Florida Keys "Good Karma" Fishing

Greetings from the Florida Keys!
 
We hope everyone had a very good Christmas and are enjoying the holidays. We had amazing weather over Christmas, so Melinda & I decided to go offshore fishing. During the fishing trip we were discussing what we should name our new charter fishing boat.
 
"Good Karma"
 
Several names came up during the course of the fishing trip, however when the name “Good Karma” was tossed out as a possibility the Florida Keys fishing Gods must have liked the name, because it was fish on! We reeled in a nice blackfin tuna for dockside sushi ashing down with some beers and it was final.... “Good Karma.”
 
Have a Safe and Happy New Year!
 
Capt. Ryan

Florida Keys Fishing Trips Available in 2012

Season Greetings from the Florida Keys!


I am are very pleased to announce that our Florida Keys charter boat fishing business will open in January 2012. Check out our new website at www.floridakeysfishin.com. We have already begun taking trip reservations for 2012.

Our fishing boat is a 2008 2360 Sailfish powered by a Yamaha  250 HP 4 Stroke motor.  The boat is very fast and gets us to the best fishing spots quickly so we can maximize our fishing time. To learn more about our new fishing boat click here.

Just this past week we had an amazing day of fishing just off the Islamorada, FL.  We don’t call Islamorada the “Fishing Capital of the World” for nothing!

Before calling it quits, like all good fisherman, I decided to try "one more spot". This “one more spot” rewarded us with 50 lb. Wahoo!



One my absolute favorite fishing spots in the Florida Keys is locally known as "The Humps".  "The Humps" is a 50 mile stretch from Key Largo to Marathon. The 4 Humps (under water mountains) rise above the sea floor creating the perfect fishing grounds for wahoo, amberjack, dolphin (mahi-mahi) billfish, and one my all time favorites, tuna.  Check out the "Hump" map.   


Help us spread the word about our afforable Florida Keys fishing trips through your blog network or as we call it the Keys the "coconut telegraph".

For information about booking a trip with us in 2012 visit www.floridakeysfishin or click here.  A Florida Keys fishing trip sure does make for the perfect Christmas present for any man, woman or child that loves fishing.


Happy Holidays!

Capt. Ryan

Frozen Tundra Drink Recipe Wins Key Largo Chamber Contest

When I first read "Flager's Rusty Spike" drink recipe, which recently won the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce's 30th Annual Cookoff as best winter/fall friendly drink, I had to laugh.

"Flager's Rusty Spike"

This is one drink that would taste a lot better while drinking it from an old styrofoam cup or from a flask during:
  1. A Green Bay Packer game in the winter.
  2. Ice Fishing on Lake Minnetonka.
  3. Watching a winter parade in downtown Minneapolis in the sub-artic winter temperatures with no socks on.   (Like I did on my 1st date with my wife...)  
I have only listed few, but could go on and on. Almost all true born and raised Wisconsites and Minnesotans have been using the ingredients in this drink recipe to ease the pain of cabin fever brought on each winter for years, maybe even centuries (laughing).

If you are searching for drink recipes this holiday or find yourself at an outdoor festival in the ice cold, make the most of it and give this one a try.  I can almost guarantee you one heck of a holiday party when you serve this cocktail to your guests.  

INGREDIENTS
1 oz Warm Apple Cider
1 oz Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps
1 oz Laird’s Applejack Brandy
Brown Cinnamon Sugar

DIRECTIONS
Combine apple cider, Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps, and Laird’s Applejack Brandy in a glass. Stir ingredients and then add brown cinnamon sugar as a garnish.

Have a Happy Thanksgivng and see you all after the holiday weekend with some big news!

Cheers!

Captain Ryan

NASA Trains for Asterioid Visit in Key West-Pres. Obama Worried? Not a Joke

Is President Obama worried about an asteriod colliding with the earth in 2012?  Check out this article,
KEY LARGO, Fla. — At 60 feet below the ocean’s surface, alongside coral, fish and a curious goliath grouper, NASA astronauts and scientists spent seven days testing battery-powered jet packs, booms with magnets, robotic arms on one-man subs and other ways to function in zero gravity.

The Florida Keys underwater world is helping NASA prepare for humankind’s first trip to an asteroid.
“It would be the first time that human beings have left the Earth/moon system and started to explore the solar system, to explore Mars and beyond,” said NASA asteroid expert Paul Abell. “That’s a very exciting prospect for us.”

Such an endeavor will take billions of dollars and years of effort to learn the unknowns and conquer the challenges and risks. But Abell, based out of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said the ambitious program is worthwhile for many reasons, including this biggie: planet defense.

“Twenty percent of near-Earth asteroids are considered potentially hazardous,” Abell said. “Dinosaurs were wiped out by a big asteroid impact 65 million years ago. We don’t know when or where it will happen again, but it will happen again, and it would be nice to be prepared for that event.”

An small sub acts as a space rover moving an astronaut in the waters off Key Largo, Florida. The program, part of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) is meant to test equipment and man's reactions for a human rendezvous with an asteroid.


