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One thing I would like to be more in tune with for the remainder of this year is the seasonality of foods in my region.  Being in southwest Ohio the climate is fairly mild, but the growing season is still shorter than it is in, say, California or Florida.  After reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver (a book I recommend very highly) I realized that, as a whole, Americans have divorced themselves from their food sources.  We see boxes of pasta with herb sauce, cans of condensed soup, packages of only chicken breasts, drinks that “contain 10% fruit juice” and consider these things to be food.  Nevermind that only chemists know what anything on the ingredients lists mean.  High Fructose Corn Syrup?  Hydrolyzed Soy Protein?  Maltodextrin?  Chicken Flavor?  See what I’m getting at? Those things are never in season!

I’ve found over the past year, while I’ve been moving more towards seasonal eating, that foods that are eaten in season are more flavorful, they last longer, and our bodies crave them.  We want soups and stews in winter because they are made with hearty winter vegetables and red meats that are seasonally processed in the fall.  We want fresh, lemony, light meals in spring because that’s when lamb and herbs are coming into season.  The same goes for fresh berries in summer time.  It feels right and tastes right, because it is right.  I’m not saying that I’ll never use a bell pepper in January, or that I’ll only eat beef in the fall and winter, but it makes sense to eat foods that are fresh and in season, and that can be bought close to where they were grown. It helps your local farmers and ranchers, uses less fuel (fall apples grown in your region use a heck of a lot fewer resources to get to your home than ones grown in New Zealand), and forces a little creativity in the kitchen!

With that in mind, I give you Coconut Roasted Tilapia with Mango Salsa.  This recipe is slightly premature to be considered an “in-season” recipe post, but as these wonderful vegetables and herbs and fruits will very soon be in season, I thought I’d let you plan ahead a bit!  Plus, in some warmer climates mangoes, peppers, and onion actually are in season right now.  So if you happen to find peppers at your farmers market tomorrow, I will be jealous of you for a few more months.

Ingredients:

1 ripe medium mango, pitted and finely diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed if you’d like less heat and left in if you like a little spiciness
1/2 cup coarsly chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/8 teaspoon salt
Red chili flakes if you really want your lips to tingle

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight if you’ve got time). The longer the flavors sit together the better the salsa will be.

For the tilapia:

6 Tilapia filets, or another white fish of your choosing
Coconut Oil
1 lime, cut into round slices
Cumin
Freshly ground salt & pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lay the fish filets on a baking sheet covered in foil.
2. Sprinkle with your desired amount of cumin, salt, and pepper.
3. Spoon approximately 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil onto each filet, then top with a slice of lime.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

We plated this with some coconut shrimp, maybe I’ll share that one with you sometime. I hope this wonderful spring to summer recipe hits the spot for you and your family!