Archive of ‘dinners’ category
Okay, so I took this dolphin picture sailing from Mexico to Florida
Dolphins welcomed us into Norfolk, Virginia. After a long night sail through a busy shipping channel I was especially delighted to see our marine friends. Traveling for so long on the Erie Canal we hadn’t seen dolphins in months. Having a pod gamboling around our bow, guiding our entrance into Virginia the open ocean seemed so near. The Bahamas were just around the corner.
But not yet. The chill air billowed in great puffs as we breathed. Weren’t we in the South yet? The local accents certainly belied the chill weather. But Norfolk was just a stopover. Tomorrow we started our journey down the ICW. Just to whet the appetite we got our first swing bridge, an enormous bridge that swung aside so that we could pass. The mechanics of such an enormous structure moving aside for boats to pass many times a day was incredible. Bridges had moved on the Erie Canal, lifting up a little but nothing on this scale. It was like a transformer!
Everyone I told we were taking the ICW gaped at me. “You’re going down the ditch?” they would ask.
We wanted to see a little more of the US, I would reply. I adore blue water sailing, crossing oceans and visiting exotic locations, but I like trying different things. Still, I was starting to wonder about the ICW given the regularity of the negative reaction. Even if the ICW didn’t have the excitement of ocean sailing, it would be interesting to see a little bit of the Southern United States.
Given that this was (hopefully) one of our last chilly days I wanted to make the most of it. After a long, chilly night passage a hearty stew seemed like the way to go. We hadn’t had lentils for ages, and (spiced well, of course) lentils are unquestionably one of my favorite legumes. And my favorite form is dahl.
Indian food is unquestionably one of my favorite cuisines. After several months traveling in India, learning spicing and seasoning from wonderful women, I came to appreciate it so much more.
Dahl, staple in Indian cuisine, dahl makes excellent boat food for the chilly night at sea. Hot, fast, and packed with protein this
Dahl, dal, or daal, is an Indian dish made from lentils. Actually it’s any Indian dish made from lentils as dahl actually means lentils in Hindi. But the most common one is a thick soup or stew made from yellow lentils. Like any stew it is better the second day because the flavors have longer to disperse.
In fact, refrigerating the dahl and serving a bit of it (with 5 or 6 other dishes, bread, and rice) over the course of several days is traditional in Indian homes. Dahl never lasts that long around me though. I tend to serve it as a main dish rather than one of a vast array of dishes. This recipe does make quite a bit though so you can certainly keep it around for at least a day or two.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ t mustard powder
- 1 ½ cups red lentils
- 1 T vegeta (or other soup stock)
- 8 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- T grated ginger
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 2 t ground cumin
- 1 t turmeric
- 2 t garam masala
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 t salt
- ½ t ground black pepper
- 1 t 7 chili seasoning (or cayenne)
- Fry onion and garlic in oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the cumin seeds and mustard powder stirring until onions and garlic coated
- Cook for 5 minutes
- Add the lentils, water, and vegeta stir well.
- Stir in ginger and tomato and cook until the lentils are soft, approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Throw in the remaining ingredients and simmer another 5 minutes.
- Mix well before serving.
You can serve this with rice or by itself, but I prefer it with rice.
Unagi, barbecued eel, is one of my favorite Japanese foods, one of my favorite foods period. In sushi or over hot rice. But always with the sweet, savory unagi sauce over it. Yum yum yum.
When I first started crewing on Umineko, the Japanese catamaran I asked if we had unagi sauce any on board.
The skipper, Sato San, just laughed and told me that it was easy to make. I’m convinced that almost everything is easy once you know the trick. The trouble is in the learning curve. What’s easy for a Japanese person who’s grown up with making the food and for a Westerner can be two different things entirely.
One day, Sato San’s friend came for a visit bearing delicious Unagi, frozen barbecued eel.
“It’s easy as 1 2 3… one two three the same amount and just boil it… finish.”
I was slightly skeptical, but I tried it and he was so right. It really is as easy as 123. A learning gradual incline and decline rather than curve too. Over unagi it is heavenly, but over plain rice, green beans, and so much more it’s scrumptious as well.
