When Marie Claude and I met at the 2010 Vancouver Boat Show she said she was keen to go cruising. Now for several years I've been following her blog www.sailingamelie.blogspot.ca and recently had the chance to ask about her galley life.
I sail with my husband Mark and our children Matthew and Meghan aboard Amelie, our Amel Super Maramu 53. The freedom, opportunity to travel to places where few people have been, and the slower pace of life attracted me to cruising. It's also a chance to teach our children and to spend more time together as a family. We've just arrived in Brisbane, Australia having completed three years of sailing from the Caribbean through the Pacific and before setting out I was worried about the availability and diversity of provisions and how to keep two hungry teenagers satisfied, healthy and happy.
For me the galley must have storage and be in a central location so that I'll be in the middle of all the activity while preparing food. I also require refrigeration, and I'm in awe of sailors who don't. Our galley is a large “U-shape” with sinks and counter on one side, long counter on the other and a gimbaled stove at the end. Many cruisers would consider my must have galley items ‘non-essential', even superfluous, but with teenagers aboard I LOVE my pizza stone, ice maker and soda stream. Its great having a special “under-the-stars movie night” complete with pizza, pop, and ice. But I also couldn't live without my nesting pots, mini compost bin, silicone muffin holders and pressure cooker.
I do most of the cooking, cleaning and food shopping but on the pre-crossing, very large provisioning everybody helps. If I didn't have to teach the kids I may have considered canning food as it might have helped with the budget constraints. Since starting our cruise we're conscious of drinking more water to stay hydrated than we used to in Canada and other than the obvious increase in seafood and coconut consumption we've enjoyed new meals made from the abundant Asian cabbage and eggplants.
2 large eggplants - peeled and sliced into ¼' circles
1 lb. jar of pasta sauce
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
½ lb shredded mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan
Cover eggplant slices with salt for ½ hour. Rinse off salt and dry with paper towel. Moisten eggplant in milk and coat lightly with flour. Quickly brown eggplant in hot oil, sprinkling each side with seasoned salt. When fork tender transfer to roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 25 minutes. In a saucepan heat pasta sauce and tomatoes. Spread eggplant with mozzarella, sauce, then Parmesan; bake 10 minutes. Serve with bread and salad. Serves 4-6.
San Antonio Taco Salad
flour tortillas or corn chips
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
½ onion - finely chopped
1 cup salsa
1 15oz can kidney beans
1 can kernel corn - drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
optional garnishes: sour cream, chopped tomato, sliced black olives and additional salsa
In a skillet, brown meat and onion; drain. Add next 7 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Divide lettuce over tortillas. Top with meat, cheese and garnishes. Serves 4.
I look online for recipes, try them out and keep the ones I like. I also want to keep the kids happy, so endeavor to regularly make the family favorites. These get adapted as needed with whatever ingredients are onboard.
Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
4 eggs - separated
½ cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 20oz can sliced pineapple
10 maraschino or glace cherries - halved
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter - melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a 10-inch heavy oven-proof skillet melt butter. Remove from heat and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange pineapple slices then cherries over bottom. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar gradually, beating after each addition, then beat until stiff peaks form. Beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. Gently fold yolks and flour mixture into whites. Fold in remaining butter and almond extract. Spread batter evenly over pineapple. Bake 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.
Mark sometimes hunts for land crabs which we add to alfredo pasta or this non-traditional jambalaya from “Good and Cheap”, a free PDF recipe book download from www.LeanneBrown.com, which we recommend.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
3 stalks celery - chopped
3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
¾ cup long grain rice
2½ cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
salt and pepper
optional: cooked chorizo, crab, tuna or mussels
In a large saucepan heat oil. Add onion, pepper and celery, cook 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except rice, broth and meat; cook 1 minute. Add rice and slowly pour in broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs the liquid; about 20 minutes. Add meat at the 15-minute mark. Serves 6.
Half way to the Marquesas I had a disastrous galley event. The sea was calm and the wind was from astern so my work space had spread out further than usual. Feeling ambitious, I had hot water cooling to make bread, I was sifting flour and had the yeast ready. Rice was soaking in the rice cooker and I'd just poured a cup of tea when a sudden big wave hit us on the side. My rice cooker spilled and a rippling of wet rice and water escaped into every little nook and cranny in the floor while I stood I watching in horror, my attention turned away from the flour. When a second wave hit flour dust went everywhere and the yeast vaporized. As to my tea? I never got to enjoy it. By the time I'd everything cleaned up my nerves begged me to forego our no drinking underway rule so I had a shot of rum and gave up trying for the day. Now when underway, I only attempt ONE project at a time, keep both hands on the ingredients and wedge everything in place. Oh, I also keep myself balanced between the galley sides using a wide leg stance. For you yogis think “warrior pose”.
I first met Sarah Curry in Tahiti. Over the cruising season our island-hopping paths crossed numerous times and it was always a delight to share an anchorage with SV Hydroquest and hear Sarah’s stories, so much so, that I’ve asked her to write this month’s galley. Now an accomplished ocean voyager Sarah presents entertaining and informative seminars at boat shows, including Seattle, and you can follow her adventures at www.svkaiquest.com.
The sign said “THE GALLEY: Help Wanted!” and when if first saw it I had to have it.
The paperwork for our first offshore cruising boat, SV Hydroquest, has just been finalized. My husband Will was still trying to sell me on the fact that she had a large, seaworthy galley: U-shaped, double sinks, with plenty of storage and prep space. “A galley fit for a Boat Chef!” he claimed.
