Archive of ‘Lunch’ category
The grey, rainy, miserable Bahamian weather lifted like a curtain to reveal some of the most gorgeous waters in the world. The shades of azure, aquamarine, and turquoise put gemstones to shame. This was the Bahamas I’d been hearing about.
The balmy mid-80s weather with a gentle 10-knot breeze was ideal for sailing to Allan’s Cay, just a few miles away. We anchored off of the island and peered through our binoculars. One solitary iguana was standing sentinel on a rock. Still, it was a wild iguana. Exciting! More were certainly in the tangled undergrowth further along the island.
As the morning progressed more and more iguanas filed to the beach, some scampering faster than I knew iguanas could move. Was this just the ideal beach for sunning yourself?
We dropped our tender and were getting ready to climb in the dinghy when a large white motorboat zoomed up just 10 feet from the island and dropped anchor. With “Powerboat Adventures” painted in large letters along the side, the boat was filled to bursting with raucous tourists.
The iguanas streamed to the tourists in droves. These “wild” animals were well-trained. They knew when the “Powerboat Adventures” tour brought breakfast. We pulled up to the shore and watched the melee. The prehistoric throwbacks dove for grapes and eyed fingers hopefully, their tongues darting forth in what I’d say was licking their lips if I didn’t know better. One creature actually jumped up on its hind legs to get a grape on a stick.
I didn’t have anything so luxurious as grapes to feed the reptiles. Just some orange peel we were saving for them and the swimming pigs. I didn’t think it would matter. After all, the creatures lived on a desert island, how picky could they be? I was wrong. After the grape extravaganza some actually turned their noses up at the bits of orange peel. Luckily not all of the lizards were so persnickety.
When the tourists got into the boat and pulled up anchor that was the signal. The droves of iguanas scattered until only a few remained sunning themselves on the beach. Cruisers were clearly not nearly as interesting (and by interesting I mean generous) as tourists with their ropes of grapes.
I wanted to try something a little different. I had been curious about farro for quite a while. Different grains add so much to a meal and a hot day was perfect to experiment with this classically Italian grain. Before we headed to the beach I cooked some farro to get a head start on lunch and let the grain cool while we fraternized with iguanas.
After making the nutty, chewy grain I’m sorry that we don’t have more on board. It’s delicious! I highly recommend trying it.
Fair Winds Farro
- 1 c farro
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ t oregano
- ½ t rosemary
- 1 t salt
- 2 t lemon juice
- 1 T capers
- Boil farro in 2 c water for about 20 minutes or until tender but still firm and chewy
- Drain and set aside
- Sauté onion in olive oil in skillet until translucent, about 3 minutes
- Add spices, tomatoes, lemon juice, and capers.
- Cook over medium-low heat for another 5 minutes.
- Mix into farro
- Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold in the next few days
There was a face-off. Me vs. the two eggplants we had gotten in Charleston. It had been weeks. One of them was half-brown, and the second was certainly soon to follow. They needed cooking.
Now eggplant has never been my favorite vegetable, or I guess fruit if you want to get technical. I like it in things. Eggplant parmesan where the stuff is disguised in breadcrumbs and nicely fried, sure; I generally prefer baba ganoush to hummus too. But both of those required items we didn’t have on the boat.
Oh, I may have forgotten to mention the 3 red and yellow bell peppers that were in need of a tasty dish.
Rain was pouring down the make-shift tarp shelter protecting the cockpit. We were on a mooring ball right by Saint Augustine, Florida. The oldest, and possibly most touristic town in America and we weren’t moving off the boat. I glowered at the rain. Okay, so we were on the boat all day and not going anywhere. That meant projects.
One project I had been wanting to do was to learn how to cook with a pressure cooker. Sato San had bought an Indian pressure cooker in Mauritius but it was stowed in the very back of the cupboard underneath the oven.
Other yachties raved about their pressure cookers saving time and propane but I had yet to try cooking with one.
Now using a new kitchen toy can be fun or it can be intimidating. I must admit, I was a little intimidated by the pressure cooker. If you used one wrong it could explode, burn you with steam, or all sorts of scary things. Apparently they were all the rage in the 50s and 60s until microwaves wooed people away with an even faster, easier way of cooking.
I read the manual and thankfully it was a newer version and had a weight on top that
regulated pressure and let steam out so there was (thankfully) no danger of the thing exploding. Still, I wanted a little help my first time using the thing.