While the goal date to send astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid is more than a decade down the road at 2025, to boldly go where no man or woman has gone before starts with baby steps — of which some were just taken in Key Largo.

About 70 people — including NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, who recently returned from six months at the International Space Station — were in the Keys recently for the 15th NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, known as NEEMO. The underwater missions simulate the harsh and confined human conditions of space. Six of the crew live at the Aquarius underwater laboratory, a 400-square-foot habitat that rests on the seabottom about 3.5 miles offshore and has been providing lodging and life support for underwater scientists since 1993.

It was the first NEEMO mission dedicated to asteroids, where the lack of gravity causes many challenges that lunar missions don’t have, starting with the inability to simply land a space vehicle on the rotating surface.

“And you can’t just chip off a piece of rock that you want to analyze and put it in your pocket like you can on the moon,” added Steve Chappell, NEEMO’s Deputy Mission Manager. “On an asteroid, it would fly away.” In real missions, things can go wrong. And they did. The meticulously planned 13 days of operations were delayed three days by thunderstorms and cut short Oct. 26 due to the threat of Hurricane Rina.

The crew that lived at the habitat needed 15 hours of decompression time and support staff needed several days to clean up the work site.

Despite losing about half the mission, NEEMO Project Manager Bill Todd said much was learned about what works and doesn’t work — knowledge that will help the program make progress.

Before Rina was a threat, Todd sat on a dock near NASA’s Mobile Mission Control, which arrived from Kennedy Space Center, talking about the uniqueness of this mission.

“Going to an asteroid is really in its infancy,” he said. “Going to the moon was a huge challenge, and this is an even bigger challenge. But it’s fun and rewarding trying to figure out how we would do it.”

In April 2010, the behind-schedule Constellation program was scrapped just months before the last shuttle flight. In tough economic times, President Barack Obama redirected NASA to use limited resources to focus on going further into space. Some saw it as bold, while others saw it as leading to the end of the United States’ leadership in space.

Obama tried to counter the criticism by setting specific deadlines, calling for the manned mission to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025. If all went according to plan, then it would be off to Mars, with a human mission to orbit the red planet by the mid-2030s followed by a manned Mars landing that the 50-year-old president has said he expects to see in his lifetime.

Exploration of asteroids, which orbit the sun but are too small to be considered planets, are important for scientists beyond planetary defense. “They are the leftover building blocks, pristine material, that contain all the secrets of how the solar system was formed,” Abell said.

Some asteroids are rich in water and organic material. Scientists would like to figure out how to mine those resources for life support and rocket fuel.

“Asteroids could be like supply depots in space waiting for you on your way to Mars,” Abell said.
And when it comes to planetary defense from asteroids heading for Earth, humans should not rely on last-minute heroics of blowing it up, as was the case in the blockbuster movie Armageddon.
“I certainly would not want to be sent to an asteroid to blow myself up,” Abell said.

Instead, he said humans should learn how to deflect them from Earth. And since asteroids can be solid metal or rubble piles, like big bags of sand, different strategies are required for different kinds.
In September, NASA unveiled plans for a super rocket called the Space Launch System that will be made to take astronauts to deep-space destinations millions of miles away.

Also in September, NASA held its first simulation of a human mission to a near-Earth asteroid in northern Arizona during its 14th Desert Research and Technology Studies campaign called D-RATS.

They used the extreme conditions of the Black Point Lava Flow in northern elevations to test vehicles that could hover just off the surface of an asteroid. They were equipped with a 13-foot long robot arm that could support an astronaut.

No one extreme environment on Earth can simulate exactly what the situation would be like on an asteroid. The necessary vehicles and equipment would be ruined in salt water.
But the marine world outside of Aquarius is especially good for astronauts and scientists to simulate zero gravity. They do this by becoming neutrally buoyant and not using flippers.

NEEMO 15’s mission was to test general concepts and equipment and conduct tasks that would be simple on Earth but tricky on an asteroid: anchoring, moving from point A to point B, communicating with a 50-second delay and collecting scientific samples.

The six-person submersed crew, which included astronauts from the United States, Japan and Canada and an expert on planetary exploration at Cornell University, quickly discovered that getting around without gravity was difficult. So was trying to perform a task, such as chipping a rock, without being stable.
Walker, commander of the NEEMO mission, learned spacewalks on an asteroid differ from dealing with a lack of gravity at the space station. An asteroid does not come with handholds spaced to correspond with a person’s reach or manmade interfaces to connect with foot restraints.
NASA needs to come up with innovative exploration techniques, some of which the NEEMO crew was testing.

Speaking from Aquarius on day 5 of the mission, Walker said they have learned that different techniques are good for different things. “To move a long distance, jet packs to fly from here to there are good,” she said. “But jet packs are not stable when arriving at a destination. We need some way of anchoring at a site.”

One way is using a boom — a long, rigid telescopic pole — with heavy magnets. While the aquanauts had to move “like an inch worm,” it worked.
As far as how to anchor a space vehicle to an asteroid, one wild concept is to wrap some kind of rope around the entire mass like a lasso. “The International Space Station is about 100 meters and the asteroid size we’re talking about going to is about maybe the same size,” Abell said.

