Archive of ‘Side dish’ category

Blue Water Bonito Sashimi

Sally and bonito 300x225 Blue Water Bonito SashimiYou’re crewing on a Japanese-owned boat?  You much catch a ton of fish!

Well, not so much.  Not a one in the Bahamas.  We did catch a ton of barracuda in Cuba, but we’d thrown all of them back.  It may have been open water but we had absolutely no desire to mess with ciguatera,  the fish-borne illness  that’s featured in various places on the spectrum from  wish-you-were-dead to actually deadly.  We had caught a king fish and a few little things in harbors, but fish seemed to be keeping clear of Umineko.

 

 

 

Toshi cleaning bonito 300x224 Blue Water Bonito Sashimi

Toshi San cleaning bonito

But our luck seemed to be changing on our long passage.  We caught our first big(ish) fish.  And a tasty one too, a bonito, and perfect for a Japanese boat.  Japanese cooking uses bonito, or katsuo, flakes and stock in a whole lot of their dishes.  I just had never tasted a fresh one.

When Toshi San, our resident fish expert, deftly cleaned our catch I found out the 10 pound catch had red meat.  I’m not sure why I’d been expecting it to have white, but the dark red meat looked good.  For this catch we had a real Japanese feast, curtsey of  Toshi San, or as I like to call him, my sakane sensai (fish sensai).

 

 

 

xbonito meat 300x224 Blue Water Bonito SashimiHe showed me how to trim all of the edges off of the fillets, leaving only the “beautiful” meat, for sashimi and chirashi sushi.  We waste all of the scraps?  I asked him, horrified.   Not at all, he replied, putting them in a small pan.

He chopped up some fresh ginger and arranged it over the fish.  Then he poured a little mirin, a little soy sauce, a few spoonfuls of sugar, and enough water to cover the fish.

“I’ve been cooking fish since I was a child,”  he told me.  I never measure anything.  I don’t have to!”

 

 

xbonito 300x224 Blue Water Bonito SashimiThe dish was delicious but as I’m still not up to judging how much of what goes in I won’t put the recipe up.  I’ll just have to experiment a bit more.

For the “beautiful dishes,” we made easy sushi rice, cooking the rice, folding in a sushi powder packet, and then training a fan on it:  The modern take on hand-fanned sushi.

Then we thickly sliced the most beautiful fish rolls, each piece about 1” thick.  He explained to me that dark meat was generally sliced more thickly in Japan.

 

 

 

xeasy sushi rice 300x224 Blue Water Bonito SashimiHe sliced the meat and arranged the pieces one after the other in elegant lines on a plate.  Each one fit together perfectly.  Next he chopped 3 cloves  of garlic and spread it over the bonito.  Finally he sprinkled finely chopped spring onions over the top, wrapped it in plastic film, and refrigerated it until dinner time.

I was in charge of arranging the toppings for the chirashi sushi.  With the three dishes we had a glorious bonito feast that day.

 

 

 

Blue Water Bonito Sashimi

sashimi bonito 300x224 Blue Water Bonito Sashimi

Blue Water Bonito Sushi

Ingredients:

  • Bonito
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • Spring onion

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

  • xchirishi sushi 300x224 Blue Water Bonito Sashimi

    Bonito Chirashi Sushi

    Slice bonito in 1” slices and arrange on plate

  • Cover with chopped garlic
  • Sprinkle with spring onion
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 4 hours
  • Serve with wasabi, pickled ginger, and rice, or as a starter for a meal

Falling Off Flying Squid

A flight of something thwacked into our path as we were dinghying across the Bahamian waters.

“What do you think that was?” the captain asked me.

“Flying fish,” I replied.  What else could it be?

“Calamari!” the captain replied, grinning and holding up a small squid.

flying squid 300x224 Falling Off Flying SquidI had never even heard of flying squid before a sail around the Bahamas several years prior, or since.  Until the passage from Panama, that is.  The first day after we passed the Galapagos flying fish started appearing on our trampoline.  Gifts from the sea gods, of course.  The first day there were a few flying fish and one little squid.

