Thursday, December 15, 2011

A better way to bake onboard...

I've been on something of a baking binge of late and it's nice to have that smell that says "spice cake" and suchlike...

Part of the reason for the baking is that I recently purchased a stove top oven and it has worked out so well that I actually want to bake. The secret is the new oven does not heat up the boat's interior like our old oven did. Trust me, when it's 85 degrees outside the idea of making a carrot cake is seldom on my list of things to do, and it is always about 85 here in the tropics...
There is not much to the oven in question... a pan with a hole in it, a bundt pan, and a cover. In a word, simple.

Of course, on a boat, simple is no bad thing! Speaking of no bad things... so are pans and suchlike that stow easily, and in the case of the Ominia oven it even comes with it's own little nylon bag to keep the bits together.

While the bundt pan is not huge it does make a full sized cake or, to be more precise, is just the right size for a standard cake mix of the Duncan Hines/Betty Crocker variety.

All in all, this is an excellent product and very well thought out. So much so that I've decided not to bother getting a new stove with an oven in the current round of galley makeovering as this one does the job so well!


What's not to like?





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

French onion soup...

Over at my favorite pressure cooking blog there is an excellent post on adapting a recipe for pressure cooking... In this case a French onion soup recipe from Julia Child.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Awe inspiring...

I am simply in awe of this post over at The Tasty Island...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I guess the thing to do is have a drink...

Being that I've lived in and around the Caribbean for some time, rum factors in to the general scheme of things...

Rum pervades the history of these islands, the cuisine, and it's social life...

Over at Ministry of Rum, since it is August 16th, Ed is reflecting on National Rum Day!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Tasty Island...


The Tasty Island is one of my favorite food blogs and I'm sure if you check them out it will become one of yours as well...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Amazing how time flies...

Who'd have thought it was National Macaroni Day again already?

Check out Serious Eats for some macaroni goodness...

Friday, July 1, 2011

They had me at soy & ginger...

Grilling Companion ponders a new office and parts with an exceptional Grilled soy and ginger Mahi recipe...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nope not a Painkiller...

Serious Eats talks about a drink...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bouillabaisse...

Steamy Kitchen has the how to for Bouillabaisse perfection...

Best check it out!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy National Doughnut Day!

You are celebrating National Doughnut Day!

Serious Eats has some recipes...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Smoked rum is as good an excuse as any...

I've been toying with the idea of replacing the BBQ on "So It Goes" with a grill/smoker... Having a smoker onboard would be very handy in dealing with a big mahi mahi or tuna and be more adaptable to being the go-to oven for making bread and suchlike.

The problem is that no one seems to make a boat friendly sized smoker (though this one looks promising) and, to be truthful, I am up to my ears in projects so adding building a propane-fueled smoker from scratch is just more than the system can handle.

Or so I thought, till I read this today over at Serious Eats...

Two words...

Smoked rum!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

A great BBQ fix...

One of the most difficult parts of cooking on a cruising boat is that so called "marine" stoves and grills are, at best, pretty awful (I won't go into the part about them being way too expensive).

Right now we have an OK grill/BBQ. It gets hot enough to cook stuff but not quite as hot as I'd like and it really does not throttle down to where I'd like it to either. That said, it is OK considering every other propane BBQ we have had has been lots worse.

I have been considering swapping out the anemic burner for some time but it is nice to see that others with the same problem have already sorted out the problem and come up with a workable and affordable solution...

Check out Boat Projects for everything you need to know!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Provisions... A few thoughts on the dried stuff

I've been meaning to catch up on provisioning and it's funny how things change when looking at what you've eaten in hindsight.

For instance, we've eaten a lot of dried carrots over the last few months due to the fact that carrots have been silly expensive of late and at best rather low quality. Looking down the shopping list it also becomes apparent that the same could be said for broccoli. At $3.69 a pound broccoli has us reaching for the dried stuff on a regular basis...

The other dried vegetables we use all the time is the Harmony House dried vegetable soup mix that we never use as a soup but more of a throw-a-handful-in-the pressure-cooker-with-whatever-we-are-cooking-for-a-vegetable-boost sort of thing. Seriously, I should buy this stuff by the case...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Seriously ono...

Ever wondered what Epic Meal Time would be like if they were not haole shark bait from Canada but hailed from an island in the Pacific?

Yeah, I thought so...



Ono...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Floating sweat shops...

It's a scary world...