The NEEMO mission also used two DeepWorker submersibles. They basically are small, one-man submarines that simulate the kind of Space Exploration Vehicle that may someday be used to explore the surface of an asteroid.

“Whenever we plan to send astronauts anywhere we send robotic spacecraft ahead of them to look for potential dangerous places or hazards,” Abell said.

During NEEMO, an astronaut was tethered by his feet to a robotic arm of the sub for scientific asteroid exploration, using coral and fish to represent rock and other materials found in space. They complete four days of these operations, as well as six spacewalks and a day of scientific research inside the habitat.

Todd said it’s important to have the astronauts, the ultimate end-users, be involved early in the process to provide their input of what works and doesn’t work.
Walker, the astronaut who had the rare opportunity to view Earth from the International Space Station, said the experience underwater also has been fascinating.

“You look out the window and have fish look back at you,” she said. “We also have a big grouper that likes to hang out and come out at night.”

 

Florida Keys Seafood Vodka Red Sauce

Cooking in the Florida Keys is all about keeping it simple. If you take anything away from this post today, please remember this “Let the flavors from the earth & sea speak for themselves in the kitchen”.  

A Sunset View from our Patio


Below is a simple vodka red sauce recipe. This sauce works well when mixed with fresh lobster bites or Key West Pink shrimp.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup vodka
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 pint heavy cream

Directions

In a sauce pan over medium heat, sauté onion in butter until slightly brown and soft. Pour in vodka and let cook for 10-20 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Pour in heavy cream and cook for another 30 minutes.


Cheers!

Ryan


Toast his Memory-Inventor of the "Rum Runner" RIP

Sad to report that the inventor of the world famous boat drink, the “Rum Runner”, Tiki John moved on to another heavenly gig in the sky.

 Rum Runner
 Rum Runners

Back in the late 50’s at the Holiday Isle Resort’s Tiki Bar, located in Islamorada, Florida, Tiki John invented this world famous drink. Local Florida Keys legend has it that the resort was overstocked with rum and other liquors so they had to drink up the excess inventory before a new shipment arrived.  Hence a new drink was born.  They named it after the mafia rum runners who smuggled booze into the United States during the prohibition era.

To toast his memory I gathered up all the proper ingredients for making a “Rum Runner”.

Ingredients:

Two cups ice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz blackberry liqueur
1 oz banana liqueur
1 oz light rum
1 oz dark rum or aged rum
Splash grenadine
Optional: one ounce of Bacardi 151 to float on top
Orange slice (optional)

To make by the gallon use 24oz of each ingredient.

To Mix:

Blended:

Fill your blender with the ice
Add all of the liquid ingredients
Blend the contents until smooth
Pour into a Hurricane glass and garnish with an orange slice
Add the 151 floater!
Or...

On the Rocks:

Fill glass with ice. Add the liquid contents. Pour the 151 in the straw or on the top. This is my favorite way to enjoy the Rum Runner. Enjoy!

No Hurricane glass available, no problem. Anything that will hold liquid will work!

(Speaking of hurricanes, check out this "High Octane Hurricane" drink recipe!)

Beware! With about 4 to 5 oz of alcohol per drink, your actions tonight could make you legendary tomorrow!

And to top of the toast- “A legend never dies” -Jimmy Buffet

Cheers to Tiki John!

Ryan

NASCAR Fans: Jimmy Johnson Racing II Jet Crash Key West Airport

Jimmy Johnson Racing II Jet Crash Key West Airport

ESPN: A small jet carrying the owner of NASCAR's top team and his wife has crash landed in Key West.
 Officials say the Gulfstream 150 aircraft carrying Rick and Linda Hendrick ran off the runway Monday at 7:45 p.m.


Officials say the Gulfstream 150 aircraft carrying Rick and Linda Hendrick ran off the runway Monday at 7:45 p.m. The Hendricks, a pilot and co-pilot were taken to Lower Keys Medical Center. Two have minor injuries, though it was not clear who.  The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and will be investigating the incident.


The other two were taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.

Authorities say the plane is registered to Jimmie Johnson Incorporated in Charlotte, N.C. Johnson is the five-time defending NASCAR champion, and drives for Hendrick Motorsports.


A Florida Keys Living Halloween Haunting Story

There is no shortage of Florida Keys ghost stories. We have a local culture built upon the foundation of pirate lore, drunken fisherman tales, ghost ships and haunted light houses so who can expect anything less.
One of my favorite ghost stories is the haunting of Carysfort Reef Lighthouse. This lighthouse sits on the southern most tip of the ghostly Bermuda Triangle.

Check out the haunting story as told by KeysNet.com.
Off Key Largo-While thousands of reefs grow in the turquoise waters encompassing the Florida Keys, Carysfort Reef is the single most dangerous tract of coral in the chain.

Craysfort Reef Lighthouse
Salty seafarers once whispered of strange phenomenon and the southernmost reaches of the Bermuda Triangle, but the simpler explanation for the inordinately high percentage of shipwrecks was always coral, lots and lots of coral.

