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Provisioning a Sailboat?

This summer, I am going on a 5-week sailing trip from Brooklyn to Maine with 4 other guys. We'll go to the Bay of Fundy near the Canadian border. While this is the 4th time they’ve done the trip, it's my first time along for the whole ride.

Our galley is super basic and we have limited space to store water and fuel. Resupply is tricky & docking is rare, especially north of Boston, where we’ll be for 3 weeks. We have a small propane barbeque and a small butane burner. Water is a major issue.

Any suggestions for foods and preparation that store easily, conserve water and are really satisfying? We have used cous cous for starch a lot in the past. Other ideas?

Any good canned or preserved meat ideas? Something better than Hormel that won’t break the bank is ideal.

I also have a vacuum sealer. What does this make possible?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Jun 06, 2014
luckycat in General Topics

Making My Own Jerky & the Mystery of Marinades

For the past 5 years, I have been making beef jerky to provision our big sailing trip with. It might sound very lush, but it's 4-5 guys stuck in a 26-foot sailboat for 3 weeks on our way to Maine.

Okay - it is pretty amazing, but it's also pretty rough.

My question is about marinades. I create recipes (I’ll include a few below) and then make the jerky at home. It’s a simple process, but often the flavors I imagine or the ones that I create are not the exact ones that come out. A black pepper jerky, just the way I imagine it, has been something that I have been trying to get right for years. I might need to simplify my recipe, but many of the ingredients I use really help make the flavor unique and keep the salt & sugar content much lower than commercial brands, in my opinion.

So – what is happening with the marinade? I imagine that there is some kind of interaction with the meat itself or that the ingredients meld over time, but flavors that go in often come out very differently. Heats build – or drop, depending. Sweetness mellows, acidity mellows, black pepper spikes and soy can overwhelm – or not, even when the recipe is calling for the same basic ingredients.

I am just trying to figure out how to make the process more predictable. Any thoughts on this subject?

Recipes & tasting notes:

Black Pepper Jerky

This recipe is a basic, traditional “jerky” jerky with flavors like you might find in a lot of supermarket jerkies. Strangely, this recipe has been my own white whale, never getting as black pepper spicy as I’ve imagined.

• 1 1/2 to 2 pounds steak
• 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
• 1/3 cup water
• 2/3 cup soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon maple syrup
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Slowly the marinade to a simmer and let simmer for 3-5 minutes to allow flavors to incorporate. Let cool.

Slice beef into small pieces, ideally less than ¼” thick and 3-4” long.

Soak in marinade for 10-12 hours.

This recipe has a lot more soy than others that I do, giving it a big salt, sweet, black pepper dominating flavor. That said, I would put in even more black pepper for the next version.

The Chew: chewy, moist, well-cooked beef

The flavor: soy sauce savory & smoky sweet, balanced by worchestershire for a full mouth feel

The finish: roasty soy & bbq, light black pepper

The Result: More smoky bbq flavor than I expected. Soy dominates, Maple & liquid smoky seemed to meld really well.

Jun 06, 2014
luckycat in Home Cooking

Pickup or Delivery for Christmas Dinner?

They're just past 79th St & South Halstead Ave. I am not sure how far they're willing to go, but you'll never get them out on the North Side, for example. I am thinking more of an easy place to get to more than anything.

I was thinking classic Turkey, spinach, sweet potato, etc. However, they would really love a kind of southern style bbq meal as well and so would I. I can think of a lot of things we would all be happy with - I don't need the meat pre-cooked.

For the past few years, her mother has spent a FORTUNE on nice meals out and we thought it would be nicer and far cheaper to have things at their home.

If there's a better way to do this, I'd love to hear it, but we won't have time to shop. We arrive on christmas eve and were hoping to have dinner the next day.

Nov 25, 2012
luckycat in Chicago Area

Pickup or Delivery for Christmas Dinner?

I have been looking around the boards and can't find anything that does what I want. I'd like to get a pre-made meal for my in-laws on Christmas Eve. These people never cook & so they don't have much to work with. I just found out that the stove is working, which is reassuring.

