When Life Hands You Potatoes...

A new foreign boat pulled into the marina and tied up at the end of the next T-dock down from us. We could see their flag flapping in the wind, but couldn't identify it. White, red and blue horizontal stripes … not Dutch … perhaps Eastern European? We had to consult our little flag book before we determined that it was a Russian flag. A couple of days later, the boat pulled into the berth beside us. We were surprised to see the boat's name hand-scrawled (or was that spray paint?) in large red-orange letters on the hull … Berserk. We knew a Berserk from New Zealand, but it had met an unfortunate end in Antarctica … the boat sunk and three of its  five-member crew were lost. How many Berserks could there be? berserk in the next berth

Sure enough, Jarle stopped by and after a few minutes of reminiscing, we determined it was the same guy on a different boat which he'd once again named Berserk. When I think of the word “berserk”, I think frenzied, deranged, going crazy … someone going over the deep edge. Berserk has come to mean this in English, but in actuality the word is borrowed from Norse mythology. It refers to the “berserkers”, Norse warriors who worshiped Odin and fought in a trance-like frenzied rage that some think might have been induced by eating hallucinogenic 'shrooms. These guys wore bear and wolf skins to make themselves even more ferocious looking. The word berserker comes from the Old Norse meaning “bear coat”. Just a little more trivia for you. Moving on … Jarle is Norwegian, though his boat is now Russian-flagged, and considers himself a modern day Viking, perhaps akin to  a berserker.


Back to the story at hand … I get side-tracked so easily. During the course of conversation, Jarle indicated he was heading back to Norway for several months and asked if we'd like some of Berserk's freshies. Well, sure, we could always use a few extra spuds and onions. He brought two huge, heavy laundry baskets full of potatoes, onions and carrots. As David hoisted them onto the boat, I couldn't imagine where I'd stow them all. Sharing came to mind immediately. Would our cruising friends on Ave del Mar like some? How about the guys working on the dock; they'd probably like some fresh veggies? I went through them all and sorted them, disposing of the soft, squishy, wet ones (ick!). Potato eyes were scattered everywhere in the cockpit. I filled up Cups' hammock and hanging baskets, then took the rest and divided them into bags which we distributed to any willing boat or worker.


Now … what to do with all those potatoes. The damp ones were peeled and boiled immediately. Some cooked potatoes went into a big potato salad for dinner and the rest can be used for home fries with eggs in the morning. I figured we could have a cottage pie for dinner one night with a mashed potato topper and perhaps I'd make locro, a hardy, delicious potato soup we tasted first in the mountains of Ecuador. I might not use them all, but I'd certainly put a dent in the potato stores over the next week or so. The rest will serve us well on our upcoming sea passage once I figure out a place to stow them.

Then Jarle stopped by with a huge plastic trash bag full of tinned green peas. Hmmm … I'm going to have to give this one a bit more thought.

peas peas peas

By the way, here's the recipe for Locro Ecuatoriano (aka Ecuadorian Potato Soup) ... just in case you ever end up with too many potatoes.

recipe for potatoe soup

Locro Ecuatoriano
Cuisine: Ecuadorian
Author: Marcie Connelly Lynn
Serves: 4
Ecuadorian potato soup
  • 1 lb (500g) potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) oil
  • 1/4c (60g) chopped onion
  • 3/4c (185ml) milk
  • 1 tsp (5ml) salt
  • 1c (250g) cheddar cheese, grated or thin-sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced (as garnish)
  • Water
  • Lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  1. In a large saucepan, saute the finely diced potatoes with onion in oil, till onion is lightly browned. Add enough water to just cover the potatoes, then one cup more water. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the separate cubed potato. Reduce heat and simmer till the potato is tender and the diced potatoes are dissolved. Add milk and salt stirring in one direction until the locro almost boils. Remove from heat.
  2. In advance, line bowls with the lettuce leaves and then add cheese. Ladle the hot soup into the bowls and garnish with sliced avocado and more cheese if you like.
  3. Note: We rarely have fresh lettuce leaf aboard. Though it makes a lovely presentation and it's traditional, we find the soup tastes just fine without the lettuce. It would probably be good without the avocados, too, but we love avos so much, I don't make the soup unless I have them on hand.


