Living a Novel Life

March 4 – March 10, 2019



Monday:              Frittata with Tuna and Tomato


We believe this tree to have been invented by Dr. Seuss

Tuesday:             The Claw Bar, Naples, FL


Wednesday:        Grilled Salmon and Pineapple with Avocado Dressing


Thursday:           Speedy Fish Chowder


Another Seussian Plant

Friday:                Happy hour with Lobster Bites at The Bayside


Saturday:            California Turkey Chili


Sunday:              Snapper Milanese


In the novels of Henry James the characters typically spend their days on strolls in the park, tea, visiting artist’s studios and ancient ruins, staying at other people’s country estates or villas on the Riviera, walking through the Tuilleries, visiting the Uffizi, and dining out at clubs or restaurants.  Obviously, these people don’t work, or do much of anything at all.

This may be why their conversations are so subtle and convoluted and why James’s sentences have more dependent clauses than a centipede has legs.  There is simply no use in coming to the point when you have nothing in particular to do next.

It is in this peculiarly Jamesian lap of leisure and luxury that Beez and I find ourselves sitting during our month in Florida.  It is an extraordinary change from our typically well and fairly tightly organized routines.  And at least Beez, always a harder worker than I, deserves it.

Please note that our current drift has nothing to do with the fact that our blog post for last week and this have been late.  That has been due to an intermittent Wi-Fi signal (the tech came yesterday) and my own ineptitude at setting up what I am told is a Wi-Fi hot-spot on my I-phone, a task most kindergarten children can perform without putting down their sippy cups.

By the way, our conversations have not gotten more periphrastic, nor have my sentences gotten lengthier.  But then, I have my cooking, my studying and a modicum of work to tend to, and Beez stills follows the national cancer and healthcare news, as well as politics, and, of course, has to keep me from losing keys or dressing in a way that would embarrass us in public.

But we are changing – building more of our days around long walks and enjoying the sunset over the Gulf which, in Naples Florida, with even a modicum of cloud on the horizon is usually spectacular.  As is the recipe for Quick Fish Chowder that we’re going to share with you this week.


QUICK FISH CHOWDER (adapted from Sam Sifton’s recipe in the NYT)

Timing:                                                   45 minutes

Ingredients:           Serves 2 but can be doubled or tripled easily

3/4 lb. firm-fleshed white fish (snapper, grouper, flounder, cod, etc. – no oily fish)

Two handfuls of small or diced potatoes, carrots, onions, and fresh or frozen corn

Enough fish stock, or chicken stock (SW Florida features groceries fancied by women who learned to cook in the 1930s and 1940s) or white wine or water to cover the potatoes when you get to that stage.

2 or 3 strips of bacon, diced.


Prep:                      Dice the bacon and the vegetables, dry off the fish fillets.


Over medium-high saute the bacon in a tablespoon or two of butter with the vegetables, except the corn, until the onions go translucent.  Add salt and pepper to taste, the smoked paprika if you have it.  Add in the corn.

Add the liquid until the potatoes are almost swimming – you should have it near a boil at this point.  Add the bay leaf and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by about one third and the potatoes are tender (20-30 minutes).

Add a splash of milk or cream and heat until the chowder thickens.

Cut the fillets in chunks and stir them in gently.  They’ll be cooked in 5 minutes.  Enjoy.


Another Naples Sunset

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