Cook them for breakfast, Sato San urged.  The flying fish were alright, but the squid was scrumptious.

“There’ll be 10 squid this morning,”  I said to Toshi San on watch that night.  I didn’t really believe it, but to my delight there was a flock of flying squid on the trampoline as the sun came up.  Not quite 10, but enough for a tasty snack.

That morning for breakfast I served them as a side dish to our usual rice breakfast.  They were delectable, perfectly done.  And what a wonderful addition of fresh food to the provisions!  Unlike catching monstrous tuna or mahi mahi you aren’t eating it for weeks either.

We didn’t have as many flying squid gifts on the trampoline, but they really are delicious.  I highly recommend frying them up if you find them on your deck or trampoline on passage.  You do have to take out the little plastic-y tube

Falling off Flying Squid

Ingredients:

  • fryingflyingsquid 300x224 Falling Off Flying Squid½ lb squid, about 10
  • 2 T soy
  • 1 T cooking sake
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T butter

 

Directions

  • flying squiddone 300x224 Falling Off Flying SquidClean the squid, they always have a little plastic-y tube inside but they are usually small enough not to have a beak or anything else that needs removal.  Place in small bowl
  • Sprinkle cooking sake over squid (it removes any possible odor)
  • In small frying pan heat butter over medium heat
  • Fry garlic 1-2 minutes
  • Add soy
  • Cook squid 30 seconds on each side, they will plump up a little bit and translucent flesh will turn opaque
  • Put over rice
  • Enjoy!

If you’re going to keep the squid until lunch you might want to refrigerate it.

 

 

Captain’s Kombu Kale

I cried when we left Cuba.  I had to!  Well, if I wanted to leave, that is.

DSCN0932 Captains Kombu  Kale

Half-sunken ship in Cien Fuegos marina

Immigration always makes me nervous, no matter how many times I cross a border I invariably tense when dealing with the shifty border officials.  You never know what hoops they will make the foreigner jump through or what taxes, bribes, or fines they will expect you to pay.  Or if they are just in a bad mood or are bored what power trip they will try and pull.  Crossing the border from Zimbabwe to South Africa the South African border guards made us wait 24-hours and then threatened to make our bus wait another 24-hours before they would let us in the country.  Border guards have absolute power and you know what they say about absolute power.

Now I understand entry formalities, countries don’t want bugs coming in on foreign food.  They need to make sure no one is bringing drugs, weapons, or anything from a long list of banned items that a country might quarantine.  But exiting is usually a breeze.  Especially in a yacht.  The United States, the Bahamas, and many other countries don’t even need you to get an exit stamp!  Cuba on the other hand is quite different.

It was raining our departure day.  A miserable drizzle that soaked everything.   It had been interesting to visit Cuba but I was more than ready to get on to Panama.  The longer we were there the more I realized it:  Cuba is decidedly not a country for cruisers.  At least not cruisers who don’t like getting stuck in red tape.

We finished a last-minute provisioning before heading out and waited for the dock master to check us out.

He showed up right on time, he brought a massive entourage with him.  I gaped as a formidable gentleman, clearly in charge, two women, and a man with a large German shepherd in tow, all filed onto Umineko.  Suddenly the spacious saloon seemed cramped.

The dock master explained to us in his limited English, that the gentleman with an air of authority was the customs officer.  He needed to check our boat to see if we were taking anything out of the country that we shouldn’t.

head of immigration 300x225 Captains Kombu  Kale

head of immigration in Varadero

What not to take leaving  the country?  I was confused.  I was more baffled when the dog was led on a once-over of the boat.  Looking for drugs, the dock master explained.  Apparently Cuba wants to keep their drugs within the borders.

The customs stepped up next.   Peering at me over his bushy grey moustache.  When he asked if we had anyone on board who hadn’t been on board when we had arrived I understood.  He was checking for stow-aways or people trying to escape.

No, I told him, just us.

