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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Almost Greek Salad

We typically eat red meat about... oh, twice a month. This is because I will only buy "happy cow" meat, and because happy cow meat is much more expensive, I have to wait for those lovely orange stickers proclaiming "reduced". Love that orange.

If my husband gets the chance to go to the store, however, it is nearly certain that red meat will return with him (there is either a magnetism or a weakness there). So, we hit our twice a month quota rather rapidly in the last week, as he did go to the store and we did have burgers twice in a row. So I won't dwell on the burgers anymore. Instead, I'll focus on two more lovely side dishes you can easily make instead of fries to accompany your burger tonight.

These two side dishes are super easy, and looked "Sunset Magazine" in the words of my husband. Yum.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Almost Greek Salad

You will need...

A willingness to be imprecise. I didn't measure much...

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
potatoes! as much as you want to eat.
milk or cream
garlic powder
chives, chopped

1) Wash and clean your potatoes, and peel them if you like. I like to leave the peels on. Slice into quarters, and boil in salted water until tender.

2) Drain water and return potatoes to pot. Begin to mash. Add milk/cream, butter, salt and garlic powder to taste. Add milk slowly so you don't make the potatoes soupy, but just do everything to taste. This is really easy to make taste great!

3) Continue mashing (and tasting and adding) until potatoes are the consistency you like. Serve with butter and sprinkle with chives.

Almost Greek Salad
8 oz. cherry tomatoes
feta cheese (I used my leftovers from Feta-stuffed burgers! A couple ounces I think.)
Small handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped bite-size
1 green pepper, cored and chopped bite size
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
(olives would be yummy, I didn't have any)

1) In a medium sized bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, cucumber, green pepper and parsley.

2) Add a splash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Toss well, and let sit five minutes before serving.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Feta-Stuffed Burgers and Blueberry Salad

I think it is fair to say that while Martha has fantastic and delectable food photography, and incredible sounding recipes to boot, she is quite less concerned with the quality (or is it quantity?) of my pocketbook.

On a short tangent, who grows up to be a professional food designer? How do you get that job? Is it an offshoot of the floral arrangement school? Because there is a huge amount of skill involved, and I'm not sure how/where it is taught. I mention this because my soups never look like the picture soups, and when I dish food onto a plate it never looks quite so luscious as the photographs (my one claimed exception being the Chicken with Cornmeal Dumplings.) That said, I'm pretty happy with the pic I have of tonight's dinner.

Now, back on track... my pocketbook. I had this killer recipe picked out from Martha's everyday food. I loved that it had only three main ingredients, and would require very little prep. Time to hit the store! My daughter loves buying melons (I've wrestled many a watermelon out of the cart), so she was excited to help pick out the cantaloupe for the recipe. Then I moved on to the prosciutto. Call me naive, but I've never bought prosciutto before. I was in awe. Awe that a three ounce package cost $5.79, and I was supposed to buy 1/3 pound (i.e. two packages 'cause I couldn't find it sold another way), which makes $11.58 for one ingredient. Uh-uh. I went ahead and took a peek at the third ingredient, bocconcini, and had to pass. At least another ten bucks there. What to do with a promised cantaloupe in your cart? Add blueberries (on sale!) and who needs french fries?

P.S. This dinner only took 30 minutes to make!

Feta-Stuffed Burgers and Blueberry Salad

Serves 2-3
You will need...

1/2 cantaloupe, scooped into balls or cut into chunks
(no, I don't own a melon scoop, but my daughter's play cook set had one!)
1 cup blueberries
5 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
broccoli spears if you choose
ground beef (everyone likes their burger a different size, buy what you need)
lettuce and tomato to garnish
salt and pepper

1) scoop/cut your melon, mix gently with blueberries, and set aside. You have a beautiful summer salad with almost no effort.

2) Clean and prepare your broccoli. I like to steam my broccoli. If you don't have a steamer (I don't), just put a very little water in the bottom of a pot with a secure lid. The water should not cover the veggies, you just want enough to make steam. So, broccoli plus little water in pot, set aside on stove, ready to go, but don't start yet.

