January 1, 2007
33° 21.779 North
078° 16.919 West
Georgetown , South Carolina
Happy New Year From Ithaka
It’s a time of reflection. As
we head northward, toward home, Douglas and I find ourselves discussing
many of the things we’ve
learned, many of the things we’ll miss about cruising, many
of the things we’re excited to do once we move back on land.
There are so many things on all three of those lists.
| Douglas in the galley, where many happy memories are made.
In an effort to hold on to one of the sweetest
aspects of our cruising experience, the times spent with our dearest
cruising friends, one of the goals on my list of things to do
home again is to go through my personal “Cruising Friends
Recipe Book” – a
treasure of great recipes I’ve collected during our cruising
days – and over our first year back, make all of them, one
at a time. I’m imagining how that will make me feel, once
we’re back in New England. I’m imagining images of good
times, and I’m hoping to dovetail our new experiences with
the joys of the old.
Since we started this log for BoatUS, we’ve
included some wonderful recipes from cruising chefs who also happen
to be our friends out here. To celebrate the holidays, this week
we offer up a few more of our favorites.
Douglas and I hope your holidays are joyful, and that the New
Year brings you and your loved ones good health. Thank you for following
Pasta with Smoked Salmon
Our friend Lesley makes this wonderful recipe, and it's become one of
my favorites for a special dinner aboard. It's so simple, but the smoked
salmon flavor is mouth-watering, especially on a cruising boat. Although we
have lots of fresh fish, sometimes its fun to cut open a packet of smoked fish
and enjoy those unique flavors.
I had good luck keeping a few vacuum-packed envelopes
of smoked salmon in the freezer indefinitely; they're flat and small,
worth tucking away for special events, and easy to find in any major
| When another fresh fish, or another meal from a can is not
what youre craving, Smoked Salmon Pasta is a dream dish.
1 pound pasta (bowties are a nice choice for this)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups canned tomatoes
½ pound smoked salmon
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 cup cream (you can substitute one can of
sold in markets and grocery stores all over the world)
Put the water on for the pasta. Meanwhile, stir fry garlic and pepper
flakes in oil. Add tomatoes and salt, and cook until the mixture
bubbles. Simmer 20 minutes. Add cream and stir. Add salmon. Reduce by
half. Add cooked pasta, and serve along with a fresh salad and warm bread.
When you've been away from provisioning stops for a few months, your
freezer is bereft of such treats as sausages and meats, and you have a
craving for a traditional Sunday fried breakfast, here's an ingenious
way to satisfy that urge. Our friend Ilana on Windom shared this with
us when our two boats were cruising the Bahamas together, and from
then on we've made sure to carry some poultry seasoning aboard just
for this recipe.
| Ilana and Bernadette stroll along a Bahamas beach
3 cups fish
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder (The first time you make this recipe, use a
bit less in case you prefer a milder taste; you can always add hot
sauce to your plate later if you find you like it more picante)
1 ½ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt (Again, use a bit less the first time, just in case
you prefer a less salty flavor. You can add a sprinkle of kosher salt
later, at the table, if you think it needs a bit more.)
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
In addition, you can add thyme, sage, finely-chopped
| We carry a manual fish grinder that clamps on a table, or on a companionway step. It was made in 1902 and still works wonderfully. There always seem to be a slew of them in thrift stores for less than $10. To avoid rust, for storage aboard, be sure to coat it with olive oil, wrap in a cloth, and seal it in a ziplock bag.
Chop up or mince up the fish. If you have a food grinder, this
Combine all ingredients and form the mixture into patties. Fry
in a bit of butter or oil, until browned, and serve with eggs for
a great breakfast treat. These sausages taste almost exactly like
the real thing, and they're better for you.
Sweet Vidalia Onions
As Ithaka sails closer to Georgia, Douglas and I are reminded of
terrific meals we've enjoyed there on previous visits. In particular,
when we visited our friends Al and Teresa -- who are now cruising on
their own boat, a cat named Grace -- we met Teresa's sister Kitty,
who's a gourmet cook. She introduced us to Sweet Vidalia Onions, which
is a delicious recipe from her grandmother.
4 Vidalia onions, sliced into very thin rings
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon paprika
Juice of half a lemon
Boil water, sugar, and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the
sliced onions, cool, refrigerate overnight, and drain the next morning. Add
remaining ingredients. Serve with crackers, or as a side dish.
Triggerfish, which has a particularly
firm flesh, makes a wonderful choice for fish sausage.
Potato Salad from Ithaka
Potatoes are a staple aboard cruising boats.
Stored in a dark place,
they stay fresh a long time, and require no refrigeration. All
cruisers have their own potato salad recipe. Here is mine, which I always like
to make before we set out on a passage. When we’re underway and the sea
is messy, each of us craves carbohydrates and this is about our favorite form.
It's best served at room temperature.
Scrub six potatoes. If the skins look clean, don't bother peeling
them. Otherwise, peel them. Red potatoes are nicest with this recipe,
but any potato will work well.
Cut potatoes into quarters, rinse, and discard rinse water. (If you’re
using larger potatoes, cut into six pieces.) Cover with water and then boil
until they're barely cooked (a knife pushed into one will meet a bit of resistance).
Drain. Potatoes will continue to cook a bit while they're draining and cooling.
Be careful not to overcook, or the potatoes will fall apart in the recipe.
Set them aside to cool completely.
This year, for Christmas, my niece Hannah and I made a tree
out of shells that Douglas and I collected on our cruising
In a separate bowl, combine the following ingredients:
1 ½ cups calamata olives (coarsely chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
4 tablespoons dried oregano
½ cup olive oil
½ tablespoon freshly ground pepper
Cut cooked potatoes into smaller cubes, and add them to the mixture
above. Stir gently. Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt.
