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!