Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The View from the Galley

In My Kitchen: July 2015

Galley Window View: Moored alongside seine boats in Sitka Harbor
In my galley…
The view continually draws me away from the routine tasks at hand. I'd hate to miss a moment of “the good stuff”. Binoculars have become an important, if slightly unusual, piece of galley equipment. You never know when some sudden motion on shore will turn out to be a bear, a wolf, a deer or some interesting varmint that invites study. 

The galley counter, like so many other tools and spaces, serves many functions. We eat breakfast and lunch here and the long expanse multitasks as food preparation area and workbench... not usually simultaneously. Today, however, the Capt's project and my cookie baking vied for space at the same time.

In my galley…
The long hours of Alaska sunshine encourage rambunctious growth in herbs and houseplants alike (except for the sulking basil and mint that have proved susceptible to attacking, ravenous hordes of whiteflies).The galley's lone geranium enthusiastically produces shockingly red flowers, the smiling faces of pansies add a bright, cheery accent to the counter, and the hummingbirds really, really want to join the inside party. Those cheeky little critters ignore the heliotrope in the outside herb pot, choosing instead to pester humans wearing red shirts or to hover just outside the window with the geranium. Silly birds.

In my galley…
Boats are a common sight out the galley windows, but a floatplane is altogether less ordinary. Especially a floatplane right outside the window, landing to deliver a handful of passengers to a waiting boat. I felt the vibrations from the revving engine almost before I saw the plane!

In my galley…
Seafood continues to be a major staple as I deal with an overabundance of salmon. That’s such a good news/bad news situation: RL is thrilled to have caught 4 king (chinook) salmon in two days, and I’m not quite so thrilled trying to deal with the resultant nearly 100 pounds of fish. The freezer drawers are fully loaded and we now enjoy at least one daily dose of lox, smoked salmon, salmon dip, salmon salad, salmon grilled on the barbecue or roasted in a cast iron skillet. It is a wonderful, tasty challenge to deal with – but now the man wants to go fishing again!

In my galley…
Fresh crab and spot prawns have been welcome alternatives to salmon, but I’m ready to enjoy some red meat again... soon. A green chile cheeseburger or barbecued spareribs sound SO temptingly good right now.  

In my galley…
The sourdough pot keeps bubbling along happily, evidence that Alaskan wild yeasties are a friendly complement to those gathered in Washington and British Columbia. My starter, Old Faithful, could use a new name, something cute and catchy, but I won't rename it this summer and risk annoying that all important blend. It's the "don’t mess with success" theory. I’ll settle instead for trying new sourdough bread recipes. Simple Sourdough Loaves (recipe to post soon) and new versions of waffles, flatbread and pizza were recent efforts. Sigh, I am such an unabashed, unrepentant breadaholic.

So, what’s happening In Your Kitchen lately? For a peek inside kitchens and galleys around the world, pop on over to Celia’s IMK monthly event at . You meet such interesting folks inside these kitchens!  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tex-Mex Chile Cheese Bean Dip

Bean Dip in a Hurry

“Company’s coming… early!  I needed a quick, hearty appetizer to feed some hungry fishermen after the day’s successful fishing trip. Dinner prep was already underway, but I knew they would arrive ready to snack on something... anything. Luckily the fridge held a gallon Ziploc bag full of red beans, already cooked and left from my chili-making venture a few days before. This impromptu dip recipe blended many typical Tex-Mex ingredients, a concoction based on whatever was available in the galley. Mixed and heated in mere minutes, the zippy dip was an unexpected hit while the Capt prepared the barbecue and the group retold the day’s fish tales. An unexpected hit? yes indeed. One guest remarked it tasted better than their regular chili and they would eat it by the bowlful for lunch.

I haven’t tried it for lunch and probably won't - I like my chili chunky. Nonetheless the dip would make a great bean and cheese burrito, a peppy topping for a chili dog, or provide a tasty base layer for a dynamite tostada or quesadilla. Hmmmm, or how about slathering some warm dip on a heated tortilla, then layering some red or green salsa and a cooked egg for breakfast? Ole! Now I had better start blending another batch of bean dip.  

Tex-Mex Bean Dip
With Chiles, Cheese and More

Yields about 3 cups 
2 generous cups cooked red beans (or 2 cans)
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled & chopped (or some canned jalapenos)
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 large roasted red peppers (or 1 medium jar)
1 fat garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton)
1 teaspoon Penzeys Chili 9000 (or substitute dried chile powder) 
½ teaspoon salt
mounded ½ cup PepperJack cheese, small dice
Several splashes of Green Tabasco, more or less to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and texture as needed. Spoon into microwave-safe serving bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and heat until bubbling and cheese has melted.

Serve dip with tortilla chips or fresh vegetables, or cover and hold in refrigerator.

Note: guests remarked it tastes better than their regular chili and they would eat it by the bowlful for lunch. Just sayin...

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