What’s Cooking?

CauldronA good friend commented this blog was morphing from a cruising blog to a food blog. Not really, we are just mentally anchored in a food lagoon right now, thanks to hurricane season.

We have posted 848 times. Of those 116 posts have been tagged “Food/Drink.” 13.6% overall. Of those tagged Food/Drink, 20 have been posted since we moved into this house or 17%. During that time there were 16 non-food posts. So 54% were about food.

We sacrificed the last sailing season to getting the house the way we wanted it before other demands on our time made that difficult. But cruising or not, one has to eat and eating well is not that much more difficult than eating like a dorm rat in college. It just takes imagination and enthusiasm, that’s what we have sought to convey.

The latest additive to the bread recipe — 2.5 oz smoked white cheddar — oh wow!

There is another recipe coming. Mole Poblano Con Cerdo

Quid Agatur??? (“Whazzup,” circa 500 BCE)

FlamingosAt a recent social event, someone asked why we even bothered to have a boat given Florida weather, poor water quality, and shallow depths, etc.


Weather. On the Chesapeake we winterized from December through April. With upkeep visits through the period, that’s five months. Here we “hurricanize and lightningize ” July through November with a lot more flex on the ends depending on tropical realities (with marina socializing year round). That’s five months, and they are generally better weather than up north in sailing season. I think what surprises people is we actually leave this little bit of paradise during The Season.

Water Quality. In forty plus years, we have rarely, rarely gone swimming off our boat. Too many localities use coastal sailing waters as the final dilution phase for sewage treatment. Underwater maintenance we have contracted out for a couple of decades now. Vibrio vulnificus and mycobacterium marinum infections are the local bad actors.

Shallow Depths. Aye, and there’s the rub, literally. For deep water, we go to the Bahamas. Admittedly, that leaves us figuring out what “sailing” means for the other months, but that is more a matter of which boat rather than why boat. When we consider the number of hours motoring in the last three years of cruising compared to those sailing, there may not be that much difference unless we go offshore locally.

What, No Cod ?!?! — Faux Bacalaitos

From Wikipedia

Salt Cod (via Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I decided to try a Cuban recipe for Bacalaitos (salt cod fritters).

Well, it turned out we had used our cod and not replenished it. So I decided to use smoked trout instead. Turned out we only had half the 2 cups needed. We had some left over crab cake casserole (ala Janet) from the night before, so I decided, deconstructed with a vigorous fork, it would become the faux salt cod.

As I assembled the dry ingredients, I discovered I had exhausted the self-rising flour and not replenished it in favor of making my own. So I whisked some together from 1 cup bread flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.

But the recipe called for a fish fume from cooking the multi-rinsed dried salt cod. Oops. So I made a faux-fume from chicken stock and fish-sauce (nước mắm). Be very careful with the fish sauce, it is a strong flavor. Don’t pour it over the mixing bowl.

The onions were buried in the reefer, so I used an easier to reach shallot. I whisked all of the ingredients (below) into a crepe-y (not creepy) crab laden batter that promised good things to come. I wanted to let the batter rest, so I turned to the cabinet for the canola oil I would use to pan fry the fritters. 1/4 cup was all we had left. We had lots of extra virgin olive oil, but that’s too heavy and flavorful for what I wanted.

So I made faux cod crepe-y pancakes. This meandering recipe made 12, 4.5 inch cakes using a non-stick skillet at 360° F (three at a time).

They were delicious with a Cesar for an early dinner, but they needed a sauce. We daubed a bit of salad dressing on them, but knew we could do better. They were tasty and filling. We had half left over.

This morning, I nuked just the chill out of the leftover cakes and popped them in the toaster. At the same time I made an Aoli of mayo, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and Wye River Red seasoning. This I nuked just enough it wouldn’t cool the cakes off. A little cooked around the edges, and I just whisked it back into the rest.

This was the way to serve and eat them. They are Faux no more. We’ll still make the Bacalaitos some day, but these cakes are now a standby. Comer bien!

Cake Recipe.