Who Remembers the Classic Horror Film "Fog"
At four miles in length, Carysfort Reef is not only one of the largest, but one of the most mature reefs in the chain. The light meringue left behind when the Atlantic washes over the reef is evidence something is waiting just beneath the surface. Once upon a time, verdant forests of elkhorn and staghorn corals were reaching up with limestone daggers.
The reef grows six miles off the coast of North Key Largo and is the site of the oldest recorded North American shipwreck. The H.M.S. Winchester, en route from Jamaica to England, was a 60-gun battleship captained by Edward Bibb when, along with all but a handful of the crew, he suffered from scurvy and was relieved of duty. John Soule was commanding the British warship on September 24, 1695 when she was blown off course during a storm and impaled by the coral.
The H.M.S. Carrysford left the most indelible mark on the reef when the corals snagged the hull of the 118-foot-long, 28-gun British frigate, on October 23, 1770. She never sank, but was refloated and sailed away from the incident. Maybe it was the rough translation of dialect or a simple case of bastardization, but the spelling left behind was “Carysfort,” hence the reef’s name today.
Lighting the way
The first attempt to mark the reef using a light source was the lightship Caesar, a 220-ton, two-lantern schooner built in New York by Henry Eckford. Congress allocated $20,000 for the project in 1824 and the ship left New York bound for the Florida Reef the following year. The lanterns attached to each of the double masts were designed to be visible for a distance of 12 miles. As well, clanking bells echoed across the ocean’s surface with every roll of the tide.
Sailing from New York, the Caesar encountered squally weather and was driven ashore by high winds and nasty seas somewhere near Key Biscayne.
The transport crew abandoned the ship, later salvaged by wreckers and brought to Key West for repairs. John Whalton, her new captain, was waiting at the dock. After the Caesar was restocked and crewed, Captain Whalton sailed her to Turtle Harbor, a safe anchorage near Carysfort. In the end, Captain Whalton and the Caesar would both make the annals of history, though for very different reasons.
Light ships were not foolproof enterprises. Even after the Caesar anchored at its post, ships regularly managed to come unexpectedly upon the corals. The Guerrero was one of the more unsavory of these. The Spanish slave ship had 561 African slaves in her hold when she attempted to outrun the British warship H.M.S. Nimble.
Captain John Whalton heard the exchange of cannon fire between the two vessels. “I saw the flash,” he noted, “and heard the report of seven or eight guns.” The Guerrero slammed into the reef on December 19, 1827 with sufficient force to snap her twin masts. Forty slaves drowned in the holds. The Nimble, too, ran aground that night, but would be refloated and sail away relatively unscathed.
The remarkable thing about the Caesar was how quickly the vessel succumbed to the environment. A paltry six years into service, she was sailed to Key West for inspection. It would not go well. The Collector of Customs who surveyed the ship said its timbers were “an entire mass of dry rot and fungus.” He wrote in his report, “I must say that there never was a grosser imposition practiced than by the contractor in this instance.”
Congress again allotted $20,000 for another lightship and the Florida was constructed by the same builder in New York, though this time with rot-resistant live oak timber. Whalton took command of the Florida and resumed his post at Turtle Harbor. Early on he realized that supply ships could prove intermittent and as such, maintained a garden of fruits and vegetables on a clearing of land on North Key Largo
Garden Cove killings
It was June 26, 1837 when Captain Whalton and four of his crew lowered a boat from the Florida, manned the oars, and paddled ashore to tend the garden. They rowed in and secured the boat, but when they stepped on to land, were greeted by the gunfire of Seminole Indian warriors. Whalton and one of his crew were killed and scalped. The act would help mark the beginning of the Second Seminole War. The area, near Mile Marker 106 today, is still known as Garden Cove.
Even with the lightships, Carysfort was still a terribly dangerous reef. From 1833 to 1841, of the 324 shipwrecks reported on the Florida Reef, 63 wrecks — 20 percent — were attributed to Carysfort Reef. One of the reasons for this bloated number may be that during those early years of sailing, Carysfort was used as a generic term for North Key Largo wrecks. It wasn’t, however, the only reason.
Another might best be summed up in a letter dated July of 1851, written by Lt. David D. Porter, U.S.N., and commander of the U.S. mail-steamer Georgia. “On the reef near Cape Large,” he wrote, “the floating lightship, showing two lights, intended to be seen twelve miles, but they are scarcely discernible from the outer ledge of Carysfort Reef, which is from four to five miles distant. On to[sic] occasions I have passed it at night, when the lights were either very dim or not lighted.”
By this time, light ships were nearly a moot point at Carysfort. Congress allocated funds for the construction of a permanent light in 1848. Captain Howard Stansbury of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers first took command of the project and managed to set the 112-foot tower into place before retiring from the project. Major Thomas B. Linnard took command, but died shortly thereafter. It was Lieutenant George Meade who finished the job in 1852. Civil War enthusiasts may recognize Meade, who would be promoted up the chain of command to Major General. Meade helped defeat General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.
The oldest beacon
Carysfort Light, a screw-pile structure, was the first of its kind in Florida and remains the oldest beacon left marking the reef. The iron giant was also home to the men tending the light’s constant need. With the history of the reef, it should come as no surprise that claims of haunting were reported. One “ghost” was said to be a “great sinner” in his natural life and subsequent light keepers were prone to keeping an open bible inside the structure to help thwart devilish intrusions.
Charles Brookfield, a Key Largo fisherman, spent a night at the light in 1927. He was startled awake by a human-like shriek reverberating through the structure. When the ghoulish sound repeated itself, Brookfield grabbed his flashlight and ran up the spiral staircase where Keeper Jenks was working. When asked if he’d heard anything strange, Jenks replied, “That’s old Captain Johnson. You know he died aboard this light, and he still comes around at night and groans.” Brookfield was not totally convinced and postulated that the screech was the result of metal expanding and contracting due to temperature fluctuations. It certainly explained why the “ghost” only appeared in the hot summer months.
In 1939, the Presidential Reorganization Act incorporated all lights and lighthouses into the U.S. Coast Guard. “Coastie” Frank Taylor was 21 when he was assigned to the light in 1957. In an interview with Marjorie Doughty, Taylor reflected about the first time he saw Carysfort. He said, “it was almost like I was being taken to Alcatraz.”
While life aboard the light could be tedious, it was not all work and no play. Taylor recalled learning to snorkel. “Allen Riddle of Atlantic city taught me. He was really down to earth. He knew everything about snorkeling. We got to be pretty tight and he showed me how to go down at night with a shark hook. That was great because there was really nothing to do. We did a little scraping and painting, had a small black and white television with bad reception and there were a few books. So, I learned to catch fish with a spear gun and we would look at the fisherman and call them ‘worm drowners.’”
Carysfort Light was automated in 1960. The last major wreck was the Alec Owen Maitland. Despite the fact that the massive light was in operation, the captain of the 155-foot, 244-ton vessel still managed to lodge it atop the shallow reef on October 24, 1989. He then made the worst possible decision, putting the ship in reverse and trying to power off the corals. A substantial swath of reef was crushed and destroyed in the process. When the crater-sized holes left behind threatened to undermine the stability of the reef, Harold Hudson, affectionately referred to in these parts as the Reef Doctor, repaired and restructured the reef using concrete slabs.
Festooned with corals
Even though it has taken a beating over the years, decades, centuries, Carysfort makes for an amazing snorkel. The reef’s close proximity to the Gulf Stream means that visibility is generally excellent, and its northern location is part of the reason Carysfort remains one of the healthier reefs in the chain. Perhaps because it is not regularly visited by the Key Largo charter trade, the reef is still festooned with a broad expanse of hard and soft corals as well as a resurging sponge population.
Explore the shallows surrounding the base of the light for a mesmerizing view of the minutia of worms and crustaceans that decorate the coral reef. In addition to the ample supply of bi-colored damselfish and blue-headed wrasses, butterfly fish and angels, the reef is home to large schools of the usual collection of snappers, grunts, and parrotfish. Spotted eagle rays and turtles are also common visitors.
The reef grows in 5 to 25 feet of water. However, care should be taken when snorkeling near the shallowest coral beds. All it takes is one swell of the ocean to push a body over the sharp limestone substrate. Do not attempt to snorkel across these shallow beds, especially at low tide. While the vast forests of elkorn and staghorn coral that made this reef infamous don’t flourish the way they used to, brilliant stands remain.

