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01 May 2017

Cooking Aboard Tickety Boo In The Bahamas

I served this to Scott the other day for lunch. He was perplexed.

Yes, that's a jar of Jif peanut butter. Don't judge.

“It’s noon. This is toast. Toast is for breakfast, not lunch.” His brow furrowed as he stared at the toasted homemade whole wheat bread – one slice with butter and mango jam and one with peanut butter – served with a side of sliced apples.

I stuck the two pieces of bread together. “Voila. It’s now a PB&J. Enjoy.”

It got me thinking about what we’ve been cooking and eating aboard our sailboat, Tickety Boo, since we left Florida and headed to the Bahamas.

Okay, that’s a lie. I constantly think about what we cook and eat. I think about it so much that I even document it in our logbook.

Our logbook has important details like weather conditions, anchorages, nautical miles, engine hours and what we ate.

Maybe you constantly think about food too. Maybe you’re one of those people who likes to read about what other people eat too. If so, you’re in for a treat. Not a literal treat. I tend to hoard any sugary treats we have on board. Sorry. I’m selfish that way. No, the treat is that I’m going to tell you about a week in the life of cooking aboard Tickety Boo.

Cooking aboard our sailboat in the Bahamas is pretty similar to cooking on land. Kind of.

We have a fridge, but we don’t have a freezer. We have a propane oven, but our stove top broke so we’ve been using a butane camping stove as a temporary fix. We have a pantry full of food, but it’s stored underneath our furniture. We shop in grocery stores, except sometimes they’re tiny, have limited goods and the prices are insanely high.

Grocery haul from Maxwell's in Marsh Harbour. I was surprised at how relatively inexpensive the vanilla extract was - around $4 a bottle.

And did I mention that sometimes it’s hard to keep your balance and keep stuff on the counters when the boat is being rocked from side to side?

Here’s what was on the menu while we were anchored in Marsh Harbour.


Breakfast

The first thing you’ll notice is that we eat the same thing every day for breakfast. Scrambled eggs with jalapenos wrapped up in a tortilla with a little salsa and cheese.

When our stove top broke while we were in Florida, I wasn’t able to make breakfast burritos. I had to get creative and make things in the oven, like baked oatmeal. Now that we’ve got our camping stove, we’re back in business with the burritos. At least until the tortillas run out.

We stocked up on a lot of tortillas when we were in the States. They last forever. It pays not to ask why they last forever, because the answer would probably scare you.

Some of you might be saying, “When the tortillas run out, just make some more yourself. It’s easy.”

I’ve made tortillas before when we were living on our boat in New Zealand and it is easy, but we have a limited supply of butane cartridges and have to try to keep the things we make on the stove top to a minimum. So, it will be back to baked oatmeal and the like when the prepackaged tortillas run out.

Lunch

Lunch is often leftovers from the night before. Other times I get creative and whip up a gourmet meal involving toast or crackers, often served with fruit. With the exception of one loaf of coconut bread and a package of hamburger buns we bought in Marsh Harbour and the prepackaged tortillas we brought with us, we make all of our own bread aboard.

I’ve actually had to stock up on more flour in Marsh Harbour as I seriously underestimated the amount of bread making that would take place on Tickety Boo.

Dinner

I tend to put a little more effort into dinner. What I cook all comes down to what kind of mood I’m in, what the conditions will be like (will it be roly-poly and I’ll have to watch to make sure things don't fly out of the oven?), what we have in our food stores and what fresh food is available.

On Monday, I made a vegetarian curry which was a testament to cans and jars. We had run out of fresh potatoes, so I used canned ones. I chucked in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of coconut milk. And to keep things simple, I used a jar of Patak’s curry paste rather than grinding exotic spices to make my own. A cup of red lentils rounded things out. The only fresh items I used were an onion (they last forever), a couple of garlic cloves and a dodgy piece of ginger root that looked like it had seen better days.

The ingredients for potato and lentil curry. Lots of cans and jars involved.

To save on butane, I brought it all to a boil on the stove top and then put it in our Wonderbag to cook slowly in the aft cabin during the day. The Wonderbag is a great item to have on a boat. It’s basically a huge, padded bag that retains heat. Your soups or stews slow cook without needing any electricity.
It was an extremely windy day with lots of wake from passing fizz boats when I made the curry and I was worried that, with the boat rocking back and forth, everything would slosh out of the pan and into the Wonderbag, but thankfully it didn’t.

Sure, it's the size of a small pumpkin, but it sure is handy.

On Tuesday, Scott grilled chicken, which we had bought at Maxwell’s, a large, well-stocked grocery store in Marsh Harbour. We split one chicken breast which I served with more canned goods – baked beans and corn – and saved the other one.

