Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Best Meal for Passage Making: Viva la Pasta!

A "Mediterranean" pasta salad with cucumber, chopped olives, chickpeas, tomatoes, oregano, basil, lemon juice and more.
Pasta:  It's whats for dinner.  And lunch.  And dinner again.

It's common knowledge that I despise the galley and all activities associated with it so anything that expedites my time in there is something that I can get down with.  While I have gotten much, much better at provisioning, meal-planning and keeping our diet more varied than last time (we sort of lived off rice and beans for a solid year there), I am still a creature of habit and when I find a little groove with something I go with it.

My latest groove is pasta salad.  It is the bona fide "little black dress" of the food world and can go from day to night with some minimal "accessorizing".  This is a particularly awesome food choice when making a full day passage of six hours or more when you don't really want to be cooking (in case it's rough which it usually can be in these parts) and you are too tired to make dinner by the time you drop anchor (because you have been sailing all day and are exhausted).

So what do I do? I make a two-fer.  One meal, two different ways.  Let me explain...

I make a pasta salad either the night before or the morning we leave.  I make a big batch and it's never the same thing twice.  I'll dress it up with any canned veggies I have like artichokes, green beans, sliced olives or diced tomatoes (seriously, you can put anything in it so go nuts).  I've also found I love to add a protein like a can of tuna fish or some chick peas.  I douse all that in olive oil, italian dressing or whatever spices tickle my fancy or seem to pair well and then, upon serving it cold, load it up with parmesan cheese.  It's easy, never the same thing twice and requires only minutes in the galley when underway (because it's pre-made).  Score.

But here's the clincher:  with a little dressing up, it also becomes dinner.  Dun, dun, dun!

When we drop the hook at 5 or 6pm after sailing for six, eight or twelve hours, the last thing I want to do is figure out a meal to make and cook it.  So I take the leftovers from lunch and bedazzle them into a completely different meal which I like to call "pasta casserole surprise".  Because, SURPRISE!! This was actually lunch, but now it's magically become dinner too!

I line a baking pan with some olive oil and a hefty dusting of bread crumbs.  I then add the pasta salad on top, smother with some red pasta sauce and top with a load of shredded mozzarella cheese (because, honestly, doesn't cheese make everything better?).  This, of course, is the most basic recipe.  Depending on what I have on hand I'll jazz it up even further with additional veggies and accouterments.
The basic ingredients neede to "dress up" the pasta salad lunch from above and turn it into a hot casserole dinner
For last night's dinner I had some extra tomato and eggplant on hand so I added those.
I first lined the pan with the olive oil and bread crumbs as per "basic" instructions, but then I added a layer of the sliced eggplant which I drizzled in olive oil and dusted in garlic powder.  I then added the pasta salad, topped with the fresh chopped tomatoes and then smothered in pasta sauce.  The piece de resistance, of course, is the cheese on top.  I used a whole packet of shredded mozzarella for the one pictured above.  Yum.

I place all this into an oven preheated to 350°, let cook for thirty minutes (broiling the cheese on top for a minute or two) and - voila! - a totally delicious, completely different meal that takes almost no time, utilizes very simple and easy to access ingredients and requires almost zero culinary effort!  Win, win, win.


Mark and Cindy - s/v Cream Puff said...

Sorry, you lost us on this post. We love to cook and take great joy in trying new flavors on the palette. We both fight to be in the galley. And, meal planning is a wonderful precursor to salivate the taste buds.

Much of our desire to travel is built upon not only to see but to also taste the local culture's cuisine. And then of course, there is wine. One of the joys of owning a French boat is the ability to stow wine in a cool dry place.


As a follow up to your laundry post, we highly recommend the WonderWash. It is a small hand cranked washing machine that washes up to 5 pounds. It is about $40 on Amazon. It works remarkably well.

All the best,

Mark and Cindy
s/v Cream Puff

Windtraveler said...

Hi Mark and Cindy - awesome you love the galley. Wish I could too!! We do love to experience other foods (and often do), but this post was specifically about an easy meal for passage making - so not necessarily utilizing local stuff (though you could).

I actually used a wonder washer, my friend has one on her boat. I plan to write a review - but, to be honest, I found the bucket to be just as easy (if not a little bit easier). Though it was very cool!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. It all looks delicious and the photos are great.

Jenny A.

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