Archive for the 'let’s eating!' Category

Isla Bayoneta

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

We fought our way north to Isla Bayoneta against the norther that’s been blowing for the last week or so. We anchored inside an Austrian boat, spoiling their view, and immediately jumped overboard.

A short time later, we’re dripping wet and reading our books when guy comes by in a 20 foot dugout to ask if we have any water. I say, “yes” and eyeing his baskets add, “Do you have any vegetables?” He replies “Pues, sandia y ñame.” “yamy?” I asked. “No, ñame” he repeated while digging around in one of his baskets. After a while he held up a hairy dirt clod about the size of a football and again says “ñame.” I’m always keen to try anything I’ve never seen before so we got the ñame and a good size watermelon. He got a dollar and a liter of rainwater. I should have gotten his picture.

The watermelon wasn’t ripe… bummer. I don’t think I’ve ever had an unripe watermelon before. It was still juicy, cool and fun to eat, but not red and not sweet. Once you’ve cut off all the dirt and skin the ñame is white and slimy. It cooks up into a big starch bomb but thankfully the slime goes away. Pretty good, but there’s nothing to really recommend it against a potato. We had it with refried red beans and that curry sauce that you probably remember from Costa Rica if you’ve ever been there. Not a typical TimeMachine meal, but we aren’t too picky at this point. Our fresh food stores consist of two onions and a shriveled potato. The scurvy will set in soon.

fishing boat, Bay of Panama

Battle Expired Anchovy!

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

I did not think twice about provisioning a dozen tins of anchovies when I did our pre-departure Trader Joes run. Surely we would be eating Caesar Salad every night and would be out by San Diego. As fate would have it, lettuce lasts poorly without refrigeration and the romaine variety is all but nonexistent south of the California border.

Now, a year later, I have many, many tins of anchovies and they are all expired. More importantly, anchovies lose structural integrity after a year in the tin and turn into brown mush. Brown mush interspersed with wee bones. Let this be a lesson to you all.

But I am determined and stubborn–if not particularly foresightful–about such matters and so every one of these tins of anchovies must be used up at all costs. Soon.

What the hell do you do with anchovies if you can’t make Caesar salad? A good question indeed; one which I would love to ask the Internet but alas, there’s no internet here.

Answer #1: Anchovy and Olive (also expired) Surprise on Toasts!

Anchovies are not the only expired can around here; in addition, we have a can of imitation abalone that Joshua bought a few years ago thinking it was funny and which I have no idea what to do with. Also several cans of milk products: sweetened condensed, “table cream,” evaporated (which is actually liquid), dulce de leche, and lactose-free regular. Also, a small tin of those lame sliced black olives whose presence in our lives is a huge mystery.

We had a loaf of stale ciabatta to eat and so we wrapped the bread in foil and toasted it over the burner in a makeshift lean-to of various pots and pan lids.

Then I mixed minced garlic (two cloves), the can of anchovy mush (minus oil), the sliced olives further sliced, one tomato diced finely, grated parmesan cheese procured from an Italian deli populated with products from the actual country of Italy (this is what saved the dish), olive oil, pepper, and hot sauce. We ate this over the toast and it was quite tasty. Improvements could be made by using more exotic olives such as Moroccan oil-cured. Also, using fresh anchovies.

Answer #2: Warm Multi-Pasta Salad!

Flush from the success of the first Anchovy Battle, we did something very similar but with pasta. Many of the same ingredients went into the ‘sauce’: one large tomato diced, can anchovy sludge (sans oil), chopped green herbed olives (also about to expire, jeez!), garlic cloves (minced), tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, oregano, salt (only if necessary because the anchovies are already salty), pepper, and a pinch of chili flakes. Mix together and set aside. Boil water and make pasta of choice (we used an artful mixture of left-over elbows, penne, and shells). Mix together and voila!

Answer #3: Puttanesca Sauce!

Puta madre! Another tasty pasta creation that leaves me one more anchovy tin down.