We've touched upon about how a lot of the greed connected to big business commercial fishing is harmful to the environment. Sadly, it's easy to forget that there is a human toll as well... Check out the ever excellent "The Old Salt Blog" for more on the dark side.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Waffles, waffle irons and percieved wisdom...

I just made waffles...

Sundays aboard "So It Goes" is pretty much always a waffles for breakfast affair. For this to happen we have to have a waffle iron and for a space-constrained galley you have to consider the wisdom of having a pan or tool that only has one purpose and the general advice going around is that if it only does one thing you should do without it...

So not wanting to swim upstream or go against perceived wisdom of other more experienced sailors we did without a waffle iron for years...

Which leads us to our hand powered blender which works really well and is oh-so-practical and can be used for countless galley jobs and makes a mean Margarita to boot. A galley tool that no one would suggest superfluous to the cruising lifestyle and some might even say something of a requirement... and we've used it twice. I guess we are simply not blender folk.

Which points out that a lot of perceived wisdom and good advice does not actually have a lot to do with how you actually live your life and run your galley and should be taken into account when you are making galley and provisioning decisions.

So now I get to have waffles on Sunday and life is good...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I remember when a pound had sixteen ounces...

Doing our monthly provisions has become sort of an ongoing WTF experience as prices fof basics keeps getting more and more expensive...

Even more frustrating is the stealth downsizing of packaging so that when you think you are buying a pound of pasta in fact you are actually only getting 13.25 ounces.

Got to start reading those labels again...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can you say z-o-m-b-i-e?

The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival begins with the Zombie Jamboree...


They had me with the word zombie!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bagels...

Bagels... Serious Eats has what you need to know when you don't have a place to buy bagels.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beer...

Deborah Bach over at Three Sheets tells us a little about brewing...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A good book...

Living on a boat, it is easy to get a sense of the fish you put on your table and not so long ago the same could be said for commercial fishermen...

Not so much these days though... Most fishing decisions in the commercial sector are made in board rooms and is the thing of short term profits and balance sheets.

Bummer...

There is a small country where the fishermen fished sustainably and made a life for themselves. Well, until the waters of that country became a place for other more wealthy nations to deposit their toxic wastes while other nations' fishing vessels in factory ships stole what catch remained...

Welcome to Somalia in 2011! A country where people earn a couple of dollars a day if they have work and if they don't are simply out of luck. The fish are no longer there or stolen by industrial fishing concerns where short term profit is the only law. Hardly surprising that some of those local fishermen are angry and just might consider a different line of work... The real story is always a lot more complicated than you might think.

Big business fishing has never been about sustainability or caring about the environment and it never will be... But, it does not have to be that way.

All over the world there are still fishermen and women fishing in a way that is sustainable and a very good primer on the subject is "Fish Tales: Stories & Recipes from Sustainable Fisheries Around the World" by Bart van Olphen and Tom Kime. Whether you get it as a cookbook with a back story or a study of sustainable fishing with some recipes, it most certainly belongs on your bookshelf...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A few thoughts on keeping the beer cold...

Back when we first set out cruising, if you wanted a cold beer the accepted practice was to have a box with ice in it... While sailing in the Med where ice was not readily available we just adapted and went without, which as it happens was actually a whole lot easier than one would expect.

We had considered refrigeration but in those days we noticed that our fellow cruisers with refrigeration seemed to sail from one port to another not in search of cool Mediterranean sights and experiences, but in the unending quest to find a refrigeration mechanic who could top up or repair their system...

Recently we had some issues with our onboard charging system and the first casualty of our power triage was the fridge. As it happens, we have a small power frugal fridge but it still winds up being a considerable drain on the system, so it was needful to cut back and relive our old "no cold beer" regime for a couple of weeks.

So how did we fare without the fridge? Just fine...

The thing is, that being without the ability to keep stuff cold for a couple of weeks reminded us just how little we actually need a fridge. Which is not to say we have any plans of doing without, as cold drinks are better than room temperatur, and it is nice to be able to load up on pork chops when they are on sale, but it is not a crucial system in the grand scheme of things...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some good stuff...

Sailing With Totem has been writing on the subject of long range provisions and they are making a whole lot of sense...

Long-term Provisioning

Provisioning Look-back: Over buying

Provisions worth their weight in gold

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Might be time to stock up...

I've been noticing  a rather steep price hike in coffee prices at the local shops...

The Seattle Times tells us why.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A must read...

It's a complicated world...
The new school of fish

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I want this book...

The other day I was looking for a recipe to make some seitan and proceeded to do a search and came across just the thing and a great blog in the process.