Had we bought any Tobacco during our stay?  He asked next.

No, I told him… my heart raced.  I didn’t have a receipt for the expensive cigars I had gotten.

Had we bought any art?

Art?  Well, I couldn’t really lie about that given one of my fellow crew members had the numerous paintings he had bought hanging all over his room to prevent the fresh paint from sticking.

I led him around the boat him looking in every cabinet, nook and cranny for anything we shouldn’t be taking out of the country.  Then he got to Mori San’s berth, practically wallpapered with paintings he had bought on the streets of Havana.

The officer told me he needed to see the receipt.   A game of telephone-translation between Mori San who only spoke Japanese and the officer who was limited to Spanish ensued.  We didn’t have receipts because the paintings had been bought on the street.

DSCN9742 300x225 Captains Kombu  Kale

Hanging paintings covered in garbage bags

The officer was not pleased with that answer.  We couldn’t take the paintings out of the country without the receipts, he insisted.  At once it made sense.  Cuba was a communist country:  the artwork the painter produces doesn’t belong to the painter.  It belongs to the government.  Buying a painting directly from the painter was essentially stealing from the government.   But how could I explain that?

The officer was getting annoyed with me, the crew and captain were frustrated with me.  I continued showing the officer the Port hull, apologizing and allowing myself get increasingly upset.  By the time we reached my berth, tears were welling up in my eyes.

He sat me down on my bed and explained to me that he knew it wasn’t my fault.  He would let it go.  This once.  But he could get in a lot of trouble for what he was doing.

I don’t know if he wanted a bribe.  After he told me that we could go I did my best not to look at him.  I never found out why the women were there, nor did I want to ask anything.  I just wanted to leave before they found an excuse to keep us.

After the unexpected exit stress I was all for cooking a simple dinner.  One of my favorite cruising vegetables is kale.  It lasts weeks and weeks without showing its age, and doesn’t bruise or squish easily either.  Better yet it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals.  Some people like to eat it raw but I’m not quite so hardcore.  I prefer to steam it.

But steamed kale can be a little boring.  Just little splash of kombu soup stock can transform it into one of the most delicious things imaginable.

Kombu dashi is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking.  It is a soup stock made out of seaweed.  Though it is generally sold as powder, you can also buy it in little bottles.  Powdered dashi is great to throw in miso soup, or other recipes.  However, I really do like bottled kombu soup stock better especially when using as the main flavor in a dish.

 

Captain’s Kombu Kale

kombu kale 300x225 Captains Kombu  KaleIngredients:

  • 4 c chopped kale leaves, stems removed
  • ¼ c kombu soup stock

 

Directions:

  • Chop leaves  into bite-sized portions.
  • Cook large pot with  ½” of water at the bottom
  • Drain and toss with kombu soup stock

Latin Landfall Salad

What is the most famous band from Cuba?” Sato San asked me over lunch.

It was our first day in the country and we were exploring Varadero.  So far the famous beach town had offered little but street vendors and tourist traps.  Even the locals had told us emphatically that this was decidedly not Cuba.  We had found the least touristic-looking restaurant we could and had a meager lunch of bean soup, rice, and fried fish.  Sustenance, not much more than that.

“Buena Vista Social Club,” I answered without hesitation.  I had seen Ibrahim Ferrer, one of their original members, almost a decade earlier in Slovakia and was eager to see the entire band.  More than a band Buena Vista was a phenomenon, I tried to explain to my captain.  They were amazing.  They had won international music awards, there was a film about them… Yes, they were definitely the most famous Cuban band.

x buena vista 1 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

After lunch we wandered back down the main strip and stopped in a dance studio on the way.  One of Sato San’s main reasons for stopping by Cuba was to learn salsa after all.  A slim woman sat behind a podium-like desk to the left of the entrance, her hair pulled back in an elegant bun.  She was clearly a dancer.

x buena vista dancers 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

There was a concert tonight that dancers from her studio were performing at.  Buena Vista Social Club was playing with another salsa group at the open-air concert hall.  Tickets were $5 CUC if we bought them at the dance studio but $10 CUC at the door.

