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Escovitch Dolphin and Breadfruit Salad

4 May

Our arrival in Cayman happily coincided with the beginning of Dolphin (Mahi Mahi).  Our first night home, my father filet a dolphin, cut it into steaks and made escovitch.  I have written about my version for both.  His were better.

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Little Cayman

2 May

My family went to Little Cayman to celebrate my 30th birthday.  We spent most of the time fishing, cleaning, prepping and cooking. Followed by eating and eating and eating and drinking.  A quick snack.  Repeat.  This is what passes for relaxation in my family.  When I pause to consider the backdrop to all these activities, the impossible quiet and solitude of Little Cayman. The tangle of sea grape trees, the carpet of turtle grass, coconuts and conch shells.  Iguanas and solider crabs.  The layer of salt in your hair and on your skin and the shower under the bright blue sky to temporarily remove it.  And the sea.  Everywhere the sea.  When I stop and think of all this, I am overcome with gratitude.  Gratitude to my family who organized and traveled and celebrated.  Gratitude for the soul and salt and beauty of my tiny country.  Gratitude and joy.

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A Taste of Cayman

26 Apr

I had plans to write in Cayman.  I sat down a few times to describe the things that we did, the places we went, the things we caught and picked and ate.  Then I would look through a window and see my family or pick up the phone and call a friend.   I decided to just wait until the trip was over to write.   It was a good plan.  I enjoyed every minute I was in Cayman.  Now I am back in Philly and I have thousands of pictures of the trip to wade through and multiple posts to write about our time down there.  Until then I will leave you with a little taste of Cayman.

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Saturday morning at the grounds

8 Apr

Every Saturday morning The Market at the grounds opens at 7am.  My father gets there by 6:30.  The light in Cayman at that hour is soft and warm; a hazy other-worldly glow.  It isn’t hot yet.  The grounds are busier than usual.  It is Easter weekend and a church group has pitched tents in the dusty red soil, a long weekend of fellowship and food.  Large groups of children mull around the parking lot and run through the grounds.  The red birch trees seem to be on fire, the early morning sun filtering through their translucent bark.  We buy callaloo, green mangos, tomatoes and a single custard apple.  My father moves quickly through the stalls, shouting out to friends.  I exchange greetings with people I haven’t seen in over a year.  On the way home we stop to get coconuts and start cooking Easter brunch by 8:30 am.

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Isabella’s Harvest

6 Apr

Appleton, Ginger and Lime Truffles

22 Dec

Welcome to the third installment of Christmas Candy Making – Classic Chocolate Truffles with a Caymanian twist.  There is enough rum in these little candies to warm your chest and flush your cheeks.  The fresh ginger provides a little heat and the lime brightens the whole thing.  These are not hard to make.  So, go, make them!

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Jamaican Curried Chicken and Pink Potato Salad

22 Nov

My daughter was born a few weeks before Christmas. My mother and sister flew up to Philadelphia on the day she was born and planned to stay for a week before an early winter storm dumped two feet of snow on the city, forcing them to stay a few extra days.

In the weeks leading up to Bella’s birth I was overwhelmed and nervous.  At the same time fully aware that everything was about to change but completely clueless as to how.  In an effort to distract myself, I focused on what I might want to eat those first few days home from the hospital.  A “Welcome to Motherhood” menu, if you will.  I wanted Caymanian food.  Warm, spicy, rich, stick to your bones, comfort food.

My father might get a lot of attention in my family for his cooking skills, but my mother is no slouch in the kitchen.  The woman can cook.  And boy did she ever.  She and my sister churned out Caymanian comfort food the whole week they were here.   Oxtail, curried chicken, pink potato salad, macaroni and cheese, baked barbecue chicken, rice and peas.  It was  the perfect way to welcome Bella home.

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