22 February 2011

Summertime ... and the Livin' is Easy!

After all the soups and stews and roasts and casseroles of wintertime, I was feelin' kinda rebellious today.  I have some blogging friends from the southern hemisphere and they have been all about the grilled fish and salsas and fresh fruit salads and coconut cakes and all that summertime stuff ... darn it!

We had more snow today, and while we consider snow at this time of year 'sugar snow', I am heartily sick of it. Don't get me wrong. I will go out to the nearest 'sugar shack' in the next few weeks and grab my quart of maple syrup and thank Mother Nature for her bounty, but right now I am ready to hop a flight to southern climes, rub some suntan lotion on my chubby parts, and bask like beached tuna. Case closed.

Well, pfffft! That's all fantasy. Instead, I'm stuck making something of a 'pick-me-up' this evening. A fruit salsa worthy of my daughter, Sara ... the Salsa Queen. A fish tempura that is a genuflection to the fried fish made at the 'fish shacks'  along the New England seashore. Sweet potato fries... please tell me that sweet potatoes are more healthy than plain old potatoes ... even when they're fried. If you can't tell me that ... carry on. I don't care. This meal was sooo worth it!

I do love a slippery, juicy mango, don't you ?

Mango and Pineapple Salsa

1 c. fresh pineapple chunks, chopped
1 c. fresh mango, chopped
1 kiwi, chopped
1 c. fresh cucumber skin-on, chopped
1/2 c. purple onion, chopped
1 tsp. chopped Scotch Bonnet red chili pepper
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. dried cilantro (fresh would be better!)

Toss all the ingredients together in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for a few hours to allow the fruits to macerate.

Cilantro as little green flecks ...

Tempura Batter for Fish and Sweet Potato Fries


1 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. milk
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a deep bowl.

Measure the milk into a measuring cup, crack the eggs into the milk and whisk.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg/milk mixture and the oil. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Don't ask me why, but I love this picture.

Making the Fish Tempura and Sweet Potato Fries:

1. Peel and make 'pencils' of a sweet potato.

2. Cut 1 1/4 lb cod fillet (or other firm white fish) into large chunks (2 inch wide slices from the fillet).

3. Prepare a deep-fryer with vegetable oil  to 375 degrees F.

4.  When the oil is ready, dip the sweet potato slices in the prepared tempura batter and deep fry  in small batches until they are golden brown and floating on the surface of the oil.

5. Remove the slices and drain them on paper towels, then place them on a serving dish and keep warm in a 275 degree F oven. Continue frying the taters until you run out.

6. Let the oil 'refresh' in temperature. Meanwhile dip the cod pieces in the remaining batter.

7. Fry the cod pieces two pieces at a time until golden brown and floated toward the surface.

8. Drain the cod on fresh paper towels and keep warm on a separate plate in the oven.

9. Prepare a large serving plate by lining it with Boston Bibb lettuce (or the lettuce of your choice). Pop some tartar sauce in a small bowl and place it front and center on the platter.

I love Bibb lettuce because of it's buttery 'fluffiness'

10. When all the fish has been fried and drained, place the fish pieces around the platter and add the chilled salsa in between.

11. Place the sweet potatoes in a pretty serving dish, pour the wine, and call the folks to knosh! Pretend that it's July, it's 90 degrees F, and you have your swimsuit drying on the line out back. Hell, pretend to swat a mosquito or two ... just to make it really real.

Taaa- dahhh!



  1. Wow, that looks like a wonderful seafood plate. I love the salsa. Really beautiful flavors and colors.

  2. Sweet potato fries are so delicious and you're right it is a good looking picture. The fish and salsa are yummy looking too. Are you going to Parker's in Mason NH to get your maple syrup? You will love their pumpkin pancakes.

  3. This is a recipe after my heart. I love fruit salsas with seafood, then add sweet potato fries and I'm in heaven!

  4. I love fruit salsa and sweet potato fries! And I have to admit, even the fish looks yummy. You have it all arranged so beautifully on the platter too :-)

  5. Haha! I knew everyone would be just as hungry for summer as I!

    @ Lizzy - Skip the fish and do some sort of tofu tempura or veggie tempura!

    @ Susan - We should meet for pancakes and coffee at Parker's! My friend Leah says the pancake breakfasts can't be beat!

    @ Kristi - This is a great healthy meal ... except for the deep fry ;-)

  6. oh god this looks good... soooo summery isn't it? i can taste it from here... must make fish this weekend... need that healthy summery thang going on in Belleau!

  7. I am with you; bring on summer!! (of course I will be craving stew and apple pie as soon as the temperatures rise above 85, but that doesn't count right now ;-)

  8. We had a mango last night on our haystacks! I never realized that they would ripen just like an avocado but they ripened beautifully in my yellow pottery bowl on my countertop. There is one more left and I've been eyeing it today. Might have to make some of that salsa!

  9. Your salsa looks divine! It reminds me of a day at the beach! And I agree with you, I've had enough of the snow! Can't wait for it to melt!

  10. I remember the fish shacks from my college days, but never saw anything as appetizing as this! Delicious salsa recipe, and the fish looks perfectly prepared. Winter or summer, this is a great dinner!

  11. Both Chef and Steward are LOVING this presentation! Beautiful!


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