10 Galley Items I Wouldn’t Leave the Dock Without

When cruising many of the culinary delights I made from the galley were from scratch. Having certain items on board, besides the usual assortment of galley gadgets like a potato peeler, can make the experience of home (or boat) cooking easier and more enjoyable. Below is the list I wouldn’t leave without and the reasons why.

Pressure Cooker
This gadget can cook a tender three pound chicken in less than twenty minutes and uses little propane. I also cook my own beans for soups, stews and chili. One of my favorite uses of the pressure cooker when cruising was canning meat. Since I had limited refrigeration and no freezer space, I canned chicken, beef and even hamburger to use in recipes on long passages.

Mason Jars
Not just for canning, I use mason jars to store spices I buy in bulk and to sprout. On long passages and remote anchorages, I would sprout mung beans using a 2 pint jar and screen mesh on the opening. After soaking the beans overnight then rinsing them three times a day, I would have edible mung beans in two to three days.

A Variety of Cook Books
I have about fifteen cookbooks on hand. It helps me stay creative in the galley especially when most of our meals come out of it. I have a large assortment of recipes to choose from. Its handy to grab a book and look through the pages for ideas especially when no internet is available to Google a new recipe. When cruising, I was glad to have my ethnic recipes along. My Sunset Mexican cookbook came in handy at the Mexican markets since it had photos and descriptions of the common ingredients used in the cuisine. Also my Mediterranean cookbook provided plenty of recipes in the various countries we visited while cruising the Med. But if I had to choose only three books I would pick the following.

Betty Crocker, The Big Red Cookbook – This is the encyclopedia of cooking. With 1500 recipes to choose from it provides tips and tricks for beginning cooks to the seasoned chef and the choices of tasty meals are endless.

Lean Bean Cuisine- As stated on its cover “Over 100 tasty meatless recipes from around the world.” This is a practical cruising cook book. It’s compact and offers vegetarian bean recipes with ingredients you can get from most places around the world. This is also an excellent resource for a dish you can bring to a cruiser potluck.

 

Vegan Planet – I am not a vegan or vegetarian. I call myself a flex-a-tarian since I do eat meat, but choose to eat more plant based foods than ones that moo. This book offers a large variety of practical recipes with most ingredients being accessible in many ports.

Tortilla Press
Right when we arrived in Tonga we craved fish tacos but couldn’t find a good tortilla. Our friends on s/v Ohana Kai purchased a homemade tortilla press in Mexico. My husband copied the designed so when we found the masa or corn flour we were set to make a patch of tortillas. Just eating them straight off the griddle was heaven.

Coffee Grinder
Call me a coffee snob but I prefer grinding my coffee beans to get the freshest cup of jo I can. The coffee grinder can also grind granulated sugar into powered sugar, but the sugar might have a tiny coffee flavor. Bonus!

French Press – I like to have two presses on board, one only for coffee and one for only for tea, which I only put tea leaves in….does that make me a tea snob too?

Small Iron Skillet
After throwing out a couple of Teflon pans where the coating was coming off, I knew I needed a pan that was eco-friendly and nontoxic. I found it in New Zealand, an American made iron skillet. I had considered getting one before we left the States but worried it would become a ball of rust. I took my chances, made sure I kept it oiled and it’s been a trusty, not rusty, galley companion for over ten years.

Lemon/Lime Hand Squeezer
I picked this up in La Paz, Mexico for about a buck. Easy-peasy to use and I can flavor my water with a squeeze of my hand extracting every drop of juice from the fruit.

Rolling Pin
If you’re cooking from scratch like pizza doughs or pie crusts, this is a must. I prefer the long French Rolling Pin (it tapers at the ends). I have two uses for it, cooking and keeping the Captain in line.
Vita Mix
Vita Mix is a blender on steroids. I didn’t cruise with it the first time around the world but I sure want to the second time around. Why? It blends smoothies, shakes, sauces, and soups. I can also make peanut butter and almond milk using this gadget. The problem is convincing the Captain, also known as The Amp Warden, to let me take it when we cut the dock lines. His arguments are, it takes too many amps and it’s too large. Where’s my rolling pin?