As it was an Indian pressure cooker and we had eggplant to use the only thing to make was baingan bharta. I googled baingan bharta and pressure cooker and found a wonderful recipe blog site called “Honey What’s Cooking” with a recipe for Baingan Bharta that used a pressure cooker.
I’m sure her recipe is fabulous but I can never leave well enough alone, not to mention I had quite a few bell peppers to use up so this is my take her recipe.
- 2 medium-small eggplants (about 1 lb)
- 3 red and yellow bell peppers
- 1 large onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 T oil
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 1 t freshly grated ginger
- 1 t Paprika
- 1 t ground cumin
- 2 t garam masala
- 2 t salt or to taste
- 1 t black pepper
- Juice from 1 lime
- Peel the eggplants, cut in half, and place in pressure cooker – cook for 20 minutes
- Cover halfway with water and start cooking (seriously read the directions on your pressure cooker first)
- Place oil in large saucepan and cook onions for 3 minutes on medium-high
- Put bell peppers, paprika spice, cumin, garam masala, salt, and black pepper, cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
- Add tomatoes and lime juice, cook another 5 minutes stirring occasionally
- Cover and cook for another 20 minutes stirring occasionally
- Drain eggplant (it should be cooked to the point it’s falling apart) and mash/stir into eggplant pepper mixture
- Cover and cook for another 20 minutes stirring occasionally
- Allow to cool. Baingan Bharta can be refrigerated and served for days (if it lasts that long) and the flavors only improve
In case you were wondering my first time using a pressure cooker was a great success. The three of us at all of the baingan bharta.
Branches scraped the side of Umineko’s hull as we motored down the narrow, winding canal. There was a line of boats inching along the ICW single file. How on earth boats passed one another when someone decided to go against the flow of traffic and head north for the winter was beyond me.
It was a completely different world from the well-manicured, wide Erie Canal. We had chosen to take the scenic Dismal Swamp route. A windy route fringed with lush foliage unlike anything we had seen along the Erie. The blue herons that followed us along the Erie Canal had become white water birds. Even the water was different; the peat growing in the water had dyed it a rusty shade that came up in our toilet bowls.
That morning we had been sure we could make it through two locks and to Elizabeth City but the languid pace that the bridges tenders and the first lock master operated on made us realize that there was no way we could make it even half that far. The second lock had its last opening at 2:30. No way could we make it there. Especially if we were stopping at the North Carolina welcome center.
And so we tied up at the North Carolina welcome center for lunch and ended up staying the night with a myriad of other boats all heading south for the winter. It was a short wall, but we all managed to squeeze in. 3 boats from Vermont rafted up (one boat ties up to the wall and the next boat ties up to the side of the boat, and so on) to one another in front of us. A lovely French Canadian couple rafted up to the side of Umineko, and a third boat rafted up to them.
Luckily no boats travel on the ICW at night because we certainly blocked even this wide part of the canal.
After a long day on the canal I decided to make something simple quick and tasty.
Everyone thinks of Japanese food as complicated and extremely involved. Some of it certainly is but I’m finding out that a surprising amount is unbelievably simple. Simple and delicious. You may have to pick up some katsuo dashi (stock) but it’s a great thing to have around. It is basically bonito soup stock. Flavorful and delicious, you can use it in a ton of quick, easy recipes that are ideal for galleys.
Ginger Chicken Udon
- 300 grams udon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 t ginger
- 1 t pepper
- ½ t 7 chili
- 2 T soy
- ½ c orange juice
- 1T butter
- ½ carrot julienned
- ¼ c onions chopped
- 1 can of chicken chunks (or one 6-oz package ginger chicken chunks)
- ¼ c katsuo stock
- Scallions for garnish
- Boil udon (about 8 minutes)
- While cooking udon:
- Fry garlic and onion in 2 t vegetable oil for about 2 minutes in medium skillet
- Add carrots and ginger and cook another 2 minutes
- Stir in butter until melted
- Pour in orange juice and soy sauce and cook stirring another minute
- Add seasonings (7 chili and pepper)
- Finally add chicken and simmer for 2 minutes
- Mix sauce and udon together and pour katsuo stock over mixture
- Serve and enjoy!
As we started down the ICW, or intracostal waterway, I marveled at the differences between South and North. Heading into the Southern United States was like stepping into another country. The shift in scenery was just the start. The weather is warmer, mosquitoes were still active in mid-October, but more than that it was the pace of things. Where workers had been on-point along the Erie Canal, filling or draining locks in minutes, things seemed to take eons along the ICW. Admittedly it was lovely eons, but eons none-the-less.