They live on the deep South Side, so I am not sure about delivery. In Brooklyn, NY (where I am from), a lot of butchers have pre-made meals for the holidays. I am just looking for a one-stop shop or someone that will create a whole meal that my sister-in-law can pickup.

Is there a good butcher that might also create some veggie sides to pick up that's nearer to the South Side? I'd like a turkey or a fresh ham, so I think it should be easy. It's just the sides and things I wonder about.

If they can deliver, that's amazing. Otherwise, a one-stop place to get all of the fixin's. This is for 4 people, hopefully with leftovers.

Thanks so much.

Nov 24, 2012
luckycat in Chicago Area

Best / Favorite 5 North Shore Clam Shacks?

Agh! I just went to Black Lobster on the recommendation of these comments. Fried clams - yes. Overpriced, but DELICIOUS bloody mary - yes. Steamers - hell no. Someone needs to tell these folks t use salt, onion & some ind of seasoning. A dead mollusk & water does not make the meal!

Aug 19, 2009
luckycat in Greater Boston Area

Salem MA Area

Okay - In a Pig's Eye was nothing impressive. Not to be a stiff, but if this was my local and I needed to eat, then I would be very content. Chowder was okay, but nothing really in it. Not clams, not vegetables, nothing. Baked clams were a travesty. These poor animals died for nothing.

However - the atmosphere was nice, folks were friendly, music was lively, beer was cheap. Just don't go for the food & you'll be fine.

Aug 19, 2009
luckycat in Greater Boston Area

Teaching cooking club - Junior High

Hi there -

I would love to get some input from people. I am a Junior High school teacher and I teach a cooking club for 6-8th grade students. I am moving schools next year and I am trying to make changes to what I'm doing.

Does anyone know of any reasonable cooking schools for kids? All of my kids are lower income and if we did this kind of thing, it would need to be reasonable.

I am also looking for good recipes for these kids. Any suggestions welcome.

I need to teach these kids from the ground up. In the past, I have had very experienced students and some that had never held a chef's knife before. I teach them knife techniques, how to use a host of appliances and a long list of recipes. As I look to design my class for next year, I really want this to be more organized.

Any suggestions?

Jun 24, 2009
luckycat in Home Cooking

Good butcher in Brooklyn?

I am looking for a good butcher, especially one that deals in game, like venison, rabbit, etc. I haven't been able to find a good one. Any ideas or suggestions?


Feb 23, 2009
luckycat in Manhattan

Chow Day Trips from Brooklyn?

My wife and I have had a bit of a time trying to find great markets and food destinations to visit within an hour or 2 of NYC (we live in Brooklyn). Really, we would love to go anywhere scenic that also has great food and, as always, is a reasonable place? Any suggestions?

Chocolate making supplies in Brooklyn

hey all -

I teach a cooking class at a JHS in Sunset Park and I am looking for a good & cheap supplier of chocolate and chocolate-making supplies, like molds and such. Any suggestions for doing this well and cheaply are also appreciated.

I'd love to find a good place that's not too far from Sunset Park, just in case I have to run out in a rush. Of course, I'm happy to travel for a better place and a better price.

Oh yes - this is done with about 20 kids and it's a fundraiser for the club, so we'll need to buy a bunch of things.

Any help?

Nov 16, 2008
luckycat in Outer Boroughs

Self-catering our wedding?

I never did answer this, did I?

It went amazingly well and I had a tremendous amount of help. In the end, we had to trim some of our ideas and expectations and to go with what was fresh in the market. For example, we went with 24 dozen clams instead of shrimp because I'm from Long Island and used to clam and well, they were a great market price. Beer broth and they went over like mad.

The pernil from La Fe in Sunset park was AMAZING and a real hit. cupcakes from Downtown Atlantic were excellent and a huge hit. In the middle of all of this, we did a lot of quality cheeses (check out the $5/lb. reggianito at Colluchio's TOO good - no kidding). We splashed out on nice cheese (a $250 cheeseboard - wholesale price) and green salad, pasta salad, a series of small fresh fruit options, grilled arichokes and summer veggies all rounded it out.

