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Finally, we had a snippet of cold weather here in Florida; I mean it was in the low 50s, and for us Floridians that is chilly. Go ahead and roll your eyes if you had just come back in from shoveling a wall of snow off your driveway. I do welcome the cold weather whenever we get it, especially during the holidays. It’s really hard to feel festive when it’s 80 degrees outside. I know, I know, boo-hoo.  But seriously, I have to turn my air conditioning on way low when it’s warm outside and all I want to do is bake cookies and make warm soups and drink hot cocoa. And then I see all these photos on Instagram of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree near a window and there’s snow and it looks so pretty, and I just ugggghhhh! I want that too. Well, maybe for just a day.

To make myself feel better and get into the spirit of the holiday season, I have been watching nothing but Christmas movies (except for the Gilmore Girls Revival binge-watching that I did, which I don’t even want to discuss right now because I’m still a little upset about it), and I have also been listening to endless amounts of Christmas music. I may or may not have watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on repeat this past week, but hey, how can you not? It’s hilarious! If you haven’t watched it or it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, I recommend that you get your hot cocoa going and your pajamas on and watch it. You won’t regret it.

Since it was a little chilly out for like a split second here, I was immediately craving comfort food. Not just any comfort food, I wanted something similar to what my mom used to make. I say similar because my mom’s cooking is very unorthodox.  She may look at a recipe but then go on a tangent and it will come out nothing like what she read, or she may think of a very traditional recipe but may add 10 other things in there and will end up with a totally different meal  altogether. Needless to say, I picked up this bad habit from her. Is it, though?

This is my take on my mom’s fish with miso sauce. Note that you can make it into a glaze by not adding broth.  My mom’s recipe was very simple, with just miso, fish sauce, fish or vegetable broth, garlic and onions.  My addition of tamarind paste and serrano pepper gives it that slight tang and heat at the end of each bite, which gives it a complete umami experience.  I also used shrimp because I found fresh Gulf shrimp at the local market here. I’m sure my mom won’t mind that I changed up her recipe. I can feel her rolling her eyes at me as she’s reading this.










all photos by Maria Kennedy


(click here for Full Grocery List)

3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red miso paste
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
½ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon mirin
3 tablespoon fish sauce (this is to your liking so you can add more or use less)
1 whole serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 Roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 bunch roughly chopped chard greens
1 pound large shrimp, preferably with heads and peel on
Juice of ½ a lime


  1. In a large wok, add the oil and sauté the garlic, shallots and ginger over medium heat until they are tender and translucent.
  2. Add the miso paste, tamarind and vegetable broth. Stir until the miso is dissolved. Let it simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice vinegar, mirin, fish sauce and lime juice and mix well.
  4. Add the shrimp and greens, tomatoes and serrano pepper. Mix well then let it simmer for 5 minutes. (Do not overcook the shrimp and it’s good to leave the peel and head on for a fuller flavor).
  5. Remove from heat and serve over rice or noodles



2 shallots
olive oil
red miso paste
tamarind paste
vegetable broth
rice vinegar
fish sauce
1 serrano pepper
1 Roma tomato
1 bunch chard greens
1 pound large shrimp, preferably with heads and peel on
1 lime