Pacific Crossing- Day 11 Cooking at Sea

21080 NM WSW of Zihuatanejo, Mexico

It looks like today is going to be another day of excellent downwind sailing with moderate enough seas to hopefully make some water. We’ve been a little hesitant to turn on the water pumps when the boat has been rocking too much because any air bubbles entering the high pressure portion of the water maker could rupture the delicate membranes. We decided to only actively use one of our 65-gallon water tanks and leave the other 40-gallon tank as reserve. We’ve been doing pretty well, although Lewis would probably prefer if I did all of the dishes with saltwater. A few of my nice knives have started showing rust spots and I’m hoping to make them last as long as possible before I search out a nice chopping knife replacement. The same goes for all three of Lewis’ fillet knives he uses when cleaning our catch of the day. We religiously wash off saltwater from the knives, sheaths, and all fishing lures, but alas they eventually rust in our oh-so-salty environment. I started a little preventative maintenance just before leaving Zihua when I took out the Brasso and polished our port stanchions which brace three gasoline jerry jugs. There were quite a bit of rust spots which came right off, but wait any longer, we might have seen pitting in our stainless. Thankfully there’s no one around to see the uneven shininess of our port side stainless compared to our starboard side… I’m waiting for calm seas in the doldrums to polish that side!
In the meantime we’ve been enjoying leisurely mornings with hot tea and a good book. When I’m not flipping through my cookbooks, I’m just finishing Storm Tactics by Lin and Larry Pardey who talk about hove-to techniques through major storms and hurricanes. Before that I finished reading Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche (Great read for all of the ladies sailing out there!).
Lewis has been getting spoiled with some of the recipes I’ve been whipping up. It’s amazing how little time I spent cooking while in Mexico. Sure, down the coast of Baja there was little to no towns to provision or eat, so most of our time was on the boat or fishing off the dingy. Once we got to the mainland, however, we ate out almost every day for very cheap. We stuck to where the locals eat and had the most delicious variety of food. I’m still in need of their mocajete recipe if anyone can look it up for me! Also, when we did do major provisioning in Bandaras Bay and Zihuatanejo, we wanted to save our stores for the crossing and the South Pacific. It was such a tease to see all of the yummy food in my pantry that I wasn’t allowed to cook!
But alas, the time is now! I’ll summarize a few of the meals we’ve had over the past week. I usually cook more than enough for 2 nights so we have something pre-cooked in the fridge during our night shift.
– Cajun crab cakes with chipotle lemon aioli over sautéed spinach
– Crab cake benedict with spicy aioli
– Sautéed green beans and bell pepper with homemade Alfredo sauce
– Eggs Florentine with leftover Alfredo substituted for Hollandaise
– Chicken broccoli stir fry with Udon noodles and sweet and sour sauce
– Tomato bruschetta with Parmesan
– Chicken lettuce wraps with Thai peanut sauce and spicy marinated cucumber salad
– Homemade peanut butter and sugar cookies
– I always keep chicken salad or tuna salad in the fridge for snacking as well
Tonight I’ll make bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers for an appetizer and adobo chicken tacos with pico de gallo. We joke with each other about what restaurant we want to eat at tonight. How about Godfathers in Belmont? They had THE best salmon burger and sweet potato fries. Or how about Stacks for their perfect huevos rancheros or eggs benedict?
The major challenge of cooking on the boat is trying to keep everything from flying off the counter when I’m chopping and preparing meals. I have a few nonskid mats that help a little, but when a big roller hits, I basically hunch over the counter with my arms over the goods to keep them in place. Any liquids that can’t tip at all I place on the gimbal stove. This piece of culinary equipment is genius and invaluable to my sanity in the galley. I’ve cooked on a few other boats where you have to monitor your pots (even when on a gimbal) and wedge them between stainless clamps to keep them in place. When a big roller hits, some stoves reach their maximum rotation and violently bang against the hull making very hot liquids, if not covered, dangerously fly from their positions. I think our gimbal has a maximum rotation of 60 degrees which means our boat would nearly be flat against the water before it collided with the side of the boat. I am very impressed. We all too often leave glasses (real glass), the hot tea kettle, jars of cooking ingredients, and a bowl of whatever I’m throwing together for dinner, all on the gimbal stove without hesitation as it has never failed us (knock on wood!). I have attained a kitchen stance leaning against the grab rail on the starboard side while facing forward so I, too, don’t fly across the boat in strong swells.
I cannot wait until we catch fresh fish so I can try to make sushi rolls! I have all of the ingredients, the instructions, and hopefully the skills to attempt a spicy tuna roll. When we pulled in the lure yesterday, there were dozens of fresh teeth marks! Unfortunately whatever got on it was so huge it bent the hook straight! And this hook is no small freshwater hook… this is a very large (5″ overall length) saltwater hook made for big fish. Well at least we know there are fish out there! We’ll try AGAIN today:)

Who ever knew you could live so well while at sea?

Love and miss you all,
Alyssa

Current position:

17:00 Z

11 23 N

119 00 W

245 true

6.1 knots

Wind: 14 knots from the NE

Seas: 6-8 feet from the NNE

Barometer: 1010

2 Comments

  1. Bob and Miriam's Gravatar Bob and Miriam
    March 21, 2014    

    Lew, you lucky sea dog. You’ve got a gourmet galley girl doing a great job
    of whipping up tasty tacos and fabulous fish dishes! What a dream come
    true for both of you! Makes my mouth water just reading her menu.
    Thanks for sharing all the fun and delighting us all back home .

    Bob & Mir

  2. Rina/Mom's Gravatar Rina/Mom
    March 21, 2014    

    Wow, love the menu! Thanks for sharing your “easy” to be sailing/cooking tales!
    Love you both,
    Mama Rina

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