Wild at sea, getting food for the group

Well it takes a bit of planing for a 5 day trip into the Pacific North West to feed seven people for 3 meals a day plus cocktail hour and snacks when asked!

So what do you do ou ask? Well, I talk with the guest about what they like and dislike before I  sit down to plan the menu and my shopping list for everything I might need, soup to nut as they say in the reasturant biz! When I get the input from our host I design a menu in the hopes of being able to find all that is needed in the port that we are in when we pick up the next group. Its a crap shoot as to what I might find, produce is a bit sketchy, protiens are few and limited to chicken and pork and a few cuts of beef so its always a bit of a guessing game, people at the markets have been super helpful in the ports ( make friends with the butcher the baker and the chefs in each town find out where they shop and who can get what, get phone numbers and make notes, it will bay off in the long run) that we are in with trying to find and order things for me but its still difficult. The stores this far north only get deliveries once a week, if that! so its hope and pray for the best. Seafood is a whole other game, the store stock very limited seafood because everyone fishes or you go to the docks to get whats fresh off the boat that day. Which is fantastic but when you buy from the boats its the whole fish or nothing, so when your feeding 12 people and the fish weighs in at 30 pounds you have to find some creative ways to keep and use the same fish in multiable ways and keep it interesting. A good example of this was last week we went fishing for salmon at Dent island resort and caught about 60 pounds of fish the first morning Well you freeze some but remember I only have a small freezer so that fills up fast! So chef what are you making with this is the line I heard often, and my reply was hummmm, lets play! So the first night is Sashimi and sushi, and then take a whole side and cure it for gravlox , then the next day for cocktail hour I made civiche with avocado with lime and chilies then we did what I  call the Far Niente Burre banc with grilled salmon on a bed of brown rice with braised onions and herbs. That used up a bit but it seems to just keep coming oh well! Ok so here is another recipe from the Galley aboard the good ship Far Niente try it out and tell me what you think, the guys loved it and I   think you will also. Cheers!

Apricot Cream Scones

This is a breakfast treat that I made last weekn the boat in Gorge Harbor for the Morning buffet that I set up for the early riser. These are perfect for a morning eye opener with a cup of coffee before the hot breakfast is served and they are super simple to make in a small galley on a rocking ship.

Makes 16 scones

2 cups AP flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Tablespoons sugar

The zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)

2 oz cold unsalted butter, cubed

3/4 cup fresh ripe apricots cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2  cup toasted sliced almonds

7 oz heavy cream

1 oz whole milk

2 tablespoons coarse sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the dry ingredients with the lemon zest in a bowl and cut the chunks of cold butterinto the mixture until it forms a texture like course sand. Miz in the fresh apricots and toasted almonds until well distrubuted into the flour. Make a well in the flour mixtureand pour the creamnto the well and mix with your hands gently until the dought comes together into a ball.

Transfer to a ork surface that has been dusted with flour and flatten the dougth ball into a rectangleout 1 inch thisk, cut into 12 even wedges and place on a parchment lined sheet tray and brush with the milk and dust with the coarse sugar and place in the preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes then rotate the pan and finish baking until they are golden brown, cool slightly and serve with fresh butter, clotted cream and jam of your liking.

Its about time, Wild at sea

So this is fantastic, its hard to put into words the sites and sounds that I have seen and tasted so far, clams from the local beach, spot prawns, and salmon just out of the water from an early morning  fishing trip on Dent island. The menus have been a blast to figure out, whats for dinner who knows lets see what we can find or catch today. The Captian thinks I am a bit nuts and he may be spot on! Its like a game for me what do we have in the fridge or from the shore, who knows but I can bet its fresh and its going to taste great. We have had our share so far of the local brews and wines as well as cheeses. I did a beer and cheese tasting for the guest on the boat last night on our way into port. 5 local cheeses with 4 local Canadian beers and it was a hit.  We tasted two cheeses from a small creamery called Salt Springs Island Creamery ( Juliette and Blue Juliette both soft ripened brie style cheeses) and the showed nicely with our beer selections from the area. We have had a great trip exploring one of  the food meccas of Canada, Comox valley, that is know for its orcards and fruits and local fresh produce. Tonight we ate at a quaint little spot in Campbell River called  The Angler, the food and views where spot on as well as the service?

Anchors away!

Well the day has finally come, we are casting off this evening from Sausalito and heading up the coast to the San Juan Islands with a few stops in between. The trip has been delayed by 4 days because of a Gale of the coast of California that has made for some very rough seas and high winds! Thank  god we didn’t try to make it out earlier or else I’d be hanging over the rail and chumming the waters.

Yeah that’s right! I get a bit green around the gills when the boat starts a rocking and the winds are howling, yes I know how can someone who spent almost 3 years at sea in the U.S. Navy get sea sick, well the ships were just a bit larger( BY ABOUT 285 FEET)!