We pre-cooked the bbq chicken to expedite the finish on the blazing-hot grill (10 minutes to finish & char nicely) and we got rid of the chicken satays. Too labor intensive for our purposes. The giant clam broth pot solved the appetizer problem and a selection of good dips made the crudite more interesting: Hummus, RRP and walnut & a light creamy ranch dressing.

In short, this was the best wedding Ive ever been to, if I do say so myself. Unpretentious, fun and with excellent food.

Thanks to everyone for their help in this board!!!

What really made it all happen were the 3 friends of mine working the event. They made sure everything went off on time and that everything was finished on time.

Nov 16, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

peppermint pickle?

I just got back from Chicago and had a sit down with my wife's mother. They did the same jolly rancher & now & later thing, which yes, sounds pretty nasty. But I am really intrigued, because it could be really tasty as well.

Where in the south is this done Like I've mentioned, my wife is from Chicago...

Oct 21, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

Vintage & Older Liquors vs. today's versions

Ah- it fels really good to have my thoughts confirmed on this one. I had a 12 year old Macallan at my wedding and a friend brought a bottle of Oban 14 year. The Macallan had been bottled in the early 60's and was FAR superior. They really weren't comparable in any way. Unfortunately, we killed that bottle at the wedding (I know a lot of whiskey drinkers), but I had tasted this several times in smaller amounts and it is amazing.

Right now, I have an old bottle of Havana Club from the 70's that a friend brought up from Panama, 1 1970s bottle of dewars and another from the 1960's, an older bottle of JD that I have yet to sample (very interested in this one) and a bottle of american Brandy (don't remember the label at the moment) that is very, very nice. It might have been E&J - I remember being really surprised at the quality of it.

This makes me wonder - does anyone know of any micro distillers that might be addressing this? Anyone that produces with small batches and heirloom grains or something...?

Aug 25, 2008
luckycat in Spirits

Vintage & Older Liquors vs. today's versions

So - does this mean that the recipe itself's been changed? It would have to if the alcohol content were changed, right?

I also hadn't thought of the wood - I'd been stuck on the grains, figuring that larger crops were making a difference.

THis makes some sense as the liquors with the most striking differences are whiskeys and brandies. Haven't noticed much with vodkas and an older gin had a more striking flavor, but I haven't had enough of those (only one old bottle of Boodles and another of Beefeater) to say anything with any confidence.

Jul 14, 2008
luckycat in Spirits

Self-catering our wedding?

Pita wedges are a fine idea. "Toast points" is my own crown roast of phrasing. I'd like to have multi-grain baguettes sliced nicely. They go well with a lot. Pita is easy, tho'. Very good point.

I'd like to work out the avocados. I've been tempted to buy a heap and try to ripen them myself. Now that I write it down, it doesn't sound like such a good idea.

The party is July 26th.

Jul 07, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

Self-catering our wedding?

Yes laliz, I am not a fan of the hot dogs and burgers either, but there will be a few kids in the mix, so best to make sure. And, more likely, my brother who is not the most adventurous eater. They'll be the absolute lowest priority on the menu - I don't plan on preparing more than 20 and it will be pretty much self-service. With all of this, if you want a hamburger, you get it yourself.

It's just that, inevitably, someone will. And once that person has one, a few others will. But not too many, I think.

Spicy condiments are a must, but I think we can easily deal with that with a few bottles of good hot sauce, no? I am looking to amp up a few other things as we go, but I want to keep it simple. Like fresh limes for the pernil. Simple, but so good.

Sherri - avocados could sink the recipe, you're right. I haven't thought of a good alternative to it, tho'. Maybe a sweeter recipe with a spicy papaya salad...?

My goal now is to have a lot of the pressure taken off the last-minute prep. I just spoke to the woman handling the pernil and her work is still very good. Deliciously tender and not greasy at all. And I hear she can keep it up with larger orders.

Jul 07, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

Self-catering our wedding?

Hi again -

Okay, now we are getting very close to when the wedding will be and we are trying to work out a final menu and we are trying to think of all of the last-minute things that might come up. We are also concerned about quantities to prepare - any advice on that is incredibly welcomed.