It might be hard to find the actual unagi (found in the frozen section of most Asian groceries) everywhere in the world, or keep your freezer stocked with it, but making the unagi sauce is definitely a cruiser-friendly recipe and a great way to put in your next stirfry.
Under Sail Unagi
- 1 package Unagi
- 1 recipe unagi sauce
- 2 cups short-grained rice
- ¼ c finely chopped spring onion
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cook rice
- Place bbq eel cooking on baking sheet covered in aluminum foil
- Cook 7 minutes
- Turn on broiler and cook another 3 minutes
- Fill 2 or 3 bowls with rice (depending on how many people are eating)
- Divide eel into 2-3 portions
- Spoon unagi sauce over rice
- Sprinkle spring onions over eel
- ¼ c mirin
- ¼ c sugar
- ¼ c soy sauce
- Mix in small saucepan
- Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally
- Cook for 5 minutes until sauce thickens slightly (try not to over-cook or your unagi-sauce can turn into syrup)
The ocean welcomed Umineko back with a vigorous shakedown sail. With gusts up to 39 knots we fairly flew down the coast, surfing at 16 knots. The chill wind swept us along on a much-needed speedy ride down the Eastern seaboard.
Sails like that can be fabulous or disastrous with not much room in between. Thankfully ours went wonderfully, we had prepared well, and even with towering waves crashing over the vessel’s side, the shakedown didn’t dislodge anything. With one exception.
My basil plant met its watery end. Salt watery to be specific, an errant wave over the stern. If there are two things that don’t mix it’s salt water and vegetation. By the next afternoon my poor plant was turning shades jaundiced yellow rather than the hale and hearty green of its younger days. I decided to put the unfortunate shrub out of its misery.
This unbelievably simple easy cream sauce is all-but fool proof. You don’t need to worry about it breaking, honestly it barely even needs heating. The food processor does all the work, but it is nice to warm it up.
If you have a real food processor on board you might want to make a little more, but our “magic bullet” (as seen on TV, as Sato San calls it) works brilliantly. Use it over fish, pasta, or whatever you like. I used it on salmon and pirogues and found myself regretting not having another basil plant on board.
glory days of the basil plant
Basil cream sauce
- 1 c fresh basil
- ¼ c walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ c parmesan
- ½ c cream
- 1 c milk
- 2 t salt
- 1 t freshly ground pepper
- Put basil walnuts, garlic, and cream, salt, and pepper in food processor.
- Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds
- Pour mixture into pan, add milk, and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Voila! You have cream sauce.
We set off early for Hop-a-Nose marina in the Catskills. Since the Erie Canal had just reopened there were dozens of yachts heading the same direction and every sailboat would need their masts stepped, or put back up. Hop-a-Nose was where we had taken down our mast and it was one of most popular marinas in the area for dropping and stepping masts because of their efficiency, price, and crane. We wanted to get there before the rush and if possible get going that afternoon.
We pushed hard and got to Hop-a-Nose a little before noon. We made it just in the nick of time. Almost before the workers stepped our mast other yachts started arriving and waiting in line for the crane.
While the workers were busy tightening the rigging, I started in on lunch. A crisp sunny autumn day, I couldn’t think of a better lunch than a butternut squash tart. I had fallen in love with butternut squash tarts in Argentina. They make a filling, delicious, and most of all healthy lunch, not to mention being reasonably easy to prepare.
You can eat a slice of tart hot out of the oven, but they are just as good cold. You can eat them with a knife and fork or just sitting at the helm you can eat it with a fork alone.