On Wednesday, we had a real treat – someone else cooked dinner! Our friends on S/V Toucan made us a lovely sweet and sour chicken dish. There was even Cadbury chocolates and ginger nut biscuits afterwards. The Brits know how to do things right. We brought some crackers and homemade hummus to share for nibbles before dinner.

I made the hummus using one of the lemons we brought with us. If you wrap them in foil, they last quite a long time without refrigeration. It’s something I used to do on our boat in New Zealand and seems to work equally as well in the Bahamas.

Thursday was focused on using up that other grilled chicken breast. I had some green enchilada sauce that I think I got off of the free table at Indiantown Marina so I decided to go for a Mexican themed meal. Along with the enchiladas, I made some Mexican rice from one of those handy packages that you just have to add to boiling water. (Yes, I confess, I like convenience foods from time to time.) I started the rice off on the butane stove and then bundled it up in the Wonderbag to continue cooking. A can of refried black beans heated up in the oven made things complete. The only downside was that we didn’t have any sour cream and the stuff they sold at Maxwell’s was too expensive for our liking.

Onions last forever and get added to pretty much everything we cook.

Friday saw a return of the enchiladas, rice and beans. Heated up in the oven of course as we aren’t able to use our microwave while at anchor.

We stocked up on a ton of meat before we left the States, focusing on things that had a long shelf life without needing to be frozen. We crammed things like deli meat, pork loin, ham steaks and brats into our fridge. On Saturday, Scott grilled one of our pork loins. I served it with rice made in the oven with cream of mushroom soup. I had no idea you could make rice in an oven until our stovetop died. There hadn’t been enough vegetable in our life lately, so we had some cabbage salad on the side.

We brought a couple of cabbages with us, which I stored in our v-berth loosely wrapped in some newspaper. Our last one was looking a little “undesirable” on the outside, but after I peeled off the icky outer leaves, there was still plenty of crunchy goodness inside.

Sunday featured one of our go-to dishes – pasta with homemade sauce made from canned tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives, onions, bell peppers (fresh if we have them, otherwise dehydrated), lots of garlic and a splash of wine (drink the rest with dinner). We found these great chorizo sausages at Aldi’s in Florida which don’t require refrigeration. A couple of them added to the sauce is delicious.

I stocked up on a ton of pasta before we left, but we haven’t been cooking it as much as normal given our stove top situation. Even though we tend to cook our pasta by bringing it up to the boil for a few minutes, covering the pan and then turning off the heat, it still eats up a bit of butane especially when you add in the simmering of the sauce.

Snacks

Life would not be complete without snacks. Preferably sugary snacks. I made some chocolate chip cookies to keep us going. Except they weren’t really cookies as much as they were bars. But not even bars like you’d make in a 9x13 pan, but bars made in teeny tiny Pyrex dishes.

Everything gets stirred by hand on Tickety Boo. No electric mixers here.

Our oven sucks. It has two temperature – off and on. Which I guess makes it easy when reading recipes. You can just ignore the bit about what temperature to cook things at. Just turn the oven on, chuck it in and hope for the best.

The heat the oven does provide is uneven at best, despite the fact that I’ve put a baking stone at the bottom of the oven. When I’ve tried to make cookies, they’ve not been all that successful. I end up with burned outsides and raw middles. So now I use my tiny Pyrex dishes so that can turn them around and around in the oven and get each side cooked with less distance from the edge of the pan to the middle.

Chocolate chip cookie bars fresh from the oven. I wonder how long they'll last?

But I really shouldn’t be complaining. After all, we’re eating cookie-like things with chocolate chips in them at anchor. Yum!

As you can see the crew of Tickety Boo eats well. Not well in the sense that we’re getting enough fruit and veg in our life, but well in the sense that we get plenty to eat and our bellies are full. And a well fed crew is a happy crew.

What was on your menu over the last week?

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28 comments:

  1. Two temps - on and off. LOL

    I think our biggest challenge would be the lack of a freezer. Most of my veggie meat products come frozen. I guess I'd have to stick with the sliced veggie meat versions.

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    1. It would be so nice to have a freezer. Oh well, maybe on our next boat ;-)

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  2. Yesterday I bought coconut tarts from a local baker. Like nothing we've ever had - a quick bread with a gooey, sweet, and spicy filling. Matt made butter chicken curry (from a sauce tin, of course) and naan bread. I think for lunch we might have actually just eaten garlic dip. I'm jealous you have salsa. We're out and I thought about buying some, but got cheap. Cooking has been a real problem. It's so windy, the hob keeps blowing out. When we close the windows, we get really nasty vibes and glaring from Hastings.

