Indian River Kitchen

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This refreshing dessert showcases the vibrant color and tropical flavor of mangos.Magical mangos

Florida summer is famously inhospitable. The air is thick with humidity and the heat is relentless. Late afternoons are punctuated by thunderstorms; mosquitoes rule at dusk. Even when the tropics seem quiet, hurricanes remain on our radar. But there is a reward for all the sweat and suffering: the sweet taste of a perfect mango...

Homemade granola sweetened with honey makes a simple and satisfying breakfast.Sweet Deal

For as long as I can remember, my mom has made granola. She spends a full day, slowly toasting batches in the oven to fill jars that she shares with family and friends...

More pie = happier holiday

The kitchen has always been my laboratory. I’m endlessly curious about food and unafraid to experiment. When I eat something I love at a restaurant, I’m already cooking up the recipe in my head. Some are hits; some are misses...


Love that lobsterLove that Lobster

Florida’s spiny lobster season is open from Aug. 6 through March 31. The Florida Keys are the state’s most popular destination for recreational lobstering, but you can find plenty of them right here on the Treasure Coast. In the Keys, you can only keep six lobsters per person per day, but here the daily limit is 12 per person...

pineapple beerHomemade Cheer

In the 1700s, New England ship captains announced their return home by spearing a pineapple on their fence post. It meant visitors were welcome to stop by to hear sea stories and see exotic souvenirs. Real pineapples gave way to architectural details incorporated in homes all along the East Coast to symbolize hospitality.

In 1881, Capt. Thomas E. Richards recognized Florida had all the sunshine necessary to grow this sought-after fruit. He planted the first crop of pineapples along the sandy ridge of the Indian River Lagoon. They thrived in the well-drained soil and abundant sunlight. Other farmers followed suit, planting pineapples all along the Treasure Coast. By the early 1900s, over a million crates of pineapples were shipped each year on the Florida East Coast Railway and the area was named the Pineapple Capital of the World.

In 1901, at the peak of this pineapple craze, my great-grandfather, Benjamin Sooy Summerlin, was...

Sour orange pie has roots in Spanish settlementsTaste of Old Florida

If Key lime pie is Florida’s most famous dessert, sour orange pie must be our best kept secret. 

When I hike in the woods, I often come home with sour oranges. Sometimes I spot a couple on the ground, only to look up and see massive, healthy citrus trees underneath the oak canopy, all covered in fruit. Spanish settlers brought sour oranges, also called Seville oranges, to Florida in the 16th century...

Bowlof Chili

Chili for chilly days

When the temperature finally starts to drop, there’s nothing more comforting than a big pot of chili simmering on the stove. This easy venison chili recipe is hearty and delicious, perfect for hunting season or any time you’re lucky enough to have ground venison in your freezer. If you don’t have access to wild game, it’s also great with ground beef, turkey or bison.

Chili is one of those recipes that varies a ton depending on where you’re from, and what’s authentic is subject to debate. I know some people say real chili doesn’t have beans, but in my kitchen it does. I use ground meat, but some people prefer chunks...

Sand dollar cookies

Happy holidays, y'all

Florida seasons are often out of sync with the rest of the country, but that’s even more apparent during the holidays. We’ve got all the celebratory spirit minus the cold weather it coincides with everywhere else. We adapt by putting a Florida spin on everything. Our decorations are a blend of traditional and tropical, with a hefty dose of kitsch mixed in. A giant inflatable snowman and Santa’s sleigh might look out of place on a lush green lawn among palm trees, but add sunglasses and a surfboard and they fit right in.

Cookbook full of love

Every time I open one of my grandma’s cookbooks, I’m back in her kitchen. I swear I can smell fried mullet when I turn the pages. Sometimes scraps of paper fall out with notes from my grandpa: “Mom, Gone to pick up Fred. Love, Dad.” I treasure these more than the actual recipes.My grandma, Polly Summerlin Moore, never followed recipes anyway. She might look at them for ideas or to jog her memory, but then she closed the book and cooked.

I started helping her in the kitchen as soon as I could stand on a barstool. By helping, I mean I ate cookies and listened to her stories about growing up in St. Lucie Village. 

A hearty baguette filled with smashed chickpeas and veggies

Safe lunching

To keep the coastline pristine, trash needs to be kept from entering waterways. First, be a responsible angler. Recycle used monofilament in a specially designed monofilament recycling bin. Monofilament can’t be recycled in regular recycling bins, but these special PVC bins can be found at many boat ramps and fishing piers.

Next, pack a better boat lunch...

Blueberry Peach Galette

Loving the blues

Of all the fruit this state is famous for, blueberries are often overlooked. Florida’s blueberry season is short and sweet. They are the first to ripen in the country and the first to hit markets in early spring.

Each year Florida growers increase ...

Meyer lemon pound cake

Zest for lemons

Living in citrus country, fresh-squeezed orange juice and bags of grapefruit are easy to come by all winter long. So when it comes to backyard citrus, I choose a variety I always need but can’t always find: the Meyer lemon. It’s the most versatile citrus, balancing sweet and savory dishes alike, and it’s always welcome in a cocktail. The blossoms rival the scent of frangipanis in the summer, and the branches are weighed down with big, juicy fruit from fall to spring.

I’ve always been partial to key limes, but I’ve come to realize Meyer lemons are...

Claws for celebration

With claws powerful enough to crush oyster shells, just imagine what a stone crab could do to a finger. To catch them, a good deal of courage and strong hands will be needed. If bought, the only thing to worry about is your wallet getting pinched. They often fetch more than $50 a pound. No matter how you get your hands on them, stone crab claws are the sweetest, most delectable meat ever tasted.

My family gathers for the opening of stone crab season each year. We spend long days in the sun trying to catch our limit. As the sun goes down...

pompano en papillote

Less is best

The Indian River Lagoon is a fisherman’s paradise. It’s the most biodiverse estuary in North America, with nearly 700 species of fish. If you ask me my favorite fish to catch or eat, I’ll probably give you a different answer every time. Right now, it’s pompano.

Catching bait is often my favorite part of fishing, and that’s especially true when it comes to pompano. They like to eat sand fleas, which are little crustaceans you find at the beach. When the tide is right, you can spot them along the shoreline, burrowing in the sand between the waves. Many fishermen use a special rake to scoop and sift them, but as kids we caught them just digging around at the water’s edge, and I still think...