Archive of ‘Galley Tips’ category
A scream of stark terror pierced the night.
“What happened!?” Toshi San was quick to ask.
I tried to forget the memory of the cold, slimy form wriggling between my toes.
You don’t expect to step on a flying fish in the hallway to your cabin. The hatch hadn’t been open more than a crack, but somehow the creature had found its way in. They were everywhere.
Like gifts from the sea gods, heaps of flying fish graced our trampoline and deck every morning. We had so many, Sato San started noting how many fish we’d gotten on the daily log. Each line had date, Position, how many miles we had left of the total, position, temperature, and number of flying fish noted.
Daily Log Board
On every other yacht I’d sailed flying fish were thrown over the side. The ones who crashed harder were cursed for smearing the deck with their scales (a nightmare to scrub off once you were in port). Umineko was different. Once, I threw one over the side and Sato San gasped in horror. We can eat those!
I had never even considered it, but he explained to me he really wanted flying fish for breakfast the next day. Yup, you heard right. Breakfast. Sure, fish for breakfast may sound strange to Westerners. I was certainly surprised. But I am almost always up for trying new things. After all, why crew on a Japanese boat if you don’t want to expand your culinary expertise and horizons?
And there it was. Flying fish were on the menu. But making one type of fish dish is boring. I had to diversify. Soon it became a challenge. What different types of flying fish could I make?
After about a week of flying fish for breakfast Sato San was still gung-ho about the whole thing, but other crew members (whom shall remain nameless) were pleading for a Western breakfast. Flying fish are quite tasty prepared the right way, but no matter how many variations you make no matter how hard you try they don’t do very well in American-style pancakes.
You cruisers may have never thought about frying up your flying fish, but I highly recommend it. Fish you don’t even have to hook? Why not? The Umineko boys were all about the bigger the fish the better. I have a different take on things. The small ones take less work. Like a lot less.
When a flying fish gets to a certain size they grow scales and you can’t eat the bones. I’m not a huge fan of or expert at descaling and filleting fish. It’s even more annoying when there are a ton of flying fish to clean. But the captain liked them. I got pretty skilled at it, though I still was much happier when the little ones offered themselves up for our breakfast.
As they are a bit of a chore to clean maybe not cooking them every day they appear on the deck, but I definitely recommend giving them a try once or twice. As I mentioned, I tried quite a few takes on flying fish, but this was one of my favorite recipes.
Fair Winds Flying Fish Donburi
- Rice, cooked
- Pickled veggies (we use pickled daikon(takuan), kimchee, and whatever other pickles we have)
- Flying fish, cleaned
- 2 T butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T soy sauce
- 1 T mirin (you can substitute 1 T water and 2 t sugar)
- Heat butter in pan over medium heat
- Fry garlic for 1 minute
- Add flying fish, skin-side down and cook 2-3 minutes (depending on size)
- Flip fish and cook another minute
- Add soy sauce and mirin and cook one more minute
- Serve over rice with pickles
Pizza is a favorite among yachties and land-lovers around the world. Sure, if you are lazy you can bring store-bought crusts or pizza crust mixes (yeah, I didn’t know mixes existed either until one boat I crewed on had a stock of pizza dough mix.) but let’s face it. Making your own pizza always tastes a thousand times better. Cheese may be a commodity on long passages, but saving a bit for a pizza night once and a while can boost morale immeasurably.
This is my all-time favorite pizza dough recipe. Simple enough to make under way, it’s packed with flavor. Putting the Italian seasoning in the actual crust makes all the difference. It is leagues better than any pizza crust I’ve had in a pizzeria. I use this recipe for grissini, and all types of pizza from oven baked to the nautical stand-by pan-fried, and it works like a charm.
Passage Maker Pizza Dough
1 large pizza
- 1 ½ t of yeast
- 1 t sugar
- 2 T pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning
- 2 c flour
- ½ t salt
- ⅛ C olive oil
- ¾ c warm water
- Mix yeast in warm water and teaspoon sugar and allow to proof 10 minutes
- Mix dry ingredients together
- Make a hole in center and add water and olive oil
- mix in with spoon
- When too thick kneed with hands for 5 minutes
- Cover with damp towel
- Allow to rise 30 min
- Punch down and roll out into circle or rectangle with rolling pin or I like to use a wine bottle
- Cover with toppings
Sailing into Chichime Island, skirting shipwrecks and coral heads, was stunning. A lush palm forest ringed in transparent turquoise. I understood why backpackers paid upwards of $500 for a week squeezed into tourist boats like so many sardines to visit the famed San Blas Islands. A glimpse of this paradise was almost worth it.
Dozens of masts reached up to the sky greeting us as we sailed up to Chichime Island, San Blas. We were with the World ARC round-the-world rally, at least through the Panama canal. It wouldn’t be anything like sailing with the previous year’s WARC rally since we would just be with them for a few weeks. Still, both Sato San and I were more than a little nostalgic.
When the Rally Control, or WARC organizers, boat motored up to us in a little dinghy, we were delighted to see some of our old friends. To make it even better, we were in San Blas, Islands which I had been curious about ever since I heard about them years before when traveling through Colombia.
