Cooking on Komeekha

Cooking on Komeekha

November 1          

There's a huge difference in cooking method and menu between anchorage/marina and en route.  At anchorage, the boat is not moving; 

my cooking is more elaborate and the menu more varied.  En route, the boat may be bouncing like a bronco or swaying like a metronome or slicing through calm waters like a hot knife in margarine.  I can't always predict exactly which of these boat movements I'm going to experience.  So I need to plan and cook in advance for any eventualities.

At anchorage/marina, I like the main meal to be a protein and vegetables.  I often forgo the starch (potatoes, rice, bread, pasta).  It's not necessarily a diet choice, it's just more work.  Yeh, I can be lazy some time.  Breakfasts and lunches vary greatly depending on my mood, cravings, energy and activities for the day.  In winds over 10 knots, we can't cook the protein on the BBQ.  The BBQ is at the stern-port corner;  winds snuff out the flame or prevents lighting it. The oven is our alternative.  Frank is thankfully very flexible as far as food.  He loves everything, anytime, anyhow.  As the cook, I'm lucky. 

En route, cooking is an adventure.  Sometimes, during a bronco or a metronome episode, just to get to the stove and kitchen counter and keep my body standing there while cutting vegetables or worst handling boiling water is a challenge.  Therefore, advance cooking is the best solution.   Of course, wraps and sandwiches could be the go-to.  But there is more than boring sandwiches that I prefer.  Here are a few items I often have ready.

Muffins.  My favorite muffin recipe comes from my friend Isabel.  The sweetness comes from dates, bananas and apple.  Plus, whatever seeds and nuts I want, oats, etc goes in.  All healthy ingredients which make the muffins mix dense and filling.

Hummus.  Frank is not a big fan of it.  But I hide it in soups and stews for him.  I like it also as a substitute of butter in sandwiches and wraps.  I have a hand blender so I can make it from scratch.  I add spices or ingredients again depending on my mood:  cumin, garam masala, sundried tomatoes, pesto, hot sauce (for Frank), etc.  I like it better than store-bought.

Soups.  Vegetable soups or with meat.  Frank being German, we always have cured meats such as German salami, prosciutto (for me), any dried sausages.  I sometimes cut some cubes for the soup.  It gives the soup a smoked taste.  I add beans/lentils or quinoa, in addition to the hummus, to thicken the soup.  We don't want watery soup that would slush around in the cockpit.  So I use my hand blender.  The soup can be eaten with a fork, almost.  LOL!

Pizzas.  I use naan bread as pizza dough and pesto in my tomatoe sauce.  If they came from Pizza Hut, Frank's version would be called the "Meat Lover":  very few vegetables (to please me) and lots of meats (to please him).  Mine would be called the "Veggie Lover":  no meat, a heap of vegetables.  I can make and bake them in advance.  En route, they're easy to handle and can be eaten cold.

Eggs.  That's an easy protein for en route menus.  I hard boil half a dozen in advance.  They keep in the fridge for many days.  It's an easy meal, eating them with the soup or the muffins or on a piece of bread with mayonnaise.

Salads.  Salads as a side dish with a protein works well for us.  Salads as a full meal are even better.  I personally love bean/lentil/chickpea salads, Frank not so much.  So sometimes I indulge but most of the time, I make pasta salads or vegetable salads with cubed meats or hardboiled eggs.  Again, it's easy and can be made in advance.

The cooking tools that I use on Komeekha that are different from home are designed to accommodate our lifestyle.  Here are some of the tools.

Pressure cooker and dutch oven.  To simplify my meals, I've been making one-pot meals in a dutch oven.  This way, there's only one dish to make and to clean.  The pressure cooker is another story.  When I was young, my mom with us 3 girls canned vegetables, spaghetti sauce, etc. in mason jars.  Those big old pressure cookers with the little whistling pressure cap on top scared the heck out of me.  So when I got a pressure cooker as a gift (a European-designed with a color-coded button on top), much more modern and safe now, I thought "Oh my!  I've got to learn to use these again!";  because I knew they make cooking so much easier and safer on boats as I've read in many cruising books.  It's true, for cooking rice, root vegetables or a one-pot meal, pressure cookers are fast and safe.  I use it now with more confidence.

Pivot oven.  On most boats, the oven is mounted on a gimbal.  If the boat is going through a metronome episode, the oven always stays horizontal, by leaning front/back against the boat movement.  I can cook, bake or boil water without worrying that the pot will slide off ... to a certain point.  Sometimes, it's me who's sliding off.  LOL!

Handheld blender.  I love this thing!  As mentioned, it thickens my soups, it cuts vegetables and garlic more quickly than by hand.  Of course, it blends all the eggs and muffin/cake mix, etc.

To conclude, like everything else about cruising, the more you plan in advance the better and easier our lives are.

We're now in Norfolk, Virginia.  Tomorrow, we taking the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) to Beaufort, North Carolina.  It's 200 nautical miles (NM) and only travelling by day.  So it'll take a few days.  The reason we're chosing the ICW for this leg of our journey is because of the weather forecast.  Instead of waiting for favorable winds and sea a few days, we can travel every day in this sheltered canal.

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