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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last Autumn Gasp
November 27, 2007, 1:49 pm

On this beautiful Autumn evening I wanted to post what may have been the best thing we baked for Thanksgiving - Acorn Cookies!

A little more complex than many of my recipes in that you'll actually need an oven, if you can believe it! But still worth while, really! I promise it is totally worth borrowing an oven at a friend's home or even heating up your very own kitchen for these delectable treats.

Roll out your chosen Sugar Cookie Dough, ours came in a tube from the grocers, so much easier to carry a tube to a borrowed oven rather than Flour+Sugar+Baking Soda+Salt etc...

Grab a plastic cup. Give it a squeeze to shape it from a circle to an oval. Cut out oval sugar cookies.

Roll out Peanut Butter Cookie Dough. Continue with the squeezing and cutting of ovals but this time slice those PB Cookie cutouts in half and place them on top of the Sugar Cookies.

Use a fork to mash a little texture into the PB Cookie Caps and bake till golden. We thought an almond would make a terrific stem on the cap but then remembered Marianna can no longer eat nuts with her braces. If you have a Braces-Free Household though, I think an almond stem would be the perfect finishing touch!

And you better make them quick. I'm calling Autumn over on Sunday. That'll be our official start to Winter which will probably run till Valentine's Day. Maybe.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Autumn Wreath
October 12, 2007, 9:59 am

Ham wreath, that is!

Veronica has been enjoying having a full galley, er kitchen, at her disposal and turned out a fabulous dinner last night.

Her recipe, with adaptations:

2 pkgs pop-em crescent rolls (scary!)
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 1/4 cup shredded swiss and cheddar, mixed
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 egg white, for glazing

Unroll crescent dough and arrange triangles in a circle with points out. Combine ham, green onions, 1 cup of cheese, mayo and pepper in bowl. Scoop onto crescent dough. Top with tomato and remaining cheese. Wrap points of crescent dough over filling, tucking under wide ends of dough in the center of the wreath. Brush dough with egg white and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

The adaptation part? Original recipe called for 10 ounces frozen spinach which we forgot to buy. If it was included we would call it a Ham Florentine Wreath, not an Autumn Wreath!

The verdict? No leftovers means it was highly successful and delicious. Two thumbs up, Veronica, yum!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
A Dip and a Stick
July 23, 2007, 5:24 pm

Remember those delectable mangoes? They have found their way into nearly every meal we've eaten in the past week! So very finger-lickin' good.

It was a close tie when deciding which was our most favorite way to eat mangoes so far (discounting plainly sliced as too obvious). What we are calling Ambrosia - mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, coconut - is very refreshing and a wonderful way to end a meal but the Mango Salsa won out in the end. Delicious and so very simple.

I have made a lot of Fruit Salsas in my day, some more successful than others, some much more complicated than others too! This one was simplicity itself and the taste was out of this world! How to make this marvel of mangoes? To one half of a tub of fresh salsa add one chopped mango.
The End.

Really. It was that easy! In case you haven't noticed in my foodie posts, I adore simplicity. (To view all posts about food click the lavender category words saying I'm all at Sea with this Recipe at the end of this post) This particular recipe is a new personal favorite as I believe a person can never consume too much fresh salsa and this one has fruit in it too!!! Gosh, we probably ate our full requirements for fruits and veggies before dinner last night! Which is rather embarassing in a piggy sort of way but mango season only comes around once a year, right?

Speaking of dinner...our second favorite recipe comes into play here. This one is so good it brought other boaters out on their decks hollering for just one taste. As if that wasn't evidence enough, they started offering items in trade. Funniest one had to be the big stinkpot power boater who offered rice. Rice?!? In exchange for this?
I think not!

Again simplicity rules. Take one skewer and poke it into the tail end of a shrimp. Add one piece of sausage (we used a cajun smoked) and poke the head end of the shrimp onto the skewer next. You have now encased the sausage in shrimp. Grill till shrimp are pink, unless you've used Key West Pinks, then grill till shrimp are firm to touch.

I really need a potluck or cocktail party just for these.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Mango, Mango
July 20, 2007, 12:15 pm

Do we have that luscious fruit on the brain!

A nearby tree has been dropping its fruit, and our arrangement with the traveling owners results in any ground dwelling fruit belonging to us while the tree hanging fruit is theirs.

