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, September 29, 2011


Alright. We have a question. I say "we" because if any of you silent readers would like to sound off on this topic, please do!

Here it is: "How did you downsize and adapt [to life on a sailboat]"

First answer, it is most definitely a process, and every boat you live on will offer different challenges, and present different opportunities. As an eighteen year old living and working aboard, I found myself sleeping in a tiny room with seven other people. Men. Women. Young. Old. We were all crammed in there. We each had three small shelves, a few hooks, and our bunk. And it was much easier for me to stash my stuff than it was for me to put away my modesty. But, after a few days of trying to get dressed lying down and hunched up behind my bunk's curtain, I figured it out: just get dressed already. And I did, just like everybody else.

So, if you're moving aboard with others, you're going to see and hear things you might not in a house. But after awhile, you don't see or hear any of it. Or at least it doesn't register on the scale of unacceptable. It becomes your "new normal," and works out just fine.

But what about all your things? All the important, personal, assorted, strange, lovely and mysterious things you have collected to make your home your home. They won't all fit on a boat, at least not the boat you are planning for yourself. But can you get rid of them? The easy answer is sure. The real answer is, it's not easy. That said, I can give you an action plan that worked/is working for us. It isn't very philosophical, and I won't preach about how less is more, but I will say I honestly felt relieved as the piles kept shrinking. (Please note: the following is not only based on actual events, it actually happened)

Day One: Pretend you have to either pack up or get rid of everything in your home. SPEED is of the essence. Have a friend make runs to grocery/liquor stores for boxes, or do this for yourself in advance of day one, then get going. Quickly. Furniture should be easy. Its gotta go. "But wait!" you say, "The end tables were great-grandma's." That's fine, keep them for now. Heirlooms stay, everything else goes. I hauled our furniture out to the curb, and put a big free sign on each item. Either we had nice stuff or I was lucky, 'cause by the end of the day every item was gone (if this doesn't happen for you, it just means Goodwill trips later). If you just cannot imagine giving something away for free, fine. Take a picture, get it on craigslist, and keep moving. The point (and I'll keep beating this) is to not slow down.

(Note: Don't move your bed out to the curb, you're not moving yet)

Boxing is next. Remember, you are pretending that you have to pack up your entire home fast... so that is what you are doing. As you hold each book, vase, picture, ornament, lamp, throw pillow, figurine, shell, or ancient ticket stub, ask yourself: Must I have it? Not neccessirly Do I NEED it, because a great many of us have plenty of things we don't need to physically live, but still... there is undeniably some emotional life of import attached to some of our objects. Those are the objects you are trying to identify. So ask yourself, quickly, Must I have it? and answer quickly. No lingering over the stuffed beany bear to remember all the colors of the sunset as you walked down the pier after winning the carnival game. Once you begin engaging in lingering reflection, the pile of things to keep will begin to rapidly outpace the pile to go. And you want a big "to-go" pile.

That said, Don't Worry if your "keep" pile is getting way too big for your boat. It is okay. You are just sorting right now.

So! Yes or no? If no, into a box and into the pile by the door. If yes, into a box and into the "keep pile." If your friend is hanging tough, have them make runs to the Goodwill/Salvation Army/Thrift Store every time a car load is ready. If there is no friend, you can make trips tomorrow. The point is that you don't slow down with your boxing efforts. You are downsizing!

For this first onslaught, concentrate on the living room, dining room, hallway, family room, etc. Stay out of the kitchen, bedroom/s, bathroom and office (if you have one, you probably need it for your work). I pretty much completely emptied our living room, dining room, bedroom and kitchen on day one... and then spent about a month wishing I hadn't been quite so efficient (think air mattress and borrowing dishes from the neighbors).

I will write about tackling the kitchen next, and the tactics I employed there.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

"Day Two" will follow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Carolina Slaw

We were invited to a potluck a couple weeks ago, and decided it was time to use the giant head of red (purple?) cabbage we'd been saving for about a month. Saving for what we didn't know, but when the potluck came up, inspiration struck. We would make coleslaw. Neither of us had ever done this before, however, so a search for a recipe was next. By pure luck, we struck gold.

Crunchy. Tangy. Not too sweet. This coleslaw is awesome. So good, that the entire bowl was consumed at the dinner, and there weren't that many people there. We cannot really take any credit for this feat, but we thank the creator of Carolina Slaw.

This recipe is easy, but it isn't fast, given the amount of chopping and shredding you need to do.

Carolina Slaw

Picture perfect purple.

Serves a bunch. Six to ten.
You will need:

1 large head cabbage, finely shredded
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, grated

1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup veggie oil
1 tsp dried mustard (we used 2-3 tsp honey mustard)
1 tsp celery seed
1 cup apple cider vinegar

1) Combine all chopped, shredded and grated veggies in a large bowl.

Beautiful veggies all piled up!!
2) Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Pour over veggies, toss well until veggies are evenly coated.