So with that said I will be hoping for “fair winds and following seas” on my little adventure and if the winds and waves  are a little rough what the hell I can stand to drop a few pounds anyway. Just kidding!

I will try and keep things fresh and new with recipes, beers, photos and fish tales from my journey to the North country.

OUT THE GATE

OUT THE GATE

 

If you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the…….

Well at least pina coladas. Its HOT!!!! with a capital H and I do mean hotter than H E double tooth picks. Today the temperature in my little part of the world is supposed to peak at 100 degrees Fahrenheit now that’s hot, and the forecast is saying its going to get even hotter towards the end of the week. That means we have to make something cold and refreshing for the 4th of July.  So here is the second recipes in my series of frosty, fruity, and fresh Popsicle’s.

These little suckers are fantastic, creamy, rich, tart and tasty. Just what the doctor ordered when the mercury starts to climb and your energy level starts to drop.

DSC_0097

 

Spiced Rum Pina Colada Pops

 

A frozen Island treat with a little kick for the adult kids on a hot day, but if you feel so inclined and want the little one to enjoy a frosty Popsicle just remove the rum from the ingredients and make as directed.

 Yield:  16 Popsicle

 Ingredients: Base

20 ounces crushed pineapple in heavy syrup, pureed in the blender until smooth

13 ounces coconut milk, unsweetened

2 tablespoons spiced rum, of your liking

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice

½ tablespoon lime zest, finely minced

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup water

 

Method:

  1. In a small sauce pan combine the sugar, brown sugar and water and place over medium heat and stir until the sugars dissolve completely. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  2. In the container of a blender combine the remaining ingredients and blend until frothy and smooth. Once the sugar water is cool add to the blend with the coconut mixture and blend for 10 seconds.
  3.  Portion the mixture into Popsicle molds of your liking and freezes for 8 hours.
  4. Put on some island sounds and your swim suites, remove the Popsicle’s from the molds and sit back and let your cares drift away!

Enjoy and Happy 4th of July everyone, cheers from Chef Andy.

Its the finale count down till launch of Wild at Sea

My Home for 8 weeks

My Home for 8 weeks, getting ship shape.

Sooo! Just one week left,  7  short days till the start of my nautical Summer adventure in the Pacific Northwest. I have been running around trying to tie up loose ends and gather everything that I could possibly need for the next eight weeks. A new phone, a Galaxy Tab 3 with WiFi key board, new lens for the camera, so that you will all have some exciting pictures of what I am experiencing  on this adventure.

Dinning Room

Dinning Room

I have also picked up a few new cooks tools for the galley, food stores for the journey etc…….its  exciting and intimidating all in the same breath. The ship has very limited space to store extra gear, so its just a matter of having kitchen equipment that is multi functional, compact or just do with out it!

The galley is efficiently designed (small!) and perfect for this ship. An added bonus, my sleeping quarters are just a foot step away from my work so the commute time will be short!

My Happy Space, the Galley

My Happy Space, the Galley

Well that it for now, but stay tuned for all the adventures that are sure to come and some great recipes that will be developed just for this trip.  Chef Andy

Wild at Sea, The Journey is about to begin!

OK, I have been lucky enough to be asked to be part of the crew on Board a Beautiful eighty-five foot yacht this summer as their Chef, cook, and bottle washer . It’s a great little adventure that I am looking forward to with much anticipation and a little trepidation.

My goal is to forage, cook, photograph  and write about this experience as often as time will allow. I have cooked on board the ship over the past year and really enjoyed the owners and their guest as well as the crew of the ship, all great people and I look forward to working with them over the duration of this exploration into the culinary wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

So stand fast me hearties and prepare for some real sea stories!!!!DSC_0136

Summer refreshers for the adults to beat the heat

Image I love Popsicle! they are so refreshing and clean tasting and when I’m over heated they cool me off quick. The next best thing with Popsicle’s are that they’re super easy and fast to make  with out any special pieces of kitchen equipment.You can use a paper cup and a straw as a stick and of course you also need a freezer to freeze them, you can also go out and invest in a set of pop makers for around $20.00 that will last you for years, its your call. I have a few different shape pop molds that I use when the urge hits me.

The ingredients for pops is up to you, peaches, cherry juice, watermelon, lemons, limes, I could go on forever with the list of fruits and juices.

So lets get to the recipe and give it a whirl, the other day I got a hold of some wonderful sweet watermelon and decided that the time was right for Popsicle’s!  This recipe is a riff on a recipe by a great cooking instructor and writer David Lebovitz.