Gazing at this basket of golden globes made me remember a poem I'd heard forever ago with the line: ...there was a season when mango is king. Thank you, Google, you wonderful facilitator of knowledge, you led me right to Valerie Bloom's poem Two Seasons. But not just any old copy of the poem but rather a fabulous audio recording Valerie Bloom made for Poetry Archive in 2000.' de sun turnin' de sea into a hot bath,
an' de grass bake so dat it crackle like parchment
under yuh foot; when de beach dem crowded
wid folk cooling off; de season when mango is king.


We do not have the usual seasonal markers, fireflies for mason jars in the summer? 'Fraid not. Ironed autumnal leaves in waxed paper for fall?? Nope. Snowflakes??? Don't be silly! That is why finding seasonal poetry addressing our seasons has filled me with joy today! Make sure you click through and listen to the entire poem. Think of us while you listen, her descriptions are spot on.

And where in the world have I been that the Poetry Archive is only now entering my radar screen??? What an amazing source! As Basil Bunting said on the Home page: "Poetry, like music, is meant to be heard." I am going to enjoy investigating this site! Lessons, interviews, poems both written and read...if only they had recipes!

What would you do with a basket of mango gold?

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Solar Oven Tests
Very cool this morning - 67 degrees!!! Can you believe it?
May 8, 2007, 2:59 pm, Aft Deck

One thing this particular boat is missing is an oven. We've owned several types including a great alcohol fiddled version, but have opted not to install an oven on this boat as we find it is a major waste of space in the sub-tropics where all the cooking is done on the grill.

We never miss it unless someone like Cay decides to post a scrumptious cookie recipe to tantalize her readers with.

Well, it was the last straw for Marianna. She had to have homemade cookies!!!

To bake homemade cookies a person is first going to need an oven. Then that person is going to have to determine how hot the oven will get.

Marianna designed her oven from two foil pans lined with black paper and my only saran wrap which happens to be green (Merry Christmas everyone!). A support stick or two, a bit of string and some tape completed the oven.

To determine how hot it would get she decided to place a candle inside and see if it would melt since Hal wasn't home with his super cool infrared thermometer. An hour later we had one melty candle, green saran wrap and all!

Tomorrow at noon a batch of cookies will be placed in the oven and watched very carefully. We'll let you know how they turn out!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Portabello Burgers
March 24, 2007, 5:30 am, Boca Chica!

One of our favorite styles of burgers, though we can't really call them HAMburgers now, can we?

So very simple to make and so very delicious to eat!

This version has a soft goat cheese spread over the gills and is grilled till the cheese is gooey. It doesn't take long at all but the timing will depend on the size of your mushroom. Ours were fairly large and went for less than 10 minutes last night. I'd have to ask Hal for exact times, but it was very quick and that is one reason we love them so - they use less propane to cook! Good boat food.

Last night we placed them on a lightly toasted bun and topped with grilled onion slices, a tomato, and spinach.

Other options include:
*drizzling with specialty vinegars during grilling, balsamic is a favorite here.
*stuffing with a seafood mixture and cooking slowly.
*grill eggplant too and use Greek Seasonings and feta cheese. These are good on Pita bread rather than buns.

The options are truly limitless, I don't know why I thought I'd try a list! What are your favorite ways to grill mushrooms?

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Steamed crabs and Old Bay, The land of pleasant living, Please pass the butter!
Do you like the haiku for today's title???
March 15, 2007, 2:46 pm

We renewed our aquaintance with a beloved food - Golden Crabs!

Golden Crabs are a Florida Keys specialty, fished for at amazing depths, 1,140 to 2,880 feet in the Gulf of Mexico north of the Florida Keys. Very similar to other crabs in taste I suppose, the meat is delicate and sweet. However, they are the hardest things to get into. A hammer does absolutely no good in this case! Under the hard shell there is a very thick membrane that doesn't smash but needs cut if one wants to make progress and not starve to death while eating.

So we gather our largest knives for this crab feast. A quick press down along the shell, not across the shell, and the crab leg can be pried into two halves easily and the delectable portion removed and transferred to the mouth after a quick bath in the butter! Yummm...

Though I have publically proclaimed that we have completed our studies of Greece, it seems Greece is not quite finished with us! Yesterday we discussed Archimedes Number, otherwise known as Pi and tonight the Greek story of The Golden Crab in The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang would go quite nicely with this dinner!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
It's Four O'Clock, Do you know where your dinner is?
January 25, 2007, 7:01 pm

A frequent entry in my New Year's Resolutions usually reads like this:

I will not wait untill 5pm to plan and buy dinner as leads to evening focused entirely on food, but rather will plan, buy, and even prepare, food earlier in day.

