12/14/2011, Vuda Point Marina
For those of you afloat as well as on land, let me tell you an easy way to do ribs. I bought a rack of what were supposed to be baby backs but instead I got spare ribs when they were delivered a few days ago. I guess a brake down in communications between myself and the person behind the counter. Out here in Fiji, it's not that uncommon. Any way, with spare ribs being more stringy than baby backs, I looked into a better way to cook them where they would come out tender with the stringiness broken down.
I googled for a way to cook them in a pressure cooker as we just happen to have one on board. A useful piece of equipment when you are on a boat. With the lid on, even if the boat heels unexpectedly and the pot falls off the stove(it can happen), nothing leaves the pot. Not surprisingly, there are many recipes available on the web. I chose the simplest. Brown the meat a bit(in the same pot) and then pour off the grease. Add your sauce plus a bit of water to make the steam needed as the sauce is too thick to do so. Close up the lid and cook for 15 minutes once it hits pressure. Once done, let the pressure bleed off and undo the lid. Take the ribs(being careful as the meat is now fall off the bone tender) and put on a rack under the broiler in your oven. Add a bit more sauce to the top of the ribs and let it sit under the broiler and let it caramelize for a bit(about 5 minutes). Voila, you are done. Get set to enjoy a great rack of ribs.
If you are looking for great sauce, let me suggest the following recipe I use from "Top Secret Restaurant Recipe #2. It was taken from Chili's Restaurant.
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2/3 cup dark brown sugar(packed)
1 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer the sauce, stirring often(it burns), for 45 to 60 minutes or until the sauce is thick(sticks to a wooden spoon).
Now here is where the recipes change. They suggest pouring the sauce over the ribs and wrap each rack in aluminum foil and arrange the packets on a baking sheet with the seam facing up. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours (at 275 degrees)or until the meat on the ribs has pulled back from the ends of the bones by 1/2 inch. Now preheat your barbecue grill(or broiler). Grill them on the barbecue grill(or broiler) for 4 to 8 minutes on a side or until the surface of the ribs is beginning to char. Brush the ribs with sauce a few minutes before you take them off the grill. Serve with extra sauce on the side and lots of extra napkins.
I've done it both ways(pressure cooker & foil packets) and it comes out great every time. I used to use my barbecue grill and cook them for hours to get them tender but this way is not only faster but the meat is far more tender and yummy.
Give it a try. I know you won't be disappointed. I'd add a picture but they didn't last long enough to get one.
One final note. If you have any sauce left, for a great appetizer, pour it over cream cheese and serve with crackers. People will love it, take my word for it.
12/11/2011, Vuda Point Marina
Today was moving day. The space we had been in was just not right for Zephyr. Even with winds in the mid 20 knot range, we were moving from side to side "gently" bashing Purrfection and hitting the fenders on the Nivini boat to our right. I'd hate to think what would have happened to all of us if a 150 knot wind came through. A space opened up about a week ago(#33) a bit farther down the marina circle. Today we set our sites on moving there. I first walked over to see Moe, one of the marina supervisors. His response was "NO". Apparently they have a 60 foot boat coming in next week and he is slotted to go in that slip. I tried in the office and again, the answer was nope. I then talked to George, the supervisor of all the boats in the marina and he got in his dingy and slowly went around the marina(just about full) looking for a space for us to squeeze into. If we moved the "Bio-Security" boat over,that would make a space just about the size we needed for Zephyr. Lines were grabbed and the "Bio-Security" boat was moved. We got Zephyr underway and backed all the way across the marina cove. In we went with about a foot on either side. At least we had a foot if someone pushed us away from the "Bio-Security boat. He was still a bit slack in his space.
I tossed the stern lines to Terry off Teka Nova and Ib off Aeolus while Tracy tossed the bow lines to George in his dinghy. George attached our lines to other bigger lines that go out toward the center of the circular marina while the stern lines were made fast. We were in our new home at least for now. Once we were set in our space, I walked over to the office to let them know where we were in the marina. I asked about the 60 footer that was going into slip 33 and they told me that he was only staying for a week. I had them slot us into the space once he vacates it after Christmas. It's not that it's a better space, it's just that there is more space between us and the boats that will be on either side of us. So for now, we are in a better space than where we were.
Yesterday, the marina sponsored a concert by Graham Wardrop, a guitarist from New Zealand here at the marina. Music started early in the afternoon and continued till late in the evening. The main concert started about 1500 and was delightful. He played different versions of Beatles songs as well as Bob Dylan songs plus some of his own. Six of us gathered(Aeolus, Teka Nova and ourselves) so we all made a nice afternoon of drinking and listening to music. I nice way to spend an afternoon. By 1900, it was pouring again. It's the first real rain we have had in close to a week so we were overdue.
Now that we are in our new space, we will spend the afternoon watching our drift as the afternoon breeze comes through the marina. We don't want to come up close and personal with our neighbors.
