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Found Objects … For Dinner and Otherwise

June 10, 2011

Thursday I went to the beach for a morning swim (the rain had finally stopped and the sun was shining). I ran into John, who was getting his boat ready for a day of fishing.

As John and his Coconut Retriever, Rambo, approached the water, John called out, “Hey Summer! I used some of your seasoning when I made dinner last night. It was awesome!”

“Good to know!” I replied. I had visions of him having carefully selected a recipe from my website. “What did you make?”

Empty Refrigerator“I didn’t think I had any food in the house, so I just started rummaging around. I came up with some odds and ends and, with Summer’s Secret Seasoning, made myself dinner.”

I asked him to tell me all about it – I love hearing how people use my seasoning mix.

John’s pick-up dinner …

“I found a potato, some seasoned bread crumbs and an egg, so I decided to make a potato pancake. I grated the potato, and then stirred in the last of the breadcrumbs and the beaten egg. I needed a little more binder, so I scraped the last couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise out of the jar and added that, along with a teaspoon or so of Summer’s Secret Seasoning.

I formed the potato mixture into a patty and browned both sides in some butter and olive oil on high. After it was brown, I turned down the heat to let the potatoes cook all the way through. Then I went back to scrounging in the fridge.

I found some hamburger meat, a quarter of an onion, a little beef broth, and the last of a bottle of red wine. I minced the onion and mixed it with the meat to form a hamburger. While that was browning, I combined the broth and the wine, and then added it to the pan with the meat. While the meat cooked, my sauce reduced perfectly.

The hamburger fit perfectly on my potato pancake, and the red wine reduction was great with both. I really liked the herb flavors in the potato; it was the perfect seasoning.”

***

Gotta love a creative cook. The rest of the morning’s finds were not edible, but really cool.

I was the first one on the beach that morning. At the mouth of the bay, I saw what looked like a piece of wood tangled up with the remains of a life jacket or fishing floats. The current was moving whatever it was slowly into the bay. By the time I was ready to swim, the dive boat crew and divers were on the beach and speculating about the object, even wondering if it was a body.

I decided to swim out and have a look. What I found was a big tangled mess of old lines, plastic mesh and fishing floats. I immediately thought, Hazard to navigation, and decided to tow it in to the beach for disposal.

John was interested in it, thinking that someone might have tried to create a FAD (fish attraction device). He said that if he had seen this floating between St. Thomas and St. Croix, there would have been good fishing around it. When he hauled the mess on to the beach, we found – and rescued – living treasures in what had become a mini Sargasso Sea.

Sargassum Fish

This is not one of the fish we saw, but it looks just like them.

John found a Sargassum fish, a type of Angler fish, a two-inch Caribbean lobster (very cute), and several crabs. In total, we found 5 or 6 Sargassum fish, ranging in size from 3 to 5 inches. These fish are amazing, due to looking more like plants than fish; I’ve only seen them in books. The shallow water was crystal clear, so I followed the last one as it recovered from being out of the water for a few minutes and swam to its new home – Aqua Action’s stern mooring ball. I had my eyes on the fish the whole time, literally walking beside it, and it still “disappeared” when it nestled into the growth on the ball.

So take some time to look around today. You never know what you might find!

Summer

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