As the Caribbean season comes to a close, the summer season in New England and the Med is just beginning. This means long passages between yachting destinations with no stops along the way for fresh provisions. Here are a few tips for chefs preparing and provisioning for the long hauls.
Stock up on long life produce. Items like carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage, squash, beets and apples have a long shelf life and will keep for over a week. Cauliflower, leeks, brussel sprouts, peppers, oregano, blueberries, oranges, grapefruit, peaches, pears and lemons will keep for about seven days. More delicate produce such as asparagus, broccoli, corn, green beans, mushrooms, dill, basil, watercress, strawberries, bananas, cherries all have a shorter shelf life, staying fresh for only a few days.
Some greens are sturdier than others. Firm plastic containers of salad greens stay fresher longer than loose or bagged lettuces. Iceberg and romaine lettuce last the longest. If they begin to wilt, you can julienne them and add in some peppers and other cooked grains for a chopped salad. Spinach and arugula can be added to a soup or pasta or cooked off with oil and garlic and pepper if they begin to droop.
When stowing your produce, think about what you are going to use first. Put the shorter shelf life produce at the front of the fridge. Also, when you are buying produce, if it isn’t refrigerated, keep it at room temperature as it will last longer.
When you start running out of fresh green vegetables, you can always use some frozen ones. Chopped spinach, green peas, mixed Asian vegetables are quick cooking and nutritional.
Some other dry stores that are good to have on hand include stewed tomatoes, capers, pitted olives, artichokes, heart of palm, baby corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, cannellini and other precooked beans, dried berries and nuts and seeds.
Preparing one dish meals and sauces ahead can save time, especially if the weather is rough. Standbys like lasagne, shepherd’s pie, curries and soups as well as sauces, like Bolognaise, can be made ahead of time and frozen. Pre-roasted chickens and cold meats are also good to have on hand. Also, have pregrated cheeses, chopped onion, carrot and garlic to save prep time in the galley.
If the weather goes bad, so too may crew appetites. Easy to grab snacks such as ginger beer and coke, ginger candy and green apples can soothe stormy tummies.
No matter what the weather is like, many people have a sweet tooth, so be prepared. Have cookie dough premade in the fridge for a quick batch whenever a sugar rush is needed.
Long Haul Recipe
Curried Mixed Vegetable Orzo
2 zucchini, grated
2 yellow squash, grated
2 carrots, grated
6 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Italian parsley, two handfuls
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
Heat olive oil. Add shallots. When translucent, add chopped garlic and cook about two minutes. Add carrots, cook about two minutes. Add grated zucchini and yellow squash and cook for two to three minutes. Add curry, paprika and cayenne. Add in orzo and cook for four to five minutes.
Add chicken stock one cup at a time, each time stirring well and covering until all the stock is absorbed and the orzo is cooked through. After last cup of chicken stock, mix in chopped parsley and cheese.