So, that’s my galley list.  It keeps the galley food interesting and tasty but to be honest, I do have a few more tips to pull off some of the meals I conjure up, which I won’t give away just yet…because the key to being a good cook is keeping a few culinary tips a secret.

The Boat Wife

 

Cruising Fun!

Cruiser Fun!

What do cruiser’s do?  We don’t watch TV, we don’t have cars & if we have a cell-phone, its hard to get a signal in most bays…so here is a glimpse of our activities.DSC_0453DSC_0453

 

Society Islands – Three Things Not to Miss

1. Shop in Papeete, Tahiti at the early morning market

Tahiti Market

Get up early (about 5:30 am) to get the ripest fruit, freshest fish and
the  best selection….you are late if you arrive at 7 am.

Tahiti Market 6

Fresh BBQ Sliced Pork

 2. Swim with the Sting Rays on Moorea Island

  Moorea-sting

The Rays come right up to you, seeking food.  If you don’t have any, they won’t hang out with you.  But watching them swim around your legs is amazing.  Check out Tahiti Travel Mate for details.

Moorea Stingray 3

 

3. Visit the Black Pearl Farms in Bora Bora or just hang out and enjoy the view.

Bora Borea 4

Black pearls B

Black Pearls…Love them!

Bora Bora cannon 2

Hang out, literally, at the WWII canons
that used to protect the entrance of Bora Bora

A Big MAC Attack when Traveling Abroad

In the States we rarely eat at fast food joints.  So for us to have a craving for fast food while on our voyage  was a surprise.  I wonder if it was really a craving or just the need to be in a familiar setting…even in a corporate chain of greasy eats like a McDonalds.

The exterior of the franchise with it’s infamous yellow arches, look the same as in the States but some of the menu options do vary from country to country.

  • In Bali they offered a side of white rice in place of fries.
  • In Italy you could have red wine with your Big Mac.

Sometimes there were slight differences in the ambiance

  • Tahiti’s Micky Ds was next to a shore-line park with a beach that had a few topless sun bathers.  Looking past the distracting pink nipples, the island Moorea (pronounced in the local dialect as Mo-Oh-Ray-A) was our backdrop.  The mighty land mass supports powerful peaks and holds an aura of tranquility.
  • Thailand had a life-sized, plastic Ronald McDonald in a traditional Thai greeting posture.  It’s obvious that Ronald is a happy international traveler.

I agree with most travelers that look down at visiting American Fast-Food chains while traveling abroad.  Try the local cuisine and break out from what you are comfortable with.  Yet as a traveler that was away for many years, sometimes the urge for the taste of home takes over…plus it’s a good way to get free WI-Fi.

5 Things to Know When Eating Street Food

When traveling abroad one of the most memorable experiences is the local cuisine.  To get the local fare, make sure to go beyond the tourist sites and find where the natives eat which may mean eating Street Food.


1.       It’s Authentic Cuisine

No one is catering to your foreign tastes like tourist hotels do.  Instead these street vendors are making the tasty food to satisfy their customers which are the locals.

2.       The Price is Right

The price will not be grossly inflated.

3.       You are Mixing with the Locals

This is one way to strike up a conversation with the locals.  Even if you are in a country where you don’t speak the language, in my experience I have found one or two fellow customers wanting to engage in a conversation.

4.       It Supports Local Business

Your business will help support the local economy.

5.  Chances are You Won’t get Sick

If you pick a vendor that looks busy and appears to be hygiene conscious like wearing a hat to hold in hair or has their cold food cold and their hot food hot, you should be okay.  At least that has been my experience when eating Street Food.  If the local guy is getting his customer’s sick, he would be out of business.

 

 

My Thoughts On Vanuatu

At first we were thinking of staying longer in Fiji instead of visiting Vanuatu but heard through other cruisers it was a country we shouldn’t missed.  I am glad we didn’t.

Here is what I know of Vanuatu.  It has over 105 “Mother Tongue s” some villages speack French others English, but the common language to communicate throughout the nation is Bislama, a pidgin English.  Words like Welkom (welcome), Kanu (canoe) and Bilong (belong) are easy for most to understand.  But I was thrown off when looking at the local beer’s slogan,  “BIA BILONG YUMI”, thinking it meant beer tasted yummy roughly means “Beer belongs to you and me.”

