom of baking dishes with non-stick spray. Line foil/baking dish with sliced potatoes, top with some butter mixture. Place fillets on top, spread butter mixture on top. Top off with
squash, sliced sweet green pepper and sliced red onion. Drop remaining dollops of butter mixture on top. Drizzle with remaining lime juice. Season as desired with salt and black pepper.

Place foil-wrapped packages on grill and cook until done. I haven't tried this yet so you'll have to wing it. Probably a low heat or upper shelf for 20-30 minutes.

I'm putting mine in the oven in two 9x12 baking pans covered with foil at 350 F which will probably take about 40-50 minutes if I slice the potatoes thinly. (Halve the recipe for one 9x12 baking pan) In the oven, I opened and "tented" the foil halfway through to allow some of the veggies to get crispy edges.

I think this would be great with
fresh-baked bread but I wasn't doing that today. Sourdough makes an acceptable alternative.

Hope you enjoy it.

This is the finished product...what I'm giving to the girls, left,

And the casserole for the new parents on the right.

What? You want the mojito recipe, too? Sheesh. Some people...

Killer Mojito (this link is worth the click just to see that woman's amazing tongue! Woo-hoo!)
1 scant tbsp. sugar (I'm using the brown sugar, like "raw" sugar in the US, though you could use granulated or confectioner's sugar)
6 mint leaves
1 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces white rum
club soda

Crush 5 mint leaves in glass against the sugar with a spoon (that's why I like granulated, so the mint crushes very finely). Add lime juice, rum, ice (as desired). Fill glass (about a 10-ouncer is what I use) with club soda. Stir. Garnish with thin lime slice and whole mint leaf. You may dip the lime slice in sugar for a more pleasing effect.


The kitchen is all cleaned up. I noticed an interesting visual as I was emptying the dishwasher.

Yep. Life is good.

I hope you have as much fun with these recipes as I've had making them and eating/drinking them, today and in the past. As for the young Bajan man...well, you know more's to come about that, don't you? "But...you were a lesbian," you scream!

Yep...still am, too.

Thanks for dinner, Sean, and for everything else. You were a consummate, sexy, Energizer Rabbit gentleman, you Bad Boy. Best man I ever fucked.


Technorati tags: cooking / drinks / food / life / men / self-awareness / sex / sexuality / sexual orientation


At July 06, 2006 3:59 PM, Blogger Mocha said...

Ok, seriously. You have to stop with the creating new sites on a regular basis. You're bonkers, you know that?

However, for delighting yourself in the young Bajan man, you're also my heroine. I'm a wee jealous.

At July 07, 2006 1:48 AM, Blogger Cheryl said...

Ooooo...I did something to make the woman-with-the-perfect-life jealous! I can die now, completely happy!

And I don't really keep adding them. I've just outgrown MadMom and Mutt so she's on hiatus. I'm fickle. Guess I proved that on the island, too.

At July 09, 2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Moley123 said...

OMG! How many sites? I knew you were a confident multi-tasker but this is stretching it a bit far! Ahem... a MAN! OMG and OMG again again and again! Be assured I wont hold it against you, at least you got some sex! (she says bitterly through gritted teeth!)

At July 09, 2006 12:26 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

I know, I know, Moley...it's becoming octopusine, this addiction! This way I can keep No Ordinary Princess more "family-friendly" and let it all hang out here.

As for the man, sex has never been the problem. It's everythign else I have a problem with where men are concerned. Damn shame I happen to also want the "everythign else."

You, too, can have sex and orgasms...you might just have to do it the way I'd done it for the 25 months prior to last month. Solo endeavor, Sweetie. I swear I'm sending you that rabbit pearl vibe someday!


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