Face it, how can you resist a food blog with a name like Post Punk Kitchen?

Even better, not only did they have the seitan recipe I was looking for but a bunch of other recipes featuring seitan that just called out "Try me..."


Some of you may already know Isa Chandra Moskowitz from her cookbooks like "Vegan With a Vengeance" (another great title) but for me she is something of a new discovery and one I plan to follow in the future...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How I like my oysters...

Over at Homesick Texan... Some thoughts on oysters and a recipe that is exactly how I'd like my oysters cooked.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A knife of choice and dealing with an epidemic...

On "So It Goes" I have a LOT of knives...

Off hand, I believe they sneak on to the boat and into the galley when I'm off doing other things as I simply did not buy them. Apparently knives must have legs!

The fact is, the knife that I use for 90% of my cooking needs is a cheap stainless light cleaver that was part of an all-the-knives-you-need-for-$19.99 sort of set.


I really like this knife as it holds an edge, does not rust and does all you want a knife to do (you know slice,dice and chop) really well.
On the other hand, I could use one of those awesome $600+ knives that hold an edge, slice, dice, and chop while putting up with a little rust as being part of the equation of having a $600 knife... But hey, since I only want to slice, dice, chop and feel no need to impress people with the fact that I can afford a $600 knife my cheapie cleaver is just the thing! Truth is, if I were to lose my cleaver I'd replace it with something like this.

For the other 10% of my knife usage the task gets shared by maybe four knives (more about those in another post) and it raises the question of why, if I only use five knives, do I have like two dozen?

Right now since I'm in the middle of a galley refurb, I have to make a decision whether to build in storage for the overpopulation of knives or jettison said knives and gain some space in the process...

Duh!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A very important message from Island Gourmand...

It's National Margarita Day...

Got your Triple Sec?

Monday, February 21, 2011

A helpful link...

The Boat Galley has another helpful set of downloads and the theme is PORK!

One of the first things we noticed when we were living and cruising in Europe is that meat cuts are a lot different and being able to show a butcher sorta/kinda what you are looking for is a huge help...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The perfect can opener...

I've mentioned before that on "So It Goes" we try and keep canned goods to the bare minimum... Canned tuna, green beans and corn being the most likely suspects to be found aboard.

We do, however, have a most excellent can opener. It's fool proof, always works and cost less than a dollar...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wings...

Chicken wings are something of a conundrum for me...


 Of course, chicken wings are tasty and all but WTF has happened to what chicken wings cost? The other day we were shopping and wings cost the same as breasts, Face it, as much as I like wings for the same price chicken breasts win out every time.

Luckily we can adapt any wing recipe (like this great one from the charter yacht "Three Moons") to breasts or thighs...

Friday, February 4, 2011

A few words about the nature of food we buy and hummus...

The other day I saw the local store had a "hip" over-priced hummus on sale and being lazy (and cheap) bought it...

When I got it home and gave it a try it was not really hummus in any shape or form. Not that it was bad exactly, but it simply was not hummus. Sort of the hummus niche of what Cheese Whiz is to real cheese. Which leads me to believe that there are a lot of people who don't really know what a lot of things are supposed to taste like.

For a really good post about hummus check out The Homemade Hummus Challenge over at the Paupered Chef!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

a needful link...

The Boat Galley has an excellent resource today... Spices in foreign languages!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trying to get TVP to pull its own weight...

Back when I was in college I spent a lot of time in vegetarian eateries and one in particular was really exceptional in that you never even noticed they did not serve meat...

Part of their success was that they really knew how to cook and were masterful in the way they adapted the sort of things people actually eat into a menu that people wanted to eat. So how did they do it?

My guess is that they, like all good kitchens, realized that a meal or dish is always multi-faceted and paid a lot of attention to the big three... flavor, texture, and presentation. Cooking vegetarian dishes that taste good is no big issue as vegetables on the whole simply taste good. Presentation is also pretty easy with a little thought and flair. On the other hand, texture for me is the more difficult aspect of vegetarian cooking... And in this area they really excelled using tofu and TVP in ways that really brought dishes together and worked.

Most vegetarian dishes are somewhat challenged on the texture front and most cooks compensate by doing dishes that are not big on textures... soups, for instance. Adding tofu or TVP can add texture but often don't bring along their fair share of taste to the process and, more often than not, I prefer that they don't even bother...