I think this may be a common refrain for many people and Meredith at Sweetness and Light has decided to do something about it! A Menu Planning Carnival is in the works to help bust us out of our usual meal ruts.

I'm trying to eat out of our pantry more, use up some of that stuff and give us more room for planning for our voyage to Key West. So let's see what I think I could make this next week.

Sunday: I have three chicken breasts that need to be eaten so I think I'll make a foil packet for the grill with onions and either green peppers or yellow squash and zucchini over the breasts with Greek Seasoning sprinkled heavy over all. A side of mashed potatoes from the pantry will make this meal super easy.

Monday: Since I won't eat a whole chicken breast most likely, I'll take the leftovers and turn them into enchiladas today. Mix chopped or shredded chicken with refried beans and black beans (both from pantry) spread on wrap, roll up and top with Mole sauce (canned, in fridge, must use up because if it falls on my foot one more time it is going to be fed to the fishes.) Heat to bubbly then top with shredded cheese and heat till melty. Fresh Pineapple would be nice with this.

Tuesday: Pasta and clam sauce from pantry. Cook pasta, heat spaghetti sauce, add can of clams with juice (extra flavor!) and heat gently. Spinach salad with honey dijon dressing and cranberry-walnut topping. (from one of those autumnal salad packs that we didn't use the included dressing/toppings, get it out of my fridge!)

Wednesday: Spinach Salad with strawberries, apricots, and canned chicken (again with the pantry cleaning) and poppy seed dressing, hopefully using last of the jar of dressing!

Thursday: My famous camping soup. Take one can whole corn, drained, one can black beans, drained, one can diced tomatoes, not drained. Heat and eat. Top with sour cream or jalapeno cheese dip or green onions or shredded cheese or crushed chips...

Friday: Cocktails under the Tiki Hut: Shrimp cocktail would be lovely. Buy already cooked shrimp, Marianna will hang them about the edge of the martini glasses with an extra spicy cocktail sauce. Everyone brings something, perhaps Brushetta, or Veggies, Crackers or Chips and Dip, Quesadillas - yummy stuff to graze on!

Saturday: Our famous Bleu Cheese Burgers! Only with bacon too! And mine will have spinach on it as well, yum!

So there is the for the execution!

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Marianna's Strawberry Delights
Drizzly rain in the evening, very warm - 80's.
December 23, 2006, 10:39 am

A very successful treat Marianna makes every holiday season is also a very simple, very quick, no bake delicacy. Therefore, very boater friendly!

Spread cream cheese on top of White Fudge covered Oreos. Top with a sliced or fanned strawberry.


I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!
Key Lime Snowballs
December 3, 2006, 9:37 pm

Living aboard the S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen is a grand adventure. It does however, come with it's own particular quirks and one of these is a lack of an oven. It is rarely missed and I have adapted many a recipe to the grill! Cookies, however, are sorely missed during the holidays. Marianna and I are slowly building up a collection of no-bake cookies. Some are stovetop oriented while others are chilled. This year's favorite (so far!) are Key Lime Snowballs - delicious!

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 4 sheets, crushed)
6 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (fat free works, too)
1 Tbsp grated Key Lime rind (must buy new grater, X-Mas list perhaps?)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh Key Lime juice (if Key Limes are unavailable, use Persians.)
1 tsp vanilla (when did vanilla get so expensive?)
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, divided (with a good grater I might - I said might, Marianna! - try a fresh coconut but then additional sugar or maybe flour for thickening may be needed)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (the snow portion of the snowballs, I suppose)

Combine crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, rind, juice, and vanilla. If you are of Marianna's frame of mind, you'll use your hands, if you are like me this is why wooden spoons were invented. Add 2/3 cup coconut and beat briskly for 1 minute. It should no longer feel 'grainy' but will give the appearance of mittens if you are still using your hands to mix. Add remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating until well combined, or dough pulls away from hands and is able to form a large ball. Cover and chill 20 minutes.

Roll dough *using hands now* into balls about the size of quarters. Roll in remaining 1/3 cup coconut and additional powdered sugar if balls feel wet.
Makes 24 Snowballs.

I'm all at Sea with this Recipe!

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S/V Mari Hal-O-Jen
Who: Capt. Hal, Jennifer, and our daughter Marianna, a great photographer!
Port: Boca Chica
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