Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

One month ago today Buck and I were on the Isle of Arran on the west coast of Scotland. One month ago today Hurricane Ivan came ashore in Pensacola and coastal Alabama.

That night, we had dinner guests at The Kennels, the self-catering home we rented during our stay. I prepared fresh salmon fillets, broiled with a mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, horseradish and fresh dill topping, served with a Greek style salad (mixed greens, tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives in an olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano dressing). I marinated some fresh raspberries in port and we spooned them over Arran Dairy vanilla ice cream for dessert, along with port in a glass and espresso.

Yeah. It was that good.

After our friends left for home, we turned on the TV while brushing our teeth and making preparations for sleep. Not to be. Even on this somewhat remote island, our friends (and landlords) had arranged for full satellite tv for us, and so as we clicked on to U.S. stations, we were riveted by the sudden awareness that Hurricane Ivan had neither weakened nor veered off in some other direction, but was about to make a direct hit on our home town.

We stayed up almost all night, watching. We were able to reach one set of our kids before the phone lines and power were zapped.

Ah, well, the rest is history, but I had intended to share a few photos with you from our trip, and just haven’t gotten to it until now.

One afternoon, we visited Creelers Seafood to see what fresh fish or shellfish they might have that I could prepare for our supper. The fish pickings were kind of slim, but I decided to go with a monk fish, a/k/a “poor man’s lobster.” The monk fish is thick, squat and kind of ugly, but the Creeler’s chef came out and, along with the fishmonger, we ended up in a four-way discussion. He showed me how to fillet the whole fish, cut it into small scallops, then saute it quickly with the scallops.

The completed dish was served over garlic mashed potatoes, with a few steamed fine green beans and a Greek-style salad (my obvious favorite and the Arran-made feta is fabulous). Here’s the “beauty shot.”

Click here if you would like to walk through the Brodick Castle Gardens or become acquainted with a very special young boy named Marcus, a native of Arran, or share our walk on the Goatfell Mountain path.

As for tonight, it is a cool, crisp evening in Pensacola with a shining crescent moon. The screened porch and house were “power washed” yesterday, fresh flowers out and the setting perfect for grill smoking a whole chicken.
Now, if I only had some raspberries and vanilla ice cream.


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