The Broom ~ did she fly in on it?

The Broom

The broom as a ninja weapon

Every morning like clock-work, I feed my little colony of eight stray cats. A vet tech used to live in one of the condo units near mine and many of them were “trap and release neutered” (T&R). The females have an ear clipped, so that if they’re caught again the rescuers and the vet will know they’ve already been spayed. Our condo is also home to wild Muscovy ducks who are very “food aggressive.” So, I bring “the broom” out with me to ward off the ducks. Trust me, the ducks do not like the broom. When I point it or wave it at them slightly, they waddle away as fast as they can. Hilarious.

My neighbors must think I’m a crazy woman. “Did she fly in on it?”

This morning it was 40 degrees out with the wind coming in off the St. John’s River at about 25 miles per hour. That’s cold in Florida. We think water freezes at 40. It does, doesn’t it? The cats were freaked by the wind, and in a feeding frenzy due to the cold. They know they have to eat up an get some fat on them. I feed them breakfast and a woman in a unit two down from mine feeds them dinner. When they sit, they have that plump shape well-fed house cats have…and that makes my heart happy.

 

hawk

We also have two hawks in the area. I live in a city, not a small one either. Yet, my condo is nestled inside of a wooded area and it sits on a natural pond that is fed and emptied by a creek. There are many natural lakes, ponds, and creeks in Florida…not to mention swampland. Floridians who live in major cities know an alligator may not be far away, or a water moccasin. Florida is pristine beaches, shining resort hotels, surfers, and it’s also untameable. Something I love about the state.

Perhaps due to the cold, the two hawks who hunt the forest area near the pond were circling overhead, above my condo unit. Well, of course…there were eight fat cats eating breakfast right there. And it was cold, so why not snatch an easy meal. Except there’s that crazy woman standing there…and now she’s waving “the broom” in the air in a fighting stance.

Oh, what the neighbors must’ve thought. “Well, in Florida you get all types. You know she writes murder mysteries and writers are strange people anyway.”

 

Sauteed Fish ~ killing belly fat is murder

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“Baked fish again! That’s so boring,” ~ is the dieter’s lament, but it doesn’t have to be a breaded fish fry either. If you’ve cut waaay down on starch and carbs it’s essential to stay away from the dredging flour and bread crumbs.

Even if you’re not watching your waistline, it’s a good thing for every cook to have a basic sauteed fish recipe in their arsenal.

If I were to make a literary comparison, this would be a sub-genre, rather than a specific story.

  • Fish
  • Pan Fried Fish
  • Sauteed Fish

Rather than a specific recipe, it’s a way to cook no starch, low carb sauteed fish. If you’re like me, every time you make it, the dish will be slightly different. This depends upon your whim and what ingredients you have on hand.

You want flavor, so the first step is to saute some veggies and garlic. I took a small tomato chopped coarsely, two sliced cloves of garlic, and 1/8 to 1/4 C coarsely chopped red onion. Saute until tender in olive oil or canola oil. I stirred in a handful of fresh basil leaves. [But, you could just as easily add some coarsely chopped red, orange, or yellow sweet pepper, or use oregano instead of basil. Or anything else you’ve got on hand.]

I have a secret seasoning (so please don’t tell anyone). I use an old Mrs. Dash shaker and mix together 1 Tbs garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp chili powder. I love garlic, but if you don’t, when you saute the veggies, use one fresh sliced clove of garlic instead of two.

Sprinkle the secret seasoning to taste (here after called SS) on one side of four average size fish fillets. I often used flounder. Turn that side down in the pan. Do this with all four fillets. Make sure the heat is on medium to medium low, so you don’t burn the fish. Make sure you have enough oil so that you don’t burn the fish, but it shouldn’t be swimming. [Get it…fish swimming. Just a wee bit of humor, very wee.]

Sprinkle SS on the other side of the fish while they are in the pan. It only takes a minute of two for the fish to cook. Turn them once and cook another two minutes. Handle as little as possible, or the fillets will fall apart.

I arranged all four fillets on a plate for the photo, but when I serve I use a spatula and place two fillets on a plate, serving two people. Obviously the recipe is easily doubled or tripled. I serve this with steamed broccoli or with a fresh garden salad.

This is a recipe my heroine Veronica Ingels, gal PI, would like. As my contemporary series progresses, she gets more and more into healthy eating (all while hunting bad guys). However, this dish is good for anyone, but is especially good for those of us in mid-life who are heart-smart and waist conscious.