At home is how I felt on Florida’s east coast island called Amelia. It was the place where our dearest friends’ daughter and her fiance’ chose to wed. The drive from the airport to the resort slowly revealed the similar landscape of home in south Louisiana. At first I noticed the beautiful moss draped, live oaks and familiar plants and flowers, but seeing the marsh as the backdrop for the wedding reception just transported me back home. (Without mosquitoes, though!)
Amelia Island seems to have the best of both worlds, the fun and sun of the beach and the beauty and peacefulness of the marsh.
Steve (Mississippi man to this Louisiana woman) and my favorite thing in the world to do is relax on the beach. We spent the morning of the wedding lounging under umbrellas at the water’s edge enjoying the company of our friends from the Arkansas delta who were attending the wedding with us. There’s something about conversation on the beach – it can go on forever. Then someone said, “Let’s eat lunch!” Having just indulged myself (greatly) at the hotel’s elaborate breakfast buffet I declared I was not hungry, but our friends insisted that we do what we all do over and again when we go to the beach – eat, even if you’re not hungry. So we threw on cover-ups and walked up to the restaurant. Right after ordering lunch the father of the bride showed up with a few bags of boiled peanuts. I don’t know where he found them, but he knows they are Steve’s favorite!
If you’re not familiar with boiled peanuts try not to say you’ll never eat one. That’s what I thought to myself the first time I saw a bowl of them passed around the room during one of those Mississippi family gatherings. Never had I ever heard of such a thing and neither had I ever imagined you could boil a peanut. It’s a unique snack that originated east of the Mississippi River. You boil freshly dug, green peanuts still in their shell in a pot of salted water and cook them forever (actually, about 1-3 hours) until they are tender. The biggest job is washing those dirty legumes after they are harvested from the ground. It was an acquired taste for me. My Mississippi husband said that if I can eat a boiled crawfish that came out of a ditch then I can eat a boiled peanut. Now I eat them any chance I get. I probably need a bumper sticker that says, “I brake for boiled peanuts!”
Not ever wanting to eat a boiled peanut was also what a certain person said around the table that day on the beach, but what do you know? Soon after tasting that first moist, tender, salty groundpea he was staring at a pile of empty hulls in front of him.
When lunch arrived that same someone had ordered the mango slaw with his fried shrimp. We were all so curious to know what was in the slaw and how it tasted that our friend decided to share it with us. (He didn’t have much of a choice.) The fresh taste of sweet mango and spicy jalapeno in the creamy dressing was so good! Except, there wasn’t any cabbage in it. Only red and green julienne cut peppers. I think this is a new trend, but I like my cruciferous vegetables so I made up my own recipe of mango slaw with cabbage. Instead of shredding the cabbage, I chopped it to make it easier to mix with the rest of the ingredients. Here it is:
Island Mango Slaw
1/2 small purple or green cabbage, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 large mango, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped finely (you can add more if the pepper is mild)
Zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lime
Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix vegetables and mango together in a large bowl and pour dressing onto slaw. Mix together. You can add salt and fresh ground black pepper if you like. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving cold.
I hope you try this refreshing island inspired slaw along with your summer suppers. I think it would be great on a fish taco!
“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
― Jon Katz
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24