Tweaked Green Papaya Salad and Carol’s Naughty Corner

South Florida is a crazy patchwork of little cities, towns, and villages, each boasting tropical flavor and colorful history. However, only one bears an official title City Beautiful, the City of Coral Gables. One of the seven cities in the United States influenced by the City Beautiful North American architectural movement which promoted “beautification and monumental grandeur” (that’s what they called gentrification in late 19th – early 20th century) not for the sake of beauty alone, but “to create moral and civic virtue among underprivileged urban populations” (Bluestone, 1988). Planned and developed by George Merrick in the “roaring twenties,” it is a gem of Mediterranean Revival architectural style, with fountains, parks, a luxurious tree canopy, and an urban forest. An environmentalist’s dream and a model of civic responsibility, it counts among its most remarkable historical sites the Venetian Pool, created from an abandoned coral rock quarry.

Every time I find myself in Coral Gables (mostly to see a play at the Actors Playhouse located at the historic Biltmore Hotel), I keep expecting Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, if not F. Scott Fitzgerald himself, to join us for an after-theater drink somewhere in the business district where everything is within two blocks. I do know that the novel’s setting is in New York, but the beautiful carefree spirit is here, in the City Beautiful.

If you have seen any of the film adaptations of The Great Gasby, you would undoubtedly remember the pool party. Even though not one of them features the Venetian Pool, I still imagine Jay and his friends visiting it once in a while and having one of those fun parties among its lush tropical greenery and translucent coral decorative elements.

It is a public swimming pool, and, unfortunately, not everybody among the swimming public (that includes a huge number of tourists visiting this unique attraction every day) possesses the “moral and civic virtue” its developers originally had in mind. The four acres of sparkling water and surrounding park routinely turn into landing grounds for non-biodegradable plastic and Styrofoam containers.

See the source image

The beautiful city of Coral Gables has passed an ordinance in 1916 banning the use of Styrofoam by the city itself, as well as vendors, special event organizers, and anyone else doing business with the city. Moving further in its attempts to protect the environment, Coral Gables tried to extend the ordinance to businesses, adding a ban against single use plastic bags. That’s when the Florida Retail Federation jumped in, and after a protracted legal battle, won (https://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/coral-gables-loses-fight-to-ban-styrofoam-and-plastic-bags-11538028). Following Coral Gables, the cities of Surfside and Palm Beach passed similar laws but had to repeal them, threatened with lawsuits by  – you guessed it! – the same Florida Retail Federation that represents mammoth corporations, such as Publix, Walmart, Target, etc.

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A fabulous blogger and a great environmental advocate Carol Taylor of Retired? No one told me! has instituted a Naughty Corner to publicly shame those who put their mercantile interests ahead of their civic responsibility. Dear Carol, who do we send to your Naughty Corner, Florida Retail Federation or the State of Florida that still has preemption laws on the books which prohibit environmentally conscious cities from banning styrofoam, plastic bags, and plastic straws?

green papaya 1

While ranting about the environment in the midst of a pandemic, I can’t leave you, Beautiful People, without a recipe. And since I’ve already linked this post to lovely Carol, this is how I shamelessly tweaked one of her exotic scrumptious salads. I couldn’t use blue swimmer crabs; crabs don’t swim in the blue waters of the Venetian pool, nor do they visit my kosher kitchen (all shellfish is not kosher). Fortunately, for many centuries the clever Japanese cooks have made surimi – fish paste used in many dishes, and in 1970’s some even more clever Japanese men figured out how to tweak that paste into imitation crab meat. (*To be considered kosher, surimi must have kosher certification.) For the same reason I couldn’t use shrimp, dried or otherwise, but Carol said it was optional, so I opted out.

See the source image

This weird looking vegetable is called long snake beans (they are not kidding!), and I searched high and low, but eventually had to replace them with snow peas. Once green papaya and carrots are grated, scallions and snow peas chopped, and red pepper(my usual alternative to chili pepper) diced, I was ready for “not-exactly-crab.”

Green papaya 2

Sliced surimi and tomatoes went into it, as well as diced garlic and frozen corn (sorry, Carol – not charred).  As I have not been able to find kosher fish sauce, widely used in Thai and other Oriental cuisines, I have learned to use Worcestershire sauce instead. Some lime juice, a little bit of zylitol (you can use palm sugar, says Carol), chopped roasted peanuts on top – and you have a perfect salad: a healthy combination of protein and veggies with perfect flavoring, sweet, salty, sour, and spicy at the same time.

Green papaya 3

Besides serving as a centerpiece on my table, this delicious salad has prompted a lively discussion about protecting our environment from greedy corporations and irresponsible inhabitants of planet Earth.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz surimi sticks (usually 1/2 package), sliced across
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1/2 lb green papaya, grated (yields approximately 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup grated carrots
  • Handful of snow peas, chopped
  • 1 medium size tomato, sliced thin
  • 2 – 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced (optional red chili pepper)
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar or sweetener of your choice
  • Crushed roasted peanuts to garnish

PROCEDURE

  • Combine all ingredients, mix well, season.

