Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Lil Crush

The Christmas winds have offically arrived! We've had about 22kts for the past few days and the seas to match. We are seeing the effects of the same snow storms that buried our family and friends during the holidays. We spent the night in Leverick Bay and as Sasha was preparing to get our guests ashore, he spotted this little guy swimming in circles alongside our boat. With our handy dandy fishing net we scooped him out of the water and he seemed very glad for a rest.
After contacting several people who work in various hatcheries, conservation departments, and fisheries, we were told that he was a hawksbill hatchling that was a little lost. The only advice we recieved was to get him out of the marina and into a current that would take him out to sea. It's amazing that something so small can survive in the ocean!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Lull between the Fronts

Literally NO wind the other day. We had maybe 2 knots for a few days straight. It was such nice ski water :)
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Soggy Dollar

Check out Soterion on the Soggy Dollar webcam right now!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunset in Christmas Cove

Happy Holidays from Christmas Cove.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Prep Work

It is often said that when a crew is on charter the days are much more stressful for the girls and off charter the days are much more stressful for the guys. This is true. So I've decided to keep myself busy while off charter by prepping, cooking, and freezing!
Roasting red bell peppers on the stove.
I bought a pork belly to try out in the Sous Vide. Only problem was that I had to buy the whole 5# belly and I want to serve little starter portions. I had to borrow Sasha's hack saw (yes I cleaned it really well before I cut the belly). I cut it and vacuum sealed it into enough portions to last me 3 charters.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

One Charter Down

Our first charter went without a hitch!! We had 8 guests for a quick 5 day cruise. Being their first time to the islands I was hard to hit all the good spots, but we did our best. The above pic was taken at White Bay on Jost. Sasha is giving the lay of the land before everyone headed for the beach.
This was one sandy charter! Sasha was cleaning filters almost constantly.
Making the galley work!! I was excited to really see what this galley set-up was capable of. It really worked well. It looks like Sasha took this pic while I was plating up during Fish Taco night. I was really nested in there among the plates, bowls, pots, and pan!!
Thought this shot was really neat. I am plating the calamari and seaweed salad.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Step by Step Sous Vide

This post has been on the back burner for awhile (pun intended, hehe). I invested some of last season's earnings into a home Sous Vide machine with high hopes that it will simplify my job this season. Less time in the galley and less stress about meal timing will be a welcome relief. I have been playing with cooking different foods, and it's usually as we are sitting down to eat that I say, "Shoot! I forgot to take pics... again!" This time I remembered.

Step 1: Thaw and season meat as you wish. The only hard part is not using olive oil in the seasoning, because of the long and low cook times it can turn a bit metalic tasting. Other fats I've been using are butter and rendered lard.

Step 2: Bag it up. The picture of the food in the bag did not make the blog because I managed to smear all the seasoning all over the bag and mysef. This is harder than you'd think!

Step 3: Vacuum seal. I've been known to use ziplocks and suck all the air out with a straw to seal meats before I freeze them (yeah for small fridges). I've move up in the world with my new electric vacuum sealer.

Step 4: Sous Vide. For anyone not familiar, sous vide is french for "under vacuum" because you vacuum seal everything before you cook it. It is a process of cooking that brings food to a specified temperature by submerging it in a precisely temperature controlled water bath. (more info here) This meat was in the water bath for 2 hours.

Step 5: Finishing the meat. Yes, this meat is cooked and safe to eat. No, it does not have the crisp outer crush most humans are accustomed to seeing on their cooked meats. Quick fix is the torch I borrowed from the tool locker. My little brulee torch was no match for a rack of lamb. I can also finish the meat with 10 minutes in the oven, or a quick sear on the stove or the grill.

Step 6: Cut. Yummmmm...

Step 7: Plate.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Final Touches

I don't think that there are such things as "final touches" on a boat. No maintinance or polishing is ever final on a yacht this size. BUT she is really coming together. Sasha spent about an hour on the mast connecting the spreader speakers and adjusting the deck lights. He decided to leave this project for the evening when the sun was not blazing down. The one thing we did not take into consideration was the ferry schedule. Sasha was hanging onto the mast with his toes because he was swaying so much from the evening rush hour ferries and water taxies. Frustrating? Yes.
I've been testing a lot of the galley equipment. There is a learning curve to every stove, oven, and counter configuration. We had Kris and Lizanne over for a "thank you for helping us straighten out the boat" dinner. As we sat down Lizanne commented that it looked like a small bomb had gone off the the galley!! I told her to cut me some slack as that was the first real meal I had cooked in my new space. We both had a good laugh while doing dishes.
Above I am making a balsamic reduction in preparation for our upcoming charter. This season I'm really focusing on plating and general meal presentation. Bring on the garnishing youtubes!
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Some Boat Shows are Like That

