We have had several days of absolutely brilliant sailing out here. Aside from the little rain showers that mess with the wind a bit we haven’t had to tweak much in the way of sails. Yesterday it was fascinating to look around and realize we were in the middle of 360 degrees of little rain showers and yet we were in the sunshine. Our wind had died but it dawned on us that maybe it was because all these, little systems were cancelling it out somehow. Weather gets to be the most fascinating subject when it’s driving your train all day long. Our wind soon picked up as the showers passed in front of and behind us. We are grateful for our Pro Level Predict Wind weather software and for our professional weather router, The Weather Guy, out of Hawaii. We download fresh weather forecasts at least twice a day.
We have been unlucky in fishing so far. We had something bloody huge on the line that actually I am thankful got away because we surely would have had fun landing it. Then we have caught 3 Dorado. Two were too small and we let them go. Last night we got a good sized one but he threw the hook at the last minute. We use a single hook as it gives the fish a chance and because it’s easier to remove and does less damage if it’s something too small to keep. Anyhow, no fish in our galley right now.
Less than 750 miles to go now. When we hit 500 miles to go we are celebrating by baking chocolate chip cookies. I have a stash of actual chocolate chips, hard to find in Mexico, in the freezer. I have been saving them for months; as in ” you are not eating those chocolate chips no matter how much your brain screams because they are earmarked for a special occasion. ” Some days are harder than others.
As promised, here are our galley wins of note. I do think many will be useful even in a regular kitchen.
- Preserving sliced bell peppers in salt water in the fridge. Brilliant! After two weeks they are still crisp. How many peppers went bad on me before I thought of this? Too many.
Oatmeal breakfast cups. I just cannot get into cooking breakfast when the boat motion is crazy. These are yummy and flexible. In a container with a tight lid, put oats, fruit, liquid to cover, your sweetener of choice if you like. I use unsweetened coconut milk and use enough to generously cover the oats. You can add a bit of chia seed if you want to. I use craisins and frozen fruit like blueberries. Any milk will do, any fruit will do. Put in fridge overnight. I also add flavorless protein powder to mine. Delicious. Easy.
3, Ginger tea concentrate. I made this by happy accident as a by product of making ginger candy. Peel and slice a couple of good sized roots of ginger. Pour two or three cups of water over it and boil it until the ginger is translucent. Let it boil away longer if you want the liquid more flavorful. Now you can use the ginger to make candy if you like but the water is now a concentrated ginger tea. Keep it in the fridge to add to other teas or make your own ginger lemon honey tea. My favorite is to add it to Alpine Hot Cider mix. I should have bought more of those. Apple ginger cider? Oh yeah.
- Debbie Meyer Green Bags for storing produce. I do not know what kind of magic Debbie puts in her bags but they really work. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours processing the last of our fresh vegetables. I stocked the boat on April 27 so I have been storing all the fresh stuff since then. Yesterday I chopped our last two tomatoes. These were stored in a cabinet. The jalapenos look like I bought them today. These were in the fridge. I am impressed. All produce is washed and completely dried before storing. Unblemished or unbruised items store best.
Sourdough Flatbread. Easy and delicious, we find this easier than making a loaf. It cooks fast and keeps well, if you don’t eat it immediately. You can keep the dough in the fridge for a day or two and cook it in two batches, but any longer than that and it will probably be extremely sour. A note here about flour: this is just so much better with Pillsbury all purpose flour than with any of the Mexican flours. I did a side by side test after finding a two pound bag of Pillsbury flour at one of the super mercados. There was no competition really. The Pillsbury flour made a finer texture that had better gluten development and bubbled up better. It was just a better bread in every way. But you work with what you have. I have had plenty of time to play in the galley and come up with this recipe.
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 packet yeast
1 tbsp salt, depending on your taste
2 1/2 cups, more or less, flour
Proof your yeast with the sugar and water in a small bowl. In your mixing bowl put your starter. When the yeast is ready, add it to the starter. Do not spill the proofed yeast when a wave hits the boat and then use sailor language. Add a couple of pours of olive oil, glug glug. Add 1 cup of flour and your salt. Stir briskly until your arm gets tired. Rest. Stir again until your arm gets tired. Keep stirring until the batter is stretchy and hard to stir and you have developed extra muscle. Then start adding another cup of flour. Use the other arm.
Basically the amount of flour depends on how liquidy your starter is. Add enough to make a moist and sticky dough that almost holds shape. Remove from the bowl and knead it with a little more flour. It should be soft but not overly sticky. If you use too much flour it will be denser and less tender. Let it rise in a clean and greased bowl. Once it rises knead it a bit more and then divide it into pieces depending on the size of the flatbread you want. Roll the pieces flat using only enough extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. I make money maybe 1/4 inch thick. Then let the dough rounds rest. Let them rest while you clean up the galley, about 10 minutes. A little longer is OK. Heat a skillet with no oil. It should be very hot. Place flatbreads in the skillet and let cook on one side until they develop nice bubbles. Then flip and brown the other side. Eat hot off the skillet.
- One more win for the Trader Joe’s fans. Their taco seasoning packet makes excellent chili. Really so good! Here’s how I did it.
1 package beef deshebrada by Sukarne (about .75 pounds of shredded beef seasoned with salt) About 8 ounces leftover marinara sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes with liquid
1 can diced tomatoes with ,liquid
1 small can corn with liquid
1/2 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cup black beans
1 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1 diced onion
1 packet Trader Joe’s taco seasoning mix
Enough water to make the whole thing the right consistency
Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes to cook onions and bring flavors together. This makes a big pot of chili. Add more chili powder if you want extra spice but we thought it was perfect.
Another day of sailing ahead. Counting down the days till we can say Land Ho!
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