Monday, April 12, 2010

Sharing Thyme and Space

Each day in Florida has been perfect. We have laughed together, shared, and have new memories to talk about next time we get together. A dear friend on mine said during this road trip that it is really hard to connect with someone and develop a great relationship if you don't share space and time. I have to agree. The family that is here in Florida used to live mere minutes from me and now I am several days away. Having the chance to spend this space and time with them has been the best part of this trip for me. In truth, space and time are the only things that really exist in this world. They are the only things that I really have in abundance. I have lots and lots of time, we actually all have exactly the same amount in one day. It is how we choose to use it that really counts.

This week I chose to use it to take longs walks with my sister, laugh with my aunt and uncle by the pool, and do cross word puzzles with my grandpa. Of course, I was also cooking and writing, but the most memorable parts of the trip haven't been the cooking or even the eating, but the conversations over dinner and after dinner. Talking about the state of the union with my grandpa, sharing recipe ideas with my aunt and catching up on who we are at this moment.

We are all changing with each breath and having the opportunity to share these changes and evolutions with those we love most are what really are important to me. Seeing my sister evolve and laughing at all her outragious jokes. Also, watching all of the teenagers and recognizing how far I have grown from being a teenager myself. I have never been happier to be out of those years than during this week watching how everyone at that age wants to be the same. I remember that, and am so glad that now it seems we are all defining our own unique qualities. We are finding what sets us apart and celebrating that instead of trying to fit a mold. Instead we are breaking the mold and I am proud to be apart of it.

As the week winds down, our enthusiasm for seafood goes with it. We crave a little meat and something different. We settle on making Slow Cooked Ribs, Sweet Potato Rounds with Cheddar Cheese, and of course a salad. I have really enjoyed getting to cook in my bikini too! This is really what a Hot Mess looks like!

Our last night we decide to step out of the kitchen and treat ourselves. We head to Mitchell's Fish Market and I dine on the most delicious shrimp and scallop dish while others eat blacked grouper, fried shrimp, and salmon. We go over the top and end up getting some serious dessert that almost took us out. But with the force with us we nearly completed the desserts and I am once again back off the wagon. Well, tomorrow is another day and my family is departing leaving just the three of us once again.

I am sad to see them go, but the memories of this week that we have shared time and space is priceless. Unforgettable, that is what it was... The next stop for us is New O'rleans; or the Big Easy during the annual French Quarter Fest. My first time to New O'rleans in 10 years! Come along for our next adventures in cajun/creole cuisine!


Slow Cooked Ribs

7 lb. ribs on the bone
4 tbsp. blackened cajun seasoning
1 jar of Stubby's barbeque sauce (This is the lowest sugar content and we love it!)

Rub the ribs with the blacked cajun seasoning on both sides of the ribs and wrap in foil. Place the ribs on a baking sheet and place in a 225 degree oven for 7 hours.

After 7 hours remove the ribs from the foil and cover with the barbeque sauce. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees and bake for one more hour. Cover the ribs with foil while they are baking the last hour.

Remove from the oven and cut and serve. The meat will fall right off the bone and into your mouth! This is so easy and delicious, it just requires that you start in the morning if you want to eat it by dinner time!

Sweet Potato Rounds

4 large sweet potatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme; chopped
4 cloves garlic; minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary; chopped
Olive oil cooking spray
1 cup cheddar cheese; shredded

Peel the sweet potatoes and slice into inch thick rounds. Spray a cooking sheet with olive oil and place the sweet potato rounds in one layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the rosemary, thyme, and garlic and spray with more olive oil. If you are cooking along side the ribs they can be place in the 225 degree oven for the last 1 and a half hours. Then can remain in the oven for the last hour at 350 degrees right next to the ribs.

If you are doing this separate, cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 350.

Place the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the sweet potatoes for the last 5 minutes they are in the oven. The flavors in the sweet potatoes and ribs were the perfect blend and absolutley completemented each other great on the plate. They shared they perfect thyme and space together just as I did with my family!

We used the leftover potatoes and added garlic and chopped up tortillas and baked it in the oven for a cheesy potato bake that I served with fried eggs the next morning! Delicious and a great way to use the leftovers!

Mental Health Travel Tip: This one comes straight from my mom and she really wants you to take this seriously. Vacation is a time for relaxing, letting the stress of the world melt away, and laughing. What goes great with all those things... cocktails! And, we really want you to get this one. If you want to drink all day, you have to start in the morning.

Cheers!

We are sharing our thyme and space with you from our kitchen in Destin to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes headed to New O'rleans!

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