Saturday, November 17, 2012

Food for Thought

Blogs and food.  Seems to be a marriage made in cyberspace heaven.   I often wonder how many blogs have at least one entry sharing recipes.  Ninety percent, perhaps?  Sure, there are dedicated recipe blogs.  And then there are cross over blogs, with topics like “recipes for parents,” “recipes from my travels,” “recipes for busy people,” and “recipes for graduate students (100 ways to serve ramen)”.  But even blogs where the theme and thesis are not food related have recipes on them.  Over the last year, I’ve seen recipe posts on at least four of my favorite sailing blogs on ThreeSheetsNW.  I even found a blog dedicated to cooking while cruising.   Since the weather right now generally precludes sailing, and my general post-partum boatbuilding malaise is persisting, maybe it is time I take the plunge into the overcrowded world of food blogging.

The theme of this blog is building and sailing my CLC PocketShip, Solitude III.   On the surface, that has nothing to do with food.  But, having spent the last two years building this boat, including many long all-day sessions of weekends, I have come to know the role that food plays in boatbuilding.  An empty stomach reduces patience and judgement.  Most of the flaws in my boat are the direct result of working on an empty stomach.
Of course, when you are boatbuilding, you want to spend your time building the boat!  So, fast, easy to prepare meals are a plus.  And since most building seems to occur in the winter months, hot, hearty food is desirable.    And since you are putting in a long, long day, what you really want is the food to be ready the moment you come in from the shop.  What means best accomplishes these ends?   No, the word I’m looking for is not “wife.”   Boatbuilders can cook too.  I’m thinking “crockpot!”

Here are some of my favorite recipes for boat building days:

Viscous Veggilicous Chili
This is based on a recipe I found in the local newpaper.  I've seen it printed in several other online "newpapers" since.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
  • 2 cans black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 2 cups broth or water
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 large poblano chilies, roasted, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 leaves kale, sliced in ribbons
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Put the onions, jalapeños, garlic, squash, broth, beans, tomatoes, poblanos,and spice in the crock pot.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.  --OR-- If you want to do this on the stovetop, heat olive oil in a heavy, deep pot. Add onions and jalapeño; cook until softened. Add squash; cook until barely starting to soften, 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, poblanos, cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over low heat until squash is tender and flavors start to come together.
2.  When you come in from the boatshop, and are ready to eat, add the greens and lime juice; cook until greens are wilted. Adjust seasoning; stir in fresh cilantro.

Adapted from

The Ragin' Cajun's Jambalaya

The original recipe was given to me by a coworker, based on his grandmother's recipe.  I've since tweaked it to "perfect it" to my tastes.

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped=
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies (a.k.a. Rotel tomatoes)
  • 1-2lb sausage in casing.  Andoulle, if possible.  I've also used chicken sausage or Louisiana Hot Links to great success.
  • 1 cup rice.  I like to use a blend of wild rices available at Costco.  You definitely don't want to you white rice, because it'll turn into a giant mushy mess after 8 hours of cooking.
  • Salt, Pepper, Cajun seasoning

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a pot of boiling water and boil until done.  Pull it out and let it cool. Reserve about 2 cups of the water.
  2. Once the chicken is cool, take two forks and shred it.  Season with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning
  3. While the chicken is cooking and cooling, chop your veggies and sausages.  I like to slice the sausages on a bias, creating long, thin, ovoid, bite-size bits.
  4. Dump all the ingredients, including the 2 cups of water you reserved into the crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 hours while you go work on your boat! 
Lee Boatworks Beef Stew
  • 2 lbs stew beef or beef chuck, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
The amounts on the veggies are approximate.  I shoot for 2 lbs of meat and then fill the rest of the crock pot with veggies.  If I'm feeling crazy, I may also add in cauliflower, mushrooms, whatever!
  1. Put the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika into the crock pot.
  2. Drop meat into the crock pot and mix around with your hands, covering it in the flour mixture.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the thyme.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours while you work on the boat.
  5. Mix in the thyme, and eat!

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