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galley jan 2016

Cyclists enjoy friendship and brunch

...5,4,3,2,1 Happy New Year!. I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions although sometimes in a fit of optimism I've made a small promise to myself of something I'd like to achieve in the New Year. Sadly by the time February rolls around my promise was generally long forgotten. So over the past years instead creating resolutions, at 10 o'clock on New Year's Day John and I have been joining a group of friends, thanks the organization of John Stimpson, outside the Friday Harbor Post Office for the annual San Juan Island Commitment Bike Ride.

Initiated in 1983 by a group of keen riders who called themselves the San Juan Cyclists the Commitment Ride was an excuse not to over indulge on New Year's Eve and a chance to get out and do something with friends on New Year's Day while others around the country slept in, watched football games and parades or undertook polar plunges. Throughout the summer the SJC's would regularly train together and enter events such as the STP (Seattle to Portland Classic) along with partaking in fun island activities such progressive dinners by bicycle. In the early years sweatpants were the norm and even though the group gradually transitioned to spandex leggings and flashy bikes their focus was still fun and health. These days the Commitment Ride has taken on a festive flare, its open to anyone and generally the invitation is by word of mouth. Bikes, riders and attire range from spiffy to eccentric and you may even spy some vintage in the mix. The ride occurs rain or shine, frost or snow, and there's been as many as 47 riders and as few as five when a black frost hit.

I was first invited to the Commitment Ride in 2002 after I'd been riding over the summer in training for the island's mini triathlon. As we assembled at the Post Office I felt I'd entered the posse of an elite riding group. It was a serious long ride and even though I'd trained for a few weeks, on my ancient $50 road bike, I had to peddle like mad to keep up and felt the pain of my efforts for many days thereafter. John, inspired by my efforts bought himself a mountain bike thinking we could ride together but as our bikes weren't compatible I left him in the dust. Problem solved as the next Christmas Santa gave me a new mountain bike to match John's.

Eight Commitment Rides later we're still regularly riding together throughout the winter. Between us we now own and embarrassing total of 9 bikes scattered throughout the world and when travelling we rent or borrow bikes whenever possible. It's one of our personal commitments to enjoying life and staying young at heart. Funnily enough as a reward to our hard earned cycling efforts a tasty treat often features along the way.

San Juan Island Cyclists

On completion of the Commitment Ride there's now the fun bonus of gathering at a fellow rider's house to share brunch and stories. It's nothing official although it's evolved that it's the guys who create the dishes. They've become rather experts, often sharing tips on their creations so here's some tasty recipes from an eclectic committed cyclist's brunch.

Orange Pecan Baked French Toast

1 loaf French or multi grain bread - sliced
6 eggs - lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
½ cup butter - melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans

Arrange bread, standing up in two rows, in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together next 6 ingredients and pour over bread. Refrigerate overnight. Next day combine remaining ingredients and spread over bread. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 45 minutes. Serve with maple syrup. Serves 6.

Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

8 bread slices - cut into cubes
1lb spicy pork sausage - crumbled and cooked
1½ cups grated sharp cheddar
10 eggs
2 cups milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 4oz can mild green chilies, drained or diced fresh chili to taste
2 teaspoons dry mustard
salt and pepper

Arrange bread in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with sausage and cheese. Beat together eggs, add remaining ingredients and pour over sausage mixture. Let sit a few hours or overnight. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 50 minutes. Serves 8.

Garlicy Hummus

1 15oz can chickpeas
4 garlic cloves - crushed
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Drain chickpeas reserving liquid. Mash chickpeas with a potato masher until coarsely pureed. Add remaining ingredients and thin with reserved chickpea liquid to desired consistency. Serve with crackers or crudités.

Rosemary Nuts

1lb raw unsalted nuts - pecans, walnuts, and almonds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread with nuts. Roast 10 minutes, transfer nuts to a bowl. Mix together butter, sugar, rosemary, and salt. Pour over warm nuts, and toss with a wooden spoon. Transfer nuts back onto baking sheet and let cool 30 minutes.