Enjoy!

 

36 Comments Add yours

  1. Someday i will have to visit that beautiful city.

    If everyone simply cleaned up after themselves, we wouldn’t have to worry so much about trying to ban the stuff they leave lying around, would we.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, but those plastics are still not recyclable and not biodegradable. This planet is drowning in garbage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks so tasty! Love the texture of green papaya. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Ronit. It was a great success among my guests.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. joliesattic says:

    Wow! That looks refreshing and healthy, although I didn’t know you could eat papaya green. I thought like most green fruit, it could turn your tummy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, dear Jolie! There are many recipes with green papaya; it is edible and quite delicious.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. CarolCooks2 says:

    Love it, Dolly, to me that is what good cooking is about…wherever we live in the world we always find there are ingredients we cannot find or due to our traditions do not use but that makes for a great cook when you adapt a recipe to your taste and it still tastes great…Well done…On the topic of the environment, this Corporation will definitely be in my naughty corner next week…Shame on them…Thank you, dear Dolly, both for the mentions and the info on this sneaky Corporation…Stay safe and healthy 🙂 x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so glad you like my sneaky tweaking, dear Carol! I am happy you’ve accepted my candidate for your Naughty Corner – it belongs there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. CarolCooks2 says:

    It most certainly does , Dolly…Thank you 🙂 x

    Like

    1. My pleasure, dear friend!

      Like

  6. Simply fabulous! Delicious food
    and fun, virtual entertainment! In case you’re celebrating St Paddy, Cheers!👍💚🍀🎶🍺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. CarolCooks2 says:

    I did dear Dolly and they will for sure be in my naughty corner…. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joliesattic says:

    There was a dish, more like a dessert I had while in Fiji, that featured Papaya, warm with some coconut cream mixture that was divine.. Even though it was some 50 years ago the memory of it still lingers. I wish I’d realized I would never make it back there or I’d have asked for the recipe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You got me intrigued, darling. I will research, and perhaps find the recipe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. joliesattic says:

        That would be amazing. I know there was another unique flavor I couldn’t identify, but then I was a newlywed and just getting familiar with cooking, so I didn’t have the nose or taste I do now, doggone it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Newlyweds tend to be preoccupied with more important matters, darling!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This salad looks very delicious, Dolly 😀
    There are several of these ingredients, as I can’t buy here in Spain, but I enjoyed to view your result.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear Irene! Any ingredients you can’t buy, you can substitute by finding some other interesting ingredients.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is also the way, as I use to fit recipes into, what I do have at storage in my kitchen, Dolly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Especially now, when all our resources are somewhat limited, we all have to make do with whatever we have on hand.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Joëlle says:

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 for all your ranting, Dolly, and thank you for the recipe. I hope a lot of people will read it and get inspired by your substitutions, at a time when confinement forces us to work with what we have ready at hand.
    Two more points:
    – have you ever visited the Rosecliff mansion in Newport, Rhode Island? You must have. One of the Great Gatsby movies includes scenes that were shot there
    https://www.newportmansions.org/explore/rosecliff
    – you won’t believe this: I have the exact same fish plates as you, thanks I suppose to globalization… See for yourself!

    https://macuisinesanssulfites.com/2016/02/22/filets-de-daurade-dorade-a-la-poele-et-un-coup-de-colere/
    Have a good day. I hope everything is well with you and your family. Take care, dear neighbor!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joelle, the first place my husband took me on the way back from Boston where we first met face to face was Newport and a tour of the mansions. At the risk of causing outrage among your readers, I confess that I dislike Hemingway because of the manner he described F. Scott Fitzgerald in “The Movable Feast.”
      I have several of these plates, different sizes, and I also dredge fish in corn meal to fry it – great minds think alike! What a horrible story of your husband’s reaction to sulphites! But now you can understand why we can only buy fresh fish at a kosher store, otherwise it may have come in contact with shellfish.
      Be well and stay safe, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joëlle says:

        Yes, we were really unhappy that time — my husband loves fresh fish.
        A tour of the mansions in Newport must be a guy thing: I got the same royal treatment forty years ago 😄
        Staying safe by staying home… Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL I haven’t thought of it this way, but if this is a guy thing, then the tour of Milan and Florence I gave him on our honeymoon trip was a girl thing?

        Liked by 1 person

  11. That plastics squabble is appalling

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for emphasizing, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved learning more about Coral Gables and loved the video and song about their fantastic swimming pool. I find it hard to believe that people often do not care about the beauty of nature and rather allow their wants to overtake the need of the environment as far as plastic and polystyrene use goes. Fortunately, there are those who care. Kind regards, Maretha

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment, dear Maretha. Be well and stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wishing you blessed Passover, Dolly! ❤

    Like

    1. Those who bless others, are doubly blessed themselves. Thank you, dear Anna!

      Like

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