Happy Halloween!

Ryan

Asian Catfish and the Key West Grouper Halloween Trick

Greetings from the Florida Keys,

This Halloween, be on the look out for Asian Catfish trick or treating as “Key West Grouper” on a menu near you.


Asian Catfish Commonly Mislabeled As Grouper
Photo by FL-Seafood.com

Greedy fish brokers, looking to make easy money are disguising this $2.00-$3.00 lb. Asian catfish as $10.00-12.00 lb. Florida Grouper and then selling it to unsuspecting restaurants and food service companies across the country.

Florida Grouper
Photo by Fl-Seaood.com

Just recently Tom Katz president of Universal Fish of Boston in Billerica, MA faced this tough question from T.G.I Friday’s:

“Why was the grouper they received from Katz rubbery and pink, rather than the typical firm, white fish?


Florida Grouper or Asian Catfish?

Before I go on any further, according to manta.com Katz’s company estimated annual revenue is $5 to 10 million.

According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, Katz worked on the scheme for months by cultivating a relationship with the popular restaurant chain. He was close to closing in on a grouper deal worth more than $3 million which would make Friday’s one of his top customers. Bad fish would kill it.

When one Friday’s executive e-mailed the unthinkable - perhaps the fish was not grouper at all. Katz offered a string of excuses: Cold water could have turned it pink; maybe it was the fish feed; perhaps the grouper bled internally.

Persuaded by the affable salesman’s pitch, the chain featured Katz’s fish at more than 500 of it’s' restaurants, serving it with roasted vegetables and a citrus splash.

But the Friday’s executive was right. It wasn’t grouper. Customers were actually eating an inexpensive, lower-quality Vietnamese catfish reared in thickly packed Mekong River delta fish farms. And, according to federal court records, Katz apparently knew it.