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    1. The coconut tarts sound interesting, but Matt's curry sounds even better. Did he make the naan bread himself?

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  3. Aaaaaand now I'm hungry. That's awesome that you make your own bread. I don't even do that on dry land.

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    1. I enjoy making bread, and all of that kneading is great exercise for the arms :-)

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  4. We eat the same on our boat as we do at home. We have an electric stove that we rarely use, and we do have a butane stove that we use. We also have a convection oven. If we're in the slip there is a wonderful gas BBQ that we use. So we eat the same on the boat as we do at home. I can see when you're traveling or are away that things would change.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  5. My lunch is always the same, so I could handle the same breakfast.
    I don't think we'd have to worry about onions going bad. We use three to five pounds a week.

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    1. Now I'm curious what you have for lunch :-) We use lots of onions too, but probably not as much as you guys do.

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  6. Sounds like you are doing great in the meal planning and cooking department considering what you have to cook with and where you are. We aren't too much different except that we can shop a lot more often when traveling in an RV verses a boat. When we were traveling in Spain I heard about something like your "cooking bag" but I believe the one I looked at also comes with a "special" pot as well. I am thinking of buying one for the motorhome because as you know we like to do a ton of boondocking and it will save one the propane for the oven/stove top.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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    1. I think I know the special pot version you're talking about. It sounds like a good idea. Smaller than the Wonderbag and the top locks on so stuff can't spill out when you're underway.

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  7. We're going to have to remember the aluminum foil / lemons trick!

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    1. It works really well - we still have some lemons which are going strong and are almost two months old.

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  8. I see nothing wrong with toast for lunch! I eat that often if I'm at home, and usually with peanut butter too (though I go for crunchy rather than creamy). Your veggie curry has made my mouth water, definitely.

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  9. I love everything about this post. I had to giggle when you said cooking on the boat is almost like on land, except that all the food is stored under your furniture. Ours too, which sometimes limits our options when we're under way because our settees are HEAVY! I think I'm going to start having breakfast burritos every morning too!

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    1. Glad you liked the post, Monica. Getting stuff out from our settees is okay, it's having to dig in the v-berth for stuff that really is a challenge. Of course, whatever you need is always in there :-)

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  10. Nice tip about the lemons, but wait...you plan your meals? That's almost so impressive it's frightening. I am not a good planner. I provision by going to the store, buying whatever looks good, finding a place to store it, and then figuring out what I'm making on the fly. I have, of course, until now only cruised for a few weeks each summer. But it worked then. It's all I know. Your oven reminds me of the one we had on Moonrise. I learned to adjust the temp by propping the door open less or more. Fun times.

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    1. I think I may have misled you - I don't plan meals, I just typed up what we ate retroactively. Things probably would work better if I did a bit more planning.

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    2. well, actually, this makes me feel loads better!

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  11. I have the opposite, my oven isn't working, and my stovetop does. It's hard not to be able to bake anything. If I cruised next to you, I would be a pest with mooching off of your home-baked goodies.

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    1. Anytime you want to pop by, I'll have some home-baked goodies for you :-)

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  12. Man. It sounds like you guys are well equipped to handle that type of eating. I know my husband wouldn't be able to do it. Trying to feed him with a full kitchen and whatever supplies is tough enough. He won't eat the same thing every day, and to top that off, I've had to try to find meals that he'll like and will be diet friendly for him. I think I'd prefer a simpler menu. :)

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    1. Fortunately, Scott isn't all that picky of an eater, which is great because I'm not all that great of a cook :-)

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  13. OK. Here's what comes to mind: you have a toaster on-board? The cheese seems pretty affordable in the Bahamas as well. We never put food we ate in the logbook - it is not very nautical - but, I had years I wrote down what I ate in my diary. Not anymore, though... That's a lot of eggs in an island chain where eggs are very expensive. :-) Do you plan menus for every week? That wonder bag might help make yogurt as well! Our oven had the same issue: on or off, and a lot of turning things around when baking. We were baffled to find out that baking a pizza in a "normal" house oven only takes 10', while on Irie, it took about an hour! I hope you manage to fix your stove top - I couldn't imagine living without that for any amount of time! But, you guys appear to be very creative!

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    1. It's actually a broiler, not a toaster, which I love. It works really well. Eggs are actually really affordable in Marsh Harbour (less than $2 a dozen) and since we spent way more time than we would have wanted to there, we were able to stock up on a lot of eggs.

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    2. That's a great price! I love eggs... They appear to be much cheaper now than they were 9 years ago. :-)

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