Batten Down Butternut Squash Tart
- ½ butternut squash peeled and cut into large chunks
- ½ red onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 T garlic salt
- 4 oz feta
- ½ recipe painter perfect piecrust
- 1 T pepper
- 2 t thyme
- ¼ c grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350◦ (170◦ C or medium)
- Prepare piecrust in pie tin and bake 10-15 minutes, (some people use pie weights or dried beans to weigh the crust down, I don’t and didn’t have any problems)
- Sautee the onions in 1 T olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes
- Boil butternut squash 10-15 minutes
- Drain and put into bowl
- Mash squash and add onions, spices, and cheese
- Allow mixture to cool 5 minutes
- Stir in eggs
- Spoon mixture into piecrust and spread around evenly
- Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over top
- Bake for 35 minutes
Waking up in lock 14
As lock 14 opened, we were the first in line to go through. Literally. We had actually slept in the lock the night before. We needed to get through 14 locks all the way to Albany by the end of the day. We pushed and pushed but the sun was already starting to set by the time we made it to the first guard gate before the flight of five locks at Lockport. We radioed but no luck. Finally, as a last resort I called Jeff the Erie Canal Navigation manager. We just had to make it through to Albany.
Once again Jeff saved the day and got the operators to get us through the flight. We sneaked past Troy Federal lock in the nick of time just before they closed at 10 and motored into Albany in the Erie barely lit by my crewmate Mori-San shining a lamp to make sure no logs or flotsam was in our way.
By the time we finally moored I was beyond exhausted, but between holding lines and pushing walls and closing times to get through the locks I hadn’t had time to even think about dinner.
Wraps are a staple for quick and easy lunches or a late-night snack while on watch. Tortillas keep for ages without molding and you can put pretty much anything inside of them. These wraps are more for a little more involved than just throwing something together but it’s worth it.
Crewing on a Japanese boat, I find myself using a lot more soy sauce and ginger in my cooking than I normally do. But I always used those. The I have discovered a new favorite ingredient. Corn starch. It’s flavorless, doesn’t add color, texture, or nutritional value, but I am hooked. You can thicken sauces without having to cook them endlessly… a few minutes and presto you have a delicious thick sauce. Better yet it cuts down on propane use.
On Watch Shitake Wraps
makes 3 wraps
- 1 T garlic jelly
- ¼ c soy sauce
- 1 T fresh ginger grated
- 1 T sesame oil
- t veg oil
- ⅓ lb shitake mushrooms
- 1 T corn starch
- salami (if desired)
- slice of swiss cheese (I used individually wrapped cheese for this)
- tomato sliced into wedges
- Mix the sauce and marinate the mushrooms in it for 5-10 minutes
- Fry the mushrooms in the sauce mixing in cornstarch until thickened
- Place one slice of cheese on tortilla
- Spoon mushrooms over followed by tomatoes
- Finish with sprouts, wrap, relax, and enjoy!
Even taking our time it didn’t take long for us to make it to Utica Inner Harbor where we were leaving Umineko for a week. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait quite 3-weeks. New York Canals said they would open for 3 days starting on October 1st (oh wait, no… October 4th now) so that the cruisers with a draft under 7-feet could get through. Then they would close the canal for the season to work on it.
Sato San took a holiday in Montreal and I went down to New York City to see friends and meet our new crew member, Mori San.
As a last meal on the boat I wanted to use up the remaining crepes and make a savory dish. I learned a version of this cleat-off crepe cannelloni while traveling in Argentina and have loved it ever since. A quick, easy, delicious, and healthy dish that takes almost no time to prepare. If you already have the crepes on hand, that is.
Cleat-off Crepe Cannelloni
- 1 recipe Cardinal Crepes
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ c mushrooms, sliced
- 1 T (3 t) Italian seasoning
- ½ t salt
- ½ t pepper
- 6 oz spinach (frozen)
- 4 crepes
- 1 c mozzarella cheese
- ½ jar pasta sauce
- Freshly ground pepper
- ¼ c mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 325◦
- Sautee the onion in large skillet about 3 minutes
- Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more stirring
- Add the spinach and cook until warm stirring occasionally
- Stir in 2 t Italian seasoning, salt, and ½ t pepper
- Line lasagna pan with tin foil
- Put one crepe in the pan
- Spoon ¼ mushroom spinach mixture into crepe
- Spoon ¼ c mozzarella cheese on top
- Fold into tube and move to end of lasagna tin
- Repeat with remaining crepes
- Spread pasta sauce evenly over crepes
- Shake remaining 1 t Italian seasoning over crepes
- Sprinkle remaining ¼ c cheese over top
- Bake for 15 minutes
Umineko’s basil plant had seen better days. Its leaves were getting brown spots and the verdant green it started out with had turned into a peaked yellow-green with brown spots. I tried for days to talk myself into squinting just right and pretending it was the same vibrant shade of green that it started with was still there, but I had given up. Whether it was because the temperatures were getting too cold, not enough sun, or whatever else the unfortunate plant was not happy. I was beginning to think that basil isn’t up to the extremes of the cruising life. Well at least not with me. This basil plant was destined for Pesto. With a capital P. Or at least a severe pruning.