So here is my personal frustration... Having experienced a kitchen that really could make TVP and tofu work in a way that did not elicit a "why bother" reaction I know it can be done but, truth be told I'm having a lot of trouble working through the process to get my Strogannoff using either tofu or  TVP chunks to work in a way that you'd rather not just have the sauce over noodles... Know what I mean?

I've been hearing a lot of good things about "The TVP Cookbook" and will be giving it a read to see if I can ramp up my use of TVP in the galley and get to a higher culinary plateau...

Which is not to say I'm giving up meat, but TVP does make all kinds of sense in a cruising boat scenario as it is easy to store and costs very little. So you might say I find myself motivated to make it work the way I know it can.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Under pressure...

Pressure cooking is really a no-brainer for folks on boats as it's fast, contained, and makes food that tastes really good... What's not to like?

Hip pressure cooking is now our blog of choice for pressure cooking goodness. Perfect for newbies to the wonders of pressure cooking and more than interesting for those of us who have been cooking under pressure for years...

For instance take today's post, an A to Z for a five minute meat sauce/ragu. Tasty, fast, and perfect for a meal on a boat!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spicy...

The Hummus Blog tells us all we need to know about Skhug and gives us a recipe...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A little sauce...

Accidental Hedonist had a great little post about Eggs Benedict the other day and it got me thinking...

First of all I should say I agree 100% with the AH post and as much as I love Eggs Benedict it is something I simply don't order for breakfast or brunch and when I fail to remember that I am always disappointed. Eggs Benedict is not difficult but it takes a little more work and concentration than most eateries are capable of these days. Face it, in a world where most cafes can't tell the difference between over-easy and scrambled these days, do you really think they can get a sauce right?

Hardly surprising I don't eat out much...

One of the wonderful things about living on a boat and cruising is we can cook whatever we want and be as discerning as needful. Once you have slowed down to a cruising pace being able to bake a cake or do a proper breakfast becomes an enjoyable enterprise rather than a chore.

On the plus side, we can cook and eat on a level that most of us can't afford to back in the real world. Once you master the whole cooking is fun vibe, you really start saving some serious money. Which sort of brings us back around to Eggs Benedict...

While I was shopping for spices the other day I saw that they had some Hollandaise sauce mix and glancing at the price I noted that it was far more expensive than making said sauce from scratch. What's more, in looking at the directions for the ersatz sauce, it seemed to me that there was very little if any savings in time or energy... So why use a sauce mix?

Why indeed!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Some quick links...

The Boat Galley gets serious about stove top baking, Down south  StoneSoup shares some secrets about making soup (who'd have guessed?) and Homesick Texan makes me a very happy camper!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A taste test...

Serious eats has a most excellent discussion on white rum and comes to an interesting conclusion... Which we heartily endorse.

By the way for those interested, down here in the Caribbean Bacardi Silver costs $7.99 (though it might have been on sale yesterday) and Castillo Silver goes for $2.99

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tofu...

One of the disadvantages of living in the Caribbean is the Tofu available is somewhat lacking... A supplier of Tofu along the lines of Hodo Soy Beanery would be a welcome thing.

I've been looking for a good book on cooking and making real tofu from scratch and have even been looking at a kit...

In the meantime, a recipe for Sesame and black pepper encrusted tofu with oyster mushrooms and wilted spinach I found over on the Hodo Soy website recipe page, looks like just the thing for making second rate tofu come out a bit better!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A really excellent post...

S.V. Shadow of Lorelei has info on Provisioning for Japan!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seafood watch guides...

The Monterey Aquarium has some excellent downloadable pocket guides and apps on it's website to help you choose the right "ocean friendly" fish or critter while shopping. The guides are done by regions and are well worth the download...

Of course, the best means of securing ocean friendly seafood is to catch it yourself as it is sometime difficult or impossible to sort out if the Mahi Mahi on offer is local and caught by trolling or pole (Best Choice) or the AVOID sort (imported)...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Popcorn...

Being a maker and watcher of movies, popcorn has something of a special place in my life...

On a boat, popcorn makes all kinds of sense as it is a snack food that takes minimal space and costs very little. Throw in the fact that it is easy and quick to prepare... What's not to like?

Over the years we have found ourselves sitting out hurricanes and while all hell was breaking loose outside, what better comfort food to prepare than some popcorn?

Off hand, I am something of a purist popcorn wise... butter and salt being the order of the day but from time to time chili sauce and garlic also work when mixed with the butter. That said, this curry popcorn recipe looks like it might be worth a try...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ed making sense...

Ed Hamilton over at the Ministry of Rum sums up the year and looks forward...