It was at the other end of the island from Gaviotta Marina, where we were staying but buses ran late that night because of the concert…

x buena vista venue 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

She had me at Buena Vista Social Club.  Getting to see them in Cuba?  On our first day?!  I couldn’t believe my luck.

After dinner we caught the bus to where the woman had said the concert hall was.  It was the same double-decker bus we had taken downtown that morning.  I confirmed with the driver that it really was running late that night.  To my relief it was.

The streets of Varadero were uncannily dark as the bus rolled past.  Some of the restaurants and bars had patrons in them, but not a streetlamp nor shop light was turned on.  This didn’t seem like the Cuba I  had heard so much about with its vibrant night life.  Was there a power outage?

x buena vista screen 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

We arrived at the concert hall at 9:00.  Right on time, or at least when the concert was supposed to start. We had to wait 20 minutes for the beautiful sheet-music metal gates to open.  The box office wasn’t even open yet for Mori San and Taira San to buy their tickets!  Cuban runs on the same time as most of Latin America.

The concert was more of a welcome to tourists and visitors to Cuba.  Buena Vista Social Club preforms several times a week in Varadero but this was the season opening.  Umineko’s crew sat in the second row of folding chairs sipped our $2 CUC mojitos, one of my favorite classic Cuban drinks, and watched welcome speeches given in Spanish, French, Russian, and English.  Then came the fireworks kicking off the start of a new season.

x dancers 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

Professional dancers, representing the dance school put on a show, followed by buxom women in feathered costumes I am pretty sure were strung together with red dental floss filing through the crowd and dancing with men in less-risqué costumes .  The rest of Umineko was far more enthusiastic about the latter than I.

By the time the first strains of Buena Vista’s set started the venue was packed and we were on about our third mojito.  The energy crackled as the dancers came alive with their fiery quick-footed salsa steps.

Whirling and spinning their bodies moved in perfect time to the spicy, sultry strains of music to stir the soul and show the essence of Cuban culture.  The new incarnation of Buena Vista is as talented and dedicated as the great musicians who came before them.  Trumpet solos to break your heart and move the feet.  You can’t not smile when listening to the salsa-y strains of Cuban music.

We took a taxi back to the marina our spirits high.  Everyone had told us that Varadero wasn’t really Cuba, but this had been a more perfect welcome to Cuba than I could have imagined.  If this was the country I had heard so much about I couldn’t wait to see more of the art-music-filled country.

I gave the dinner that night a Latin twist: quesadillas and Latin Landfall Salad.   We hadn’t gone provisioning yet and didn’t have many fresh vegetables left.  This salad is fantastic for long passages because most of the ingredients are long-lasting or can be used out of a can.  Not to mention that it’s extremely simple to throw together and tasty as well.  You technically don’t need to use an avocado but it’s a lot better if you have one on hand.

  x latin landfall salad2 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

Latin Landfall Salad

(Black bean, corn, avocado, tomato salad)

 

Ingredients:

2 c (1 can) corn

2 c (1 can) black beans

2 c cabbage

1 c onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice from 2 limes

¼ c salsa

1 t salt

1 t pepper

x how to cut an avocado 300x225 Latin Landfall Salad

Directions:

Mix all ingredients (except avocado) in large bowl

Gently stir in avocado

Enjoy as side dish or main course

Sextant Seafood cous cous

x seafood cous cous 2 Sextant Seafood cous cous

He sat at the mouth of his cave, a king presiding over his royal court.  There was no question this lobster was the ruler of this coral reef.  He knew it too.  The monstrous coruscation must have been over a meter long.  Living in prime real estate, the “sea aquarium” that was the Exhuma Cays Land and Sea park’s pride and joy he knew that no one could touch him.

x king lobster Sextant Seafood cous cous

The sea park reef was nice snorkeling, but not quite as spectacular as we had been led to believe.  A half hour was really enough time before we were ready to move on to the land portion of the park.  We sailed the short distance to the small island in a few hours and were greeted with an enormous whale skeleton.  The whale had died from plastic bags and pollution in the crystal clear waters and stood as a warning.