3) Make burgers. For each burger, you need to make two thin patties. Place 1.5 Tablespoons feta in the middle of one patty, then "make a sandwich" using the other patty. The edges of the two patties then need to be pinched and molded together. Don't be shy about this step. Really get after it, otherwise the patties will pull apart while cooking and your feta will leak out (this happened to my first burger, but not the others!).

Sorry no pics here, my hands were "raw meated."

4) If you have a grill, awesome. I don't. I used a covered skillet on the stove top. Cook your burgers a little longer than usual, as they are a bit thicker than usual.

5) Start your broccoli when your burgers are almost done. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Broccoli only takes a few minutes to cook. Don't cook it until it is done, as it will then continue to cook itself a bit more. Stop a bit shy of perfect, and then it will be perfect.

6) Added challenge: See how prettily you can plate your creations. Use your extra feta to sprinkle over tomato topped burgers, and if you have lovely lettuce (thank you farmshare!) try that instead of a bun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pasta with Sausage and Sundried Tomatoes

Old me: Paralyzed by instructions to cut chicken into one and one-half inch chunks. Do I need a ruler?

New me: Look at me sauteing onions while I simultaneously deglaze my pan after cooking sausages!

I made this one up all by myself, but no bragging.

Pasta with Sausage and Sundried Tomatoes

(plated with Love Your Kale)

Serves 3-4
You will need...

Pasta. I used a combination of penne and spiral to use up two remnant bags. If you mix pastas, just check their cook times to make sure they are about the same. Adjust your pasta amount for the number of folks you are cooking for.

Sausages. I used two tomato basil chicken sausages.

Sauteed onions. I used one half of a white onion, chopped.

Handful of sundried tomatoes, cut into strips.

This was a wing-it recipe, just using leftovers I had, so go ahead and adjust amounts to fit what you have or need

1) Cook pasta according to package directions.

2) Cook sausages, then set aside.

3) In same pan, saute chopped onion. While onions sautee, slice sausage into bite size chunks.

4) When onions just begin to caramelize, add sundried tomatoes and sausage chunks. Stir lightly until tomatoes are warmed through.

5) Plate pasta with a drizzle of olive. Top with onion, sausage and tomato mixture. Voila!

Quality of Life

A few years ago, the wife of a friend made the following comment:

"I won't ever live aboard again. That quality of life might work for some people, but not for me."

This wasn't said directly to me, but as there were only three of us present (speaker included) I had to wonder...

Back then I wondered if she meant to be offensive. Now I just look at the picture below and wonder "what the heck?". That quality of life looks pretty freaking awesome.

This is where we sailed to two weekends ago. We anchored in a great mud bottom on one side of the island, then hiked up and over to the other. Glorious. There are supposed to be foxes on the bluffs, but I suspect our enthusiastic enjoyment--and daughter's shouts of "where are the foxes?"-- was a bit too much for their quiet souls. Perhaps next time we can sit still long enough for one to visit.

There will be a next time. There is a certain quality of life we enjoyed that day...

And what did we eat you ask? Corn puffins and eggs in the morning, apples with peanut butter and goldfish on the beach (yes! we made it down the bluffs to the beach), and I don't remember dinner now...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Warm Bean Salad

This simple side dish is a winner for a one pan meal, which equals ease in the galley for cooking and clean-up. Save water too! I cooked pork chops first in my pan, and then moved on to the lovely warm bean salad.

Take note: This salad is so good, that it prompted my husband to reflect quite positively on my cooking project/progress. Here is what he said, "I know you've done all the cooking for four years, but the first three were boring."

It is all in the tone of voice, truly.

Make this salad, and soon people will be complimenting you too!! Plus, you'll have thicker hair, look good in orange, and folks will volunteer their time to help out with your next haul-out!

Warm Bean Salad

from everyday food
You will need:

2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
(I forgot to cut mine, still got that compliment!)
2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 oz. grape/cherry tomatoes
1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
(I had no red-wine vinegar, so used 1 T. white vinegar and 1 T. red wine)
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
(they were half price this week! if you don't find such a deal, sub dried basil as garnish instead)
coarse salt and ground pepper

1) Lightly rinse out skillet (if you cooked meat first) and return to heat, along with 2 teaspoons olive oil.

2) Add green beans and cook 2 minutes.

