This year you have a choice of offshore rallies – Departing from Hampton, VA on 1st November – the 1500 miles to Tortola, British Virgin Islands or the 900 miles to Marsh Harbor, Bahamas. The Caribbean 1500 Rally (originated by Steve Black in 1990) is the largest and longest-running offshore cruising event in the Americas. You also have a choice to prepare your meals on the dock or offshore.
The projected trip to Tortola, is seven to ten days; the Bahamas around five days. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing on both routes and grilling on deck will be possible, but it is best to have at least half of your meals pre-made. Have your meats vacuum packed into meal sizes, then freeze or refrigerate. Many fresh foods keep well. Fruit: oranges, apples, grapefruit, bananas, and limes. Vegetables: lettuces (Romaine and iceberg keep best), potatoes, onions, garlic (do not refrigerate them), broccoli, cabbage, carrots. Makings for sandwiches are a must just in case the seas are a little rough. Breakfast is important so take your favorites.
The saying "you are what you eat" is especially true when you are offshore. Fatty foods make you sleepy! Snacks I like are popcorn, assorted granola and fruit bars, dry roasted almonds (seasoned with sea salt), shelled walnuts, dried apricots, powdered protein drink, corn chips, salsa, and of course chocolate! Crackers and wraps have many uses and can be used in place of bread. A big slab of extra sharp cheddar is always handy.
Any cooked meat, poultry and fish can be frozen. Cooking a double portion of a meal and freezing half for later use can be a time saver, especially when you are preparing to go offshore. Make a few of your favorites in advance. The following freeze well: lasagnes, stews, casseroles, pasta especially with red sauce, Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and curries are a few. Be sure to use rectangle or square containers whenever possible as these fit better and take up less room in the refrigerator and/or freezer. Label and date the containers and stack in the order you wish to use them with the first on the top. Sometimes I use heavy Ziplocs to save space, they are more easily disposed of than hard sided freezer containers – double bagging is recommended. A good ice chest in a secure place is a "plus" to store drinks as this saves the refrigerator being opened unnecessarily.
Tortola's grocery stores are well provisioned and you can get everything there. You only need to provision for the time you will be cruising. The Bahamas is another story, so take foods that you cannot live without. The easiest way to eat when in the islands is to become a 'localvore'!
Preparation time: 5 mins. Cooking time: 15 mins. Serves: 6.
1 (16 oz) pkg chicken hotdogs
1 cup grape jelly
3/4 cup spicy hot prepared mustard
Cut each hotdog into bite size pieces. Combine jelly and mustard in a medium-size saucepan. Add hotdogs and cook over a low heat until 'dogs' are heated through, stir frequently. Serve with toothpicks (no buns!!)
SAILING CHICKEN WINGS
Preparation time: 10 mins. Cooking time: 45 mins. Serves: 8.
2-1/2 lbs chicken wings, separated at joints (discard tips)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sherry
2 tsp dry mustard
6 scallions, cut in 1" pieces, optional
Combine all ingredients in a medium-size saucepan. Cover, heat to boiling and simmer 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer 15 minutes longer, stir frequently. Serve hot or cold.
Hint: These are great easy hors d'oeuvres, but if it is late and everyone is hungry prepare some rice and put the Tangy Dogs or Wings (with sauce) over the top and call it dinner!
EASY SEAFOOD PATÉ
Preparation time: 20 mins. Chilling time: 2 hours. Serves: 4.
1 (6 oz) can tuna, drained
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp chili sauce
Crushed garlic or garlic powder
Fresh lemon juice
Worcestershire, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
2 Tbsp fresh onion grated
Garnish: lemon slices, parsley, pimento, optional
Mix well, load into form and chill 2 hours. Garnish. Serve with crackers. Does not taste like Tuna.
Hint: It is also very good to use grouper or dolphin, on the rare occasion of left over.
Capt. Jan Robinson holds certificates from the Culinary Institute of America, The Ritz Cooking School, and the Cordon Bleu. Her Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Or visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com, email CapJan@aol.com or call 1-800-338-6072 and mention All at Sea to receive a discount.