I learned to love flowers as I helped my mother in her flower beds. I extended that love to wild flowers when I had to collect them for a high school science project. Unfortunately, because of the time constraints created by marriage, jobs, raising children and education, I ignored the wild flowers of St. Croix. It also didn’t help that I had my youthful image as a jock and a party animal to maintain and that was more than a little inconsistent with being a man who loves flowers.
Over the past year, I have adapted to living alone. I am preparing better meals and because of my interactions in the food blogging community, serving them more attractively. I am also walking for fitness around the community. In these walks, I get my daily exercise and talk to neighbors. I have also started to notice the wonderful variety or wild flowers, weeds and vines we have on our small island.
Antigonon Leptopus is show above with the pink flowers. More commonly it is called coral bells or coral vine. On the negative side, it is a smothering vine that invades disturbed areas and forest edges. It produces many seeds, which are spreads by water currents. It has become Invasive in some countries including the southern US.
The plant is native to Mexico and commonly found in tropical regions around the world, and is one of the medicinal plants used in Jamaica. The hot tea prepared from the above ground portion of this plant is used in that country for the prevention and treatment of cough and flu-related pain. Studies have also shown that plant extracts exhibited analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and other beneficial activities. The plant contains phenolic compounds which can reduce the risk of chronic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
It adorns the meal above which also started life as nothing special. I had the leftover sauce from the Puerto Rican Turkey Stew and I hate to see anything go to waste even though I had eaten all the meat and only had the sauce left. I also hate to have the same meal twice or keep leftovers in my freezer or refrigerator until they cant be recognized. This sauce was really not much different than a creole type sauce used with seafood and since seafood is the stronger flavor, I decided why not something different.
I added a half package of Goya Sazon Spice blend, 4 ounces of defrosted mixed seafood and served it over noodles. I also sprinkled Parmesan on it prior to eating. This is completely different in character and flavor from the stewed turkey over rice which I had the day before.
I ended up with a beautiful meal adorned by a beautiful flower and it became a special event rather than leftovers for my early lunch.