Friday, December 03, 2010


First, let me say that I like mild fish.
None of the strong flavored fish that are so ultra good for you appeal to me. I would no sooner eat a medium rare tuna steak than I would eat some of Bear's dog food.
No salmon, no mackerel, no fresh tuna.

So, I was really surprised when I tried SWAI.
SWAI or BASA is an Asian catfish that is farm raised, flash frozen, and shipped to your local grocery store.

I checked it out on the net to see what the heck SWAI was first ... kind of hard to tell from a clean filet.
Well, why didn't they say so?

(Answer: Protectionist USDA policy only allows the right (North American) genus of catfish to be marketed as catfish here.)

I had high hopes for a great piece of fish. The filets were clean and white with no dark myoglobin filled regions.
Myoglobin stores oxygen for fish and it gives the meat a dark color and a strong "fishy" flavor.
You can actually look at a filet of fish and get an idea for whether the species is a couch potato or an athlete.
Speedy active swimmers (athletes) like tuna, mackeral, and salmon will be loaded with dark muscle ... and strong fishy flavor.
Ambush predators (couch potato) like flounder, grouper, snapper, will have more white muscle and a milder flavor.

I dredged them in a commercial fish fry mix even though I really prefer the crunchiness of good ol' cornmeal.
Then I deep fried them with some shrimp.

A little fish, a little Selmo salad, a little shrimp, a little datil relish ... should be a lotta good eating.

And it was, mostly, but the SWAI was pretty boring.

A little too much like eating tofu ... no taste and soft.

I like some dental resistance when I chomp on a piece of fish and SOME fish flavor, just not too much.

On a scale of 1-10, I give SWAI 3's in both flavor and texture.

I need to go fishing obviously and eat some REAL fish.

If you hung in there with me this summer, you know I take forever to finish a paint job, but the PFHQ exterior is done now except for a touch-up punch list and a few foundation pilings.
Soooo ... I thought I'd share it with you.

Remember, it was basic cedar brown before.

One of the things I like most about it now is simply losing the lattice that masked the porch foundation.
I love the way the house seems to sit up higher and to me, it's more country and less gingerbready.

FC is not very gingerbready.

In other news ...

  • I planted a new Satsuma tree and bought a new Meyer lemon tree. The lemon is small and loaded with blossoms, so I think I will keep it in the pot through this winter. That way I can run it in on nights like last night when the temp was in the mid 20's F.

  • We have eaten the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers except for that ham bone that will soon be Columbia Spanish Bean Soup soon.

  • I'm still doing P90X, but I stretched out this past week of recovery exercise to let a sore elbow get ready for the next and final multi-week segment of heavy lifting. Tonight begins Week 9 and it looks like torture. I'm happy to say the holiday feasting was only a minor bump in that road.

  • I used my dead deer pics and video in class today to illustrate the Carbon Cycle and I had them from the first disgusting picture. I think they may have grasped the concept finally. It's hard to tell with 9th graders ... they are not like you or me.

  • Frank Update: Long time readers might remember my project kid, Frank. We don't see each other as much since he is not in my class. He played football this season and did well. I have not seen his name on any discipline memos, and as far as I know he's doing okay. I think he's involved in a dance or step team also. So, I guess the update, even though it's short on factual detail, is that he is all right.
I am not prematurely announcing "Mission Accomplished" regarding Frank, simply that the SITREP is positive.


David Steen said...

Sorry for the shameless plug, but if you'd like my take on how swai is marketed in the southeast (and some related concerns), I wrote about it on my blog:


Sharon said...

Never heard of the fish, but the shrimp looks good - and the house looks great! Love that color. Good to hear about Frank, too. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I thought the house looked great last time we were down there, but with the deck all done it looks even better! Good job FC!

Sayre said...

You need a nice fresh redfish!!! Redfish and grouper are my favorite, but I confess that I love salmon. Tuna's okay, but not my fav... I'm not keen on fishy tasting fish either. Not a fan of trout for that reason.

PFHQ looks fabulous!!! Do you not have any regulations about "skirting" houses where you are? We had them in Wakulla - not just for trailers.

I'm so glad to hear that Frank is doing okay. From what I gather, not being on the disciplinary memos is a big step up - I hope he continues to rise to the top as he goes through his schooling.

threecollie said...

I share your taste in fish. The house looks fantastic!!

