Galley recipes — or cooking in a small space…

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When you live aboard a 36-foot sailboat, you don’t have a huge amount of space for anything, let alone preparing meals. Our entire galley is about 45 square feet. And in that space is everything we need to cook and clean up, plus a lot of food. Additional dry and canned food is stowed away beneath the settees in the salon.

One thing I love about living on a sailboat is that you pare down to just what you really need and everything has to have a place to live, so you can find it quickly and easily. Maybe I’ll do another post on storage…(I just wish I could follow this practice at home!)

Anyway, it is amazing what you can do in a small galley. There’s certainly no need to eat canned beans every day.

The main challenge is not having many burners to cook on. We do have a propane stove with two burners and an oven but we mainly use this when we’re at anchor and don’t have power.

When we’re at the dock, we can use shore power and take advantage of our one-burner induction hot plate, which I just adore. (Our friend Jim suggested this might work for us and I am eternally grateful.)

Why? Because the stove only heats the pot, which reduces excess heat in the galley; it heats extremely fast; and the temperature of the pot is easily and precisely controlled.

We also have a small microwave and a BBQ — cooking tools that supplement the hot plate and propane stove.

Our freezer and refrigerator are top-loading which saves energy and prevents the food from falling out when you’re underway. They are huge for a boat this size; in fact, I can’t reach all the way to the bottom.

I enjoy finding and experimenting with recipes that are tasty, filling and healthy and can be put together easily with the tools we have — and where clean up is not too time-consuming.

This Thai Red Curry recipe was inspired by the meal our friend Jane made for us on her boat on St. Simons Island. Jane was the one who gave us the tip about rice noodles not needing to be cooked, just softened in hot water. This saves a burner and allows the noodles to be ready when the curry is.

You can adjust the heat of this recipe to your liking; we like a little heat so I add extra red curry paste.  This has turned out to be one of our favorite recipes for the boat. It meets all our criteria and adds some variety to our diet.

Do you have any reliable one-pot meals that could be adapted for boat use? If so, I’d love to hear from you…

Thai Red Chicken Curry

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Celery, onions and red pepper or other preferred veggies, chopped to make 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • I was going to add fresh pineapple to the recipe but I forgot…

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the curry paste and fish sauce until combined. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet in a single layer. Cook over high heat, turning once, until the chicken is browned but not cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off the fat in the skillet. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the skillet. Add the veggies and stir-fry over high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken, red curry mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Port Salerno Seafood Festival

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The owners of the two salty dogs took their appetites over to the Port Salerno Seafood Festival this past weekend. Put on by a non-profit representing local fishers, the festival attracts some 35,000 each year and profits go to local charities.

The 30 on-site seafood vendors offer oysters, crab, scallops, clams, conch, fish and shrimp in almost every imaginable way, shape and form.

The festival is spread out along the commercial fishing docks. As you can see from some of the images above, these are not huge commercial trawlers. Most of the fishing boats are under 30 feet in length and are run by one or two fishers, who support their families on the income from fishing. Some people from elsewhere attend the festival from their boats and make a party of it.

We sampled shrimp, mahi mahi, calamari, seared tuna and crab cakes — all so fresh and tasty. For dessert I could not resist the funnel cake, which is like a long skinny donut covered in icing sugar.

A couple of years ago we went with Angus, but the festival has gotten so big they no longer allow dogs, so the two salties had to stay back on the boat. We decided not to tell them what they had missed.

Marina in the morning…

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View of the Manatee Pocket from the end of the dock

Mariner’s Cay is a picture of serenity in the morning…the light is low and warm, drying the dew on the boats…water is lapping at our stern…some are preparing to head out…a perfect time to capture morning at the marina. The photos in the gallery above are by Sherry and the photos in the gallery below are by Bob. Click on any image and you can see them larger.

It’s the simple things…

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Deb’s raspberry, red current, gooseberry jam for breakfast.

There is nothing so comforting as bringing a little bit of home along with you when you’re living on a sailboat.

We’re lucky to have an uber-talented jam and jelly-making friend back home who gives us a care package of her delicious treats every Christmas. We hold back on opening them until we get to the boat.

The first day we open one of her jewel-coloured bottles is a big event. Today was inaugurated with her astounding raspberry, red current and gooseberry mix. The sweet, tart flavours fairly burst in our mouths.