For starters, I need suggestions for any slight tweaks or accompaniments that might be good to include with these dishes. We have decided to go with pernil for a main dish to take stress off the barbeques (we'll have 3 running) and to make sure we have a main that can be brought out quickly. Anything that can be jobbed out to a restaurant and done well and economically, I am very open to.

Now that we have the basics, I want to be able to jazz this up, keep it within the culinary limits of my workers and feed 90 people. Our guest list keeps getting bigger.

Am I being too bland? Pleas help!

Fish: Shrimp Avocado Salad

Grilled: Hotdogs & Hamburgers
Chicken Satays; Roast/ Barbeque herb Chicken

Green: Mesclun salad with vinaigrette dressing
Pasta: Orzo or other pasta salad
Potato: Green Bean and Potato Salad “Warm Vegetable Salad”

Assorted Cheese & Cracker Platter
Veggie Crudité
Toast points with assorted spreads - bruschetta, hummus, muffalata, etc.

Dips: Hummus & veggie dip

Desserts/ Sweets
Wedding Cupcakes n/a
Fruit Platter Create up to two days before depending fruit
Assorted Cookies $ Purchase day before if fresh cookies
Sangria Create day before
Bottled Beer n/a
Wine n/a
Assorted Liquors n/a
Water n/a
Non-Alcoholic drink (Soda, iced tea or juice)

Jul 07, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

Dirt Cheap but good wines

Well, thanks everyone. I think I will just have to go off & go shopping. Clearly, I should have mentioned that the intent for a lot of this is for sangria & various wine drinks, though a lot of it will be drunk straight. And I really have had a lot of nice pleasant wines for under $10. Not amazing, no. But nice.

Perhaps the question should be a best bang for the buck wine. Thank you all in any case.

Jun 30, 2008
luckycat in Wine

Dirt Cheap but good wines

Thanks for all of this and, yes, there have been some surprises in this category. BJ's liquor store has a handful of wines in the $6 a bottle range, including Long Flat Red & White, which are nice and drinkable, if not earning a 97 in Wine Spectator. Lindeman's Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc was recently on offer for $6 a bottle and the Trader Joe's thing is a pretty fair deal. Interestingly, there are several nicely drinkable wines in boxes available. Well, there are 2 or 3, including Black Box and Hardy's. I like Black Box much better, by the way.

There's also Bancroft Station, as has been mentioned on these boards. I don't like it as their Sauv Blanc is usually too acidic for my tastes. Or it may just taste poorly, really.

We're looking for nice table wine for a party. Anything that you might add to the list would be great.

We're looking for good wines at a good price for a fun party.

And yes, we will be starting off with some more expensive wines and are more likely to spend $8-10 a bottle, not Rhine Wine on Tap, but there are definitely some cheap hidden gems out there.

Jun 28, 2008
luckycat in Wine

peppermint pickle?

Okay - that tops me.

Jun 27, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

Dirt Cheap but good wines

Hey all -

I am looking for a group of really cheap wines (is $6 an under possible) for large party. We are going to have a lot of it and need to keep costs down. Any advice on this is really welcomed.

Thanks so much.

Jun 26, 2008
luckycat in Wine

peppermint pickle?

Yes - I have to agree that this sounds pretty questionable, at best. I still haven't tried it. Maybe the neon-neon fake foods flavoring is just what's needed here.

Jun 26, 2008
luckycat in General Topics

great pernil in Brooklyn for large party

Hey there -

Can you suggest a great place to do pernil for a party in a month? I need to feed about 80 people and would love to find a reasonable place that can do this well. Of course, we are willing to pay, but let's start with the more reasonable ones.

If they do any good sides or if there is something else we should consider, let me know.

Thanks everyone!

Jun 26, 2008
luckycat in Manhattan

Vintage & Older Liquors vs. today's versions

You know, I thought that evaporation might have been a factor (and it might - I'm no pro, just a guy that buys ol alcohol), but I have had a bunch of bottles that showed no evaporation that I could tell. The seals were tight and they were right up to what I assumed to be a normal fill line. But side by side, these tasted completely different.