Creative Cookery in Las Vegas

dinner is served We watched The 100 Foot Journey the other night and as I watched the aspiring young chef revel in the sensuous beauty, smells and tastes of his creative cookery, it reminded me of my sister-in-law, Mary. She's one of those cooks that just knows what goes with what and how to prepare anything. She can coax the absolute best tastes out of everything she cooks. Mary loves to cook and we always benefit from her expertise.

coarse chopping

I watched her prepare dinner the other night with a rainbow of fresh, colorful veggies she'd just bought at the local green grocer, Sprouts. I asked where she got the recipe for the Roasted Veggies and Pasta she was preparing . “Oh, I just made it up. In fact, I sent it into Taste of Home Light and they're publishing it soon”, she said rather matter-of-factly.  Really? The meal was tantalizing to the eye and to the taste buds, yet light and filling. David and I had seconds. I prayed there'd be some left for breakfast.

mary's roasted veg

Mary's Roasted Veggies with Pasta & Sausage
Recipe Type: Main Meal
Cuisine: Light and Healthy
Author: Mary Ramirez
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ lb fresh broccoli
  • ½ lb grape tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • l lb fresh asparagus spears
  • 2 links sausage, chopped/browned
  • 1 red onion
  • ½ lb mushrooms
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Coarse chop the peppers, onion, broccoli and asparagus.
  2. Toss with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, basil and salt and pepper.
  3. Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in a 400F oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Toss minced garlic, coarsely chopped mushrooms and whole grape tomatoes in the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and add to other veggies.
  5. Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until veggies are roasted and tender and tomatoes burst.
  6. Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. Veggies can be roasted in advance and added when you're ready to eat.
  8. Cook the pasta according to directions, reserving about ½ cup of pasta water.
  9. Remove sausage from casings and brown.
  10. Combine roasted veggies, hot pasta and sausage in a large casserole and toss gently.
  11. Add some pasta water as necessary to bind the ingredients.
  12. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan. Serve in pasta bowls.
Mary uses a high protein penne and chicken sausage to make this a light, nutritious meal, but you can use any pasta you wish and the sausage of your choice.


The Blue View - Adapting to Change ... a new yogurt recipe

yogurt ala nine of cups My usual breakfast, especially while Marcie is away, is a cup or so of yogurt topped with some of Marcie's homemade granola. I prefer the unsweetened, very thick, Greek style yogurt. Way back in January of this year, we shouted the praises of  make-it-yourself yogurt using pre-packaged yogurt powders. It is not feasible to bring enough fresh yogurt with us on a long passage, so we have a yogurt maker aboard that was purchased in New Zealand a few years ago. It resembles a thermos on steroids. To make a batch of yogurt, we mix a packet of yogurt powder with water in a one liter container, and shake it up. The yogurt maker is then partially filled with boiling water, the yogurt container is placed inside, and the top is screwed on. After 12 hours or so, the yogurt is ready.

yogurt ingredients

The packets of yogurt mix were easy and inexpensive to come by in both New Zealand and Australia. When we set off across the Indian Ocean on Nine of Cups, we made sure we had enough of these packets to last us until we arrived in South Africa. What we discovered on arriving, however, was that yogurt powder isn't available here. When we arrived in Durban and couldn't find any, Marcie wrote to the company. They don't distribute in South Africa and we could find no substutions. No problem... since Marcie was returning to the States for a few weeks, she could bring some back. Unfortunately, it turns out that yogurt powder is difficult to find and very expensive in the U.S.

Certainly, the lack of yogurt powder availability wouldn't deter me. We typically keep a stock of both UHT and powdered milk aboard. I figured I  could find a recipe online for making yogurt with either or both of these as the base for the yogurt. I found several yogurt recipes, but none were for a really thick, Greek style yogurt. So I did some experimenting. The first batch was pretty watery, the second a bit better, and by the fifth batch, it was turning out pretty good.

Here is the recipe I use for Greek style yogurt:

Adapting to Change ... a new yogurt recipe
Author: David Lynn
another way to make Greek yogurt
  • 1 liter UHT milk
  • 1 cup whole milk powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt (this must contain live cultures – we save a little from the previous batch)
  1. Combine half the UHT milk with the remaining ingredients in the yogurt container and shake until mixed. Add the remaining milk until the container is full. Then follow the directions for making yogurt for whatever type of yogurt maker you use.

Now that you have the recipe for yogurt, here is Marcie's recipe for crunchy granola to go on top. We've published it before, but we regularly get requests for it.

Marcie's Crunchy Granola (for printable version, click here)

2 cups rolled oats ½ cup almonds – sliced or whole ½ cup sunflower seeds ¼ cup sesame seeds 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 5 tablespoons honey ½ cup shredded coconut ½ cup raisins

Combine oats, almonds, seeds and coconut in a medium-sized bowl. In a small saucepan, heat honey and add oil until combined. Add to the dry oats mix and stir until oats are thoroughly coated. Spread in a very thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 250F (120C), turn mix on pan and return to oven for 10 more minutes. Let cool, then add raisins or other dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Substitutions / Additions: Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts Dried fruit pieces, dates

Don't have a yogurt maker? Here's what we use. It works quite well.

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