Mash together: a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, half tin of anchovy filets (bonus: mine just happen to be already mashed; I also used the whole tin), three cloves crushed garlic. Now, take half of this mixture and sauté it with three chopped or crushed roma tomatoes until they are soft. Add the rest of the mashed sauce, two tablespoons of capers, half a cup of olives (like good ones, not those canned black pitted nasties), and pepper. You probably won’t need any salt after the olives and anchovies. Simmer over low heat an additional twenty minutes and finally serve over pasta. We used the last of our high-quality Jasmine penne. This would be excellent with a bit of parmesan grated over the top. If parmesan existed anywhere within a 100-mile radius of this boat. Which it doesn’t. So sad.

Answer #4: Miraculous Anchovy and Almond Tapenade (tossed with veggies)!

Jerry and Joni from Lotus gave us an awesome cookbook, which I highly recommend to anyone on a boat (The Cruising Chef by Mike Greenwald). The current revised edition is an excellent read with easy to deal with recipes introduced with great stories and much humor. Lotus had two copies and I ended up with an original first edition from 1977 and it is such a gem; it’s loaded with ink illustrations and delightfully un-PC recipes and stories (whale hunting! MSG!). I immediately scoured it for anchovy recipes and found this.

For veggies, I steamed some green beans until just about done. Then I fried a bunch of chopped almonds and several garlic chunks in butter until they started to turn slightly golden (the almonds take longer than the garlic so I suggest starting the almonds, then adding the garlic later unless you want crispy brown garlic pieces). Here is where you add chopped anchovy filets, according to Mike Greenwald. Here is where I diverged from the recipe. Gazing at my anchovy filets-turned-mush, a delicious almond-garlic-butter aroma wafting around the galley, I decided to just leave them out actually and I chucked the tin. I added the green beans and stir-fried them in the almond butter garlic, adding salt and pepper. Very tasty.

Answer #5: Happily Trashed Anchovy Tin!

Enough already. I’m sick of anchovies now.

Pink Rum

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Peychaud’s Bitters (three dashes)
Flor de Cana (maybe 50 ml; the point is to make it pleasingly pink)

May be served ‘warm’ (estilo Time Machine) but god forbid you drink it from anything less than a cocktail glass if you do. If one were so bourgeois as to have ice on hand, I guess one might serve this in an old fashioned glass over ice.

Strange Fruit

Monday, November 13th, 2006

We bought this at one of the grocery stores in Liberia. I liked the symmetry of it and the shape of the stem and the lovely golden orange color. It is weirdly lightweight for the size.

Passion Fruit

Sliced open, it revealed a centimeter of pithy shell with an interior that can only be described as snot. Well, that’s not entirely fair; chunky snot.

Passion Fruit

You see that? It smells generally fruity in an unidentifiable way. We got up the nerve to taste it.

Passion Fruit

Glop on spoon. The snot-like interior is made up of many dark seeds glommed together with a gelatinous connective tissue, which is disturbingly difficult to separate into a spoon-sized bite. It reminds me of frog eggs, until you take a bite—not that I’ve tried a bite of frog eggs before.

And the taste is not unpleasant, sort of jasminey but with a little orange; neither flavor is particularly strong. The texture is something else: extraordinarily slimy and gooey but then the seed part is crunchy—exceedingly crunchy, like little dried beetles.

I’ve never tasted anything like it.

Blow by Blow Account of Food Consumed in New York City

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Back by popular demand (hi Mom!).

1. Spanish food from La Nacional/The Spanish Benevolent Society in Chelsea (14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues). Mediocre mostly. But very authentic in that it felt just like you picked out some random tapa place in Madrid and had a not terrible but not excellent meal. We ordered sangria made with cava, which was the best part. Further research into the place reveals that it has been around since 1868 and is in fact the oldest Spanish restaurant in New York; also that Garcia Lorca himself used to hang out there during his stay in New York. I feel as if I should have liked it more or else spent more money and tried the paella or something. Read poetry in that back room whilst getting wasted on amontillado…

2. Expensive martini at the Art Bar in Chelsea. It had been a very long time since I had a martini. This one was like $8.50 or something (probably normal by now but it was still a shock coming from Central America) but it was very good. And large. I made a mistake in ordering a second and wound up stumbling back to the hotel.