Just came across these pics. The night before the Tortola Boat Show, most of our fellow crew friends had just put the final polishes on their yachts and were busy catching up with each other after the summer away. We had other plans for the night. We talked another couple, Kris & Lizanne into "hanging out" with us.
While Kris and Sasha helped to put the boom back on under the glow of our super bright decklights,
Lizanne and I hung curtains and generally organized/polished the interior.
We even took it a step furhter and hauled the 3 foresails up - mainly because we figured brokers would ask questions about them being in the middle of the cockpit floor. Thought, no one commented on our lack of a mainsail :)
A fellow Hoosier named Captain Mike who just happens to be a yacht broker these days wandered on board at the end of one of our viewing days wearing a coconut bra and somehow convinced me to grab my tutu. OF COURSE Sasha only took pictures after Capt. Mike took off the coconuts. Fantastic!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Test Sails... Check!

After a day of running around town, we were happy to sail off into the sunset. We'd worked with all the other sails in the past week but didn't have the right conditions to use the Code Zero until yesterday evening. We had light winds during a down wind sail from Road Harbour, Tortola to Waterlemon Cay, St. John. I snapped this pic just before we furled and tucked into the the bay for the night to show off this beautiful sail with the Soterion Logo.
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Mud Pies

My old Kitchen Aid has hung in there through a few adventures but she has developed a clunk. This summer she was stowed in a friend's warehouse that flooded during one of the many storms. The bottom Tupperware in our tower of stuff has wheels (and therefore holes) in the bottom, it was full of scuba gear and my mixer. Fortunately, the motor is located in the top and the water doesn't seem to have crept up that high (judging by the mud left behind). But somehow, the water seems to have been salty so there was a good amount of corrosion developing on the bowl, arms, and motor. As Sasha and I left the warehouse our friend Rodger asked if we were making Mud Pies. We got her back to the boat and cleanen her up- she is still running but clunks a bit at low speed.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Continuing Education - Yum

Huge thanks to our local wholesale meat provider "Supa Valu" for providing a very educational steak seminar today. Supa Valu put together a fantastic panel of experts in the Certified Angus Beef export business to better educate a select group of foodie professionals in the area. I was joined by the executive chefs from Peter Is, Cooper Is, Scrub Is, Brandywine Bay, the BVI Culinary Team, and other serious local chefs to learn about all that Certified Angus Beef has to offer.
Below you see our 40 yr. veteran master butcher from Florida trimming down Ribeye, Strip Loin, and Top Sirloin Butt sections. Loads of great tips on how to use lesser priced cuts of meat to achieve serious wow factor in a high class dinning room. The whole idea was to use less expensive cuts of meat, rather than lower quality meat to weather this economic recession.
The seminar ended in a steak lunch for all! What else would you do with all the demonstration steak??
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Busy Little Bees

Sasha has become a blur in his attempts to fix and upgrade systems hidden beneath the floorboards and below the bunks. In this photo he is adding a flow switch to the port aft bilge pump.
Loads of outdoor pillows are fantastic for lounging on sunny days. Less fantastic when it has been raining the majority of the days for a week solid. This our meandering mound.
I may not be too handy with power tools (or post hole diggers). But give me a scrub brush with simple green and watch out!! I've been emptying every storage compartment and scrubbing it clean. The rain has been an added bonus- free fresh water rinse :)
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Cozy Crew Quarters

As you all know, we've lived through our fair share of interesting crew quarters. On the new yacht Soterion we have made a few small modifications and are quite happy with our little home.
Before we even moved in, we did a little spring cleaning and found that simply moving the bathroom door (to the storage unit) did wonders for making the cabin feel more spacious. We went to Kmart and picked up a $10 shower curtain, cut it in half and hung it across the doorway. Much better!
In the photo below you can see the hatch and ladder we use to access the cabin.
One thing this crew cabin has that most others lack is serious storage! The shelves along the wall are about 8" deep 4' long. At the bottom right of this photo you can see a large hatch which allows us to store more stuff on the other side of the wall (under the master cabin bed). In addition we have two large drawers at the side of our bunk and the bed also opens which allows us a little more storage between aircon units and a water heater.
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