3) Add garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to burst, 3 minutes. Add cannellini beans and vinegar and cook, stirring, until beans are heated through, about two mins.

4) Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with basil.

PROS: Thicker hair and haul out help. Tastes fresh and good. Little clean-up!
CONS: Grape tomatoes aren't the cheapest produce out there.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stovetop Fruit Cobbler

I miss baking.

Recently, I reorganized a bit of our galley to make my cookbooks accessible (as opposed to buried deep in an oddly shaped cubby). Having them accessible is great, I can actually use them! But now I find myself gazing wistfully at "Baking with Julia" every time I open my cupboard.

Two nights ago, I pulled it out and flipped through the pages. Gazing at a completely scrumptious johnnycake fruit cobbler, I found myself wondering if one could make johnnycake dumplings...? I liked the sound of johnnycake dumplings so much that I started composing a blog entry in my head immediately, complete with the PRO of not dirtying a pan too much, since dumplings are simply dropped in boiling water.

Alas, I am here to tell you that one definitely cannot make johnnycake dumplings, no matter how endearing the name. But you can make johnnycake pancakes. Or maybe we should call them johnny(pan)cakes. Here goes.

Stovetop Fruit Cobbler

with johnny(pan)cake

Serves 4
You will need:

Fruit Compote
4 stalks rhubarb, cleaned and sliced
1/2 green apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 banana, sliced
3 dried apricots, sliced
1/4 cup dried bing cherries, slice each in two
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
2-3 Tablespoons Agave nectar

P.S. You can use other fruit! I used what I had. If you have something different, go for it! Just keep total quantity about the same for four servings.

1) Make the fruit compote first. I made mine early in the day, and then just rewarmed it at dessert time. All you need to do is toss everything in one pot and set it to simmer.

2) Stir occasionally, checking to make sure heat is low enough to prevent burning. If needed, you can add water while cooking. When fruit is very soft and saucy, but apples are still a bit firm, remove from heat.

3) Sweeten to taste with Agave nectar and cover. Done!

Johnny(pan)cake (adapted from Baking with Julia)
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 stick cold (or room temp, mine was) butter, cut into 6 pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used milk mixed with half&half)

1) Mix all dry ingredients together well in a medium bowl.

2) Add the pieces of butter, and toss the butter around to coat each piece with flour. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut in butter until mixture is uniform and crumbly.

Take that food processor!!

3) Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the cream/milk. Stir to form a soft, moist dough. If it is too dry, slowly add more cream/milk 1 Tablespoon at a time. Let dough rest for a couple minutes.

4) Warm a large pan over medium-low heat and coat pan lightly with butter. Spoon dough into pan to form "dollar pancakes." Cover. When tops begin to just barely set, and you can smell the dough cooking, remove cover and flip. Cook second side uncovered.

5) Hot off the pan, place two johnny(pan)cakes in a bowl and layer with warm fruit compote. Add a third johnny(pan)cake on top, and then a second layer of fruit. I think you could also serve this with cream or milk to pour over, but we didn't, and it was so good we both had two helpings.

PROS: It is a dessert!
CONS: I cannot call them dumplings.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Love Your Kale

We are loving our farm share, and I am loving the challenge presented by big bags of leafy greens. Yesterday, I knew we had to get rid of one 1 lb. bag of mixed Kale and Chard in one fell swoop. Eat your greens! Now. Don't let them wilt.

I pulled out my trusty "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bitman, and found this wonderfully warm recipe for kale. I'm not one of those five alarm, six star spicy people, but my husband is, and this dish was a good balance for the two of us. It wasn't so much spicy hot as it was deliciously warming in the mouth, due to a perfect combination of red pepper and ginger.

Cook on to experience it for yourself! (Kale is plated alongside Pasta with Sausage and Sundried Tomatoes)

NOTE: This recipe was originally called Kale with Double Garlic, with an option to substitute the second garlic with ginger instead. I decided to do it all. All the garlic AND the ginger. You really will love your Kale.

Love Your Kale

Adapted from "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bitman
Serves 4

You will need...
1 pound mixed Kale and Chard with stems under 1/4 inch thick. All Kale is fine too.
1/4 cup olive oil
5-6 cloves thinly sliced garlic, plus 1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp. minced ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
(lemon wedges if you have them, I didn't)

1) Coarsely chop the stems and leaves of the greens.