12/11/2011, VudaPoint Marina, Fiji
Here's a picture of Zephyrs stern as well as others on either side of our boat. All you can see is lines, lines, and more lines. Every boat has at least two and with us, four lines attached to the stern. Ours are not only line--1/2 inch as well as 3/4 inch but we added chain to get us over the concrete deck that surrounds the marina. With out the chain, it would chew through the line quickly. I added metal thimbles to each of the 3/4 inch lines to make sure there was no abrasion. Can't be too careful.
You can see our lines with the chains as well as the rubber snubbers I added that act like big shock absorbers taking up the sudden jerks that happen when the wind blows Zephyr around the marina. Every boat does it a bit differently. Some use chair and some not. Some tie cross wise(port side to the starboard ring on shore and vice versa) and some tie straight back. We use four for security. Two out each side. One lead farther out for a wider restraint and one closer(has the chain) for a more backward pull should the need arise for it. We're not going anywhere. At least we hope not. I guess we will see at the next blow.
12/09/2011, Vuda Point Marina
Yesterday was baking day. Tracy took off for the galley while I headed on deck for a different project. Instead of the Pecan/Cranberry bagels I'd made a few weeks ago(YUM!), Tracy was going to make English Muffins. She hasn't made them in a long time. Out came the cook book and in she went.
While she was busy below, I headed to the bow of the boat to put up the tarp we bought a few days ago. The Sun beats down here most of the day and even with an air conditioner, it can get warm inside. This time, we were going to use our spinnaker pole to hold it up away from the deck so at least there would be some air flow across the deck. As I was about to attach one end to the mast, it started to slip from my hand(the darn thing is 21 feet long) and was headed for the water. I tried to grab it and lost my footing and started falling along with the pole. I reached out for anything to grab and quickly came to realize there was nothing to garb hold of. I was headed for the deck. With nothing to grab, I just relaxed and let it happen, with "this is going to hurt" going through my mind. It's like in the movies where every action shot is in slow motion. I hit the deck with a resounding thud. Sitting there on the deck with the back of my neck slammed against the life lines and my arm having been scraped against a line on the way down, boy did my butt hurt! "That's going to leave a mark" going through my mind. Tracy came running up on deck to see what I'd dropped. Just me! The errant spinnaker pole had jammed itself between the rigging and stay on board(yea). I picked myself up(quite slowly) and started in on the project again(much slower this time). I tied one end of the pole to the bow and fitted the other end to the mast. At least the pole was attached. I grabbed the tarp(14 X 16 feet) and ran it with the 16 going from the bow backward. Tracy came up on deck to assist with placing the lines down each side as the muffins were doing their rising thing below. I swapped out bungie cords for line once all the preliminary attachments had been made. We are now about 90% covered. Tracy finish her English Muffins shortly after 1200 and we took off for the local cafe for lunch.
As we walked over to the cafe, along came the Fiji Meats delivery truck with the order I'd place the day before. We got 4 chicken breasts, four steaks(hopefully aged meat this time), a rack of ribs(I'd ordered Baby Backs but got Spare ribs instead) and a freshly roasted chicken. Fiji Meats cooks all kinds of meat on Thursday night and Friday morning so you can order just about anything and have it delivered fully cooked. Costs a bit more but at least you don't heat up the inside of your boat. I had everything shrink wrapped(except the cook chicken) and frozen so it would go into our freezer already frozen(sort of). Here's the breakdown: .85 kilo of steak= $22.37fijian ($12.10US)
.616 kilo of ribs= $13.91fijian ($7.53US)
.97 kilo of chicken= $17.95fijian ($9.71US)
1 roasted chicken= $14.20fijian ($7.68US)
vacuum bags= $3.00fijian ($1.62US)
total for all of it= $71.43fijian ($38.64US) Delivery was free.
All in all, considering most of the meat has to be shipped in, the prices aren't that bad. I'll let you know how they taste. I'm have barbecue sauce simmering on the stove as I'm typing this so Ribs are for dinner tonight.
After lunch we retuned to Zephyr and I headed into the galley to make a couple loaves of bread. As I've said in earlier posts, Fiji has many wonderful things to offer, but good bread is not one of them(that we have found). This time, while I used the same recipe I've used over the last months, I brought in a machine from civilization(now that we are in a marina with plenty of power to spare)A Cuisinart!!!! When we came back to Zephyr last year, we brought our full size machine with us. We'd had a smaller version but wanted the power of the full size. Once the dough was made, I plunked it into the Cuisinart and let it do the kneading. Around and around it went with me adding a bit of flour every now and then. Once it had done the kneading for me, I let it rise(into the engine room again) and then into the pans and back in the engine room. Into the ovens and out 40 minutes later. We were set to have our Fiji Meats chicken and freshly baked bread for dinner!
