Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chicken and Kale Casserole

For you, I worked my way through a Martha Stewart recipe, using a total of 4 dishes only to discover that had I just thought ahead a wee bit, I could have done it all with only 2 dishes. And since one of the two is a colander, I say it doesn’t really count, and I can call this a one-pot meal.

So, in my pictures you will see the sad documentation of excess dishes. I encourage you to take a different path, the path that I’ll describe in my instructions. That way, at the end of your meal, you’ll save time and have more water left in your tanks (and that is important if you drink as much tea as I do).

On a final note, I made several adjustments and modifications to this recipe. The changes make it less expensive and easier for boat life, and thus more likely I’ll make it again. But even with the changes, it got great reviews! The grown-ups all loved it, and while the four-year old initially said nope, she got the hang of the ricotta and ended up finishing her bowl.

As usual, I’ll leave the original recipe intact and note my changes in parentheses. I have also included directions for both stove-top and oven baked options.

Chicken and Kale Casserole

From everyday food, Serves 8
You will need…

Course salt and ground pepper
¾ pound large pasta shells
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced medium
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches kale (1.5 lbs), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped (I used half kale and half beet greens. Love beet greens).
2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken from ½ rotisserie chicken (I used one 12.5 oz can of chicken, drained. Less than 2 cups, but it was fine).
1 container, 48 oz, part-skim ricotta (the biggest container I could find was 32 oz, and it looked like plenty. It was).
3 Tbsp finely grates lemon zest, from 2 lemons (I used 2 Tbsp lemon juice from ½ lemon).
¾ cup Parmesan, grated (I used good old Parmesan “shake cheese”)

1) The original recipe called for baking this casserole. I modified for stove-top. If you want to bake it, then preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If you will not be oven baking, head to step two.

2) In a Dutch Oven of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, and leave in colander.

 3) In your newly empty Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is beginning to soften, ~ 4 mins. Add kale, cover, and cook until almost tender, ~ 5 mins. Return pasta to Dutch Oven and gently mix.

Softening onions and garlic.

Kale and Beet Greens on top of onions, just before covering

Veggies mixed with pasta shells

 4) Stir in chicken, ricotta and lemon zest/juice. If baking, skip to step five now. If stove-top, stir in all ¾ cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and cover. Adjust heat to low-low. When pot begins to gently bubble, your casserole is ready! ~ 10 mins.

Freshly stirred, not yet simmering!
5) If baking, stir in ½ cup Parmesan, then top with remaining ¼ cup. Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes. (Note: I’m assuming you can simply bake it in the Dutch oven, uncovered. I see no reason why not, but I haven’t tried it. If you want to follow Martha, then transfer your casserole mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish before topping with the ¼ cup Parmesan. This route will add one more dish though!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scraping Paint

Today, I scraped paint in the bow of the boat all day... and then I sprayed cold galvanizing paint.

Now it is stinky inside, and I'm hoping it clears out in time for dinner prep.

I do have a great new, one pot dinner recipe to share though, so I'll be posting that tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple-Nut Morning Puffins

In the morning, after the alarm goes off and I push snooze, the first thing I think about is breakfast. Not about eating it, but about making it. I let my sleepy mind travel through the cupboards and cooler, inventorying ingredients and figuring out what could come together for a filling, nutritious and yummy start to the day. Then, I map out my movements, deciding in what order I'll attack making tea/coffee, heating pans, slicing, dicing, and making/packing lunches. Once I have it figured out, I get up. This might sound a little control-freakish, but with incredibly limited counter space I need to have the progression of events mapped out ahead of time. I can also minimize dish use this way.

Example: This morning, I heated corn tortillas and melted cheese on them as step one for lunches, leaving the same pan warm and clean for cooking breakfast eggs. If I did the eggs first, the pan would have needed washing before I could warm the tortillas. Anyway...

Not too many mornings ago, my internal tour through the galley was coming up empty handed. Milk? Just a tiny bit. Not enough to make hot cereal. Eggs? Nope. Ummmm... I could make egg-less pancakes! Wait, not enough milk. And no syrup or yogurt or even juice. Just when I was trying to (unwillingly) wrap my mind around serving the hot cereal without milk, or with watered down milk, I remembered the peanut butter.

And then I remembered the apple. And the walnuts. And then I got up.

I was ready to make Apple-Nut Morning Puffins, topped with peanut-butter. Mmmmmmm! Why are they call puffins? They are muffins in a pan!

Peanut-butter adds protein power to breakfast!

You will need...