  • 2 cups lump crab
  • 1 cup self rising flour (1 cup bread flour, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 cup chicken stock — fish sauce added to taste (Remember 1/2 tsp roughly equals one anchovy fillet.)
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped scallions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp table salt.
  • For a thinner batter, add room temperature white wine to the desired consistency.

Sauce Recipe

  • 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • ~2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ~1 tsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • Wye River Red seasoning to taste (or Chipofi*, or any seafood seasoning blend.)

*Chipofi = 7 Badia Redfish Blackening Spice + 1 oregano + 1 ginger + 1 basil +1/4 cayenne

Bean Zapped

pintoThe Red Sausage needed something to go with it. Later, the flounder Janet cooked in salsa, en papillote, did too. We have been cooking the pantry down to late Hurricane Season levels, so a sauce for the mix of 1 can Pinto and 1 can Cannellini beans had to be built from scratch. The idea is to make just enough to coat and marinate the beans for a couple of hours before heating and serving. Bean Zap takes:

  • 2-3 Tablespoons Ketchup*
  • 3 Teaspoons Agave Nectar
  • 2 Teaspoons minced roasted garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Red Chili powder to taste
  • Heavy Splash red wine vinegar
  • Heavy Splash Soy Sauce

Whisk until blended, taste and adjust and fine tune, fold into the drained, rinsed beans. Chill for a couple of hours, refold the mixture a couple of times to bring the sauce up in the container. Works for a cold bean salad as well.


*If you use sun-dried tomato ketchup, you won’t need the red wine vinegar.

Red Sausage in the Sunset

RedsausageLately we have purchased some expensive sausage that had an unpleasant texture (twice) and underwhelming spicing (several times). So, we decided to make some bulk from scratch. The first test batch (1 lb) turned out well. This is easy, no harder than making meatballs or burgers.

For 1 Pound of ground meat (we used pork butt — about 80% lean)

Mix “Red Sausage Spice” with a whisk or spice grinder (this is enough mixture for 2.75 pounds of meat)

  • 2 tablespoons sweet or smoked (or a blend thereof) paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds — fresh ground
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tablespoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper +/-
  • 3/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine 2 tablespoons Red Sausage Spice with:

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped — we used 3 teaspoons minced roasted from a jar.
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro paste or chopped fresh cilantro
  • [Leave out what you don’t care for. Basil (or mint with lamb) subs pretty well for cilantro.]

Spread the ground meat by gently patting it out flat like pizza dough. Spread the admixture across half the meat and then fold the meat in half and then half again. Spread it again and fold three or four more times, or until paprika color is uniformly distributed. Form into a ball, place in a bowl and and cover closely with clear wrap. Let sit for 3 to 24 hours. The folding approach reduces the likelihood you will toughen the meat through too much handling. Cook as you please. Grills* well.

Makes six nice patties and three to four generous burgers. Leftover grilled patties were delicious chopped and added to scrambled eggs with sesame-soy** ciabatta and Fortnum & Mason Marmalade (thanks Harriet & Skip)

*Grilling hint. We have found the following technique to improve the flavor and tenderness of grilled meats. Meat sticks less where grill marked as well.

  1. Transfer prepared meats to the grill on a sheet of non-stick foil allow to cook for 1/3 time.

  2. Transfer meat to grill bars for 1/3 time.

  3. Flip and grill for remaining 1/3 time. Let rest in warm covered dish for 3-5 mins.

**Sesame-Soy Ciabatta = add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted optional) + 1 teaspoon sesame oil to Soybatta recipe >> Here.



Waiting for Erika — with Peanuts

TropQuesSpent 4.5 hours yesterday getting the boat ready for the various forms Erika might take when if it gets here. Watching the forecast on TV we ran out of the Chesapeake Crab Snack Peanuts brought by friends Linda and Joe.  (trumpets) To the rescue >>>>>>

1 pound lightly salted Peanuts
2 Teaspoons Wye River Red Seasoning
2 Teaspoons Chipofi* Spice
Shake, shake, shake.

Even better as the days go by if they last.


*7 Badia Redfish Blackening Spice + 1 oregano + 1 ginger + 1 basil +1/4 cayenne