Curly-tailed lizards scampered along the pathway up to the gift shop, run by a volunteer US ex-pat.  He regaled us with tales of how the most disastrous shipwreck of Dominican refugees to date had just happened a few weeks earlier.  I was reminded of Christmas Island and the refugee problem there.  The Bahamas weren’t nearly as well-organized as Australia.  No one was sure the exact number but certainly hundreds of Dominican refugees had died in this accident and it was just one of many this year alone.

x curly tailed lizard Sextant Seafood cous cous

The volunteer ranger knew everything about the island and told us about some of the interesting hikes. We walked along the shore as several feet of sand gave way to the porous stone characteristic of the Bahamas.  We wanted to find the cairn of boat signs.  Umineko had put one up in Cocos Keeling and we naturally had to leave one here.  Sato San had made it specially!

We hiked through an array of landscape, mangroves, sandy beach, rocky outcroppings.  The island was more diverse than anything I had seen in the Bahamas.  Pushing stunted trees and vegetation out of our way we reached the top of a hill.  There were several holes in the porous rocks marked “blow hole.”  Air shot up through the vent startling us the first time.  Then Sato San had me stand over it and practice my Marilyn Monroe impression.

The enormous pile of wooden boat plaques at the top of the hill overlooking the boats was massive.  Yachts of every nationality had marked their visit with signs commemorating their visit to the Bahamas.  We fixed our Umineko sign to one end of the landmark.  We were here.

Seafood was in order that evening but I didn’t have any desire to make anything too terribly complicated or time-consuming.  Seafood cous cous sounded perfect.

Cous cous is the perfect food for a boat.  Fast, easy, it cooks quickly and uses very little water.  Sure it needs a bit of dressing up to be tasty, but you can work wonders with cous cous.  This seafood cous cous turned out marvelously.  If you don’t have conch stock just use water and add a little vegeta vegetable stock or a bouillon cube.

 

 

Sextant Seafood cous cous

½ onion

1 clove garlic

1 T olive oil

1 t turmeric

2 t garam masala

2 c conch stock

1 t coriander

1 t cinnamon

1 t black pepper

2 c shrimp

1 c squid

1 c imitation crab

½ c cranberries

½ c cashews

1 c cous cous

 

Directions:

Fry the onion and garlic in vegetable oil about 3 minutes or until fragrant

Add seafood and spices, mix in cooking another minute

Add conch stock and bring to a boil

Add cous cous and cover cook for a minute

Allow to steam 5 minutes

Stir in nuts and cranberries

Fair Winds Farro

DSCN9381 300x225 Fair Winds FarroThe 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?

DSCN9401 300x225 Fair Winds FarroWe 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.

DSCN9428 300x225 Fair Winds FarroWhen 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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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

DSCN9431 1024x768 Fair Winds Farro

Cabin Boy Cornbread

DSCN8888 1024x768 Cabin Boy Cornbread

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

 Ingredients:

  • 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

 Directions:

  • 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.

Gaff Cheesy Grits

DSCN9003 300x225 Gaff Cheesy GritsGrits are a long-overlooked food.  When they are spoken of the tone seems to take on a negative connotation.  They’re just filler food, if you don’t have enough money for anything else than you eat grits and if you cook them with water I can’t think of much worse.  It’s true, grits are just cornmeal, but that’s what polenta is too and polenta is served in excellent Italian restaurants.

I must admit, I hadn’t given a second thought to grits until I came to the South and in the South they are everywhere.  Every third shop in Charleston seems to have a cookbook for Shrimp and Grits proudly displayed.   But I was still dubious.  Until I ate at Husk, one of Charleston’s top restaurants.