Now much to my chagrin, we don’t exactly have a food processor on board. What Sato San refers to the Magic Bullet mixer we have is “as seen on TV.” But sometimes you just have to make do.
I wasn’t really in the mood for pasta, but pesto works well in so many things. Sandwiches, wraps, appetizers, and of course pizza… that was it! Pizza! I’d had my first pesto pizza at one fantastic pizza place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I can’t remember the name of the place but it’s right off the Bedford L stop. Not an especially fancy place but open late and home to a phenomenal pesto pizza with whole cloves of roasted garlic and all sorts of deliciousness.
I know that pan-fried pizzas are more boat-friendly, but somehow there’s just something about an oven-baked pizza. Of course we didn’t have a wood-fired oven on board or even close to the right type of oven, but still. I wasn’t sure how often I’d be able to make pesto pizza, especially in lieu of the fact that my basil plant was looking peaked, and wanted to make a special pizza.
Everyone has their own favorite pizza toppings so I divided the pizza into three. After all, three of us on the boat, and there are three prongs of Poseidon’s trident hence Poseidon’s Pizza. Sato san got shrimp, salami; I put capers, feta, shrimp and tomatoes on mine, and Marion opted for feta, olives, and red bell peppers.
I’m still not quite sure how to get the crust thin enough for a New York style pizza, and I wouldn’t dream of stepping on the toes of some of the world’s finest pizzerias, but even with a thicker crust the pie wasn’t bad. Quite the reverse; pizza rarely comes out terribly, but this one was a huge success.
I highly recommend making pesto pizza, even with store-bought pesto, when you have the chance. I am a bigger fan than standard pizza with marinara. Give it a try and I would love to hear what you think.
Maybe you can get your crust thinner than mine…
Poseidon’s Pesto Pizza
- 1 recipe pesto sauce
- 1 recipe passagemaker pizza dough
- 1 ½ c Mozzarella cheese
- Black olives
- Whole cloves roasted garlic (precook a little while the oven is heating)
- Or your favorite toppings!
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Roll out dough and place on baking sheet or pizza stone
- Spread pesto on dough
- Sprinkle cheese on top
- Arrange toppings
- Place in oven
- Bake 30 min
- 1 ½ c basil
- ¾ c walnuts
- ½ c olive oil
- ¾ c grated parmesan
- 2 ½ T lemon juice
- 1 t salt
- 1 t ground pepper
- Put garlic and nuts in mixer followed by basil, liquids, and seasonings
- Pulse first and then blend until almost a paste.
Hauling out is an endeavor even when it’s just routine, but when it’s chilly outside and you really have to stay on your unheated boat hotpots are the only answer.
Umineko rested high above the Brewerton Boatyard. Her engine needed some work before the sea cat returned to her salty home.
Brisk would be an understatement for the chill air. Our breath billowed out in clouds of steam, not a terribly fun thing when you are on a boat “built to sail in warmer climates” (translation: no heater on board). And as the sun sank the temperature dropped.
“Hotpot” Sato San suggested. I was all for it.
Hot pots, or nabe, are normal “student” food in Japan. It’s easy to make, filling, and healthy. I didn’t believe Tanaka San, our crew-mate when he told me it was easy, it looked so complicated and involved but the more hot pots I make the easier it gets. I suppose everything is easy once you know how to do it. Hot pots are marvelous for but warming the stomach on a cold night.
This is a Kombu hot pot, with kombu soup stock, seaweed soup stock, as the star of the show.
