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A Cooking Mom: Caribbean delights to counter those winter blahs

When my husband and I first moved to Duluth, we were given a lot of advice about the climate and how to survive. The advice ranged from how to buy a snowblower to "you better learn a winter sport." My husband, who was raised in the Upper Peninsul...

When my husband and I first moved to Duluth, we were given a lot of advice about the climate and how to survive.
The advice ranged from how to buy a snowblower to "you better learn a winter sport."
My husband, who was raised in the Upper Peninsula, tried to reassure me before we moved that there were really only 15 days of winter weather in Duluth, and what I heard about the frozen tundra really being Duluth was greatly exaggerated to keep out the riffraff.
The first year we moved here, Duluth had record snowfall, and every time we had a snowstorm, my husband was out of town.
When it snowed on April 25, I looked him straight in the eye and asked when do these 15 days of winter end?
Since that first winter in Duluth, we have had a couple of mild ones, and my body has adjusted to the point where I think upper 20s is quite pleasant.
The one thing I have not adjusted to is the length of winter, and that by Memorial Day weekend we are just beginning to see the buds on the trees. Hence, our family tries to go on vacation sometime in March to combat the winter blahs.
I wish I could say that we go to the Caribbean, but we usually visit my family in New York. Having no snow and 60 degrees outside is still wonderful.
However, I still plan a tropical party for the family, playing reggae music, drinking non-alcoholic pina coladas, strawberry daiquiris and having Caribbean food to get us out of the winter doldrums.
Non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri
3 1/2 ounces frozen
strawberries
1/8 cup ice
1/2 fluid ounce sweet and sour mix
1 dash grenadine syrup
Place strawberries, ice cubes, sweet and sour mix and grenadine in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more ice or less depending on your taste. Serves one.
Non-alcoholic Pina Colada
1 cup ice
1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup whipped cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
In an electric blender, blend ice, pineapple juices, milk, whipped cream and sugar. Blend until smooth. Serves one.
Bahamian Mahi Mahi
2 pounds mahi mahi filets
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 onions, sliced into thin rings
1 lemon, sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons butter
Ground black pepper to taste
Arrange the fish fillets in an oven-proof 9x13 glass baking dish. Pour the rum and lime juice over the fish, and place a slice of onion on each fillet. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove fish from the refrigerator and pour off about three-fourths of the liquid. Leave the onion slices in the dish and place a thick slice of lemon on each fish fillet. Sprinkle with oregano and black pepper to taste. Place a pat of butter or margarine on each fillet. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook the fish or it will be dry. Serve with the cooked onion and lemon slices. Serves four.
Caribbean Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
8-ounce can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
In a large skillet, fry chicken breast in vegetable oil until the chicken just begins to brown. Remove chicken and set aside. Place onions, green bell peppers, red bell peppers and garlic into the skillet and sauté until the onions are translucent. Stir in coconut milk. Let the mixture cook 5 to 8 minutes before adding the chicken back into the skillet. Keep cooking until chicken is done, and sauce is slightly reduced. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Serves four.

Barbara Weinstein is a stay-at-home mom with two children, Andrew, 4, and Leanna, 2. She can be reached by e-mail at budgeteer@mx3.com .

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