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Monday, June 20, 2011

Mustard Crusted Salmon

My mom, Granny, and me catching some rays on the cruise ship

When I was a senior in college, my mom called me and asked, "What are you doing the last week of February?"  My response: "Umm, praying for college to hurry and finish, why?"

Mom, "Well, here's the deal.  Granny's YMCA water aerobics teacher is teaching a class on a cruise ship through Royal Caribbean.  If she gets her clients to go, she gets a discount.  So anyway, Granny is wanting to go.  Granny has recruited her sister, Aunt Frances, and her neighbor, Alice Litteken, to go, too.  When she signed up, they told her rooms were based on double occupancy, so she asked if I wanted to go."

Me, "Mom, you should! That'd be so fun for y'all!"

Mom, "Yeah, I think I will.  I wouldn't want her to get cold feet or anything.  But now here's the deal.  They managed to push the three of them in a room, and I am now in a room by myself.  And they're still based on double occupancy... sooo do you wanna go?"

Me, 'Senioritis?  Skip out for a week?  Take off to the Caribbean?'  "Yes."

Mom, "Well can you do it with school?"

Me, 'Don't know, don't care, sign me up.' "Yes."

My mom, my Great Aunt Frances, Alice, Granny, and me ready for formal dinner night on the cruise ship
So we went.  My mom, my Granny Poirot, my Great Aunt Frances, and Granny's neighbor, Alice.  Leaving out of Galveston, we were to go on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and explore Jamaica, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman.  That's right: my 89 year old Granny, her "younger" sister, and her neighbor (who, as usual in my Granny's life, was also my Papa's 2nd cousin's wife).  There we were: ready to rock.

My mom and me on the beach in Jamaica

In Jamaica, Granny and her roommates signed up for a rafting cruise down the river in Jamaica.  Aunt Frances made them all three matching hats to protect them from the sun, and they were ready to go.  My mom and I, however, adventured over to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for some drinks, dancing, and laying out.  Jamaica's water was crystal blue and the beaches were white- it was absolutely beautiful.  I was shocked how impoverished Jamaica appeared to be, but that didn't stop the locals from playing the bongo drums and selling us "We Be Jammin, Mon," woven bracelets.

Granny, my Great Aunt Frances, and Alice in their hats that Aunt Frances made in Jamaica

Our next port was Cozumel.  As we are leaving the ship, my 89 year old grandmother who has had numerous open heart surgeries AND double knee replacement surgery stops to inquire about parasailing.  To her dismay, it was too windy that day and the parasail would not be able to go up.  "Oh well, maybe next time!" my optimistic Granny responded.  So instead of embarking on her dream-thrill-seeking parasailing trip, my mom and I took the three roommates to an all-inclusive hotel.  Granny practiced with the snorkel, we ate fresh coconut, and took pictures walking up and down the beach.

My mom, Granny, and me on the beach in Cozumel, Mexico

Lastly, we arrived in Grand Cayman.  I had been to Grand Cayman before with my parents in 8th grade, so I knew this time (being older and all) would be different.  We went on a glass-bottom boat and looked at all of the exotic fish and everything else under the sea.  After the boat tour, we went, again, to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville: Grand Cayman.  Oh, Granny just loved it!  Before I knew it, she was talking to the parrots, dancing to Fins, and ordering up a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Then, she saw the menus.  In the corner of our paper menus, there was a picture of a salt shaker that said "Return this lost shaker of salt to another Margaritaville Caribbean location for a free margarita!"  Tricky restaurant- they knew that Grand Cayman was every ship's last port of call on their circuits, so the coupons were really of no good to anyone.  "Anyone except for you, Katherine!"  my Granny said.  What is she talking about?  "Well aren't you coming to all of these same places in a few weeks with your girlfriends from college on a Spring Break trip?"  Granny asked.  Why, yes.  Yes, I am.  I've never been on a cruise before but in the space of four weeks I happened to be going on two to the exact same ports.  Granny was a GENIUS!  Well, in Mr. Buffett's words, "that's all it took," and Granny was off, scooting around the restaurant, tearing off the coupons off of every single menu in that place.  By the time she was done, I had 30 "free margarita" coupons sitting in front of me.  And you bet your bottom dollar that when I was back in Jamaica four weeks later, we used those coupons up.  Management wasn't thrilled that my 89 year old Granny had figured out a way to cheat the system, but we were obligated to our free margs, and we drank them with pleasure.

At Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Jamaica
Each night on the cruise, we ate dinner in the formal dining room.  Two of the six nights are "formal dinner" nights, and everyone dresses to the nines and looks fantastic.  The other nights, we were usually offered a choice of fish or chicken or beef, and I chose the fish often, in an attempt to branch out.  The salmon on the cruise was great (the lamb chops that one lady made me try were NOT so great).  Salmon is such a light meal, that I thought it would be great to try at home.  Here is a recipe that I recently tried for Mustard Crusted Salmon.  It's not prepared in the galley on board a ship in the Caribbean, but it is easy to throw on the grill in your backyard.

My mom, me, and Granny heading to formal dinner night on the cruise ship

Honey Crusted Salmon
Servings: 2, Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value:

Mustard Crusted Salmon

  • 3 tbsp rosemary, chopped (again, don't have any?  Shoot me an email- I'll get you some, stat!)
  • 3 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 sprays cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 lb salmon fillets with or without skin
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  1. Heat the grill for direct medium heat
  2. Mix the rosemary, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl
  3. Spray the bottome of the fish with nonstick spray (so they don't stick to the grill... you can also use a veggie or fish grilling plate for this)
  4. Spread 1 tbsp mustard on top of each fillet
  5. Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tbsp of the herb mixture on top of each
  6. Place herb side up on the grill directly over heat
  7. Cover the grill and cook until the fish flakes when gently scraped with a fork (ab 12 mins, depending on fish's thickness)
Granny practicing snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico

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