We sliced the bread and smeared on fresh butter. It wasn't quite the same as the last batch. Two things had changed. 1--I'd used a different flour this time and 2--I'd let the Cuisinart do the kneading. Not sure which made the difference but while it was still quite tasty(much better than the local loaves) it was just a bit different in it's flavor. So out with the old flour(not much left anyway)and next time, I'll go back to kneading by hand(the old fashioned way).
When we came into the marina last Tuesday, Mo assisted us in tying up to the lines from the center post in the marina. He used different lines than what George had used when we first tied up in late October. Yesterday, the winds blew through the marina just a bit harder than they had before and we were moving all over our space. We'd move to the right and bump fenders with the boat on that side and then shift to the left and tap Purrfection(catamaran). We reposition our fenders and tightened up lines at the bow and still we kept moving all over our space. I can't imagine what would have happened if a blow of even 50 knots had come through. I spoke with George(oversees the marina) and he came out this morning and took one of my new lines and ran it out to the same line we had used when we first came in. I'll be adding another line at our stern in a few minutes to see if that helps keep us away from our neighbors.
So, now the sauce is all made and the ribs defrosted and the post is all typed and it's on to another project. Hope you all enjoyed the pictures I posted.
12/08/2011, Vuda Point Marina
I've added a new gallery of some of our underwater dive photos from Plantation Pinnacle. You'll see a "photo gallery" listing on the right side near the top of the blog. Hit it and then slide down past the thumbnail pictures in the "Main Gallery" and you will see Plantation Pinnacle listing. Click on any of the pictures and it will bring it up to a full size picture. Enjoy.
More to come.
12/07/2011, Vuda Point Marina
Well, we're back in Vuda Point Marina after a lovely 6 day stint at Musket Cove. It's only a short 15 mile trek over just about still water I'm sure we will be going back often. It was a just about perfect vacation getting away from any kind of work(well sort of) on Zephyr.
Here was our normal day. Get up about 0730 and have breakfast. Lower Puff back into the water(security though no thefts have been reported) and put on Dragon(outboard). Load all our diving gear into her and set out for Plantation Pinnacle about 1015. Get there about 1045 and get in the water. Scuba dive(anywhere from 30 to 80 feet deep) taking pictures and watching all the fish and live coral around us. We have never been to a reef with so much live coral. Much of what we have seen as we crossed the Pacific has been either dead or dying. It was a delight to see such life on the coral bommie(tall pillar of coral). We'd dive for an average of 55 minutes and then climb back into Puff and head back to Zephyr We'd drop off most of our equipment(except the tanks) and then head for the marina. We'd take the tanks in for refilling at Subsurface Diving and head for the showers. Then on to lunch at the local cafe. A meat pie with salad($10.00), or a hamburger with fries($18.00). Maybe a steak sandwich($18.50) and a coke($4.50)--all prices are in Fijian dollars(about .55 to the dollar) so lunch was quite reasonable. On to the new ice cream counter. It just opened two weeks ago for a $2.00 cone. Now these people never attended the Baskin Robbins school of how to do a single cone. These people first filled the inside of the cone then piled another scoop on top of that and then to top it off, added a third scoop to the top. All for $2.00($1.10US). Wow, what a deal for something that has to be brought over by boat from the main island. Back to the Subsurface Diving to pick up the tanks($10.00Fijian) and then back to Zephyr. By now, it's about 1500. Settle in for the afternoon. Movies started aboard at about 1900 with a nice bowl of Orville Redenbacker popcorn. With internet, we watched back episodes of Big Brother from last Summer. Internet is fast enough to allow us to see it quite well with little interruptions. Off to bed about 2200 and the day starts all over again. So it went for the six days we spent there. A wonderful time away from jobs aboard Zephyr.
Tuesday, we dropped the line to the mooring buoy and headed back getting in about 1230 and backing back into our old space. Moe assisted with the lines off the bow getting them attached to lines from the center buoy and then we backed in. We'd already gotten lines ready for the stern but since none of the staff came to help, Tracy jumped to shore and pulled back on Zephyrs stern. Moe finally came ashore and assisted with the final lines. We were back at the marina again. Electric lines were lead ashore and plugged in and we had power to recharge the batteries and run our air conditioner.
Once we were set, we walked over to the marina's cafe and had a late lunch and then finished getting Zephyr back in marina mode. Yesterday, we got up early before it got hot and got our tarps back up to protect Zephyr from the searing heat of the day. Amazingly, there was no rain in the forecast. First time we've not seen rain in the forecast in several weeks. At 1100, we took off for Namaka, a small town just south of us for a trip to the big hardware store. We still needed the chain to affix us to shore should a big cyclone head our way. The lines are all ready, now we just need the chain and shackles. Chain they had but no shackles so with a very heavy bag full of 20 feet of BIG chain, back we came to the marina. Busy, busy, busy. Today, off for Lautoka to get checked back in with Customs since we had to check out to visit the islands. Paperwork is the life blood of Fiji. Think of a form and they have it.
The picture at the top is one I took while on our dive. More of them to come.