My advice, know your seafood and buy from a reputable source. Learn more about spotting fake grouper at http://www.fl-seafood.com/consumers/grouper_substitution.htm.

Have a good Friday!

Ryan

Captain Morgan Rescued from College Dorm Party


Did Captain Morgan really want to be rescued?  

 

Captain Morgan found

by MCSO - Florida Keys on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 5:21am
The Captain Morgan’s figure reported stolen from Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Key West last week was recovered in the early morning hours Monday.

A tipster called to report it might be in the dorms at Florida Keys Community College. Sgt. Tom Walker and Deputy Joe Cortner responded to the dorms at 1 a.m. and found the Captain in a dorm room; the Captain was reportedly covered in Fantasy Fest beads.


No one would admit to having taken him, but students told the deputies he’d been making the rounds from room to room, “wherever the party was taking place”. Captain Morgan was returned to Walgreen’s in Key West, none the worse for wear.

Heres to life, love & loot!

Ryan

Captain Morgan is Missing-Please Help!

Greeting from the Florida Keys,

Our puppies were acting a little strange this morning, I think they must have suspected that my favorite statue was stolen!


Key West police have issued a “be on the lookout” for a missing five-foot statue of Captain Morgan, the symbol of the rum company of the same name. Normally, police issue BOLOs only when searching for a criminal suspect, and when they believe that suspect is in the immediate area.
The promotional sculpture was stolen from outside Walgreens on North Roosevelt Boulevard. Store manager Dwayne Laubenstein told police the statue, valued at about $500, was discovered missing from its post outside the store last week.

The Captain was last seen wearing a tricorner hat with his left leg resting on a rum barrel.
The Fantasy Fest parade Oct. 29 down Duval Street is sponsored by Captain Morgan Rum.
This is not the first theft of an iconic figure in the Florida Keys. A sculpture of a leering Mickey Ratz was lifted off the rooftop of a dockside bar at Holiday Isle Resort and Marina in Islamorada a few years ago.    

Be on the look out!

Ryan

How to Crack Open a Stone Crab Claw

The Florida Stone Crab Season is officially open!
Learn how to crack open a Stone Crab Claw.


Have a Great Weekend!

Ryan

Sriracha Hot Sauce Dip with Fries

In September of 2010, my wife spent 2 weeks working overseas in Vietnam. There she discovered the Asian secret of cooking Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce. 


Sriracha (pronounced SEE-rah-chah) “nicked name Rooster Sauce” is the generic name for Thai-style hot sauce named after the seaside city of Si Racha, Thailand, where it was first produced for the local seafood restaurants. Typically made from sun-ripened chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt, it is a common condiment in many Asian restaurants.

If you are planning party and want to dazzle your guests, serve them french fries. Yes, I said french fries. But make sure you serve the fries with this dynamite recipe for Creamy Sriracha dipping sauce.  I can't wait to try this dip with stone crab claws this weekend.



2 Cups Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

1 Cup Sour Cream

1 Cup Sriracha Hot Sauce

1 tbsp Soy Sauce

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.

Currently I am working on a few new recipes using Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce. If you have a Sriracha recipe please share it with me as a guest blogger.  

Thanks,

Ryan





October Full Moon Picture

Morning from the Florida Keys!

Ever watch the moon rise and set?  While enjoying a morning cup of coffee, I watched the moonset in the western sky over the Gulf of Mexico this morning. Wanted to share this picture with all of you.



Enjoy your day!

Ryan

Drugs Washing up and Key West Fisherman dies after Catching a Square Grouper

I am sure you all have been hearing about the drugs washing up on the shores of South Florida. Its a recession and Miami's Police Chief got fired. Do the math.




This is a case for Crocket and Tubbs.  What do you think really happened on this fishing trip?  The locals have their theories.

Angler dies after snorting square grouper

BY ADAM LINHARDT Citizen Staff
alinhardt@keysnews.com

A 54-year-old Merritt Island man in town to fish with his brother died in a Miami hospital Thursday after ingesting a "square" grouper, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Thomas Swindal and his brother, Kenneth, were trolling in 200 feet of water off Fiesta Key at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when they found a floating package believed to contain a kilogram of cocaine, sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said.

Square grouper is a popular Florida Keys' nickname for packaged drugs found floating.

The brothers put the package in a bait well and kept fishing, but Kenneth Swindal told deputies he later saw his brother open it and snort whatever was inside, Herrin said.

About an hour and a half later, Thomas Swindal reportedly began to act strangely, running around the boat, throwing things into the water, including their means of communication, a cellphone and VHF radio. He reportedly picked up knives, a pair of pliers and a gaff, and removed the engine cover, which fell overboard and sank, the release states. He then gaffed the engine and damaged it, leaving the boat adrift, Herrin said.

His brother then threw all the sharp objects overboard, along with the package, which authorities did not recover, Herrin said.

Kenneth Swindal climbed on top of the boat and began signaling for help. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to a nearby vessel's call for help and took both men ashore.