For a first breakfast in San Blas I had made one of my favorite omelets. Fish sausages are one of my favorite cruising foods. In reality they are really less of sausages and more like plastic-wrapped fish hot dogs. Actually that’s not quite fair as they are really tasty. The most exciting thing about them, and what makes them a wonderful cruising food is that they don’t need refrigeration. I’m really not sure how many preservatives are used in them, but they last for ages.
The fish sausages can be used in a lot of things, but one of my favorites is to make an omelet out of them.
Furling Fish Sausage Omelet
Serves 2-3 people
- Vegetable oil, to grease the pan
- 5 eggs
- ½ c milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Japanese fish sausage, sliced
- 2 slices cheese, halved
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- Whisk together milk, eggs, salt, and pepper
- Heat oiled large nonstick skillet over medium heat
- Sauté onion and pepper in small skillet, about 5 minutes
- Pour egg mixture into pan and cook until starting to solidify, 2-3 minutes
- Sprinkle onion mixture over half of the omelet (the less-cooked half if there is one)
- Arrange fish sausage over mixture
- Lay cheese slices on top
- Fold omelet over the filled side and cook another 2 minutes
- Serve and enjoy!
How do you store eggs at sea?
It’s the question I get asked the most.
You do not need to refrigerate eggs: The United States is the exception rather than the rule. Most countries don’t refrigerate eggs in the store. In nature the birds actually keep the eggs warm to incubate them. It would be counterproductive if the egg went bad before it could hatch, right?
Eggs have natural defenses against the bacteria that make eggs go off. By following a few simple rules you can keep your eggs for well over a month.
Buy unrefrigerated eggs: It can be difficult to find unrefrigerated eggs. Even at farmers markets eggs are often refrigerated on the way to be sold. Unfortunately once food has been refrigerated it doesn’t last as long if you take the temperature up. It is definitely possible to keep eggs that have been refrigerated at room temperature; they just will not last quite as long as ones that haven’t been.
Buy unwashed eggs: When the egg is laid it has a protective coating on it. This natural sealant prevents oxygen or bacteria from getting inside the shell which is what makes the egg go bad. Unwashed eggs may look a little dirty. Okay, some may look completely disgusting with dirt, bird poo, or other grossness on them. However, this is actually better. If you are really grossed out by it then you can wash the eggs yourself just before using them.
Buy the freshest eggs possible: Duh, right? Something that has been sitting on a shelf for weeks won’t last as long as something completely fresh. Grocery stores unfortunately are not the best place to find fresh eggs. That said, getting in touch with local farmers is almost impossible when you are cruising and unless you know the farmer you can’t be certain how fresh the eggs really are.
Vaseline: If you can’t find unwashed eggs (and let me tell you, it’s a challenge in the United States) then you need to simulate the protective coating. A very thin layer of Vaseline or petroleum jelly is cheap and works wonderfully. That said, you can use any type of sealant. I have heard coconut or vegetable oil works well too, but I think it might be a little thin.
The other problem with unwashed eggs is that they are probably from a privately owned farm. This is wonderful for the chickens, the taste of the eggs, and the freshness. However, these eggs will undoubtedly be more expensive and chances are it will be difficult to buy enough for a long passage.
Going through the eggs some of them will probably have compromised spots. Some might be cracked, others may have spider-web marks that indicate the shell may be weaker. Even if the egg is slightly cracked you do not need to throw it away. Just be sure to put them into a smaller container and use them within a day or two.
Flip the eggs: To prevent the yolk from settling and sticking to the shell it is important to turn the eggs every 2-3 days. You don’t have to turn each individual egg. Just flip the package. I am (horrors) keeping the eggs in the original cardboard container and just flipping that every few days. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m not sure what else to keep them in.
Freezing eggs: It is possible to freeze eggs if you have enough freezer space. I’m not a huge fan of this method. If the freezer lets the eggs unfreeze then they go bad in less than a week. In my experience even without complete thaw, the yolk runs into the white and the consistency changed.
But how should you store eggs at sea?
These are the best tried-and-true methods of keeping eggs “fresh” at sea. These aren’t hard and fast rules. By no means do you have to follow them all. What I generally do is to buy eggs in a grocery store use Vaseline and turn them every 3 days. In other countries I try to buy eggs at markets. Even when I buy unwashed eggs in foreign countries I coat them in Vaseline.
One boat I crewed on we didn’t bother to put Vaseline on the eggs and they went bad in a week! There is a reason rotten eggs have a bad reputation. It really is the worst smell in the world.
The last time I left the States, we bought 15 dozen eggs from Costco. Refrigerated, washed, and surely not the freshest eggs, time, price, and convenience were the main factors. Still coated in Vaseline and flipped every few days it was 5 weeks before any of them went off. Considering you can buy eggs in most places I don’t think I’ll need them to last much longer than that.