Hmm. I was game for the cruising lifestyle, but there were certain fears niggling away... The problem was that I considered myself a terrible cook. I was the girl who burnt eggs, and don’t even get me started on the frightful concept of preparing meat! Moving my less-than-adequate skills from a stationary kitchen and into a boat galley had me worried. How would I possibly produce anything edible? Therefore, my new-found sign described it perfectly: “THE GALLEY: Help Wanted!”
What happened next surprised me. We moved aboard. I mounted my sign, found homes for my plastic plates, one dull knife, garlic car roller, retractable salad spinner/bowl, and spent time arranging spices in the galley’s one coveted drawer. I looked around my new space and felt... a sense of calm. This galley was not grandiose, not expecting fancy things. My culinary self-deprecation began to seep away and within weeks a newfound confidence and motivation took over.
That being said, any glitch could easily throw me off my game. Months later friends Tara and Tim visited us in Mexico. I’d been having moments of panic knowing Tim is a ‘real’ chef and the open galley would have my technique (or lack thereof) subject to teasing scrutiny. It was an eventful start to the visit. As we motored out of Paradise Village Marina, squealing noises from the prop shaft led us to believe we’d possibly wrapped a rope around the propeller. We carried on with a rigorous upwind sail to Punta Mita, and sailed onto anchor as if it was something we did every day. Fortunately, our guests were having a great time and I was all set to dazzle them with a meal under the stars. Look how easy and carefree cruising is! You can imagine my horror when I went below at 8pm and the propane switch wouldn’t flip on. The breaker was toast.
“I’m so sorry guys – we can’t cook tonight. It’s too late to tackle electrical work. How about peanut butter and banana sandwiches?” That was my idea of creative thinking under pressure. Will and Tara nodded in starving submission while Tim was incredulous. “Come on guys – this is an awesome challenge. It’s Dinner: Impossible - Boat Edition.” We set the timer for 30 minutes and gave him access to anything he needed. 35 minutes later we enjoyed the following amazing meal. No cooking required!
Dinner Impossible: Boat Edition – Lettuce Wraps
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can corn
½ red onion - chopped
1 small zucchini - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes - halved
½ cup cilantro - minced
salt & pepper
large lettuce leaves
1 avocado - diced
red cabbage - diced
cilantro - chopped
In a bowl combine first seven ingredients. Season to taste. Fill lettuce leaves with mix, then top with avocado, cabbage, and cilantro. Serve with the following Crema.
Chipotle Cashew Crema
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup water
3 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar or another sweetener
salt to taste
Soak cashews in water for 8 hours or overnight. 2 hours in hot water can also suffice. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes.
One mistake we made in outfitting SV Hydroquest was misjudging our fridge’s power demands. As soon as we arrived in French Polynesia, our water-cooled fridge ran non-stop and our two dinky solar panels couldn’t keep up. Our only choice was to continue sans réfrigération. Luckily by that point, I was on a galley gastronomical roll. Fridge – who needs a fridge? Canned goods – I can work with those. Cabbage obsession – I get it!
After first getting to grips with your boats tropical power consumption the next thing to master for the cruising life is a great potluck dish. For my potluck creations, I enjoyed the discovery of Mountain Bread; a versatile long lasting and non-greasy Australian flatbread and although expensive in North America, it can be found at Whole Foods.
Sweet Chili Lentil Pockets
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 onion - diced
1 green pepper - diced
1 carrot - diced
1 large zucchini - diced
1 15oz can lentils
1 teaspoon curry powder
sweet chili sauce
4 pieces Mountain Bread
Saute garlic and vegetables in a bit of olive oil. Add lentils and curry and heat through. Cut each piece of Mountain Bread into three pieces lengthwise. Carefully spoon a dollop of mixture onto one end of a strip. Top with ½ a teaspoon of chilli sauce. Brush edges of the Mountain Bread with a little bit of oil. Wrap the content up into a triangle and warm in the pan so that edges stick. Makes 12.
As cooking is challenging enough for me, there’s no sense in trying to get complicated at sea, especially during the first few days of a passage. In my opinion, producing a warm bowl of anything edible is a feat. The truth is our favorite at-sea dinner is a warm can-of-something and in Papeete, Tahiti we stocked up on cans of ratatouille. In my expert opinion, this is best served over a bed of couscous because it doesn’t get easier than boiling the kettle for couscous. As we sailed further west we went mad over cans of Taste of India’s Lentil Dhal – produced in Fiji.
Since selling Hydroquest in Australia and now cruising our second boat SV Kaiquest in the Pacific Northwest, I love taking the time to re-create similar dishes in calm anchorages in my new galley. These meals are my favorites and definitely more delicious than their canned counterparts. And yes, the sign is featured prominently once again. Though I will never be the best cook, I would venture to say that help is no longer wanted...or needed.
Red Lentil Cauliflower Soup
1 tablespoons coconut oil
1 onion - diced
4 large cloves garlic - minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1-3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin
6 cups water
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 cups red lentils
1 cauliflower - chopped into florets
1 sweet potato - diced
2 handfuls baby spinach
salt and pepper
chopped cilantro for serving
Saute onion and garlic 5 minutes in coconut oil. Stir in ginger, curry, coriander and cumin; saute 2 minutes. Add broth and lentils, bring to a low boil. Stir in cauliflower and sweet potato. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Season to taste, adding more curry, if desired. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
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