Paramedics took Thomas Swindal to Fishermen's Hospital, FWC spokesman Officer Bobby Dube said. He later was airlifted to South Miami Hospital, Herrin said.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.

"We felt it was drug-related," Dube said. "He was acting crazy and going berserk when officers arrived. He was tearing up stuff."

No charges were expected to be filed against Kenneth Swindal, Herrin said.

"It's certainly against the law to keep such packages," Herrin said, "but [Kenneth Swindal] threw it back in the water in an effort to keep his brother alive.

How was throwing the bail back overboard going to keep his brother alive. Think about it? If you want a really good laugh check out the local "Who did it" theories at  http://keysnews.com/node/33541. Make sure to add your comments.

Only in the Keys!

Ryan

Chili-Espresso Rubbed Ahi Tuna

I have been a fan of fresh Yellowfin Tuna (ahi tuna) for as long as I can remember.  Since Tuna is one my favorite fish to eat, I target it on most if not all my fishing trips.


There is nothing like enjoying fresh tuna with an ice cold beer or glass of wine after long day of fishing in the Florida Keys. 



Recently I prepared fresh Yellowfin Tuna using the recipe below.  If you enjoy your tuna seared in spices or fully cooked, you will absolutly love this recipe.

Chili-Espresso Rubbed Ahi Tuna with Grilled Pineapple Salsa Tuna

4 8-oz, about 1.5 inch thick tuna filets
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP Espresso powder
1 TBSP Dark brown sugar
1.5 TSP garlic powder
1.5 TSP onion powder
1.5 TSP Cayenne pepper
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

Pineapple Salsa:
6 slices fresh pineapple, cut in rounds about 1/2 -3/4” thick
1/3 cup fresh tomatillo, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1 datil pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of One Lime
Sea salt

For tuna, mix all dry ingredients together well. Lightly oil fillets and coat each piece well with spice mix. Let sit for 30 minutes.  Heat grill to high heat and brush grates lightly with vegetable oil.. Sear tuna 1-2 minutes per side until nicely browned and middle is rare/medium rare. Grill pineapple slices until nicely carmelized on both sides.  Coarsely chop pineapple, mix together with tomatillo, jalapeno, datil, red onion, cilantro and lime juice, and sea salt to taste.Serve tuna fillets topped with grilled pineapple salsa.


Enjoy,

Ryan

Epic Hemmingway Style Swordfish Recipe


Every year fisherman from all over the world travel to the Florida Keys with their sights set on battling a prized Swordfish on rod and reel. While serving in Iraq, United States Navy Pilot, John White envisioned himself fishing in the Florida Keys. When he returned from Iraq after 9 years he and his wife went fishing in the Florida Keys.

"Pam with the Giant"

On their way out to the fishing grounds his wife Pam apparently told the charter boat captain that they would indeed catch a swordfish guaranteed, because they were lucky.   The trip was major success and even made national news. In true Papa Hemmingway fashion they returned to the dock with a 455 lb. Swordfish!

Celebrate this epic catch, just like Hemmingway would have with this amazing recipe for swordfish steaks.

2 pound of Swordfish
2 Tablespoons (Tbs.)Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Margarine or Butter, softened
3 Tbs. Mayonnaise
3 Tbs. Chopped Green Onion (scallions)
2 Teaspoons - Fresh Garlic Chives, chopped
1/4 tsp. Salt
Tabasco Sauce to Taste (approx. 1/8 tsp.)

Place swordfish steaks in single layer on baking dish. Brush with lemon juice. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well, and set aside.  Broil steaks 6 - 8 inches from heat from 8-10 minuts until fish flakes easily with fork.  Remove from heat. Spread with cheese mixture. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.  For presentation garnish with lemon slices and chives.

Check out our fresh swordfish loins here<<<

Ryan

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October is National Seafood Month!

To celebrate the start of National Seafood month we have added Yellowfin Tuna and Swordfish Loins to our product assortment.  These products are of premium quality and taste amazing.



Visit our store here<<<

Thanks,

Ryan

Make your own "Green Flash" at Sunset


I bet you have either seen or heard of the optical phenomena called the "Green Flash".  Like many others across the globe and those who live in the Florida Keys, I continue my search for this brilliant emerald colored flash in the sky that occurs at sunset or sunrise, like the one pictured below.  


Just by searching for the "Green Flash" entitles you to its treasures; memories and the promise of a coming day.

Sometimes a person just has to make their own "Green Flash".

Make it Happen!

Cheers!

Ryan

Sharks Love Lionfish!

Greetings from the Florida Keys,

Check out the latest news from Two Starfish Seafood!
Sharks Loving the Lionfish!

Visit our newsletter by clicking here.

Have a great day!

Ryan

Chili from Emerald Cove to the Florida Keys

Every Fall I make chili from a new recipe. In the fall of 2010 I made my first batch of  Key West Black Bean Chili and absolutely loved it. When my friend Michelle from Emerald Cove Jewerly mentioned that she was making chili last Sunday, I got a craving for my first batch of Fall chili.

I just knew Michelle had a recipe that I had never tried nor heard of. I was right. She gratiously sent me a new chili recipe that looks awesome.