Tip: When using any of the coarse salts (versus the
finely ground salts), sprinkle a pinch of it over the food just before serving,
but never during the cooking process. This way, the salt crystals will make
miniscule explosions of flavor in your mouth while you're eating, rather than
just blending in with all the other flavors in your dish.
Papaya Seed Dressing
Papayas have to be one of the most beautiful fruits in the world.
Every time I cut one in half, I make a mental note that someday I must
paint a room that color, so that I always remember the stunning
contrast of the burnt orange against the round black seeds. Normally,
we toss those seeds overboard. But here's a terrific use for them – a
very flavorful salad dressing – from my friend Katie on Asylum,
cruising the Pacific.
Katie from Asylum
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons papaya seeds, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ cup olive oil
Mix everything. That's it! An electric hand mixer, such as the kind made by
Braun, is a useful appliance on board, especially for quick grinding. This
dressing also can be used as a delicious marinade.
Avocado and Lime Soup
Our newest cruising friends, Bob and Warren on Third Age,
are wonderful cooks and hosts. We’ve been enjoying delicious
meals with them as we cruise northward together, sometimes dining al
fresco on Third Age, sometimes on Ithaka, depending
on the weather. Theirs are the last additions to our “Cruising
Friends Recipe Book.”
2 medium avocados
Juice of 2 limes
¾ of a pint of low-fat yogurt
3 teaspoons chopped fresh coriander
½ pint cold chicken stock
A dash of Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 baguette, sliced
2 ounces of butter
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Bob and Warren from Third Age
In a blender, mix avocado and lime juice until smooth. Add yogurt,
salt, pepper, Tabasco, coriander, and blend until completely smooth.
With motor still running, add chicken stock. Process until creamy.
For toasts, melt butter and add cayenne. Brush both sides of baguette
rounds, and broil until brown on both sides. Float toast on soup,
or serve on the side.
One of the specialties of the house on Third Age is
Portuguese Soup made by Bob and Warren. When our boats reach the
Chesapeake, and Douglas and I part company with these two fellows,
it will be a sad day. We’ll introduce them to you in a future log but,
meanwhile, here’s their delicious soup for a chilly day on
2 cups onions, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tablespoons oil
1 pound garlic-flavored, smoked pork sausage, sliced
10 cups beef
1 28-ounce can kidney beans with liquid
1 head of green cabbage, cored,
and chopped into medium pieces
12 small new potatoes, peeled and quartered
¼ to ½ cup
16 ounces of catsup
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onions and garlic in oil until
transparent. Add sausage and brown slightly. Add all other ingredients,
bring to boil, simmer for 35 to 45 minutes.
| Christmas on Ithaka
White and Sweet Potato Gratin
is a tried-and-true recipe from one of my best friends, Heather,
with whom I owned my first boat, and with whom I learned to sail.
Heather is a wonderful cook, who joined us for Christmas dinner
this year, and brought a potato dish that was a big hit. She promised
that the recipe was very easy, and indeed it is. This makes a great
dish on a cruising boat, especially in a cool climate where having
the oven on for one hour is a cozy benefit.
4 tablespoons butter,
2 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (or whatever you have), rinsed,
no need to peel
1 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cups of 2% milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or any kind of salt)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or dried is fine too)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400. Sauté the chopped onions and garlic until soft
and caramelized. Coat 13 x 9 x 2 glass baking dish with two tablespoons of
butter. Thinly slice all potatoes. Place in prepared dish in layers -- white
layer, then gold, then the onions/garlic, then repeat. Bring milk and next
five ingredients to a boil in medium saucepan. Pour over potatoes. Dot with
the remainder of the butter. Cover with foil. Bake until potatoes are tender
and milk is almost absorbed -- about an hour. You almost can’t cook this
too long. If it’s convenient, you can make and cook this in advance,
then pop it in the oven for a half hour to reheat it. Serve by cutting into
Fruit-Stuffed Loin Of Pork
Our Christmas dinner this year was a particularly
warm-hearted one, now that we’re back in the United States,
and have access to our family, our old friends, and American grocery
stores. We made a favorite main course of roast pork loin, inspired
by our friend Mary Ellen, who first served us this delicious recipe
about a month ago.
| Before -- From a wall mural in Miami.
4 pounds boneless loin roast
2 cups dried fruit, such as pitted prunes, figlets, apricots (all chopped
up). Also, add a small fresh apple (chopped up) which adds a nice flavor.
3 chopped garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 tablespoons sweet butter, softened
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups Madeira wine
1 tablespoon molasses
watercress for garnish
| After -- Roast pork for Christmas dinner
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Position a sharp
knife in the middle of the roast and make a slit almost all of
the way through. Try not to slit to the end to ensure the fruit
doesn't fall out. (This cut is called a "butterfly" and
any grocery store’s butcher will probably do this for you, if you don’t
want to do it yourself.) Using the handle of a wooden spoon, push the dried
fruit into the pocket.
Cut the garlic into slivers. Make deep slits in the roast with
the tip of a knife and push the garlic into the slits. Tie the roast
back together with twine and rub the surface with salt and pepper.
Set the roast in a shallow baking pan and smear the butter over
it. Sprinkle with the thyme. Stir the Madeira and molasses together
in a bowl and pour over the roast. Set the pan on the middle rack
of the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours, about 20 minutes per pound.
When the roast is done, remove it from the oven
and let it stand for 15 minutes. Cut into thin slices – about ¾ of
an inch -- arrange slices on a platter, and spoon the pan juices
over them. (At the last minute, if you need to increase the amount
of juice, just add some white wine or chicken stock to the pan,
and on the top of the stove, at low flame, stir the juices together
until hot.) Garnish the platter with the watercress and serve.
New Year, from Douglas and me!