Monday, February 6, 2012

Baked Lobster

Living here in the Caribbean, we eat a lot of fresh fish and lobster, all of it caught by husband, T. We've had lobster boiled and steamed and grilled, but we tried baking it for the first time this week, and I think it's my new favorite! We have friends here this week staying in a condo

so it was a great opportunity for T to give a little Caribbean lobster cooking lesson. (They are all divers and had caught dinner the night before, but had never prepared one.) The lobster tails were huge (generally not a good thing as they tend to be tough)! Husband split them and stuffed tons of butter between the meat and the shells.

Into a 350 oven for about 15-20, and wow, they were perfect! Very sweet and tender, and gone before I could get a photo! T had also removed the meat from the legs, and combined them with a crab he caught. He whipped them into a mousse with some heavy cream and filled little phylo shells. These were also baked for about 15 minutes and eaten just as fast!

We are house sitting for some friends this week- I love the view!

Part of the job is to use up the perishables in the fridge, so we didn't spend much on groceries this week, and this is what we ate:

Sunday was pizza
Monday husband made a chili in the slow cooker. If we do meat chili, we usually do ground beef, but we found some nice looking stew beef and used that instead. What a difference and my new favorite!
Tuesday was the lobster party
Wednesday was grilled chicken over a salad
Thursday I made beef gyros
Friday was pizza again
Saturday T made a wonderful home made chicken soup

We spent $45 of the $105 budget, so $60 into vacation fund!
Hope everyone has a great week, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meat and a Vegetable

My husband and I went vegetarian for about a year, for no real reason, we just kind of were tired of eating meat. Gradually over the last year we went back to being meat-eaters, and the only meal requests he makes now are "Meat and a Vegetable". Really, he'd be happy with a piece of meat and a vegetable on the plate. I prefer to eat less meat, so every week it's a challenge to come up with meal ideas to make us both happy.

One of my favorite meals this week was tofu pot pie. I love tofu, he hates it, so some disguising was necessary. I drained the tofu and soaked it overnight in chicken broth, then drained it again, sprinkled it with poultry rub and baked it in the oven for about 45 minutes. The texture and taste was very chicken-like. I combined it with peas, carrots, and broccoli, a can of cream soup, and topped it with biscuit dough. Back in the oven til the top was brown and the inside bubbly. We both agreed it was delicious! Though of course, it wasn't vegetarian with the chicken broth, but it could have been made with veggie broth.

I am also a big fan of the vegetarian chicken patties, and we used them twice this week. First was in "chicken" parmesan, and later in the week sliced over an asian salad. Other meals this week were beef stew in the slow cooker, and reuben sandwiches (corned beef also made in the slow cooker). Frozen raviolis with an alfredo sauce and a tapas night rounded out the week.

We both love tapas nights, as regular readers may know. It's a great way to use up whatever is in the fridge, and ours consisted of mozzarella slices with home (boat) grown basil and some nice balsamic, fried olives stuffed with anchovies, roasted almonds, a cucumber watermelon salad, marinated artichokes, and fresh baked focaccia bread. A pretty addition to the tapas table are the wine bottle oil and vinegar cruets made by yours truly!

We came in under budget for the week, spent $95 out of $105. We actually came in $30 under budget, but I splurged a bit on some Spanish wine for tapas night.
Thanks for stopping by, have a great week!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Papaya Season

I suspect it is always papaya season here in the Virgin Islands, but my neighbor's tree has been especially prolific lately. If you have never had papaya, it tastes like a sweet melon, but the texture is denser than a melon, almost like cooked squash. It is a bright orange color inside, similar to a mango, but not stringy.

One of our dinners this week was chicken and veggie stir fry with a pineapple teriyaki sauce. Our latest papaya was the perfect ripeness, so I chopped some up and added it after the other ingredients were cooked. I wasn't sure what to expect, but wow, it was delicious! With the rest of the papaya, I made a simple salsa with chopped red onions and a splash of papaya curry hot sauce. It was delicious on a grilled chicken sandwich, with scrambled eggs, and as a pierogi topping. I'd love to hear how anyone else has used papaya!

