Monthly Archives: June 2013

What would you do with a kumquat? Top a goat chop!

While on a recent vacation to Tybee Island, GA., we trekked up the outside stairs to our landlord’s deck at the top of the house. From there, you can see all over the island and out to various points in the Atlantic. While I was busy looking at my favorite beach spot, my husband was excitedly motioning at what he thought was a kumquat tree in the side yard. It was.

Their first response was a very eager, “Would you like some?” Apparently, the tree bears year round and after awhile they grow tired of them. She made kumquat wine once but the labor intensive project convinced her not to try again.

I knew someone who would come up with a use for them and happily picked a bag of them. This solved my quandary about what to take to my brother and sister-in-law when we stopped at their farm on the way home.

On the way to Virginia, the hubs ate a few, proclaimed them delicious and then admitted he could only eat a few at a time.IMG_0088[1]

Kumquats are often eaten whole — the rind is sweet and the center is sour. Culinary uses include candying and kumquat preserves, marmalade, and jelly. They can also be sliced and added to salads.

When we got to Va., I handed them off to my sis-in-law, Karen, knowing that she would come up with a creative use for them. Which she did. Several nights later, we had goat chops (they raise goats) with a kumquat-pineapple salsa. Of course, there is no recipe. She remembers throwing kumquats, pineapple and “some other stuff” into the blender. We then topped our goat chops with it.

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What DNA might have to do with a love for the sea…

The same visual comes to mind every time I find myself sitting on a beach in the southeastern United States. It’s spring of 1972, and my parents have sprung me from school to spend two weeks in the Florida Keys. Dad, a biologist, is spending a one- year sabbatical studying marine biology at Florida Presbyterian (now Eckerd College). We’re camping at John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo. I see my dad sitting perfectly still on an aluminum and web chair on the beach. As I approach, he whispers to walk carefully. That’s when I see the blue crabs skittering in circles around his chair. He grins at me. I join him.

The memory ends there. I don’t think we caught any crabs — just sat and observed them.

Genetics were my dad’s thing and if he was around, I’d ask him a few questions.  Sadly, he died after a two-year bout with cancer 16 years ago. For example, do genetics play any part in the fact that the minute I begin to smell the ocean, my heart slows and I feel instant relaxation? Is there something in my Pannabecker DNA that propels me to the beach at 5:30 a.m., where I will walk literally for hours at low tide?

During a recent vacation on Tybee Island, Georgia, I was walking along the beach early in the morning when I heard a dad talking with his young children about the blue crabs in their bucket. He saw me watching, grinned and beckoned me over to look. Suddenly, I was transported back to 1972 and there was Dad grinning at the blue crabs, his toes curling in excited anticipation.

Unfortunately, I had no camera with me on my walk on Tybee, so the blue crabs are just stored in my memory. But that same morning, I discovered my “find of the week” — a huge horseshoe crab, its insides having been devoured by some other ocean creature. IMG_0514[1]IMG_0515[1]

IMG_0534[1]IMG_0529[1]None of my other finds during the week quite measured up to the crab, and I’m wise enough not to pick up a jellyfish. And what’s a trip to the beach without a search for the perfect pretty shell?

Genetics? Maybe. A simple case of inherited love for the sea? Probably. Whatever.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.