White Rum Watermelon Strawberry Popsicle’s
So it’s been hot, and you know I can’t stand the heat! So what do you do when the temperature’s about to push the triple digits and you need to cool down? White rum watermelon pops that’s what, this is a quick way to put a watermelon to some good use and it’s a refreshing chill for the adults, but if you want the kids to enjoy the treat just leave out the rum. The texture will be a little grainier without the rum but great for the kids.
Makes about 1 quart of base.
Ingredients:
2.5 cups watermelon juice with the seeds strained out
½ cup fresh chopped strawberries
½ cup organic raw sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white rum
2 tablespoons mini bittersweet chocolate chips

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Method:
In a small bowl toss the sugar with the chopped strawberries and lime juice and let them sit until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, take the strawberry mixture and combine it with the watermelon juice and rum and mix well.
Place the mixture in the refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour. Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled you can using a funnel pour the mixture into pop molds and sprinkle in the chocolate chips and freeze until firm.

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Happy New Years to All!

 

A last minute (and easy of course) Appetizer for

 New Year’s or anytime for that matter!

So the other day my wife and I were getting ready to go to a little gathering of friends and their children, it was about an hour and a half before we were supposed to be there and suddenly my dear wife casually mention’s  “ oh by the way we! (the mouse in my pocket “we”) Are to bring a small appetizer for this party” SSSCCCREEEAAACCH!!!! “What!? why didn’t you mention this a bit earlier” I say! “Oh it’s just casual” She says, can’t you just pull something out of you’re a……, opps I mean the fridge!  Well nothing to me is just simple! I always am worried about who and what will be at these gatherings and I am constantly worried (read, low self-esteem) about how people will judge me by what I serve. No opening a box and pouring into a bowl for me, it’s got to be made from scratch and look like I worked my butt off to make it.

Talk about undue pressure and being a spaz! So all the sudden I start to panic, we don’t have anything in the house what do you want me to do, what should I make, we only have an hour, oh sh…t! Then a strange calm overtakes me and a bright light fills the room with a warm glow, and a voice says “Andy relax its just casual” then I realize the voice is my wife and she is right as always, and that’s why I love her! But I still can’t explain the light and warm glow, oh well must have been low blood sugar!

So what’s the point of this rant? Well I’ll tell you that calm heads will always prevail(my wife) and if you just step back and look at what is needed, you will come out shinning like a Chef Rock star. So what did I do for the party as a last minute little appetizer you ask! I made “Cheesy puffs” or as they are known in Chefs language “Gougères” they are a dough made from something called Pate Choux. There easy and fast to make and are one of those little bites that people love and think took you took all day to make. When in fact it’s only about 45 minutes from start to finish, and really only about 15 minutes of active time (work).

The nice thing about Pate Choux dough is that it is a multi-functional dough that can be used in savory and sweet dishes or just as a great little snack. Puffs can be filled with everything from salmon mousse (elegant) to tuna salad (simple). They can be made sweet by just changing the spices and adding a bit more sugar or cocoa powder and then filled with custard to make Éclairs or ice cream for Profiteroles. They are just an all-around great recipe that you really should have hidden up your sleeve for that last minute request for something to bring to a party or picnic.  So if you find yourself on the end of a last minute request  for a little something to bring to a dinner party or picnic and there is nothing in the house just whip these babies out and stand back and watch the crowds gobble them up and shower you with request for the recipe!

Happy New Year!

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

Pâté à Choux Dough and Gougères

(Cheesy puffs)

Don’t be intimidated by the fancy French name! An elegant but simple recipe, Cheesy puffs are a fast and versatile addition to a Chefs box of tricks. Perfect for a New Year’s Eve bash.

Yield:  70 quarter size puffs

Ingredients

1 cup whole Milk

½ cup (1 stick) Butter

½ teaspoon Sugar

½ teaspoon kosher Salt

1 cup Bread flour

4 whole Eggs

Pinch Cayenne

Pinch nutmeg

Gruyère cheese, grated

Method

1.      On the stove in a small pot bring the milk, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously to mix. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.

2.      Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat briefly on medium speed with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the cayenne, nutmeg, and cheese and mix until blended.

3.      Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip and pipe quarter size balls of batter onto parchment-lined sheet pans.

4.      Take a bowl of cold water and moisten the tip of a finger and gently press the tips of the batter down to smooth out. For a shiny finish, brush the pâté à choux with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 2 Tbsps. water) prior to baking. To make plain pâté à choux, omit the cayenne and Gruyère cheese.

5.      Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until the pastries are puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

 

Variations:

Blue Cheese Gougères:Omit the Gruyère. Substitute the following to the finished pâté à choux in Step 2: a pinch ground black pepper, grated blue cheese and gently mix to combine. Pipe and bake as directed.

 

Chocolate Pâté à Choux: Substitute sifted cocoa powder for 1 tbsp. of the flour. Increase the amount of sugar by 2 ¼ tsp and omit the cayenne and cheese in the above recipe. Mix, pipe, and bake as directed.