Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 11 - Best Meal Yet

I was inspired to wake up early today - mainly because it was Tuesday and I didn't have to go to work until 10am.  I crept out before the sun came up and launched the boat to see if I could locate some fish in the river close to home.  I don't see the sunrise too often so when it came up over the mirror calm water of the Shrewsbury River I had to try to take some photos.  The only thing that would have made this a more perfect morning is if there was a fish to bite my line.

I tried several spots, different baits and lures - nothing.  I did see some signs of bunker in the river.  This means that the predator fish are not too far away I'm sure.  It just wasn't my day but I'm glad I gave it a shot.  Sometimes you just have to appreciate the outdoors for it's beauty and enjoy a few hours of solitude.

When I got home I decided to take a peek at the bee hive to see how they have been progressing.  I felt confident enough to open the cover of the hive without getting all garbed up in my protective bee suit.  Unfortunately for me, the first honeycomb was stuck to the cover and when I lifted off the cover the honeycomb came out with it - along with like 100 angry little bees!  I was immediately attacked and before I could even put down the cover I was stung right in the forehead.  Wow - that's smarts!  I was trying not to destroy the honeycomb but when I started getting chased by bees from multiple directions my only choice was to drop the lid and run for cover.  I ran, crazily swatting at the air like a wild man.  I made it into my garage and closed the door - managing only to get that one sting in the head.

After fumbling around in some plastic bins I finally found my bee suit and gloves.  Now protected, I was able to go back to the hive to try to salvage what I could of the detached honeycomb.  I think I did a good job replacing it in one piece and I'm sure the bees will figure out how to repair the rest.  Well, I'm pretty sure.  They'll either fix it or work around it.  I just hope that the queen bee was not on that particular comb when it came out.  Only time will tell.

While suited I cleaned up the hive a bit and now it should be fully functional.   I took out their feeder and moved the dividing board to the very back of the hive.  Now they have room to expand and hopefully start making some honey.  These bees have build quite a bit of comb already for the relatively short time they have been here.  I'm expecting big things from them. 

I can remember back a few years when I had the idea to get bees.  That idea in my head is now paying off because the honey that I harvested last season has been such a big boost the this year's Survivor Diet.  I don't think there exists a more healthy sweet than the honey produced by local bees.  I have been able to use it in a variety of dishes as well as a quick snack and pick me up.  I am being careful to ration it appropriately because I don't exactly have an endless supply. 

My favorite dish that I have created so far has been honey glazed striped bass cubes and asparagus over rice.  It is really amazing and I would have no problem making this same dish in non-survivor mode or to serve to guests.  It's got a hint of Chinese flare to it and the addition of a tiny bit of soy sauce would put it over the top.  Although I use striped bass, this could be made with any firm fleshed white fish such as snapper, grouper, tilapia and others.

Ingredients: white or brown rice, fish fillet - cut into small cubes, 4 asparagus - cut into 1 inch sections, sea salt, honey - about 2 tablespoons.  Increase quantities for more than one serving.

Cook your rice in advance.  Set it aside and before serving put a scoop down in the middle of the plate.  Generously salt your fish fillet and cut into small cubes.  Pour 1 tablespoon of honey over the fish cubes and mix it all together by hand or with a spoon.  With heat on high, in a hot, nonstick skillet add your fish cubes and saut√© until the fish is cooked through and starts to caramelize on the outside.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking or burning. 

Move the fish to a holding plate and add the cut asparagus pieces to the same hot pan.  Sprinkle with sea salt and swirl around pan as the asparagus start to cook.  The pan will have browned honey starting to coat the bottom at this point.  Before this burns, deglaze the pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of water and continue to swirl the asparagus.  This will release the honey fond and steam the asparagus - coating them in a sweet sauce.

After about 3 minutes the asparagus should be tender and the sauce should start to slightly thicken and reduce.  Add the fish cubes back into the pan and stir all together.  Add remaining tablespoon of honey and continue to stir, coating all of the fish and vegetables. 

Pour the contents of the pan over the top of your plated rice and enjoy this fantastic Survivor Diet meal.  I hope someone out there tries making this dish because it is really delicious.  I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner today - Ha!  So I'm getting the hang of it.  I tried once to just put all of the ingredients into the pan and cook it together in one shot but it didn't quite come out the same.

Suitable vegetable substitutions could be snow peas, green beans or perhaps broccoli.  Onions maybe a good addition as well as a smashed clove of garlic.  There ya have it.

Finally, no luck in the traps again today.  Once again I am being laughed at by the squirrels, bunnies and birds in my backyard.  They are outsmarting me but I feel like it is just a matter of time and patience.

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