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A Visit to the Big Island

May 15, 2011
Deviled Ham-Stuffed Pastry Shells

In the US Virgin Islands, the “big island” is St. Croix. Forty miles south of her sister islands St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island, and with a land mass  of ~83 square miles, St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands. It is a beautiful island full of friendly people. On clear days we can see it from our condo; at night we can even see car headlights!

We visited friends John and Laura over a long weekend.  Louri Lynn, whose husband was racing that weekend, decided to join us. By happenstance, we visited St. Croix during the culmination of St. Thomas’ Carnival festivities. It worked out well, though; because of the long holiday weekend we were able to take the ferry over to St. Croix on Friday morning, and return on Monday afternoon. The ferry ticket is about half the cost of flying, has plenty of room, and there is no hassle about taking dive gear … And they don’t make passengers arrive 2 hours before departure time. (As of July 4, 2011, the ferry is no longer in service, due to running aground that night.)

Summer's Secret Seasoning on display at Polly's at the Pier

Summer's Secret Seasoning on display at Polly's at the Pier

Upon arrival, our first order of business was to have lunch at Polly’s at the Pier in Frederiksted, talk with them about carrying my seasoning mix, and to discuss Laura and Bill’s dive plans for the weekend. Lunch was delicious, as usual, and proprietors Steven and Seth decided to carry my seasoning mix! Polly’s is more than a restaurant; they have lovely paintings by local artists, hand-painted sun visors, and other local products. Some Saturdays they host a flower and vegetable market on their patio.

Marinated Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Asparagus

Marinated Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Asparagus in one of Laura's pretty dishes, on her fabulous granite counter.

Bill and Laura, and Laura’s friend, Katie, decided to dive the pier on Saturday morning with N2 the Blue Dive shop, which is just 100 steps from the pier. Louri Lynn and I stayed back to get some work done, though later we did go back to Polly’s to buy some beautiful tomatoes, which were perfect for my Tomato Mozzarella Salad. We also went to the farmer’s market and bought a delicious fruit called Java Apple. After lunch, I met Susan, the owner of Cache of the Day in Christiansted. Summer’s Secret Seasoning is now available in her store, too! This time, Bill stayed back to review and upload the pictures from their dive – they had a great time.

Deviled Ham-Stuffed Pastry Shells

Deviled Ham-Stuffed Pastry Shells with Fruit Salad, Laura's Scrambled Eggs, and Champagne.

Sunday was another diving day, this time with Cane Bay Dive Shop at the wall off the north shore of St. Croix. I tagged along to snorkel, but the sky was overcast and the water was cold so I stayed on the beach to read and enjoy the scenery. After the dive, we headed back to John and Laura’s to rendezvous with Louri Lynn and have a champagne brunch. I tried out a new recipe on the gang – Deviled Ham-Stuffed Puff Pastry Shells, topped with mozzarella cheese. It was great with fruit salad (including Java Apples), Laura’s scrambled eggs, toasted muffins and homemade blackberry jam.

We cooked a big dinner on Sunday night and had lots of fun sharing it with friends. We stayed up late and had so much fun that we got a later start on Monday morning than we had planned. Louri Lynn flew home, and Laura and I stopped by Island Tribe boutique – they have my patchwork pants! After shopping, we met the guys at Paradise Cafe and then visited Undercover Books and Gifts, where they now carry Summer’s Secret Seasoning! We had some time before we had to board the ferry, so we went to the Tamarind Reef and had a drink by the sea.

All too soon, it was time to go home. But we will be visiting St. Croix again at the end of June – partly to celebrate Bill’s birthday and partly to participate in the Mango Melee! I’ll be selling Summer’s Secret Seasoning and my newest recipe, Summer’s Secret Mango Hot Sauce!

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