My prevailing theory is that the production of basic materials - grains, grapes, etc. was different 40 or so years ago. Even the grain might have been different. In the case, of rye, this is especially notable: it tastes like rye.

It really may be evaporation, but I've had a bunch now that have shown no evaporation at all. I have also noticed a lot more of a problem with evaporation and cordials, like Grand Mariner and such. For some reason, these go bad more often - it could be sugar content. The more sugary liquors seem to age badly.

May 04, 2008
luckycat in Spirits

Vintage & Older Liquors vs. today's versions

So I have this odd habit of buying old liquor from people. Strangely, I get a lot of it at garage sales and through my mother's network of older friends and I have been noticing some interesting stuff - even basic stuff is really pretty exceptional by today's standards. I have been trying to figure out why.

Right now, I am drinking a 1960's bottle of DeVille VSOP Brandy - not a great brandy by any standards. I think a new bottle retails for about $10 and it doesn't taste like much. This 1960's version has a light spice, a smooth middle and then a lightly alcoholic, lightly spicy finish. It has flavors I would expect from an XO.

I have had Dewars from the 1950's, Jack Daniels from the 50's and 60's and an assortment of Canadian Ryes from the 1960's. Even Black Velvet & V.O. have had much more complexity than their modern counterparts. I am trying to figure out why.

The best theory I have come up with, beside age and mellowing time in the bottle (is there such a thing with hard liquor?) is maybe the type of grapes and grains and smaller production batches. I think that a larger production is bound to make a less interesting product. Basic Ryes from the 1960's have more of a rye flavor. Scotches from the same period - even into the early and mid-1970's have more striking flavor than anything I have bought recently by the same companies. The difference is really night & day.

Has anyone out there been doing this? I have bought about a hundred older bottles of liquor like this and have noticed really striking differences in all of today's standards, from rum to whiskey, brandy to cordials (cordials have the lowest survival rate, incidentally). Sambuca & other anise-flavored liquors survive better than most and they always taste much mellower and more complex than their contemporary version.

I would love to hear what anyone else might think about this.

May 03, 2008
luckycat in Spirits

Getting Cask Ales for a Party?

Does anyone know if anyone in the metro area can get a cask for a party? Do they do this kind of a thing? We are having a wedding at our house in July and I would love to get a keg of good beer. I love cask ales and so do most of our guests.

Failing that, I'd love to find a great place for kegs of beer in Brooklyn. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks in advance!

Apr 29, 2008
luckycat in Manhattan

Where to buy oysters in brooklyn

So - what's a 4 lb. block of frozen shrimp cost you at DiMartino? I am definitely going to check this place out, but is there any way to get a good sense of what you migth be spending beforehand for shrimp, lobster, oysters, scallops, etc.?

Apr 24, 2008
luckycat in Outer Boroughs

Wholesale Fish Markets in Brooklyn?

I do that a lot in the summer. The guys do a hack job of cleaning them, but you can get whole fresh bluefish for about $5 each, porgies for $8, etc. Check the eyes and make sure your fish is that day's catch. You can also call the companies and see what time their boats get back in.

Apr 23, 2008
luckycat in Outer Boroughs

Wholesale Fish Markets in Brooklyn?

Is there a great wholesale fish market in Brooklyn or should I go up to Hunt's Point? Or is that even a good market to go to.

I have had a very hard time finding consistently good fish at good prices in NYC.

Any advice?

Apr 23, 2008
luckycat in Outer Boroughs

Self-catering our wedding?

We're trying to limit gifts in any case. We're a bit older (37 & 40, respectively) and we have a lot of the things that we need. While a new TV would be nice, it seems silly to ask for at a wedding. We have dishes and all of the usual things one needs around the home.

I think we'll get a lot of folks volunteering. These have all been excellent ideas and they've really helped focus (and question) my thinking. THanks so much to everyone that chimed in.

This may be crazy, but I think it will also be fun. We don't want a formal affair, we want to have fun. Managed right, I think this will be more fun than stress. Maybe only just a little more fun than stress, but I hope we can strike the balance.

Mar 20, 2008
luckycat in General Topics