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

The house is beautiful!!! I love the semi-octagon if that's what it is! Nice colors too.

I've just started eating fish in the past 5-6 years. Must be mild for me to eat it. I just saw Swai on a menu recently. Maybe the name catfish grosses people out! I made Bang Bang shrimp for Thanksgiving. You'd like it. Spicy hot. Could probably make it with your datil relish. I'll send the recipe if you'd like.

I was actually thinging about Frank. Thanks for the update.

In other news for me.....I'm cold. I do not like being cold.



The house is the perfect Florida cracker dwelling. I love it! The bit about dental resistance has convinced me I probably never will taste Swai.

Hurricane Teen said...

Wow, what a difference in the house!
I'll admit, I was a big fan of the brown and green, but the new colors look great!
P.S.: Might you have a suggestion for a new screen name for me? In August, I ceased being a teen :-0

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on "Frank". I, too, was recently wondering about him.

I love a step show; I'm usually the only white person at FAMU step shows. I'm a tinge uncomfortable, but that's my problem--I'm always treated graciously.


robin andrea said...

The house looks beautiful, fc. Great job!

I'm not much for strongly flavored fish, but I can eat a fresh salmon filet, no problem. I like tofu and eat it quite often. It can be very tasty if done right. I've got a bunch of recipes, if you're ever interested (LOL!).

Deb said...

Okay, I'll cross swai off the list of things to try. The house looks great! Can you come up here and finish staining the upper parts of my house? Or at least coach me in the ladder part...I can do it, but I can't look down...

Island Rider said...

Ooh, love the house color. Like it without lattice too. We took our lattice work off and Big Brother State Farm made us put it back on for "safety issues." Since they have fired us, we just might take it back down.

And GREAT news on Frank. I know you mentioned him in passing a few months ago. Glad to hear he is doing well.

I am not much of a fish eater. Round here, they eat mullet. Ick. But, that shrimp looks might fine.

Felicia said...

Very promising news about Frank! And I bet that Swai would be a good fish to serve to picky little kids!

Floridacracker said...

So as not to be too redundant, Let me say thanks to all of you for rooting for Frank.

Plug away pal!
I read your post and enjoyed it. Good points about looking for local fish first!

Thanks! Yes, I think Frank will make it. Keeping an eye on him anyway tho.

Thanks Lightnin,
I bet yours had advanced since I saw it last.

Thanks! And yes, a fat redfish or flounder sounds wonderful.
About skirting? We're zoned "primeval" I think. Don't see many inspectors here.
If it ever comes up, we will apologize and look shocked.

Thanks. I am so tired of messing with it I can hardly stand to pick up the little brush and finish the touch up.

That little flare out on the porch is a dining porch area. I need to install a new ceiling fan/light to finish it off.
Might screen that section too.
I'm loving this cold.
Should be manatees crowded at the springs tomorrow.

That SWAI was definitely lacking in firmness.

LOL! I had been thinking that you must have passed out of your teens recently and wondered what you would do as a result.
Not blogging these days?
How's school going? Emma graduates in May!

Me too. It's pretty neat to watch. Apparently Frank and his pals have a UF connection who has been coaching their team.
There will be a talent show later this year and I hope to see them perform then.

LOL! I knew my tofu comparison would bring you out! I've read so many of your posts where it played an integral part in the meal.

Thanks! Yeah, that whole looking down thing gets nervy on a high enough ladder. I would have to bring Bear of course ... a pond and Sally ... he would never forgive me if I left him home.

Cathy S,
Safety issues? How do they figure that skirting is a safety feature?
Glad you like the colors!
I mostly look at mullet as bait, but I have to confess I have had it cleaned and fried right a few times. I love the smell of smoked mullet, but not so much the actual taste.

I think you are spot on about SWAI for kids. It would probably be a good way to introduce them to fish.

Linda Starr said...

Beautiful house, most of the catfish here is farm raised and doesn't taste that good any more fresh wild caught fish of any type is much better to me.

Pablo said...

The house looks fantastic. I really admire your use of colors in a living space.

cinbad122 said...

Frank is with me this year. Doing good and really cares about his grades! :)

who wouda thunk it?? said...

You are missing out by dissing Salmon!. try anatural (no coloradded) WILD CAUGHT, Alaskan filet. I stole a recipe from a restaurant that is to die for.... coat the flesh side of the filet with a honey-dijon glaze and thencoat in chopped pecans and bake, or broil, OMG! sooooo good!