Vegetable oil for pan
4 Tbsp butter (I used a thoroughly mashed banana instead)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I used closer to 3/4 cup)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup fruit juice, orange or apple, or milk (I stretched my milk with water)
1 egg, (OR 2 tablespoon flax seed meal + 6 tablespoons water. Whisk them together and let mixture sit ~5 minutes. This is equivalent to 2 eggs... I like it better that way.) 
1 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
peanut butter for topping

1) Stir together dry ingredients. If using butter, cut butter into bits, then use a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate butter into dry ingredients. Cut in until there are no pieces bigger than a small pea. If using banana, mix mashed banana into wet ingredient first.

2) Beat together juice/milk and egg/substitute and mashed banana if using. Pour into dry ingredients, mixing just enough to moisten. If mixture seems too thick/dry add milk/juice/water 1 Tbsp at a time. Do not over-mix! Fold in apples and nuts.

3) Warm pan over low heat. Add oil to lightly cover pan. Spoon puffin mixture into pan in ~ 2 Tbsp scoops. Any bigger, and you will have difficulty cooking them through before the outside burns.

4) When bottoms are nicely browned, flip each puffin and then lightly press it down with a spatula. This keeps them from being too "mounded" and not cooking through. When nicely browned on both sides, they are done!

5) Top with peanut butter for extra protein, or just butter if you don't have big plans. Great with coffee or tea!

Note: If your puffins are burning on the outside before they are done on the inside, your heat is too high.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Downsizing II

Alright. It is Day Two (Click here if you missed Day One). How does your home look this morning? There should be:

1) A big pile of stuff to get rid of by the door (unless your energetic friend took it to be donated yesterday).
2) A big pile of stuff out by the curb (unless it all got claimed yesterday, or you are hyper-organized and took pics of everything and listed it on craigslist instead, or you and your buddy had time to donate it all yesterday).
3) Piles of packed and labeled boxes (be sure to label those boxes!) of things you want to keep.
4) Rooms that are still unpacked, including kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and possibly office.

The first thing to do on Day Two is make space. If you made it through Day One without a friend, you will most likely need one today--preferably with a truck. If there is simply no one who can help, you may need to employ the likes of Got Junk.

(An aside, I won't frequently endorse specific companies, but Got Junk is amazing.We didn't use them for Project Downsize, but we did use them for remodeling cleanup, and they were fantastic. It doesn't matter what you need to get rid of. They show up, they sort it, load it, and take it away. The dudes who took our giant pile of stuff even picked over the gravel driveway for every stray nail, screw and bit of metal. They are not expensive, nor are they cheap, but they are worth every dime in terms of your time. Done.)

So, either call the number and sit back with your coffee for a few minutes, or get going. This part is simple, but repetitive: Load up vehicles to the brim, take to appropriate recylcling/upcycling/donation centers, empty vehicles, return home, and repeat (be sure to stop and buy your buddy coffee on the first trip). After your final trip, your home should be empty of the giant "to-go" pile, your curb should be clear, and you will need to eat lunch. Be happy your kitchen is still in good order.

After lunch, it's time to play The Visigoths are Coming! again, your aim being to pack as quickly and efficiently as possible. But let's pretend that Alaric is still a couple days out, so you can slow down a bit as you consider the following:  How much longer will you be in your current home, and will you be holding any dinner parties during that time? The answer to this question will inform what you will do next. If you will still be in your home for over a month or hosting parties, I'd recommend not changing much at this time (picture us with incredible food for a BBQ to celebrate our newborn baby daughter, and not a dish to be seen). Instead, you can either take the rest of the day off, or go start sorting through your clothing to decide what simply won't work for boat life.

If you will be in your home for less than a month and not hosting parties... Visigoths!

Again, you want boxes, and you want three choices: 1) Out the door, 2) Must keep but cannot keep on boat and 3) I really want to have this on my boat. Out the door gets packed and donated. Must keep gets carefully packed and labeled. On the boat stays right where it is in your kitchen. Basically, you want to purge your experimental galley (current kitchen) of all duplicates, all fragile items, and all things impractical for boat life (toaster oven, cuisinart, blender, etc.). You are trying to outfit your kitchen with the same things you will have in your boat galley, and then giving yourself the coming weeks to see how it works, and if you want to dig anything out of those carefully labeled boxes.

