Today is a significant date. First and foremost, it is my husband’s birthday. Aaron, the Captain of our boat and my heart, was born in 1964 and is 56 today. He unselfishly gives of his time and talent, and most of all, Love, to his friends and family. He is completely devoted to our three Grands and drops everything to care for them. He coaches Little League, builds props for my daughter’s photography business, mans the barbecue and is known as the “Tickle Monster” by the GrandBoys. He’s a great role model for Cody and Matthew, and Ellie is definitely a “Papy’s Girl.” This from a guy who never had children of his own and became a step-father when my kids were teens! We are blessed to have him in our lives.
Matzah Ball Soup is a staple first course at Passover Seder’s and also served year-round in many Jewish homes. It’s a close second to Chicken Noodle Soup for treating colds and oh, so good on any dreary day.
My all-time favorite recipe was made by Nana Yetta Finberg, my former husband’s grandmother. Her balls were dense yet not doughy and it has taken me over two decades to get them just right.
Her broth was made from a whole chicken and veggies simmered for hours then strained many, many times to get it perfectly clear and golden. I cheat by using chicken broth to save time but I do roast veggies and add to the broth to simmer for an hour before straining. My broth is not as clear as hers, because I simmer the balls in the broth and then strain one more time. The flavor of both the broth and balls is pretty satisfying!
When we purchased our 42 ft 1979 Tayana Vancouver sailboat in 2009 we had hoped to take a sabbatical from our jobs in 2015 to do some cruising. We chose to name our boat Sonho, as it means “Dream” in Portuguese and adopted the motto, “Vivo O Sonho” … Living the Dream.
But Life Happened: lay-offs and, most importantly, my care for my beloved Nana kept us tied to the dock. There was no way I’d leave her; we just didn’t expect her to live as long as she fortunately did. After Nana passed in the fall of 2017 just shy of her 99th birthday, my sister and I made the decision to sell her home that we had inherited. Aaron and I would use our share of the proceeds to finish the work on the boat and invest the rest to take early retirement.
Winter is all about the soups for me. I love filling my floating home with the scents and warmth of long-simmering yumminess. While my husband will never-ever give up beef, I could probably be a pescatarian. Most likely, when we are cruising we’ll probably rely mostly on fresh seafood, fruits and veggies, so I’ll be a happy camper.
Lentils are dried and easy to store. They and chick peas are a great source of protein, making them a great meat alternative. They are also full of iron, which is sometimes lacking in vegetarian diets. Other vitamins include B, magnesium, zinc and potassium, as well as containing fiber.
Mmmmmmm! If you love asparagus, this is a quick, easy and creamy soup that presents beautifully. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up all the goodness! It is very rich and makes a filling main course, or serve with a salad or lighter protein such as grilled or poached fish to round out the meal.
Asparagus is a good source for vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as fiber and folate. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral that assists in getting glucose into your cells, which is important if you are diabetic or monitoring blood sugar. It is also believed to be good for brain health and fighting cancer.
Fun fact about the stinky urine caused by eating asparagus, according to Smithsonian magazine: Asparagus is the only food to contain the chemical asparagusic acid. When this aptly named chemical is digested, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds, which have a strong, unpleasant scent, and are released in the urine. They are also volatile, which means that they can vaporize and enter the air and your nose. Asparaguisic acid is not volatile, so asparagus itself doesn’t smell. There are no harmful effects to eating asparagus or the scent. (So now you know!)
Variations: Change the color but not the taste! American and British asparagus is green, but you can also find it in purple (French) and white (Spanish and Dutch). It can be made vegetarian by using vegetable instead of chicken stock, and vegan by using dairy-free butter or olive oil, and blending equal parts soy, rice or oat milk and coconut cream instead of half and half.
Creamy polenta topped with a rustic tomato based veggie ragout is not only comfort food, but an easy option for feeding a picky crowd. I was cooking for a group of writers that included vegetarians and many with food allergies and aversions and this hearty lunch fit the bill.
The ragout can be made in advance and reheated or made earlier in the day and allowed to simmer while making the polenta. The longer it sits, the deeper the flavors … and the kitchen will smell divine! Polenta is best served right away, so don’t start it until the ragout has been simmering for at least 15 minutes.
This is a delicious, hearty vegan breakfast that is made the night before and ready to eat right from the refrigerator. I’ll make this when we are at sea in warm climates and the crew needs a quick meal going on/off the sunrise shift.
Oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods, rich in carbs and fiber but also higher in protein and fat then most other grains. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, calcium and protein. Staying fueled and “regular” is important when off-shore sailing and the ingredients in this recipe fit the bill nicely.
“When you turn the wheel right, the boat goes right” he said patiently. “Think of it as driving a car.”
“It’s not at all like driving a car. And it’s STARBOARD, not right,” she snapped back. “I KNOW how to STEER a boat with a tiller, just not a fancy schmancy “yacht” with a wheel.”
“Well, then try STEERING to a compass heading. Follow the chartplotter course and keep it on the straight and narrow,” he suggested.
“Straight and narrow? This is the Pacific Ocean, not the friggin’ Pacific Coast Highway! Take it, I’m done.”
I always prefer fresh ingredients to canned or frozen, but there will be times when we are out to sea and run out of fresh goods. I’ve been exploring some healthy options that aren’t full of preservatives and are easy to make and these quesadillas fit the bill nicely. They would also be a great meal for the kids to help with and to make when camping. All of the ingredients are readily available at our Alameda Grocery Outlet and you may even find many of them in the organic aisle.
Variations: So many. You can leave out the chicken if you want to go vegetarian and of course swap out the canned items for fresh.