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

8 hard-boiled eggs - peeled
4 oz. cream cheese - softened
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 oz smoked salmon - finely chopped
3 tablespoons red onion - minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
capers and fresh dill for garnish

Slice eggs in half lengthwise and separate yolks. Beat together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Mix in egg yolks, smoked salmon, red onion, salt, and paprika. Pipe mixture into egg whites. Cover and chill. Before serving, top each egg half with 3 capers and a dill sprig.

Vegan Apple Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 ½ whole wheat flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup coconut palm sugar
1 cup almond milk
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups grated apple
½ cup chopped walnuts - toasted
1/3 cup raisins

Line baking sheet's with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the first 6 ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together next 4 ingredients. Add wet mix to flour mix and stir in remaining ingredients. Drop ¼ cup of dough onto the baking sheet, for each cookie, 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 15 minutes. Store in refrigerator and microwave for a few seconds before serving.

Anchored in one of our favourtie spots, Sturt Bay, on the northern end of Texada Island.

...This month's galley is kindly written by Amanda Cooper who I've yet to meet although I've been following her sailing endeavors through updates from her Mum Beth who featured in January's 2012 Galley Essentials.

Ten years ago my boyfriend Kyle & I met at a bar in Vancouver. After we spilt beer on each other, he invited me to get a new shirt where he was living on his Grandpa Jack's wooden 35' troller, docked down the road at the Plaza of Nations. I stayed there all weekend and it then wasn't long until I moved aboard. The rest is history. We've lived in an attic, apartments on Main Street and have both crewed on various boats together and apart, but now we are back to where it all started, on the dock in False Creek and loving it. I'm a professional photographer and you can view my work at

Currently, we're moored on Granville Island, aboard our Alberg 37, Quartz. When it comes to moorage in the creek, it really doesn't get better than this. We found Quartz in the spring of last year on the Sunshine Coast and it was a quick buy. With a new engine, autopilot, full cockpit enclosure, diesel stove and a full keel she was everything we needed for adventures on the West Coast and beyond. We've since done trips around the Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound & up to Princess Louisa. The lush green British Columbia coast is truly stunning. Even if we sailed up and down this coast for another ten years, we couldn't see all there is to see. Always on the hunt for new nooks to anchor in, you could say we're dedicated to ‘Gunkholing', defined by Wiki as a boating term referring to shallow water cruising, meandering place to place, and spending nights in coves.

We came by this lifestyle naturally, as both of our parents are enthusiastic Gunkholers. In fact, Kyle's dad Ron used to spend the summers on his sailboat anchored in Campbell Bay on Mayne Island, the bay where my Grandma lived for the last twenty-five years. Kyle says he remembers a little water-skier ripping around and disturbing the peaceful sanctuary. That was me! Grandma was a sailor and she and Grandpa spent a season in the Caribbean in the 80's and that she says was the best year of her life. My parents Beth & Norm caught on to the good life too and named their boat, Sarah Jean II, after Grandma. They've sailed to the South Pacific, New Zealand and back, and have now started their own offshore sailing school, Ocean Forest Voyaging.

Due to necessity our mantra onboard is to "Keep it Simple". The Alberg 37 is not known for it's fancy galley. We have diesel stove that isn't gimbaled, an external two-burner alcohol stove, one sink and standard top-loading fridge. Generally, we try to keep it to one pot or pan at a time. Aside from that, we don't have a car, and use Kyle's motorcycle to go provisioning. Luckily though we live right next to the Granville Island Market where there's endless fresh produce. Here's my favorite smoothie recipe.

Green Smoothie

1 banana
1 avocado
a handful of spinach
a cup of almond milk
a pinch of turmeric

Blend all ingredients together.

This past Christmas Kyle asked for a pressure cooker, and I'd have been silly not to get it for him as it makes for simple & delicious meals. And I don't think that I have mentioned yet that Kyle is actually a talented chef, rarely following recipes and intuitively mixing ingredients to taste. I'm the Salad Queen, which includes salad rolls, smoothies and wraps. We've eaten vegetarian at home for as long as I can remember and more recently would like to be vegan when possible. It's a fun challenge. For us sailing just isn't a pastime, but a lifestyle that is synonymously in harmony with nature. Occasionally Kyle will catch a fish & we will gratefully enjoy it, but most often we keep our fridge meat & dairy free.