If all you have are glass or ceramic plates...  you can try, but I highly recommend enameled stainless as they are fairly attractive, indestructible, and can be heated to high temps. We have several ceramic mugs that have survived four years aboard. I'm against plastic as it isn't too good for you, scratches up, and can crack easily. You'll want to pare down utensils. Yes, multiple wooden spoons are good, but you don't need three spatulas, five ladles, two whisks, or twenty knives. Have fun pretending you are readying your boat galley, and really try to get everything you don't plan on having on the boat out of the kitchen. This will give you the chance to figure out what works, what is extra, and what you wish you hadn't packed.

Don't worry about food right now. This is a dishes/equipment only gig. Leave the food where it is.

At the end of this day, either make a last run to get rid of your "out the door" kitchen pile, or at least get it by the front door so it is ready to go.

Finally, make dinner in your "galley."

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Butternut Squash Mac n' Cheeze

Last night, my kid ate squash, nutritional yeast, and a whole pile of kale! A miracle... or Angela Liddon?

Angela is a woman who knows how to make the healthiest food even more fantastic, and I love combing her site for recipes that not only deliver the nutrition but work well on a boat too. Yesterday, I spotted this simple "mac n' cheese" recipe, which was originally vegan and gluten free. You can do that too by subbing in the appropriate spots, but I went ahead with the dairy and multi-grain elbow pasta.

Here is the result:

Four year old happily eats bowl of squash and kale!

You will need...

1 cup cooked and smashed butternut squash. I bought a bag of frozen cubes. You could use canned.
1 tbsp butter (or a non-dairy butter replacer)
1 cup milk (or use unsweetened rice or almond milk)
1 tbsp cornstarch
5 tbsp nutritional yeast. How I love nutritional yeast!
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
4 servings multi-grain macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package). Use brown rice pasta if gluten free.
2-3 cups kale finely chopped (or spinach, peas, etc.)

1)  Warm squash in pan with a little water to prevent burning. When warm and soft, smash with fork.


2) Prepare the cheeze sauce in a saucepan on the stove top. Add butter over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch (or flour) until clumps are gone. Add into pan and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, salt and pepper) and whisk over low heat until thickened ~5 mins.
Sizzle sizzle

This sauce is so yummy! I couldn't stop "sampling" it.

3) Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to cover 4 servings of pasta.


When the pasta is done cooking, drop your chopped kale on top, into the water. Give a quick stir, count to five, and drain.

4) Blend your smashed squash with the cheeze sauce in same pan. You don't need a blender, if you have thoroughly smashed your squash, it will blend in nicely by hand.  If using canned, it will also stir into the sauce nicely.

Blend and blend and blend.
5) Return the drained macaroni and kale to pasta pot. Add cheeze sauce and blend. Warm gently if needed. 


6) Serve into bowls and enjoy!

Angela's pics are better than mine, but it tastes great!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

No Knead Whole Wheat Bread (and why you need it)

I baked bread!

In my Dutch oven! I’m not the first person to do this, but I’m still pretty excited. When my lovely, red enameled Dutch oven first arrived in the mail from friends, I had no idea how often I would use it. Nor would I have imagined the value of such a heavy piece of galley equipment on a boat. But I use it constantly, and now I’m using it even more because I’m turning into a bit of a freak. A food freak.

How so?

Well, I am only a wee bit informed about the troubles plaguing our food supply. I have read approximately ten pages out of The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I’ll read it through after I finish my current book, Reality Bites Back), I finished a magazine article entitled Frankenfish, and I’ve wondered for quite awhile why propylene glycol is an ingredient in some cookies. Why is the main ingredient in automotive antifreeze in a cookie? Well, to keep it moist of course! But I don’t eat those cookies. Do you?

While baking at home, who thinks, “Honey, have you seen the propylene glycol? I swear I had half a bottle left..."

So, while I have been reading ingredient lists for quite awhile, I am turning up the volume. There are still foods out there with ingredients you can understand. Ingredients that do not require you to visit a database for potentially carcinogenic materials to double check the snack you are about to put in your mouth. And then there is the option of creating/baking/cooking at home. I baked bread. And it only had four ingredients: flour, salt, yeast, and water. Now don’t get me wrong, I am really looking forward to trying the recipes for bread with extra ingredients. Ingredients like cheese. Or peanut-butter and jelly (!), but I can understand those ingredients without revisiting my college chemistry textbooks.

Jim Lahey's No Knead Whole Wheat Bread

So good with butter! Real butter.

You will need...

a Dutch oven!
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
11/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp instant or other active dry yeast
11/3 cups cool water (55 - 65 degrees F)
wheat bran, cornmeal of additional flour for dusting

1) In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon, mix until you have wet sticky dough, ~ 30 seconds. It needs to be really sticky to the touch. If it is not, mix in another Tbsp or two of water.

