Sometimes, all it takes is one little thing, a simple, innocuous trigger that instantly transports us to another time and place. The sound of the ocean. The smell of roasting turkey. A favorite rock song. A child’s giggle.

Between one heartbeat and the next, poof, we’re somewhere else. Sometimes, these triggers catch us unaware. But other times, we can use them deliberately. Looking at a favorite photograph. Lighting scented candles. When I’m ready to write, I use music to send my brain into “writing mode.” I’ve been doing it for years, so my muse knows that when the Jazz comes on, it’s time to write.

But yesterday, I discovered something fun and unexpected: Cooking can be a trigger, too. I suddenly developed a yearning for a tropical vacation. Since that’s neither in the budget nor on the calendar right now, I took a culinary vacation, instead. Just by putting this meal together, I felt like I’d escaped to the Florida Keys or a tiny Bahamian island.

Want to join me for dinner? We’re having Island-style baked fish with Mango Salsa and yellow rice. Here’s what you’ll need.

Island-style Baked Fish

(I used Tilapia. Pick your favorite.)

Preheat oven to 325.

  • Coat bottom of baking dish with non-stick spray.
  •  Sprinkle blackening (or other seasoning with a kick) on both sides of the fish.
  • Lightly coat top of fish with thin layer of mayonnaise.
  • Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese (or your favorite cheese)

Bake for 25 minutes or until fish flakes lightly with fork.

Mango Salsa

  • 1 Mango, chopped
  • 1 green onion (or ¼ cup red onion), chopped
  • ¼  red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • All-purpose seasoning to taste
  • *add chopped jalapeno chile pepper, if you’d like

Mix ingredients together and chill for one hour.

Serve with rice. I used instant brown rice and added Turmeric while it cooked. That gives it a nice yellow color and nutty flavor.

Then sit back and picture yourself on a balcony overlooking the beach, sea gulls screaming overhead. Feel that sea breeze?

If you have favorite “triggers” you use to escape, I’d love to hear them.

And when you come in from your after-dinner stroll, would you do me a quick favor? The trailer for our movie, Catch of a Lifetime is up on youtube, and we’re trying to get as many “likes” and good comments as we can. Would you pop over and help us out? Many, many thanks! Here’s the link: Catch of a Lifetime.