Leaving Princess Louisa Inlet, after spending a few blissful days exploring.

On the sunny New Year's Day of 2016, our first trip since the summer, we put the new pressure cooker to good use while motoring across a glassy strait to the Gulf Islands. The cooker is perfect for conserving fuel, and creating one-pot meals that can last days! After being on the water in the cool winter weather, nothing beats a good bowl of chili. Although to be honest, we had our full enclosure up and snapped tight, so with the diesel stove going and the sun shining through the plastic, the cockpit was hot! It was like we were in a solarium sauna! I was in my bathing suit it was so hot. If you want to do winter cruising comfortably this is the way to go. Here's how we did the chili.

Vegetarian Chili

1 zucchini
1 green pepper
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 can whole tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can mushrooms
2 cups assorted dried beans
pinch cinnamon
crushed chilies
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon of cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
hot sauce

The instructions are uncomplicated. Chop veggies then combine in pressure cooker with canned vegies and beans. Bring to pressure and cook 45 minutes. Add spices and chili to taste once pressure is released. Serve in bowls with bread to dip. Serves 6.

The next morning, we wanted to have something special because we were on holiday, of course! These pancakes, a healthy twist on an old favorite, leave you feeling light yet satisfied before a day of exploring.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

1 cup pancake mix
¾ cup of water
1 grated apple
A few spoons of ground flax seeds
A few spoons of chia seeds
A pinch cinnamon

Combine pancake mix with remaining ingredients and whisk until large lumps disappear. Let stand 2 minutes. Preheat skillet over medium high heat. Skillet is ready when drops of water sizzle, then disappear almost immediately. Lightly grease. For each pancake pour ¼ cup of batter onto skillet. Flip when golden brown. Cook until second side is golden brown. Serve with maple syrup & fruit. Serves 2.

After eating chili for a few days we were ready for something new. In the summer we often BBQ mushrooms with corn but in winter roasting them is an excellent way get the juiciest results.

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

...This delicious meal will get you excited about all the magical possibilities of mushrooms.

2 portabella mushrooms
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 whole wheat buns
1 avocado
1 tomato - sliced
2 tablespoons humus

Cut out the mushroom gills, rub mushroom with coconut oil then roast at 350°F for 20 minutes. Toast buns in oven and create burgers with mushrooms and remaining ingredients. Serve with a salad. Serves 2.

 Enjoying hot soup at Canoe Cove Joe's with Joe

March 23rd 2015, at 0115 hrs, 44.53 N, 124.38 W, Log Reading: 180,947 miles. Close-hauled at 6 kts under double reefed main and triple reefed genoa in 25 kts S headwinds with occasional squalls.

Currently we're 31 miles NW of Newport, Oregon reefed down so as not to arrive at the Yaquina River mouth in the dark or with a strong ebbing tide which may cause breakers across the bar entrance.

Our six keen expedition crew came aboard four days ago in Victoria, Canada, ready to experience heavy weather as why else would anyone sign up to sail down the Washington-Oregon coast so early in the season? Our personal reason for starting down the coast in March instead of the usual June is simply to be able to sail beyond the Caribbean before the July start of hurricane season.

We've yet another 7,000 miles to sail to Sweden this year, via Panama, so it's taken John and I a few weeks focused outfitting to fully prepare Mahina Tiare. She wintered ashore on Vancouver Island at Canoe Cove Marina, 20 miles north of Victoria, and thankfully the weather cooperated for our recent re-commissioning. Our extensive projects included anti-fouling, hiring a competent technician to help with some engine, plumbing and electrics, along with a rigger for a few modifications. Boatyard life can be rather frazzling as your yacht becomes a tight construction zone with job lists that seem to grow rather than diminish. On Mahina Tiare the galley bench is transformed into a central work station by laying out a thick clear vinyl covering to protect the white Formica so you're unlikely to find the space to make a cuppa let alone a meal.

