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Friday, February 7, 2014

Grits, Grunts & Good Stuff (Fishy Dishy Birthday)

cruising life places to eat
The Stuffed Pig, Marathon FL Keys; hog heaven for all things piggy.
Grits and grunts; that’s what I chose for my birthday meal at “the” Boot Key Harbor breakfast spot,The Stuffed Pig.  Yeah, I’m weird.  Sucker for a catchy name, I passed up the more novel alligator tail.  Since I’ve gulped gator before, figured it was probably more trendy and chewy than tasty.  The “grunt” was a piece of Mahi Mahi. 

As far as breakfasts out go, I found The Stuffed Pig underwhelming, given all the rave reviews about it from others.  Maybe the breakfast pickins in Marathon are slim.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  Or maybe I’m just too picky, coming from Portland, a true food mecca.

Getting a great meal in Marathon meant making it myself. Infinitely better than breakfast, for dinner, I made my all-time favorite dish, Hot Peppered Prawns (recipe follows).  That meant indulging at last in a trip to The Fisheries nearby, where I swear I recognized scenes from “True Lies,” which was shot in the Marathon area.  Passed up Fisheries’ “Lobster Reuben,” a popular fried concoction which rumor has it could feed a small third-world country, or two very hungry Americans. 

cruising destination florida keys eating out

The Stuffed Pig’s “grits & grunts;” name was
far more interesting than the meal.
Culinary delights aside, the spectacular beauty of last year’s birthday hike in Columbier, St Barts was far more soul-satisfying (click here for the post on that) than this year’s hot peppered prawns, even for an avowed foodie like me. 

What is your all-time favorite dish?
You know -- the one you crave for very special occasions -- like your birthday.  Do you go out for it?  Does someone you know and love make it for you?  Or you do have to make it for yourself?

breakfast galley wench style aboard journey

C’mon, these are real home fries; much more interesting!
GalleyWenchTales knows how to whip up a mean brekkie.
My top 10 favorites (including a few ties), in ascending order of preference…

  1. Lox, cream cheese, capers and tomatoes on a bagel, but hold the bagel, tied with our family’s chopped liver (for me, the retort – “What am I – chopped liver?” is positive response.
  2. Chile Colorado (or a killer Chile Verde, less readily available)
  3. Dark chocolate with “something” … like Ritter Sport’s marzipan bar or one of Alma Chocolate’s amazing improbably delicious confections, like goat cheese or Thai, or, Just Desserts intensely lemon-y lemon cake
  4. Fresh, whole, crab with a loaf of crusty sourdough, good butter and a glass of cold chardonnay
  5. Smoked Turkey (cooked indirectly, over an herbed wine tray in a charcoal BBQ)
  6. Shrimp Posole (verde, based on Esparza’s TexMex Café [stunningly – CLOSED Jan 2014!])
  7. Conch Salad (from Potter’s Cay, Nassau, essentially ceviche)
  8. Gumbo (but only if using really good Andouille sausage, best ever was from Portland OR’s PastaWorks)
  9. Tortilla Soup (Coyote Café style)
  10. Hot Peppered Prawns


Hot Peppered Prawns
cruising destinations boot key harbor marathon floda keys
Keys Fisheries, Marathon Florida.  Bought prawns,skipped the Conchwurst and Lobster Reuben.
 My all-time favorite dish; a rare treat especially as most prawns come from Thailand, not known for their sustainable fishing practices.    This year as my birthday was in the Florida Keys, I prepared it with locally caught Keys Fisheries prawns.  Best prawns in it, ever!
2      scallions
2 t      minced ginger root
1 T      ketchup
1 T      hot sauce
1 T      sherry
1 T      soy sauce
1 t      sugar
2 T      peanut oil
1      clove garlic, crushed
1 lb.      shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 t      salt
1/2 t      cayenne pepper

  • Mince both the white and the green parts of the scallions, reserving the minced green part for garnish.
  • Mix the white part of the scallions with the ginger, ketchup, hot sauce, sherry, soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or heavy skillet until it is very hot. Brown the garlic in the oil and discard.
  • Add the shrimp to the oil and stir-fry just until the color changes. Add the seasoning mixture to the wok and mix well.
  • Stir in the salt and cayenne.
  • Serve the shrimp immediately with hot boiled rice. Garnish with the minced green onion.
source:  The New Carry Out Cuisine cookbook

Location, Location
Feb 7, 2014. BAHAMAS. Pre-secheduled this post before leaving Palm Key Marina, Nassau (N25.01.129  W.77.16.277).  En Route this Friday Feb 7th for Highbourne Cay, Northernmost part of the Exumas (N24.716 W76.817).