- Portable burner*
- Large, deep skillet
- Ladle with holes
- 2 T sake
- 2 T kombu soup stock
- 1 t katsuo dashi (bonito fish powder)
- 6 c water
- 7 pepper seasoning
- Chinese Cabbage chopped into 3-4’ segments
- 3 Leeks chopped into 3-4’ segments
- 1 bunch Green onion (chopped into 3-4’ segments)
- Whatever other vegetables you have on hand
- 4 uncooked mochi squares
- ½ c Sliced squid
- ½ c Imitation crab
- ½ c Scallops
- ¼ c finely chopped scallions for garnish
- 2-3 packages of ramen noodles
- Place mochi squares and ½ of chopped vegetables in large deep skillet or pan, setting aside ½ of chopped veggies in a bowl on the table
- Pour in water, until vegetables covered
- Add kombu and katsuo dashi, and sake simmer (covered) 5 minutes.
- Add imitation crab, and scallops and simmer 2 minutes
- Add squid
- Ladle out 2 cups of broth into bowl and set aside
- Transfer to portable burner in the middle of table and turn to low flame.
- Every person at the table puts 1-2 T kombu soup stock, and/or ponzu, and 7 chili seasoning in his or her bowl (to taste)
- Ladle hot pot “soup” into bowls.
- Sprinkle scallions over bowls
- Enjoy, continuing to add ingredients to your bowl until skillet is almost emptied of ingredients and just delicious soup stock is left
- Add remainder of vegetables and allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes
- Continue eating until veggies are almost gone. By this time the broth has become unbelievably flavorful.
- Add remainder of stock set aside before round 1
- Bring to a boil
- Add ramen
- Allow to cook for 3 minutes
- Serve final broth and ramen
I rarely make it as far as round 3, filling up on all of the veggies and seafood is usually enough for me.
Alternately you can save the broth for breakfast or lunch the next day with rice or noodles.
*If you do not have a portable burner on your boat I highly recommend getting one. It is a great back-up in case your propane runs out in the middle of cooking dinner. This way you can continue cooking dinner without having to change the propane tank first. It is also great to take to the beach etc.
“I’ve got a mule, her name is Sal. 15 miles on the Erie Canal She’s a good ol’ worker and a good ol’ pal. 15-miles on the Erie Canal…”
When Sato San first asked me to crew up the Erie Canal with Umineko, I was sure it had something to do with my name. How appropriate. Having Sal crew up the Erie Canal. Maybe I could pull the boat to save on gas too, right? Surprisingly when I mentioned it, he had never heard of the song. I guess they don’t teach “Low Bridge” in Japan.
I’d never even thought of sailing up the Erie Canal but it sounded interesting. It was a part of the US I had never explored; even living in NYC for 7 years, I’d never been further than an hour upstate. Leave it to someone from another country to show me parts of the United States.
I’ve been making variations of this “Thai” curry for almost a decade and it’s one of my “go-to” dishes. It’s nothing like the” traditional” Thai curries I learned at a cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but I like it as well or better. You can really use whatever vegetables that you like and you don’t have to use seafood. The sauce is the important part. I love using broccoli when I have it, though not traditional in Thai cooking, I find that the crowns absorb sauce making each bite a burst of flavor. I also like having at least one green vegetable, a yellow, and something red because it just makes the dish look prettier.
Canal Sal’s Thai Curry
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- ½ can water
- 1 T honey
- 3 T red curry paste
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1T lemon juice
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T siriracha sauce
- 2 t salt
- 2 t ground pepper
- 1 t 7 chili seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 small onion diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- ½ sweet potato cubed
- 1 branch of broccoli (crown and stem) chopped
- 2 T grated ginger
- 1 kefir lime leaf
- 9 large shrimp
- 1 c small scallops
- Peanuts for garnish
- Fry the onion, garlic, and sweet potato over medium heat in 1 T vegetable oil about 5 minutes
- Add coconut milk and water
- Stir in bell pepper and broccoli crown
- Add ginger and kefir lime leaf
- Mix in curry paste until coconut milk is a warm red color
- Slowly add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and Siriracha,
- Simmer for 5 minutes
- Add shrimp and scallops cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp barely pink
- Add salt, pepper, and 7 chili seasoning to taste
- Sprinkle peanuts on top