DSCN9010 300x225 Gaff Cheesy GritsAs a side they served the most divine airy, fluffy grit ambrosia.  They made a believer out of me.  The next day at Marion farmer’s market the Colonial Charleston Kitchen booth was making grits sample cups.  Sato San tried one and immediately bought a bag.

I am not sure I will ever get my grits as light and airy as the ones I tasted at Husk, but the trick to tasty grits is to dress them up and to cook them til there isn’t a smidge of grit left in the grits.  Milk, cream if you have it, and don’t skimp on the seasoning.  This is my take on the Colonial Charleston Kitchen’s grits recipe.   You can add a little more liquid to thin it up a bit or cook them down and refrigerate for a solid polenta-type side dish.

Gaff Cheesy Grits

Ingredients:

  • DSCN9009 300x225 Gaff Cheesy Grits1 c grits
  • 1 ½ c milk
  • 1 c cream
  • 2 ½ c water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • ½ c butter
  • ½ c grated cheddar

 

 

Directions:

  • DSCN9011 300x225 Gaff Cheesy GritsPlace ingredients in pot.
  • Bring to boil over medium-high flame
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Simmer until thick (about 20 minutes)
  • Stir in cheese, stirring slowly until melted

Tri-colored Quay Quinoa Salad

DSCN8809 1024x768 Tri colored Quay Quinoa Salad

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.

DSCN8821 1024x768 Tri colored Quay Quinoa Salad

Tri-Colored Chive Cherry Quay Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 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

 Directions:

  • 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
  • Enjoy!

It’s also delicious the next day eaten cold

Windlass-less Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

 

DSCN9092 1024x768 Windlass less Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Sally plays the part of the windlass

Our  windlass broke.  One day we could push a button and the anchor dropped and push another button and the anchor was raised, the next we were using brute strength (and heavy gloves) to raise and lower the anchor.  With our shiny new anchor weight, mind you.

One of the first catamarans I crewed on has a manual windlass, where you winched the anchor chain up yourself.  Of course myself and the other girl crewing complained and whined that we didn’t have an electric windlass.  Now I saw the logic behind keeping things simple.   Push-button sailing could be wonderful but when things went wrong fixing them yourself was impossible.  In sailing redundancies, back-up plans, and extra parts are the rule rather than the exception.

Now if we were just planning on staying in marinas a broken windlass wouldn’t be a problem.  Unfortunately the plan was to anchor at least half of the time.  Well, at least it would be good exercise until we picked up the new windlass in Fort Lauderdale.

Sailing to Norfolk, VA, fleeing to warmer climes I noticed a few of the new potatoes were thinking about starting to sprout.  Their time had come.  The chilly night air permeated the boat and I couldn’t think of a better time to cook something warm and hearty.

The side dish I always ordered from my favorite diner in New York was wasabi mashed potatoes.  They were delicious.  The creamy potatoes had just the right kick of wasabi to make your nose tingle.  Then they “closed for renovations.”  I don’t know what those renovations were but they somehow made the wasabi mashed potatoes vanish from the menu.

This is my approximation of Sidewalk Café’s luscious, creamy potatoes.  I was more than pleased with the results. I highly recommend adding these to your list of boat staples.  I know I will.  Whether you’re under sail or on dry land these are a wonderfully warming on a cold chilly night.

Hopefully after all of my pulling the anchor chain up and down I won’t end up with Popeye arms.  Note to self: stay away from canned spinach.

Windlass-less Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 10 new potatoes cut in quarters
  • ½ c sour cream (or yachting yogurt if you are watching your calories)
  • 2 T wasabi paste
  • 2 t salt (or to taste)
  • 2 t freshly ground pepper (or to taste)

Directions:

  • Boil potatoes 20 minutes (or until almost falling apart)
  • Drain and put In large bowl
  • Add sour cream and mash with back of wooden spoon until lumps gone.  Potatoes should fall apart and turn to creamy consistency (okay, with a few lumps).
  • Mix in wasabi thoroughly
  • Stir in salt and pepper
  • Enjoy!

DSCN8803 1024x768 Windlass less Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

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