Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Cayo Hueso Time & Grilled Snapper with Mango Salsa"

It's been a long time since I left my friends and followers and I must say it's good to be back. When we talk about our lives we talk in great definition of how events have shaped our way of thinking or how we react to others in relationships. I myself have been experiencing both the noun and verb form of pain for the past few months and it had taken my body over like a virus. I didn't know who "I" was anymore nor did I understand what I had become. I recently discovered me again and I now know I am the only person that can define myself. When I define myself I try to remember the hard times I have had recently and how I am overcoming them with professionalism and a positive attitude. I hold my head up high knowing that getting out of a bad relationship with my head held high in honor and knowing it wasn't me that caused the inevitable helps me move forward in life. I have been raked over the hot coals one too many times, thrown under the bus and backed up over and now that I have grown from the experience I will say I am sorry to those hurt along the way. It was all a journey and lesson in life that brought me to this point....the turning point in my life's compass that led me home and as we all know home is where the heart is.

Cayo Hueso is my home and here is where I grew up, not so much as a child does but as a strong woman does. I learned a work ethic here that is ingrained in my head. I learned things here that most mainlanders will never understand. It's a small island and one must work hard to stay afloat. The prices are high as well as the locals and the food here is inspirational. I cast my line out in the potpourri of seafood and always come home with a vast array of flavorful bounties of the ocean. It soothes my soul knowing I hunted and gathered my nightly feast and I can share that feast proudly with friends and family. It is a great sense of self worth knowing that you can finish what you started, knowing no one is gong to drag you down if you fail but help pick you back up and encourage you to try again. I have a dear friend here whose wisdom is appreciated and constantly asked for in good times and bad. She has been a major inspiration to me whether she knows it or not and after writing this I am sure she will know I am speaking of her. My dear chica, she will pick me up when I am down and kick my ass if I am wrong. She will offer advice and experience but the one thing she does not do that I appreciate her for is judging others. So to my dear chica I must say thank you for being here for me as I am here for you. You are a true sista from another mista and loyal to your peers. A chica who will tell me when I try on the "F Me Boots" that she will kill me if I don't buy them because she knows they will lift my spirits as well as my self esteem, she also knows when I am lost and need that emotional backing to help my life's compass point in the right direction. So dear friend thank you for your unconditional love and amazing spirit, you help define me as a woman.
I have made another change in direction as well, I have gone home to find my passion again after it was stripped from my soul this past Christmas. The reason why I started in the culinary profession is the satisfaction I get seeing those who consume my creations enjoy what they have experienced. If you haven't eaten my food before you wouldn't understand the love I put into every step I make in the kitchen. The past few weeks I have soul searched for that love again and I am happy to say it's back and as bad ass as ever. The goddess inside feels renewed and appreciated. My palate once again is alive for flavor and I have been creating some amazing dishes that are uncompromised by the past. New, exciting and creative are good adjectives to describe what's been happening in my life lately and it shined through in the dishes I create. The artist inside still needs some coaxing out of her shell but it's happening and I will be at the top of my game once again. The physical pain sometimes is unbearable but the emotional pain has diminished into mere memories and lessons in life as to what not to do. They say the definition of insanity is to keep making the same mistakes over and over and expect a different result,well the course direction I have taken has made me a better person and I truly have learned from the past. The inspiration I have found here in Cayo Hueso is bountiful and the love I have in my heart has been renewed. I again have let the walls down and have accepted the fact that I am not perfect nor is anyone. Relationships will have their ups and downs but when you start with a solid foundation nothing or no one will ever get in growths way. The mistakes of the past are just that, mistakes, and I refuse to go down that road again. No one in my life will ever strip me of who I am and inspire to be and those I choose to let in will help shape me and guide me into being a better and stronger woman, mother, partner and chef. Now I do want to leave you with a little sample of what's been cooking in my heart, mind and kitchen....Enjoy and Tasty Tastings Everyone.

"Grilled Snapper with Mango Salsa"

1 1/2 cups diced mango
3/4 cup diced peeled, halved and seeded cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 tsp minced, seeded serrano chile pepper
2 tsp grated key lime zest
3 Tbsp key lime juice
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 red snapper fillets (6 oz each)
2 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Make salsa: Mix ingredients gently but thoroughly. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes for flavors to blend.
  2. Heat outdoor grill or stove top grill pan. Mix ancho chile powder, cinnamon and salt in a cup until blended.
  3. Place fish, skin side down, on a baking sheet. Brush top with 1/2 the oil; sprinkle with 1/2 the spice mixture.
  4. Place fish on grill skin side up; brush with remaining oil; sprinkle with rest of spices.
  5. Grill for 4 minutes on one side then flip and continue grilling for 4 minutes until center is opaque.
  6. Remove from grill an serve topped with Mango Salsa