2) Cover bowl with a plate or tea towl, and let sit at room temperature (~72 degrees F) until surface is dotted with bubbles and dough has doubled in size. This will take a minimum of 12 hours, but Lahey recommends 18 hours. My trickiest part was keeping my dough warm enough, as our boat isn't exactly temperature controlled. But by keeping it close to our heater, but not too close, I did alright.

Note: If you prepare your dough around 8 or 9pm, it will be ready to bake the following evening and you can have fresh bread with dinner!

3) After first fermentation (that is what those 12 -18 hours were for), lightly dust work surface with flour and scoop dough out of bowl, in one piece, and onto dusted surface.

4) Gently fold and shape the dough into a round loaf for the second rise.

5) Dust a tea towel with bran or cornmeal, I used cornmeal. Place dough, seam side down, onto towel. Fold towel over dough and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Doubled in size!

6) Prepare Dutch oven. You need a flat metal surface that will nest inside, but be held above the bottom. My enameled plates work perfectly, as their size allows them to sit low enough without touching the bottom. Depending on what you have, you may need to use a trivet (or an empty tuna can) to hold your surface up above the bottom. Dust your plate/surface with bran/cornmeal.

Plate nesting inside Dutch oven, dusted with cornmeal

7) Unwrap your dough and dust generously with bran/cornmeal. Invert onto your surface so that the seam side is up. Cover.

Seam side up!
8) Bake over medium-high heat for forty-five minutes, lifting lid every ten minutes to allow steam to escape. I am lucky, in that I can bake mine right on our Dickinson diesel Lofoten stove. If you have one, use it! When the top is firm (but it won't get crunchy) and you can just smell the bottom of the bread toasting, the loaf should be done.

9) Remove from oven immediately and cool on a rack if you have one. I don't, but I have found that a colander works nicely. Once bread is cool, wrap in a tea towel to keep for up to 3 days.

A loaf of bread! Without a conventional oven!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Southern Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens

With a recipe title that long, you wouldn't think one should necessarily tackle it while under sail. And perhaps one shouldn't. But I did, and I estimate that it took only roughly four times as long to make as it should have. Flying along at 8 or 9 knots with significant heel on, it was hard to get a grip on cubing chicken and shredding collard greens, but it can be done. A better question might be, "Why was it done?"

Well, our daughter's grandparents were visiting, and I had planned this as a yummy, new dish to try for which I already had many of the ingredients. Once I'd purchased the chicken (with no home refrigeration), I was committed. Given the increased prep time, we didn't eat until rather late, but it was so good when we did.What can compare to a hearty sail followed by a hearty soup?

Now, if you read my earlier blog entry, "Where am I?", you'll know already that I have only one picture for this recipe. Sadly, it is not of the completed, delicious, and beautiful stew. No, it is only of the (blurry) cup of peanuts before the wind picked up, the peanuts went flying, and we were sailing!

P.S. With this recipe, all the work is in the prep, sailing or not. After that, it's easy!

Southern Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens

Peanuts just before I chopped them, and they became airborne.
Recipe from Mother Earth News
Serves 6
You will need:

2 tbsp peanut oil (I used olive oil)
1 med sweet onion, chopped
11/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated and minced (I used... oh, about 2 or 3 tsp of powdered ginger)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional. you could go veggie)
1/2 cup roasted, shelled peanuts, finely chopped (if you're wondering like I did, half a cup pre-chopped is about the same as 1/2 cup finely chopped)
2 - 3 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
8 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups collard greens, shredded with stems removed
11/2 lbs. sweet or regular potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used half sweet half regular)
4 cups fresh or canned tomatoes, diced, seeded and drained
3/4 cup peanut butter

Cilantro leaves, roughly torn
1/2 cup roasted, shelled peanuts, whole or roughly chopped
plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)

1) In a heavy pot, heat oil to medium, then add onion and ginger, cooking for a few minutes or until onion is soft. If you are using powdered ginger, add it after the onion is softening, otherwise it will burn.

2) Add garlic and chicken and saute for a few minutes more.

3) Add the finely chopped peanuts and seasonings, sauteing for a minute or two. Stir in the stock and collards, bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low simmer.

4) Add the sweet potatoes and tomatoes, then cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peanut butter. Taste and adjust seasonings.

5) Ladle into bowls and garnish: a nice dollop of plain yogurt/sour cream, a sprinkle of cilantro and a sprinkle of peanuts.

So warming and delicious!!!