Meeting people here is easy since the locals are learning that Ecotourism brings in revenue and using their resources like volcano tours, kastum (custom) dance performances or simply making a traditional meal for a small fee helps pay for their children’s schooling.  So don’t be surprised when you are invited for dinner and in the same invitation be asked to make a donation (about 5 dollars US).  For the most part, the locals, outside of Port Villa,  live off the land by fishing, gardening and building their homes from the vegetation.

Kava seems to be the big thing here and it’s a drink the men crave.  You can tell if they drink too much of it when the white part of their eye is yellow.  In many of the villages women are not allowed to join the men in the Kava Kustom.  But as a tourist, I would recommend going to a Kava Bar in Port Villa, to get a taste.  Make sure to ask if the drink was made from fresh water instead of the spit from young boys.

So if you are thinking of taking a trip to Vanuatu here are a few of my suggestions.  The dress here is conservative.  Short sleeve tops, capri pants or skirts (below the knees) are acceptable.  Not many people are exposing their belly buttons or upper thighs…well except to swim.  Port Villa is the center of activity and a good place to research which islands you would like to visit since some islands can offer unique experiences like tribal bungee jumping and active volcano tours.  At some islands you may be able to trade for their carvings, but they prefer money.

If an adventure in Vanuatu is what you are looking for, here is another website I came across with more details and information by Andrew Gray.

Have you traveled to Vanuatu?  Let me know your experiences.

Cheers,

Kelly Girl

 

 

 

Sailing Offshore

 

We didn’t know how much time it would take to complete our first ocean passage from Everett, WA to San Francisco, but we figured it could take up two weeks or a month depending on the wind.  Our 30 gallon fuel supply would only take us about 350 miles so we needed to sail most of the 900 miles.  Mother Nature would be our close companion.

She was kind in the beginning with a decent wind.  But as the days progressed her wind calmed and we sat drifting.  The rigging would noisily bang around, it was driving us batty.

 

Next she started increasing her wind over a few days to 35+ knots.  We had to test our sailing ability off the cold west coast.   Fortunately we survived and in 9 days made landfall in San Francisco.

 

Fair Winds,

Kelly Girl

Boat Delivery Job – From Thailand to Turkey

 

B&A-KB

My husband left looking like a clean-cut guy and after seven weeks at sea, now  looks like an old salt.

Kelly was offered a delivery position on the Sailing Vessel Convergence.  Randy Repass, owner and his bother-in-law Captain Joseph Rodgers were taking the vessel from Thailand through the Red Sea to Turkey.  This meant that Kelly will once again cruise past Somalia to reach their final destination.  We discussed the risks and decided the odds of getting captured or boarded by pirates were slim, so he went.

2011-02-23_3400_randyrepass[1]

The voyage was uneventful until they got to the Maldives.  At that time the Arab Spring had started in Egypt, which was one of their stops.  Also the Somali pirates were more active in the region spanning their scope beyond Somali waters because the pirates were avoiding the Coalition Forces that were patrolling the area.

On Convergence they decided to leave and risk the pirates, keeping relaying their position to a contact with the Coalition Forces for added security.  During their transit a vessel named Quest with owners Scott & Jean on board along with two crew members were captured by Somali pirates.  Kelly and I had met and hung out with Scott and Jean when we cruised in Tonga and New Zealand.  Many cruisers knew this couple.

Convergence was only only 200 nautical miles from Quest when it was taken over by the pirates.  A few days after that, they were killed by the pirates.

The whole experience was unnerving.  I looked for emails everyday from Kelly to assure they were fine.  When they landed in Egypt I was able to have a short conversation with him when he Skyped me.

To learn more about these events, check out Randy’s post Cruisers Deaths on Quest with Latitude 38.  Happy to have Kelly back after 7 weeks, he made a couple of friends in Randy and Joseph.  Two great sailors to be on a long passage with.

Cheers,

Kelly