Floridacracker said...

I think it may have sounded like I did all the painting on PFHQ. Let it be known that Mrs.FC, Emma, Katie, and Junior all helped tremendously.
I was just rereading the post and realized I had not given credit where credit was due.

Thanks! I think in a lot of ways, it boils down to freshness. I am a big aquaculture fan, but I too have had boring US grown catfish occaisonally, ... mostly I find it good.

Thanks pal. Out mission: To boldly go ...

Then, he is in the BEST of hands. Send him to me if you feel he ever needs male mentoring.

Who woulda,
You lost me at honey-dijon.

edifice rex said...

Hey! the house looks great! very Neo-Southern. I like being able to see the piers also.
In my opinion, most farmed fish has very little flavor because they eat an unnatural diet. I don't like really fishy fish also, but do like salmon. That farmed raised stuff is crap.

Hurricane Teen said...

Yeah, blogging's taken a back seat, sadly. I have 18 credit hours of pure math and physics this semester, in addition to writing on the school newspaper and working in campus ministry. And I thought I was busy in high school! Ha ha and it only gets worse after college is over.
I did write a short post on The Minorcan Factor, and I've been writing on my other blog every week or two.
I'd like to post an update, for sure...Tell yall about my tree climbing exploits, ha ha. As soon as exam week is over, I'll get to work on that :-)
Wow, I can't believe it...I've been following your blog for almost FIVE YEARS now!

roger said...

love the house. it does look good floating above the ground.

in fish news...i was raised eating trout and salmon. i am a bit wary of all fish now tho 'cause the ocean is full of bad stuff.

SophieMae said...

What everybody else said re Frank, the house, etc.

I'm a tilapia/flounder/grouper gal, myownself, but I do like me some salmon. Used to really like sheepshead, but haven't had any since Hector was a pup. Maybe I'll ask next time I hit the fish house. I do enjoy smoked mullet as long as it's fresh... oxymoron? 8-} And scallops! OK, now I'm hungry all over again.

The Florida Blogger said...

I catch a fair bit of mullet and thus eat a fair bit of said fish. But the other day I caught a red fish and I can't tell you how good it was to have a milder fish.

Ericka said...

YAY for frank! i've been wondering how's he's doing. maybe someday you can tell him about all of the people he's never met and never will who wish him all the best.

your house looks terrific! i love the colors.

ugh. fish. i don't eat things that live in water. yuck, yuck, yuck. so, you know, more for you!

didja get the envelope yet??

Floridacracker said...

Thanks! We are kinda neocracker I suppose.
Most farm raised fish eat a prepared chow that is actually fish based, so it's not totally unnatural ... not like beef being fed chicken manure.
I think we could find the same quality differences in small local farm raised fish vs. megafishfarm fish that we find in grassfed beef and massbeef.

Good update! Thanks. With that course load, I can see why you are not blogging much. Thanks for hanging on for 5 years. That is close to the PF lifetime.

Thanks! I was hoping you would approve since you are sort of a master handyman.
I still take my chances with ocean seafood. Of course, I live on the most pristine coast on the Gulf.

And thank you for all of that!
Grouper ... ahhh, now THAT is a fish.
And small surf caught whiting from St.Augustine beach.
Sea candy.

I know what you mean. I really used to diss mullet as food, but I have had it done really well a few times and had to eat my hat.

Got it and thank you!!
I have it packaged and ready to mail.

myamuhnative said...

FC, we had an email passing around work about 6 months ago about Asian farm raised catfish.
It had a youtube link to several videos that convinced me that I will never buy asian farm raised anything.
I do love catfish but after watching those videos, I get a little squeamish at the thought of eating it.
If you want to see the videos I can probably find someone that still has the email.Or you can probably search youtube for Basa and chinese aquaculture.

Miz S said...

Hi, FC. The house looks fantastic! Good on ya.

Thunder Dave said...

The place looks great! Good job!

lisa said...

I love all kinds of fish, except for Susi (or how ever you spell raw fish!). Your house looks amazing and my barn goes with it pretty good. (but you can't have it, sorry ;)!

kathy a. said...

house looks good!

i'm so glad to hear about frank. you know i care about academics, but having some activities can be just a HUGE support.