3) Cover and chill 1-2 hours, if you want it cold. We simply covered it, still warm, and took it to the potluck. It was delicious warm/room temperature too!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pasta a la Mama!

Don't you wish I named this recipe? I do!

And don't you wish you knew what to do with those dibs and dabs of left over pasta? I do!

I recently checked out two cookbooks from the library, and I have been reading them. Which is weird. I'm having a difficult time reconciling myself to the idea that I have spent two evenings--in a row--sipping tea and being fascinated by recipes. Recipes! And dreaming, dreaming, dreaming of an oven. And scheming, scheming on how not to need an oven... We'll see.

In the meantime, I found this great little recipe in Myra Goodman's Earthbound Farm Cookbook. That isn't the name of the cookbook though. I cannot recall the actual name, but the entire book is based on and developed from Myra's experience creating Earthbound Farm and the Earthbound Farm Stand. If you shop organically at all, I'm sure you'd recognize the Earthbound Farm label. I did, but I never knew that the farm began as a little two acre raspberry farm... or that there is a farm stand whipping out yummy recipes. Or that I would finally know what to do with my leftover pasta !

Too many times I have packed up the last bit of pasta nobody ate for dinner, put it in the cooler, and never used it. Why? Because there wasn't really enough to do anything with. Or so I thought. Enter...  

Pasta a la Mama!

Now, it may not look like much, but it definitely falls into the category of comfort food. Warm. Cheesy. A little salty (from the Parmesan). Mmmmmm. A breakfast so easy!

Serves 2-3  
You will need:

1 to 1.5 cups cooked penne or spiral pasta, cut into bit size pieces. (I sliced each penne in two the night before)
1 Tbsp butter
4 eggs, whisked together in small bowl
1/3 cup grated Parmesan. (Fresh is best, but I used "shake cheese")
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella (I substituted cheddar, still tasted great)

1) Warm the pasta if it is cold (I reheated mine on the stove top with a touch of water to prevent burning).

2) Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs and cook for 30 seconds. Add pasta and mix, stirring constantly, until eggs just set.

3) Sprinkle Parmesan over top and stir to combine evenly.

4) Sprinkle Mozzarella or Cheddar over top. Cover. Cook 30 seconds more, then turn off heat. Let sit covered one minute. Serve immediately.  

Note: This recipe is easy, but moves fast! Be sure to have your cheeses grated and ready so as not to overcook the eggs, and don't let anyone interrupt you... I suspect I would have had better pasta/egg integration, but got sidetracked by a four year old.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lentil Salad with Grapes and Feta

For the last, oh... eight years oh so, we've often been short on cash. Occasionally we'll wistfully remember our too brief time of eating out often, and then eating out some more. We were young(er). We lived behind a grocery store and a string of hip little restaurants, and there was always plenty of feta cheese, chocolate ice cream, and long island iced teas.

Now, that long ago little home has been bulldozed (literally), and we've spent an increasing number of years focused on how to stretch a grocery budget... Yes, that was me you saw shopping with a calculator. And we know we're not the only ones in that boat (here, I was considering some awkward pun regarding being in the same boat, and actually living on a boat, but I'll skip that).

So what do you do? Love your Lentils. Best argument? I think they might just beat out the bean in terms of the nutrition count packed into one little legume, AND they cook much, much faster. When I found this recipe, I was quite excited to try a new lentil dish. Best of all, a friend had just gifted us with two lovely blocks of feta.

Lentil Salad with Grapes and Feta

Submitted to everyday food by Julie Sun, NY. Serves 4-6, is it a dinner or side?
You will need...

3/4 cup French of Brown lentils, rinsed (I used brown)
2 Tbsp Red-wine vinegar (I used 1 Tbsp white vinegar and 1 Tbsp red wine)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp honey
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I used dried thyme to taste)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

1) In small saucespan, bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil. Add lentils, stir, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook until lentils are tender but not mushy, 20 - 30 mins. Drain and rinse under cool water.

2) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together red-wine vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil.

3) Stir in lentils, walnuts, red grapes, celery stalk and thyme. Add crumbled feta, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4) Voila!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where Am I?

I'm Back!!!

And I've learned several swell things over the summer that I'm excited to share!

Unfortunately, this isn't the post to begin, as I am just taking a momentary break from the eye numbing work of spreadsheets and proofreading/editing.

That said, we have had a most excellent summer filled with sailing, flying peanuts and even several new recipes. Once caught, the flying peanuts went into a delicious stew that I'm looking forward to sharing. The only bummer about the peanuts? I stopped taking pictures when things started getting crazy. We were sailing, and then suddenly we were sailing hard and I didn't have much warning. In my scramble to secure ingredients, I abandoned the camera.

I wish I hadn't.

I lost a chance to document what really goes on in a galley at times... and the insane mess surrounding a serenely gimbaled stove.

Next time!

And what is next up? A simply delicious lentil dish...