Umineko wanted to take “the Ditch” to see a little more of the United States. None of us had seen this part of America. A relaxed sail, guidebooks put it and that was an understatement. Bridges and locks might open 4 times a day, the last opening at 2:30pm. We made it 20-miles the first day. The narrow North Carolina channel had room for yachts to go in single file, branches sometimes scraping Umineko’s sides.
This lovely setting and warmer temperature made me want to prepare a beautiful salad for lunch. Naturally I thought of one of the prettiest grains I know: rainbow quinoa.
Extremely nutrient and protein-rich quinoa is a wonderful addition to your cruising grainsQuinoa has a marvelous uniquely chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. It can definitely hold its own in any dish and doesn’t need to be coaxed into tastiness with over-seasoning. Not only is it yummy hot, but it’s fabulous as a cold lunch-time salad or side dish. . If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend picking a bag up. It’s at any health-food store, often in bulk, and is increasingly available in regular grocery stores as well.
Tri-Colored Chive Cherry Quay Quinoa
- 1 c quinoa
- 2 c water
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T lemon juice
- 2 T white balsamic vinegar
- ¼ c Dried cherries, chopped
- ¼ c chives
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook Quinoa 10 minutes in water, in covered pot. Steam for an additional 5 minutes
- Move to mixing bowl
- Stir in olive oil, lemon juice vinegar, and seasonings
- Stir in chives and cherries
It’s also delicious the next day eaten cold
That’ll happen when pigs… swim?
That’s right, we made a pilgrimage to see the Big Major Spot in the Exuma Islands famous swimming pigs. They were Sato San’s #1 reason for coming to the Bahamas. After all, where else in the world can you see pigs take to the water? (Don’t worry, I’d never heard of them either before Sato San told me about them)
Before we had even dropped anchor three large hairy brown pigs with black spots were already paddling through the swimming pool blue water out to the boat. We had been fastidiously saving our organic waste, orange peels, wilted cabbage and that sort of thing for what we thought would be treats for these swimming garbage disposals.
We tossed some old papaya and cabbage leaves in the pigs’ direction. They stroked over to see what treats we were throwing them, their noses bent up out of the water like natural snorkels. To our shock, after a brief glance the pigs turned away from our offerings and started piggy-paddling over to the cruiser couple dinghying up. They wanted nothing to do with fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Get the bread!” Sato San cried: one pig still remained at the boat.
“You want to feed them my bread?!” I cried, appalled. I had baked two fresh loaves of bread that morning. I was loathe to sacrifice one to pigs, but if that was what worked. Heartlessly, I hacked into the fluffy loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, still warm from the oven, and brought a slab to the pig.
Tearing off a hunk, I threw it to the bristled boar (or possibly sow, I just like the alliteration). The vegetables may have not been tasty enough, but the swimming boar certainly slurped up the bread bits with gusto. After the slab was gone the pig paddled over to the other boaters in the dinghy nearby.
These were clearly a different breed than normal pigs. More than simply discriminating, the animals looked different from what I think of normal farm pigs. They were covered with a thick layer of coarse tan hair with black spots. Maybe they just had great tans or this environment wasn’t suited for pink pigs.
None of us had gotten our fill of pigs so we broke out the paddle-board. One slab of bead in my mouth I paddled over to the pigs and the dinghy. My ploy worked and I lured two pigs over. I was slightly nervous when they bumped into my board a few times but then I started throwing the bread further away from me. I would throw it to the pigs and it would land just out of the poor dear’s reach. Though the pig could swim, he still was about as aerodynamic as a brick and had to paddle an entire 360◦ circle before finally claiming the prize
Schools and schools of large (tasty-looking) fish had been gathering in the meantime. Soon it was a race to see who could snap up the bread the fastest. More often than not it was the fish. My forlorn little piggy friend swam up to the side of the paddle board, leaned his head back and opened his mouth for me to lob the bread in.
The whole clan of pigs was gathering on the beach to watch the action. The three we had met has apparently merely been the pig vanguard. More and more pigs joined the fun, some young spotted piglets who couldn’t have been more than a couple months old at most, and then several of the cutest tiny pink babies, no bigger than a small Chihuahua.