I have been terrible with keeping track of our budget the last few weeks, holidays and all, but I'm pretty sure I have been going over. I also haven't been keeping track of meals, but I'm hoping to get back on track this week!

Our Christmas was good; we spent Christmas Eve with some friends and cooked up a giant pot of bouillabaise. Husband caught a few lobsters to throw in the pot and other people donated fresh mahi and wahoo. Not very traditional, but delicious!

Christmas day we skipped the usual parties and took the boat out to our favorite uninhabited island, Happy Island, and spent a wonderful day relaxing in the sun and the sea. Hope everyone had a nice holiday season, and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Winds

The Christmas Winds are back here in the Virgin Islands, and they are driving me crazy! During the rest of the year, we see mild winds, but at the end of December we see tradewinds blowing 20-30 knots- constantly. They howl through the trees, toss the boat around, and bring very cool nights. In the South of France in the winter, they have the Mistral winds (rumored to actually drive people crazy) that blow a lot harder but only last for a few days. Ours last for a couple of weeks. I can't complain too much, though, at least there is no snow!

Our boat is decorated for the season, we don't do a tree but we wrap the inside part of the mast with garland and hang our ornaments- lots of divers and mermaids!

We also have an inflatable snow globe that sits on our awning over the cockpit and is quite impressive. You may think it would bother the neighbors, but the other liveaboards on our dock put similar inflatables up, too! Quite the carnival!

We did ok on the budget this week, $116, so $11 over budget, and this is what we ate:

Sunday: We had some friends over for a tapas party. I made flatbread, and served balsamic marinated watermelon, roasted almonds, warm olives and peppers, a cream cheese tourine with tomato and basil, and of course, lots of wine!

Monday: We made a pizza with leftover veggies

Tuesday: Husband made chicken breasts stuffed with ham and swiss, tomato soup on the side.

Wednesday: Pasta alfredo with veggies

Thursday was our softball game, and we grabbed burgers after.

Friday: Spinach salad with grilled chicken

Saurday: Burgers stuffed with Roquefort cheese and cajun seasoning, topped with red onions and tomatoes on Hawaiian buns. Yum- best meal of the week!

Hope everyone has agreat holiday week, and thanks for stopping by!T

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moonlight Cruise

One of our favorite things to do in the evening is to take a sunset happy hour cruise in our dinghy...this time of year though the sun is almost set by 5:30, when we are getting home from work. We have had a lot of rain this week, but the other night the skies cleared to reveal a gorgeous full moon- so we did a moonlight cruise! We typically tool around the lagoon and look at boats, but it was such a nice night that we went far out into the bay, cut the engine, and just bobbed around for a while. Simple pleasures!

On the way back in we stopped at the lagoon bar. From the water it's mostly hidden by mangrove trees, so you have to know it's there, but you can pull your dinghy right in:

We did pretty well on the budget this week ($105), we spent $98, and this is what we ate:

Sunday was corn chowder in the slow cooker, with a tomato and cucumber salad on the side

Monday we roasted up a bunch of veggies with sausage on the side

Tuesday was another slow cooker meal, exactly the same ingredients as the day before: veggies with sausage stew and a little gravy on top

Wednesday we had pizza

Thursday we play softball, so had a quick BLT on English muffins before the game. After the game we were so hungry, but no place open and no food on the boat. BIG breakfast the next morning!

Friday we ate out at one of our favorite restaurants, Schnitzel Haus. The only thing on the menu is schnitzel

Saturday we finished off the week with a big salad: mixed greens, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, red onion, and turkey with a homemade mustard dressing.

As always, we resolve to eat more salad next week- we'll see!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Best Gravy...From the Weirdest Ingredients

We such a small oven on the boat that cooking a turkey is out of the question, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I asked my husband to make his famous turkey and cranberry chili. He won’t tell me the recipe, but it involves turkey and dried cranberries. I set off for the ingedients, and rather than the dried cranberries, I bought fresh. They looked so good, and I have never actually eaten a fresh raw cranberry. Well, husband absolutely insisted that fresh wouldn’t work in the chili, so I had to find another recipe to use the cranberries. I stumbled upon Brisket with Cranberries, and the ingredients sounded so weird I knew I had to try it: brisket, a pack of dried onion soup mix, a bottle of catalina dressing, and a bag of cranberries. The recipe called for combining everything and roasting, but I did mine in the crockpot with some pork shoulder.

