Packing your Pantry
- April 30th, 2011
- in Yachting
Packing your Pantry
Smart shopping for the savvy sailor
When I think of cooking in the Caribbean, my mind fills with visions of fresh ingredients such as fruits and vegetables and fish that I’ve caught myself. In reality, despite my best intentions to cook meals loaded with fresh ingredients, I’ve spent enough time on boats and cooking in the Islands to know that sometimes I must rely on the contents of my pantry for a proper dinner.
Your mouth may water at the thought of catching tuna or mahi mahi for dinner, but by the end of the day the only fish you’ve hooked are a few barracuda. Though they’re fun to catch and their menacing teeth make for lively fishing stories, those barracuda won’t become dinner. You might arrive at an out-island grocery store to find that it closed early or ran out of fresh fruit. Maybe you confused the fridge and freezer on your charter boat and found all your lettuce frozen and unusable. Or perhaps you’re in a peaceful and secluded anchorage and decide to stay a few extra days. (What a luxury!) Each of these scenarios has happened to me, so I’ve learned to keep a well-stocked pantry.
When provisioning your boat’s pantry, choose items that “multi-task” and can be used different ways. Some of my essential pantry items are also popular in onshore pantries:
Canned tuna or salmon: Packed with protein, fish is ideal for sandwiches, burgers, pasta sauces or with lettuce salads.
Peanut butter: Use for sandwiches, of course, or as a sauce for noodles. Try almond butter for a change.
Canned beans: One of the healthiest pantry staples, beans can be used for soups, salads and vegetarian burgers.
Canned diced tomatoes: When good-quality fresh tomatoes are tough to find, choose canned tomatoes for pasta sauces and soups.
Bisquick: I love to make homemade pancakes and biscuits, but a mix like Bisquick is terrific for boats—especially charter boats—as baked goods can be prepared without purchasing a variety of dry goods such as flour, sugar and baking powder.
Pasta and rice: These compact carbs are the base for many different meals or side dishes.
Paul Newman Balsamic vinaigrette: I use this versatile vinaigrette as a salad dressing, a marinade for veggies and as a substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad.
One of my standby pantry meals is peanut sesame noodles. Quick and tasty, this meal requires no fresh ingredients, although the noodles are an excellent base for fresh vegetables. Add green onions, red bell pepper strips, shredded carrots, edamame (soybeans), broccoli or bean sprouts. For extra protein, add cubes of tofu or strips of cooked chicken.
Best wishes catching a fresh dinner. If you come up empty handed, you can fish in your well-stocked pantry for a delicious dinner.
Peanut Sesame Noodles
½ c creamy peanut butter
½ c vegetable broth
3 Tbl soy sauce
3 Tbl rice vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1 Tbl sesame oil
2 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb linguine or Asian noodles
1 tsp sesame oil
Assorted vegetables (optional)
In a small saucepan combine first 7 ingredients (peanut butter through red pepper). Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened and smooth. Cook the noodles until they are al dente, then drain them in a colander. Rinse them under cold water then drain the noodles well. Toss with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and combine with the peanut sauce, stirring well. Add vegetables if desired. Serve at room temperature.