Thankfully, this boat yard life was very bearable as Canoe Cove Marina has great facilities like hot showers, laundry, chandlery and Canoe Cove Joe's For breakfast we'd snatch a bowl of muesli aboard but hunger would quickly set in as the chilly mornings rolled along. Canoe Cove Joe's is the perfect place to warm up while grabbing a hot baked muffin and to follow up later in the afternoon with a piping hot soup and garden salad. Joe always has a ready smile. He started out in retail management then switched to culinary arts college before spending 13 years cooking at a private boarding school. Everyone raves about his burgers and chips but for me his soups are a savoir. I just had to ask for this recipe.

Roasted Squash and Apple Soup

1 squash - peeled, deseeded and diced into cubes (about 3 cups)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 onion - diced
wine or juice for deglazing
1 cup of apple juice
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup diced apples
1 cup whipping cream

Season squash with salt, pepper and oil. Roast 25 minutes at 400° F. In a saucepan sauté onion and deglaze with wine. Add remaining ingredients. Blend with a hand blender. Simmer 25 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, dollop of cinnamon whipped cream and a sprinkling of chives.

As Canoe Cove Joe's is not open of dinner we were rescued from starvation by taking a stroll up the hill to the Stonehouse Pub & Restaurant The building itself is a 1930's stone-faced "cottage" with a beautiful windowed dining room. We'd often arrive late to a packed house but the friendly staff always made space for us. It would be hard to choose a favorite item from their extensive menu but with St. Patrick Day around the corner their shepherd's pie is hard to beat and had me creating this recipe.

Lamb Shepherd's Pie with Cheesy Potatoes

2 lbs lamb - cut into 1-inch cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoon butter
3 cups chopped onion
3 carrots - diced
3 celery stalks - diced
2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans beef stock
8 garlic cloves - minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh oregano - minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme - minced
salt and pepper
3 lbs potatoes - chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup ricotta
½ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup cream
3 eggs - lightly beaten
½ teaspoon dried oregano - rubbed

In a large Dutch oven, working in batches, brown lamb in olive oil. In same Dutch oven sauté onion in butter 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery and 1 cup wine. Boil until mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add flour, cook 2 minutes. Add tomato paste, stock, garlic, herbs and lamb. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Meanwhile cook potatoes in water. Drain and mash. In a saucepan sauté garlic in butter 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta, Parmesan and cream. Stir in eggs, potatoes, salt, pepper and oregano. Remove cover from lamb, add remaining wine and simmer 45 minutes. Transfer lamb to 2-quart 8×8 glass baking dish and cover with potatoes. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Serves 6

With boatyard chores accomplished we sailed to Victoria for our final days in port of provisioning, checking systems and ensuring all necessary items are aboard and stowed. It's difficult to find time to visit with friends but we've discovered its fun to schedule a couple of restaurant evenings and invite everyone to join us. Rebar and The Tapa Bar rate high on my must visit list as their eclectic menus make decision making a challenge which I enjoy. The following recipes are inspired by their nibbles plus I'm excited to have a new cod recipe for Norway.

Spiced Hummus

1 15oz can chickpeas - drained, reserve liquid
2 tablespoons tahini
½ lemon - squeezed
1 clove garlic - crushed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon Cajun spice

In a food processor pulse chickpeas 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, start food processor and gradually add reserved liquid until desired consistency is achieved.

Rebar's hummus with pita, salad and salmon

Bean and Salt Cod Salad

1½ cups cooked white beans
1 tablespoon capers
1½ cups dried salt cod - soaked 12 hours with a few water changes - shredded
salt and pepper
¼ cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot - minced
4 cups arugula
1 cup parsley - chopped

Combine beans, capers and cod. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Whisk together lemon juice and oil until smooth adding shallot, salt and pepper. Toss arugula with half the dressing and place portions on 4 plates, top with cod mixture then a drizzle of dressing. Serves 4.

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