The shoulder was a little fatty, so I had to skim some grease off but the sauce tasted amazing! I made a gravy out of it, and it is my new favorite - fruity and meaty. We put the pork in bowls, topped with mashed potatoes and the gravy. I will definitely make this again, though maybe try chicken next time.

We came in $7 under budget for the week, and this is what else we ate for the week: Jerk Chicken, BLT’s with soup, Burritos with rice, Veggie Calzones, and a Mediterranean Tuna Salad. And Thanksgiving, of course. We went to a friend’s for dinner- no cooking, no cleaning, perfect!

We received this huge papaya from a friend's tree...I think I may make a salsa out of it!
Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 21, 2011

West Indian Jerk Chicken

Despite living in the West Indies for nearly 10 years, we don’t often cook West Indian cuisine. My preferred meal is any kind of carb and lots of cheese (favorite food= fried mozzarella sticks). Not a lot of cheese in West Indian cooking. Curiously, goats are raised here and goat meat is popular, but I can’t find anyone making goat cheese, one of my favorites. One of my first jobs on island was working for a resort, whose employee cafeteria served local food. I got to try all of the favorites: oxtail stew, goat water, funji, saltfish, and callaloo. I was very appreciative of the salad bar.

I do, however, like a good jerk chicken, and husband found a recipe that sounded similar to one he likes at a local restaurant. Lots of ingredients, but fairly straightforward and easy to make, a gravy rather than a rub. He served it over a rotisserie chicken from the market ($6.99 while a similarly sized uncooked chicken can average $12. I have never understood that.) On the side were boiled sweet potatoes (actually U.S. yams. The local sweet potato has a similar taste, but a blue-grey color that just doesn’t appeal to me.) and pigeon peas in sauce over rice. This was my new food for the week, pigeon peas. They kind of look like a pea but taste like a bean, straight from the can in a sweetish sauce. Good in the context of the meal, but I’m not sure if I’ll try them again. The verdict on the jerk sauce: I loved it but T thinks it would make a better marinade, and that it was too vinegar-y.

We came in right on budget, $105 for the week, and this is what we ate:

Sunday: Ok- I hate to admit this, but my very favorite frozen pizza is Totino’s party pizza. I know all the ingredients are ultra processed, the crust is nothing but grease and air, and the ingredient list is as long as my arm with words I don’t know, BUT, a weakness and a splurge. The market had them on sale, so I bought a couple, added some pepperoni, and ate a whole one by myself.

Monday: Oh lasagna, how I loved having you in the freezer! This was the last of the 6 I made and froze earlier, and we have had at least one a week. I may be tired of lasagna for a while.

Tuesday: Falafel with cucumbers, red onions, and homemade tzatziki sauce on pitas. I used to make my own falafel from chick peas, but tried a box mix on the recommendation of a friend, and it was much better.

Wednesday: We had planned on eating out with friends, but that was cancelled at the last minute, and I hadn’t been to the market, and didn’t feel like going, so put together what I could with what I had. I ended up with toasted bread topped with a fake chicken patty, turkey bacon, a fried egg, cheddar cheese, and marinara sauce. I don’t know what to call it, but it was good!

Thursday: Polish sausage with pierogis and sauerkraut. Yum.

Friday: Rotisserie chicken with stuffing and Caesar salad. Stuffing is another weakness. I could make a whole meal out of nothing but stuffing.

Saturday: Husband dragged me to new Twilight movie, so it was popcorn, French fries, and a slice of veggie pizza.

Wow, I feel like we ate a lot of junk this week! I resolve to eat more fruits and veggies this week. Since I neglected to take any food photos, here’s the view from my window at my studio.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!