“Is it OK to turn on the stove top burner to begin cooking dinner, or would you like for me to wait until after you have turned on the generator and charged the batteries?” I ask Steve. “I will use only the Wok so we won’t need a lot of water to wash up after eating. I will cook the vegetables first, then before they get cold in a covered dish, I will quickly cook the fish.”
This is a frequent enterchange between myself and my husband, because we live aboard our sailing catamaran, ADAGIO, “off the grid”. This means we make all of our electricity and water. We are sometimes away from land for weeks at a time, so we must carry all of our food, keeping it cold and fresh until we eat it. The countries where we provision often do not sell some of our favorite ingredients, so we have reverse-engineered a few commercial products, like Heinz Chili Sauce and Tom Douglas Salmon Rub.
Such circumstances have resulted in our developing a collection of simple recipes that can be cooked quickly, yet keep us happy with what we think is “gourmet cooking.” Why should we settle for anything less? Also important is our intention to cook food that is healthy for us, low in sugar and salt, low in carbohydrates, low in meat products, and high in vegetables, fruits and nuts, with minimum commercially processed foods. We use Olive Oil for cooking, and Canola Oil as an ingredient for baking.
Frequently we cook enough food to have leftovers for dinner the next day. We expect our leftovers to taste as good or better than they tasted on the first day. We usually have a supply of home-cooked soups in the fridge, for when we are too tired to cook from scratch. When on an offshore passage, we will most likely have more than one type of home-cooked soup on hand.
I have started this blog to share with family and friends some of our favorite recipes, and also as a place to record in detail how we developed a dish that we really enjoy eating. We also keep in mind that everyone can benefit from knowing ways to consume less water and less energy.
Short Cuts and Favorite Utensils:
I have no commercial or financial interest in any of the items described below:
Chicken Broth Cubes: OXO is my favorite. I keep a box of the foil-wrapped cubes in one of the drawers in my galley, and cut a cube into halves or quarters, depending upon the amount of stock required, following the instructions on the box. Mash up the cube in hot or room-temperature water before adding to the dish you are cooking. This chicken broth is an essential ingredient in our wok-cooked vegetables. Liquid low salt stock works well, too, but we use the cubes to avoid carrying around the extra weight of liquid stock.
Pepper and Salt Grinders: I keep these at hand, for adding freshly ground black pepper and a little salt to many dishes.
Microplane Zester/Grater: This device makes the best grated Parmesan Cheese and zested citrus peel and grated ginger root.
Kyocera Adjustable Mandoline Slicer with Handguard: stays sharp and is the best way to slice carrots and many other vegetables. It is compact, light weight and easy to clean.
Nice, big Wok: A roomy skillet will work, too. We prefer non-stick. Our Wok has a wire mesh spatter lid that fits mostly over the top of the Wok, to minimize spatter. I also use a large glass lid from one of my other pots to cover vegetables for steaming in the Wok.
Spatulas of all sizes made of silicone for use in your Wok. Wooden spoons and spatulas are good to have, too. I often use one silicone spatula and one wooden spatula for stir frying.
Microwave rice cooker Perfect rice every time, in 10 minutes. Brown Rice, after soaking, cooks in 10 minutes. You can also pop popcorn in it
Silicone sheets for your baking sheets. I have used these for many years, and they prevent food from sticking to your baking sheets, without oil or butter.
Kitchen scales enable you to cook with precisely weighed ingredients. It makes a big difference.
Please let me know how you get on with these recipes. I am very open to suggestions, corrections and welcome additions that fit our criteria, as described above.