White Chicken Chilli by Emerald Cove
1 tbsp olive or veg oil
1 med onion, chopped (1/2)
1 can (10 3/4oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 can (14oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups diced deli rotisserie chicken
2 cans (15 to 16 oz each) great northern beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso chopped green chilies, undrained
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup sour cream if desired
chopped fresh cilantro if desired

In a 4-quart sausepan, heat oil over med-high heat. Add onions and bell pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until tender.
Stir in soup, broth and water. Cook 1-2 min, stirring frequently, until smooth and well blended. Stir in Chicken, beans, chilies, oregano and cumin. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to med-low. Cook uncovered 10 to 15 min, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated. Top each swerving with sour cream and cilantro

Michelle does this all in her dutch oven on her stove and she says the rotisserie chicken tastes amazing.  

I am looking forward to trying out this new recipe.  Michelle thank you again for sharing, very cool!

Ryan

Florida Stone Crab Claws Ordering Begins on October 15th 2011

Scrumptious tasting Florida stone crabs claws return to our Two Starfish Seafood menu via our online store on October 15th 2011.
 


Stone crab claw meat has a sweet taste with a firm texture, making it a unique Florida culinary seafood delicacy.  

The Florida Keys harvest more than 3.1 million pounds of stone crabs during the season, almost half of the state’s average annual harvest.


Fishing methods used to catch Florida stone crabs are very unique. Unlike other crab fishing methods, stone crab fishermen take only the claws of stone crabs and return the live stone crab back to the ocean so it can regenerate it claws.  

According to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Committee, the released stone crabs will begin to regenerate their harvested claws the next time they molt, which typically occurs every 18 months. This method of harvest ensures the long-term sustainability of this well managed Florida fishery.

Below is one of my favorite Stone Crab Recipes.  I am really looking forward to October 15.

Stone Crabs Miami Vice
  • 3 pounds Florida stone crab claws
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra-dry vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Instructions

Crack claws and remove shell and movable pincer, leaving the meat attached to the remaining pincer. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add stone crab claws and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until heated through, turning claws frequently. Turn heat to high; add vermouth, lemon juice, salt and pepper to pan. Cook 1 minute more, spooning vermouth sauce over claws. Serve claws hot or cold as an appetizer or entrée.


The Florida stone crab season will run though May 15th 2012.


Ryan

NFL Game Day: Packers vs. Bears!

It’s NFL Sunday Fun Day!

Today my favorite NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, square off against their 87 year rivals, the Chicago Bears. 



Before moving the Florida Keys, I made the pilgrimage to Green Bay, WI to watch a Packer game. The wind chill was -20 F & , but I kept warm by drinking plenty Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. 

A vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon sign; in the quintessential Wisconsin bar tradition.


What a experience! Even if you not a Packer Fan, I highly recommend you make a pilgrimage to Green Bay, WI to watch your favorite team play against the Green Bay Packers within the friendly confines of Lambeau stadium, you will not be dissappointed.

When I found out my talented friend Michelle over at Emerald Cove Jewelry is a Chicago Bears fan, I could not resist posting this video for her.   Michelle, may the best team win. GO PACK GO!


Have an awesome Sunday NFL Fun Day

Ryan

My Morning Bliss & Tropcial Reflecting

I took with me one ritual from the corporate world, my Friday morning “coffee bliss”. On Friday mornings, just prior to starting my work day, I sat in my cubical, sipped on my coffee and listened to music of Jimmy Buffet and the Dave Mathews.  All the while gazing at my favorite collection of cut out calendar pictures of beaches, boats, and big fish from the Florida Keys that I taped to my cubical walls.

Below are some pictures what my Friday "coffee bliss" now looks like here in the Florida Keys.
.
"Bliss"


The Gulf of Mexico was "Grease Calm" this Friday morning.

New crop of coconuts, very cool watching these guys grow.

My Favorite Coconut Tree

A former crazy boss lady once asked me to remove the calendar pictures from my cubical walls.  In polite way I told her to go to hell. I remember listening to Donald Trump speak in Miami at a convention a couple years ago, he said "Don't get mad, just get even". That lady is probably still sitting at her desk staring at her empty cubical walls, by the way I still have those calendar pictures. Ahh bliss... 

Enjoy your day!

Ryan 







Hump Day Key Lime Cake and Crab Watching

When I woke up this morning I had a craving for a sweet tasting Key Lime frosted pastry. So, while out running errands this afternoon I decided stopped by the only little chocolate shop in the Florida Keys, the Key Largo Chocolate Company, located at MM 99 in Key Largo.
Key Largo Chocolates

While shopping, I learned that they had recently returned from the Philadelphia Candy and Gourmet Show, bringing back with them a 2nd place win for their Key Lime Mousse in a Chocolate shell! I left with a minature Key Lime Cake and it was awesome!


I enjoy watching the Florida Blue Crabs that live underneath our pier on Florida Bay.  Below are a photos.

Chilling Out


More Crabs
 Our Pier

I hope everyone had a great "hump day"!

Ryan