2) Place oil in large, deep saucepan. Add sliced garlic, pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for ~ 1 minute.

(I had already used my pan for something else... yours won't look all blackened like mine...)

3) Add the collards and the water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for ~ 5 minutes, or until the greens are wilted and just tender, but still a little firm.

4) Uncover the greens and continue to cook, stirring, over medium-high heat, until the liquid has almost all evaporated and the greens are quite tender. Note: My greens were tender well before all the liquid was gone, but the liquid made a lovely sauce to drizzle. Better to keep the liquid than to overcook your greens.

5) Taste for seasoning and add red or black pepper and salt as needed. Add remaining garlic plus ginger. Cook for 1 minute more and serve (with lemon wedges if you have them).

PROS: Lovely, lovely warming veggies
CONS: Cannot think of any!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Faux Soba Salad with Asparagus and Shrimp

Pssst... I was supposed to post this yesterday... sorry!

Did you know that soba noodles are twenty dollars a pound!!?? A pound! I think the exact price was $19.98, so I'm exaggerating only slightly. (A pound!).

I let my daughter pick tonight's dinner recipe out of my newest little cookbook, and I was happy with her choice: a) it looked yummy, b) it didn't have too many major ingredients, c) she'd been wanting to try asparagus for awhile and d) I thought the shrimp might be a bit of a budget stretch, but doable. Never did I dream that the noodles would be our undoing.

I did not buy those noodles. Nothing against buckwheat mind you, but that is one little expensive Polygonaceae. Standing there in the "international aisle, " I decided to make a substitution. I bought brown rice noodles instead. Continuing on to the produce area for fresh basil, I made another financial discovery. Fresh basil is $4.99 a bunch. Ummmmm.... I have dried basil in a jar at home. Moving on! To...

Seafood! I had already decided to buy frozen shrimp to save a few dollars, but the bags of frozen shrimp were, yes again, twenty dollars! Granted, that was for two pounds, not one pound, but I couldn't do it. I picked up a pound of salad shrimp, and spent about seven dollars. Still kind of a lot for one dinner, but we won't make a habit of it. The two original items I did buy were a bunch of asparagus and the scallions.

Finally, I think my favorite thing about this recipe is that is uses sesame oil in the dressing. When you cook with sesame oil, no matter who you are, the food tastes like you know what you are doing.

Faux Soba Salad with Asparagus and Shrimp

Adapted from everday food
You will need...

coarse salt
one bunch asparagus ~ 1 1b, trimmed (see note in steps)
1 pound fresh, precooked salad shrimp
3/4 lb. brown rice noodles
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
dried basil to garnish

1) Wash and prepare asparagus. Did you know that you are not supposed to cut your asparagus when you trim it? Don't do it, or you could lose some good stuff, or keep some tough stuff. To do it right, bend the asparagus until it snaps at its natural "breaking point." Then you'll know it was "trimmed" in the right spot.

2) Start a pot of water boiling and cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and cover when done.

3) Meanwhile, place asparagus in a pan or pot with salted water to cover. Bring to simmer and cook only 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. They cook fast!

4) While asparagus cooks, make your dressing. In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, oil, vinegar and sugar.

5) Remove asparagus from pan and set to side in small bowl. Keep the water!

6) Warm the precooked shrimp in the asparagus water. Just a quick dip and stir, then remove with slotted spoon. I didn't take a picture of this because little shrimp floating in pale green water just don't look... nice.

7) Divide noodles into bowls and drizzle dressing over noodles. Layer shrimp over noodles, and garnish with scallions and basil. Serve with asparagus spears alongside.

PROS: Only two cooking dishes used (plus dressing bowl), but they only had water in them. Easy clean up! Also, the dressing was delicious, and it was a great simple dinner.
CONS: This required several substitutions to make it affordable, so you don't get your soba. So be it...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I will be posting a recipe tomorrow morning!

I have everything but the dressing recipe here with me, and I simply cannot post without the dressing recipe.

The dressing is the part that makes this dish taste like you really know what you're doing. The part that says, "someone made this taste good."

So, everything is all ready to go, I just need to add that bit of crucial info into my post, and I'll post!