With a steaming cup of coffee and a toasted english muffin, what a superb way to start the day. Thanks, Deb!

Lift and splash…

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Windsong II at the Mariner Cay Marina in Port Salerno, Florida

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Finally, Windsong II is back in salt water. And the two salty dogs and their two salty owners are now living aboard.

The staff at Hinckley Marine lifted her up on Monday, moved her down to the water and gently “splashed” her.

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Windsong II on the travelift being lowered into the water or “splashed”.

 

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Leaving Hinckley Marine, where Windsong II has been well taken care of since we left her here last year.

We spent a bit of time at the dock putting on her jib and running up her diesel. When all checked out well, we motored out into the Manatee Pocket and brought her into a slip at Mariner’s Cay Marina.

Bob had adjusted the pitch of the propeller last week and he was pleased that this had improved the handling of the boat, so it was a smooth and uneventful trip.

Mariner’s Cay Marina is a small, quiet, pretty facility tucked into the Manatee Pocket, which is a safe harbour off the ocean at the St. Lucie Inlet. The Pocket is home to a large fishing fleet. Shrimp, herring, tuna, pompano, mahi mahi…you name it…they fish it.

We have met our dockmates and look forward to getting to know them better. One couple are from Michigan with a two-year old poodle and the others are full-time cruisers with an older dog.

The two salty dogs feel very welcome here as this is a super dog-friendly place. The amenities are nice and handy and we have full use of the two swimming pools.

We are busy stowing our gear and it is amazing how this boat swallows it all up. We still have to put on our mainsail but it’s too windy today, so that will have to wait.

So far, the wifi is working well, so let’s hope that keeps up!

More soon…

Getting ready to launch…

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Well, we’re not actually living on the boat yet…

There’s always a million things to do to get a boat ready to launch and a recent bout of colds and flu have slowed us down a bit.

Windsong II is still in the Hinckley boatyard in Port Salerno, but the last few days have seen a spurt of activity around her.

One of the major projects that needed to be done while the boat was still on land was the addition of davits to function as a dinghy lift. Davits are a frame attached to the stern of the boat that allow you to lift the dinghy up and down with a series of pulleys.

When you’re under way, towing the dinghy behind you slows the boat by almost a knot, so it is safer and faster to have your dinghy suspended behind your boat in a way that you can easily get it up and down when needed.

The davits were custom made for our boat by Marine Systems in Vancouver, B.C.

Bob’s brother Leo gave him a helping hand to install the davits and as you can see from the picture above they are working perfectly.

What you can’t see in the picture is that the dinghy cannot move. It is tightly clamped in position. This is critical because if the dinghy were to move with each wave, it would eventually wear away the fabric eating holes into it — which is not a good thing in a dinghy!

So that’s one major job done. Bob also reinstalled the bimini and dodger that you can see in the picture. Still to be done are starting the diesel engine, reinstalling the steering wheel and giving the boat a good wash.

Then, maybe — just maybe — we can put her in the water…

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More on St. Simons Island…

Bob and the two salty dogs

Here are the two salty dogs and Bob enjoying a walk at the southern tip of St. Simons Island, near the pier and the lighthouse. We just scratched the surface of what there is to see on this lovely island, the largest of the Golden Isles, which include Jekyll and Sea Islands.

Down by the water’s edge is a highly-rated lighthouse and fantastic old trees — two of my favorite subjects — so I was in photo heaven.

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The original octagonal lighthouse was built in 1811 and destroyed in the Civil War.  It was replaced in 1872, electrified in 1934 and automated in 1954. Still operational today, the light flashes every 60 seconds at night, and the structure also functions as a museum.

road-st-simonsSt. Simons park

Just north of the village is a park of stately live moss-covered oaks, some of which grow in the middle of the road.

Three majestic oak trees grow on a low earthen mound which serve as a natural monument for the more than 30 Indians buried there. A settlement flourished here more than two centuries before the first Europeans touched shore.

I could talk about Gullah culture and the slave houses that were constructed with cement made of lime, sand, water and oyster shells, but we had so little time, we could only catch a glimpse of this fascinating history of St. Simons.

As for boat culture, there are several marinas on St. Simons, all of which must contend with nine-foot tides and strong currents. As a result, all the docks must be floating docks to allow cruisers to get on and off their boats safely.

The St. Simon inlet is wide and deep and is considered very safe in all weather. It would sure be fun to come back this way on our sailboat. Who knows?