Sato San took the paddle board intent on luring the babies into the water and back to the boat. I’m pretty sure he was thinking of taking one with us for dinner. They’d made me promise to cook bacon for lunch after all.
That was it; the day was hot, the delphinium blue water beaconed. I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped in the water and swam to the beach to play with (and rescue) the piglets. The adorable little ones hadn’t quite taken the plunge, but they knew what humans were for and pushed their little snouts into my hand looking for food. I scratched a few behind the ears and watched the sows burrow down to make themselves beds in the cooler sand. I laughed as little pink baby buried his head all the way up to his shoulders digging.
It’s interesting; the characters for dolphin in Japanese are for “sea pig.” These sea pigs aren’t quite as graceful as dolphins, but they certainly are entertaining. True to my word I made traditional (bacon) yaki soba for lunch and the boys ate it while we watched the young pigs frolic in the waves.
Swimming Pig Yaki Soba
- 4 slices bacon each slice cut into 3
- 1 ½ c Cabbage sliced (about ½ ’ by 2’’)
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 pks ramen (1 pk per person)
- Yaki soba powder (1 pk per person)
- Fish powder
- Bonito flakes
- Aonori powder (seaweed powder)
- Shredded red ginger
- Boil ramen noodles for 2 minutes… not entirely done (1 pack per person)
- Drain noodles
- Slice cabbage into ½” in by 2” strips
- Put bacon in medium-sized skillet over medium heat
- Cook until crispy
- Add cabbage and cook stirring constantly until cabbage darker green, about 3 min
- Add ramen noodles to cabbage seafood mixture and stir until well-mixed
- Stir in yaki soba powder and fish powder until completely mixed
- Mix in spring onion
- Top with ginger, bonito flakes, and aonori powder
- Enjoy! (preferably not watching piglets romp in the surf)
If anything can keep you alert through the wee hours of morning when you’re on watch it’s a shot of wasabi. And how better than to get wasabi into a scrumptious and easy spread than to mix it with cream cheese? It gives a sandwich, crackers, or whatever you put it on, a whole new dimension. And for those of you not as excited about spicy food, the cream cheese tones down the bite of the wasabi.
Wasabi and cream cheese might not be the first combination that comes to mind. Oh sure, there’s wasabi mayonnaise, some sushi uses cream cheese, you put wasabi on the sushi, but wasabi cream cheese? The first time I tried horseradish cream cheese was at Russ and Daughters bagel shop in New York, my all-time favorite deli. Their masterful creation the “Super Heebster” has wasabi roe, horseradish cream cheese, and not one but two tasty fish spreads. From the second I bit into their bagel I was hooked. Now I can’t recreate wasabi roe. I think you have to force feed fish a steady diet of wasabi for that to happen. So I may not be able to have Russ and Daughters anywhere in the world, but I’ve found a pretty tasty alternative. Here is my nautical take on the “Super Heebster.”
On Watch Wasabi Bagels
- 8 oz lox
- 4 bagels
- Wasabi cream cheese spread
Wasabi cream cheese spread
- 2 T wasabi (if you aren’t a fan of spicy then you can just use 1 T of Wasabi)
- ½ c cream cheese
- ½ red onion finely chopped
Mix the wasabi, cream cheese, and red onion together and voila! Brilliance. It is better the second day.
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
For some reason over the years crepes have gotten the reputation for being difficult to make. Creperies sell the thin pancakes for exorbitant amounts of money for this unbelievably simple dish.
This quick and easy dish takes the bare minimum of ingredients and can be whipped up in no time so is ideal cruising food. Though not really much on their own, you can use the crepes to create sweet dishes or savory ones. They can also be made a couple of days in advance, or if you make too many simply cover them with a moist paper and they will keep beautifully.
- 2 c flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups water (or milk)
- Pinch salt
- Pinch sugar
- A little oil for greasing the pan.
- Pour flour into a large mixing bowl
- Whisk in water (or milk but water actually works better for a thinner batter and thinner crepes)
- When semi-mixed add eggs (egg replacer will not work for crepes), salt, and sugar
- Beat until smooth consistency (no more lumps) If you have a food processor on board that’s the easiest way.
- Heat lightly-oiled skillet over Medium-high heat
- Ladle about 1 ladle-full of batter into skillet
- With one had hold the skillet handle, tilting until surface thinly covered with batter
- When crepe edges lift up slightly, 1-1 ½ minutes, flip the crepe
- Cook an additional 30 seconds-1 min