I grew up on Florida's Gulf Coast, so fresh seafood was a regular part of my diet, and I miss having access to it. As a teenager, I'd drive over to Hubbard's Pier at Pass-A-Grille and wait for the deep sea fishing boats to come in. Tourists would arrive with their fresh catches in tow. They'd have their photos taken with the fish while smiling broadly. Then wouldn't know what to do with the fish. They couldn't take it back to their hotel rooms. As a result they often just gave the fish away. And, for a small fee--about 50 cents--one of the deck hands would clean the fish for you. Those days are long gone, but my vivid memories of having fresh fish to eat often come to mind. Lately, in efforts to improve my diet, I've decided to eat fish once or twice every week. Here in the mountains of Virginia, the only available salt water fish are found in the seafood case of our grocery store. I try not to think about the fish having been frozen and thawed and just buy it as quickly as I can. The other day I saw red snapper and it brought back so many memories I had to have it. When I got home I decided to bake it. Here's the recipe I used:
- 2 red snapper fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 3 or 4 drops Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, or your own favorite seasoning blend, with salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon snipped fresh or frozen chives, optional
- 3 to 4 tablespoons plain or seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
So many things are blooming now - I'm thrilled!
It's been awhile since I've said hello around here.
Advent was busy, Christmastide was even busier and then Lent came and seemed to last a very, very long time this year. It also happened early and during the most horrible time in the homeschooling world... February and March. I suppose it is fitting that homeschooling is the biggest slog during a penitential season. My husband has also been traveling an extraordinary amount for work and my kids are in a zillion activities because they all sounded so great until we actually had to get to each of them on time and participate in a good mood. I also pretty much hate winter. It is cold, bleak and dark. I like cold, snowy weather during Advent and that is it! Virginia is as far north as I ever intend to live. All this to say - I didn't care about blogging or gardening or anything other than making sure the kids were fed and our house was not falling down into an episode of Hoarders all around us these last few months.
But spring is here and with it miserable seasonal allergies! My husband watched me struggling to use steroid nasal spray and commented that I would be a terrible drug addict. Yes, I believe I would. I'm totally aggravated that I have to use a medication that requires entry into my body via my nose. Ugh. I've been taking so many medications so I can see out of my eyes and not cough and sneeze constantly that I am worried about my liver. This is no joke! Pollen makes me want to avoid being outside so that has also put a damper on my otherwise hearty welcome of spring.
I do have some pride so I have ventured outside on occasion to see what is springing up out of the dirt, what is blooming and what needs pruning. I'm actually pretty pleased with the progress of our garden as of now, our 4th spring in this house. I can dig a little here and there while getting weeds out and almost always find worms. To think that worms would thrill me to the tips of my toes is pretty crazy, but thrill me they do as I know they are indicating that our soil is finally a survivable place for them to live and thrive. Let me assure you that there were zero worms anywhere to be found on our property when we moved in here December of 2009.
The crocus, hyacinth and daffodils came up and gave a cheerful face to the otherwise boring landscape. Some many other perennials began peeping up through the mulch and to me they really are like little tiny babies being born, crowning as they poke up after a long gestation period. The roses that I thought were pruned enough are now looking alarmingly vigorous and leafy. This is the best time for these ladies as they days are cool enough that black spot hasn't starting affecting them yet. The Westerlands on my trellis on the south side of my house look monstrous and a little terrifying right now. I know just enough about growing roses to keep them alive but I think a bit more reading is in order so I can learn better how to keep these over-acheivers in line!
I planted 3 bare root peonies last fall and only one came up. She is tiny and has one flower bud. I am anxious to see her bloom. The alliums are all getting ready to pop open. The bearded iris, woodland phlox, creeping phlox and tulips are all gorgeous right now. My rosemary is even blooming and I have never seen it do so before. The pansies are also perking back up and looking very purple and vibrant.
Here are a few pics:
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! We will trim our tree, bake St. Nicholas gingerbread cookies to leave out for Santa and light candles and the fireplace and say our prayers before bedtime. It has been a quiet and blessed Advent for us this year. I am so looking forward to Christmastide!
Lucy's Christmas features a Victorian era girl who enjoys preparing gifts for her friend's and family as much as she's looking forward to the Christmas celebration and gift sharing at her church. It is a sweet, gentle book full of beautiful illustrations.
Yes. I'm still planting. It sure as heck was cold today with the wind blowing, though!
Advent is upon us and I've finally gotten the final gardening jobs finished that must occur. There are still some shabby looking daylilies out there that need trimming back but I am just not going to look at them and pretend they do not look pathetic and sad and in need of trimming.
I've planted peonies, alliums, transplanted some dwarf hydrangeas, moved nandina and catmint, planted potted mums in places that didn't need anything new but I couldn't stand to toss them as their blooms began to fade and spruced up my window boxes with some more euonymus to fill in. I planted (with help!) 500 Dutch Master daffodils around the sign of my church last weekend and went back out today with my husband and added some compost to the bed and then mulched. The Knights of Columbus were out there selling Christmas trees and well, I am just not ready for that yet. Too early for me! I'd wait until Christmas Eve if my children did not give me pleading Bambi eyes about the whole thing.
Back to the alliums. I planted some and I'm not sure why. I had a Groupon for my favorite nursery and no idea what to buy (for the first time ever). I don't have a lot of space left but I had an area in the back of a bed that could use a bit of drama and height so I planted some alliums to perk it up. I'm not even sure I really like them as they look like a plant right out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Huge lollipop flowers is what they are.