There are many challenges to cooking on board in the Bahamas, and I’m doing my best to tackle them because a well-fed crew is a happy crew. Some of my objectives in cooking address some of the challenges: (a) use of ingredients that have a long shelf life, many of which I’ve brought with me from the US (and yes, I have a spreadsheet tracking all the food on the boat and where it is stashed); (b) combining those ingredients with those which can be found in the meagerly stocked shops of the Bahamas; and (c) using cooking methods which preserve fuel and/or keep the galley cool.
I’m not normally the kind of cook who likes to open a lot of cans and dump them together, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. So here are some of the recipes/methods I’ve recently developed to keep me and my crew happy. All quantities are approximate; season and prepare to your own taste.
Chicken Vegetable Curry
This is something between a soup and a stew; I serve it in bowls.
1.5 -2 lbs. chicken parts
1 onion, chopped
1 russet potato, chopped
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups water
1 large can sweet potatoes (drained and rinsed)
1 can mixed vegetables
1 can coconut milk (I use the “lite” kind)
Curry (I use Sukhi’s Classic Indian Curry Sauce, or 2 tablespoons of Patak’s curry paste, or 4 tablespoons of Caribbee Curry)
4 tablespoons flour, made into a slurry with about ½ cup of water
Sauté the onion and potatoes in about 2 tbsp. vegetable oil until the onion is translucent. Add the water, bouillon cubes and chicken parts and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until the chicken is fully cooked. Let cool, remove the chicken and remove it from the bones, chopping into chunks. (I throw away the skin.) Return the chicken to the pot. Cut the sweet potatoes into bite sized chunks, and add to the liquid with the mixed vegetables, coconut milk and curry. Bring to a simmer. Add the flour slurry and simmer until the flour is cooked through. It’s now ready to serve.
Wasabi Salmon Spread
I made this up using canned salmon, since I’ve not found smoked salmon here. It’s great for happy hour, served with crackers. Combine the following ingredients:
½ lb. cream cheese (half a brick)
1 can salmon (the salmon I’ve found here comes in a 10-12 ounce can)
1 small onion or 1 shallot, minced finely (about 2 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp. prepared wasabi (I use the kind in a tube)
1 – 2 tbsp. fish sauce
I made up this word, as a cross between pizza and quesadilla. At home, I often make “pizzas” with flatbread using random but oddly compatible ingredients. While I have many of those ingredients here (and lots of little jars of artisan gourmet ingredients that now come in handy), I’ve found using the galley oven makes too much heat, and using the grill results in a charred product. Instead, I fold the flatbreads in half – with ingredients inside – and heat them on a dry skillet until crisp and the cheese inside melts. They make a good appetizer sliced in pieces, or dinner.
Flatbread (comes in a bag – in the grocery store section with tortillas and pitas – and keeps forever until opened)
To spread on the flatbread: anything that strikes your fancy. I have used barbecue sauce, garlic/sundried tomato spread, caramelized onion balsamic spread, fig preserves. Or you can use tomato sauce.
Cheese: pick whatever you like. It needn’t melt, and don’t use much or else it will make the pizzadilla too heavy. I have used bleu cheese, swiss cheese, provolone, or shredded mozzarella. Whatever is handy.
Proteins: again, a little will go a long way. Prosciutto, dried salami, sausage, pepperoni. In a pinch, I used sliced hot dogs (because the chicken sausage I wanted to use had gone funky). You can skip this if you want to go vegetarian.
Fruits/vegetables: chop these in little bits. Chewy ones seem to work well. Try sun-dried tomatoes, figs, olives, mushrooms.
We are headed to a Super Bowl party at Compass Cay Marina on Sunday. Will have to figure out what to bring….