In a perfect world I would buy the freshest, unrefrigerated, unwashed eggs. But it is a balance. You may not have all the time in the world, unlimited amounts of money, or even a car. The bottom line is that you have to do what’s comfortable for you. Weigh how much time going to organic farms will take and how much it will cost vs the convenience factor. How much freezer space, time, money, and how much you like eggs. Whatever the case, keeping eggs for long passages at sea is more than possible.
Just remember, after about a month make sure to check your eggs often and throw bad ones away if there are any. Also be sure to crack each egg into a small bowl before transferring it to whatever you plan to use it in. You do not want to spoil an entire dish with one bad egg.
Somehow I am reminded of the old egg commercials. I can’t fight it any longer. I have to end this entry with their tag line: the incredible edible egg!
Do you want to cure a woman of ever wanting to go shopping again? Put her in charge of provisioning a boat for an off-shore adventure. That will cure the most die-hard shopaholic of her habit.
Years ago, at the start of my first long sailing trip, I couldn’t understand Lindsey’s, my crewmate, aversion to supermarkets, Walmarts, and Home Depots. I had joined the crew of the Leeway at the tail end of provisioning for our adventure. Lindsey, on the other hand had been shopping for weeks straight. Now I understand.
I loathe Provisioning. Not shopping for a little trip, or picking up a few things here and there. I’m talking about Provisioning. With a capital P. All-out shop-til-you literally want to drop. On one provisioning expedition in Malaysia I came out of the store with a receipt over 7’ long. I could hold it up as high as my arm could reach, stand on my tip toes and the paper still curled on the ground
Everywhere in the world has food! Why buy the entire store? Well, technically you don’t have to, but if you are heading to the Bahamas especially you might want to think about filling your galley to the point of bursting. Provisioning in many island nations can be prohibitively expensive. Not to mention the selection being extremely limited. I remember before Cocos (Keeling) Island cruisers were given a list of foods that could be shipped in to the island to buy. A head of lettuce was $25.
Of course you’ll want to pick up a few fresh fruits and veggies, and in some places local markets are wonderful for that. But if you’re on a budget you’ll want to keep what you need to buy to a minimum. Sure it’s entertaining going into Western supermarkets in Nassau to look at the small bags of lettuce “on sale” for $10, but groceries really are three times as expensive. When they’re available at all.
And so I gritted my teeth and went provisioning. I wrote a post on couchsurfing, asking if anyone had a costco card and would help me with provisioning. Costco might not be my first choice for everyday shopping, but when you are buying supplies for months in advance it’s a good way to go. wonderful gentleman Don offered to take me.
I felt a little bad but he assured me that he realized what he was in for. After 3 ½ hours of shopping at costco and 2 carts filled to brimming, we headed to get some additional supplies at Publix, another grocery for 2 more carts. Did I mention the day-trip to the Asian supermarket? Yeah.
The one good thing about provisioning is that you do want to get rid of the tail ends you have left over, so the night before I threw together a blue-cheese beet pasta. We had some blue cheese that needed to be used up and a few beets and the resulting pasta turned out fantastically.
with Bleu Cheese Beet Sauce
- 3 oz blue cheese
- ¼ c walnuts, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- 4 beets, cubed
- ½ c cream
- 1 c milk
- 1 c yachting yogurt
- 1 T corn starch
- 1 t butter
Cook beets 15 min in pressure cooker
Boil penne in water with a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking (I like to use a mixture of ½ fresh water and ½ salt water at sea)
Fry onions in butter until translucent
Stir in walnuts, cream, yogurt, milk
Cook for another 2 minutes on low heat
Put penne and sauce back in pot and mix thoroughly
Serve with a few whole walnuts to garnish
What trip to the South would be complete without making good old-fashioned cornbread? Well, cornbread is good, but let’s be honest, it’s all in the packaging. Corn muffins are better. Especially in terms of cruising food – easy to pick up, no knives are involved etc, and take less time to bake. And who doesn’t like an individual little muffin for oneself?
Corn meal is an interesting ingredient; it differs widely around the world both in name and accessibility. In America, almost every grocery store in North and South America carries it. In parts of South America and the Caribbean you actually have to search for wheat flour (it’s called harina de trigo) because corn meal is the norm. But in Australia it is extremely difficult to find. I searched in grocery stores all along the Eastern Coast, from Brisbane to Darwin, and found one box of cornbread mix.
But be very careful. Most grocery stores I stopped in did carry corn flour. (which I mistakenly bought) Corn flour is actually what is known in the United States as corn starch. So if you are sailing to Australia and like corn bread try to bring a few bags of cornmeal along.
This is the cornbread recipe I’ve been using for ages. I haven’t tried it with egg replacer yet, but I’m sure it will be fine.
Cabin Boy Corn Muffins
- 3/4 c cornmeal
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ 2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Heat the oven to 350º (170º C or medium)
- Mix dry ingredients together
- Stir in wet ingredients until just mixed (there should be a few lumps in the batter)
- Pour batter into the greased pan.
- Bake 20 minutes or until the tops are brushed with golden brown
- Serve hot*
*There are a lot of things that are just as good or even better cold but corn bread or muffins just isn’t one of them. I like a little butter on my cornbread or muffins. A smidge of honey isn’t bad either.