3. Weak coffee with far too much half and half. This was only the first of many creamed-out coffees we got in NY and elsewhere. What is it with the East Coast? These folks are afraid of black coffee. Not only that, but most places do not let their customers manage their own coffee condiments. We had launch a huge fuss to get it black or else deal with the consequences because “just a wee teeny bit of cream only please” or “no cream at all” doesn’t mean squat. We accompanied CJ and Adam in their morning quest for a cheap deli serving breakfasty stuff. In New York you don’t have to walk far, even for cheap, and we ended up in this odd place that featured an ‘Egg on the Roll’ special. CJ and Adam ordered a somewhat sketchy looking breakfast so Joshua and I decided to just go with coffee, which as I mentioned, was mostly half and half. While CJ and Adam ate, we were entertained by some crazy dude who was not satisfied with the deli selections and brought in his own meat. “See this? This here’s corned beef. See? It’s good!” This while he is shoving slices of the stuff into his mouth and gesturing with an additional piece at the counter guy. “Now I want you to make me an Egg on the Roll with this corned beef.” The counter guy refused and there was much nervous laughter on his part, meanwhile the corned beef dude stomped around the place ranting some crazy shit. After a lengthy tirade, he went with the Egg on the Roll minus the corned beef but he was sore about it. So sore that he took the sandwich and then made a stink about paying. There was more nervous laughter. Finally he left, after chucking a dollar at the counter guy. Then we left.

4. Cheap cheese. Ohmygod. Sage derby is only like $10 per pound here and real manchego from the actual country of Spain is even cheaper. I spent nearly 20 minutes in front of the cheese counter agonizing over which to buy to go with our baguette.

5. Street giros near the Rockefeller Center. Good. Cheap.

6. Sushi from Sandobe (167 1st Ave., East Village). Adam researched inexpensive yet good sushi joints in our neighborhood and by the time Joshua and I made it back to the hotel he had decided upon a place called Sapporo East. By the time we walked there, there was a huge crowd and the waiting list was fairly long. We began scoping out neighboring places and decided to take a chance on a newish looking Korean/Japanese place across the street rather than die of starvation in the window of Sapporo East. Food (nigiri): good for the most part. Granted, we hadn’t had sushi for so long that we were beside ourselves just to be served such a variety of raw fish, but the majority was really good. Standouts were the hamachi and sake; totally not a standout was the saba, which was marinated too strongly and texturally unpleasant—too stiff and dry. Fish slices were really large but the rice was not as good as I would have liked—not enough flavor and the sushi chef didn’t put that dab of wasabi under the fish like they normally do. Adam ate primarily rolls and reported that they were definitely better than average.

7. Insanely expensive bagels and cream cheese. Bagel prices have definitely gone up since I last bought bagels. I’ve heard a million things about the splendiferousness that is a New York bagel and well, they sort of seemed like most of the bagels I’ve had before, so hmmm; maybe I don’t know what makes a New York bagel special, aside from the price.

8. Cafeteria at the Metropolitan Art Museum. Way above average cafeteria with a large variety of stuff. Watch out that you don’t build yourself a twenty-dollar salad though. Joshua observed a woman who built a huge plate of cucumber and pineapple chunks, which seems weird when there are so many other very exciting things you could choose like duck and pine nut salad or various marinated antipasti.

10. Sapporo East! (245 E. 10th St.) After a short wait, we got in (it was just Joshua and I this time, a week later). Food was very good; the rice was prepared better here and included the dab of wasabi under the fish. We ordered the fried oysters, which I know seems out of season, but breaded and deep fried (mmm) and we hadn’t had them for so long, we couldn’t help ourselves. They were good but not great. Nigiri was all very good. Standouts were the saba, which was really excellent thankfully—it is one of my favorites, and hamachi; not standouts were the ‘whitefish’ (not sure which one and it was not in Japanese on the menu) and maguro, which looked good but had a bit too much connective tissue in it to be perfect. Fish slices were again very generous.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell