Friday, June 10, 2011

Close to perfect...but far from normal

     And so I begin my 49th year, and what better place to celebrate than the tranquil key of Islamorada.  The Babe and I have been going there, every long weekend chance we get, for years now.  Usually the boys join us, and we spend the weekend fishing, drinking, and eating the best locally caught saltwater fish you've ever tasted.  The keys are wonderfully different from South congestion, usually happy people, and never a hurried pace.  Laid back...relaxing...and best of all, it is the sport fishing capital of the world.  

The Babe and our pet egret, "Fred"

     We all love to fish - love, love, love to fish.  We have gone in the shallow back waters for shark, permit, and the all elusive tarpon.  We have gone out in the the deep waters of the Atlantic on our quest for black fin tuna, grouper, and mahi-mahi.  The boys and Babe always do well.  I, on the other hand, seem to be jinxed.  I have not caught a fish in ages.  It's become the running joke. The Babe has been kind enough to catch a fish and quickly hand me his rod to reel it in.  It is exciting, but I miss the thrill of feeling that first tug, setting the hook, and then hearing the sound of my reel spinning as the line is pulled.

I knew, for certain, that this year, on my birthday, I would definitely catch one.

The stars were aligned.

The Babe bought me a beautiful new rod and reel.

The tides were in my favor.

I could feel it.

The anticipation was overwhelming.

Yep, that's me...with absolutely nothing on my line

Bupkis...nada...nunca...not a damn nibble.

     Just wait till next year...I'll be turning 50 and no fish is going to want to piss me off then.

     We didn't catch it, but we sure did eat it - Morada Bay's Blackened Grouper was outstanding!  I can't wait till next June 4th when I will be cooking up 40 pounds of this after my day of fishing - Enjoy and eat happy!

Birthday dinner on the beach at Morada Bay - it doesn't get any better.  Thank you, Babe.

Blackened Florida Keys Grouper

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 lemon zests, dried

Mix together and keep in an air tight container.

Brush 4 grouper fillets with melted butter.  Generously rub the blackening seasoning on to both sides of fillets, set aside as you heat your cast iron skillet for 10 minutes.  Heat 2 T of grape seed or peanut oil in the pan, then add the fillets and cook for 3 minutes each side.  Serve with fresh lemon wedges.  

Pretend your feet are in the sand, and they will taste even better.

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