Feels good to be home. I flew for quite a few hours to get here, and my body is just starting to adjust. I received a call from our first charter guests, and they would like me to work for them, I sure hope it works out because they were very nice. In the meanwhile I have some private clients here to take care of. I have purposely not been doing much this weekend. Tomorrow I will start writing recipes, and work on getting the website ready. I just received the design copy from Erica, and it is going to look real cool, completely different than other websites (would you expect anything else from me?) Celeste and I ran errands today, I checked out the new Trader Joe’s, and got some real good ideas, that store has so many great things to choose from. We have been eating out and enjoying some great food, it is going to be time to take a before picture, and start following the diet later this week. I am off to enjoy the football game. I will start posting more recipes tomorrow!
The Charter Season Archives
O.k., you get two guesses where the pictures are from. China? NO, guess again. Portofino? Yes!! Oh my god! I can’t believe you just won! What’s your prize? How about a good old pat on the back? We picked up our charter guests and did a 14 hour run down to Porto Cervo. There was not as much to see and be seen, in fact it was eerily quiet. We then worked our way to Portofino for the afternoon (they are still pumping in the tourists), and dropped our guests off in Genoa. I am now back at my perch in Nice, and it is real cold and rainy! The season is over, I fly back to Charlotte on Friday. I will have a lot more to post about my time over here once I get a chance to chill, and I will have more time to post recipes, and other useful (or useless) ramblings. I am too cold to post a recipe, you will have more than you know what to do with soon enough.
Well, it was a good idea in theory. Simply document my day as it was happening, take a bunch of pictures, and write a quick, tasty, and easy recipe! I knew better. It’s just too crazy on charter. When I get back home I will take the time to write an ‘in the life of’ post. This charter flew by quick, I got violently sick for one day (I promise you it is not fun to cook on a boat when you are sick), but Jenna was a real trooper, and helped out quite a bit. The guests cruised from St. Tropez to Monaco. One of their guests is a famous songwriter, and they invited the crew out last night to hear him play all of his hits. He had so many songs I grew up with from artists such as Chicago, Kenny Loggins, Celine Dion, Josh Grobin (I actually didn’t grow up listening to this), Whitney Houston, El DeBarge, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and songs for soundtracks such as St. Elmos Fire, Urban Cowboy, and many others. I joked that a lot of babies have been made to his songs, they were all great love songs! He joked about how his three ex wives were happily sharing in the royalties. That put us to bed at 2 a.m. with 5 a.m. wake up time to see them off, so we are all tired. Just when the captain booked my flight for Sunday morning to come home, we picked up another charter. I have been busy getting the provision order for it. Starts tomorrow, and lasts for five days. We just finished putting the provisions away, and I decided to write this quick post on the sundeck as the sun sets in Cap Farat. I will write when I have more time, real soon. Oh yeah, looks like another year missing my friend Carolyn over here, I was really looking forward to seeing her.
Woke up at 7:30 and made my usual double latte. Jenna had breakfast ready for the crew. I wrote the lunch menu as I drank my coffee (picture included), and checked my email. I finished baking the health bread that Jenna started, and began on some smoked salmon blini’s for their arrival. They arrived early, we went out to greet the guests, then back to the galley to get ready for lunch. Jenna cooked crew lunch, and the guest had their lunch under way to St. Tropez. We pulled in to the dock and the guests walked around town. I took a break before dinner. Jenna had crew dinner ready, and helped with appetizers, bruschetta and crudite with pesto dip. For dinner they had a choice of the mussels that I posted a few months back (just search for mussels) or mixed greens with spiced pecans, brie cheese (Jenna torched the top with a blow torch), apples, and balsamic vinaigrette. Entree choices were Sauteed Turbot with shitake mushroom, tomato, and leek broth, or Herb crusted Lamb Chops with Provencal sauce. Both came with rosemary roasted potatoes, and baby vegetables. Dessert was a choice of Chocolate Cloud cake or berries and whipped cream. That pushed us up to 11:30 and in a hurry to get to bed to get ready for day 2! Chocolate cloud cake is very good, and very easy. It is a favorite of our Claire, our chief stewardess, and pretty much anyone who likes chocolate. It is a flourless chocolate cake.
Chocolate Cloud Cake
8 ounces good quality semisweet
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut in pieces
6 large eggs- 2 whole, 4 seperated
1 cup sugar
Whipped Cream Topping:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with wax paper. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over hot water. In a bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs, and 4 yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Whisk in the chocolate mixture. Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until foamy, than add sugar and whisk to stiff peaks. Fold in to chocolate mixture, and pour in to springform pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until puffed, and cracked (don’t over bake) Let cool (the center will fall), whip the cream with sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks, and fill the center. Top with shaved chocolate if you wish (i do).
We received our provisions today, and yes, there was a lot, as usual. I remembered to take a picture this time, that is a long hallway, and that’s just the produce. It takes a bunch of food to feed 25 people breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We start our last charter tomorrow, I have cooked for this group two other times, they are very nice people. They were nice enough to involve us in their Christmas exchange several years ago. I was going over my blog recently, since I finally had a little time, and noticed how excited I was in the beginning to share what we cooked for the day, my reactions to how they liked it, pictures of the food, etc. I have decided to make this last week “A week in the life of a yacht chef”. I will post pictures, recipes, and pretty much let you know how I am feeling as the week progresses. Off to bed, I have a big week ahead! The other picture is of a strange office building here in Nice, modern art I suppose.
We have not had satellite t.v. for most of the season, but the football gods must have been looking out because it was fixed Sunday morning. The boys surely had bed sores, as they made it a sports day. Everything from ultimate wrestling, rugby, sports bloopers, classic tennis matches, European golf, and many, many others. They even bought a bottle of Dom Perignon Rose for us to celebrate the event. It was fun to watch some good ol’ American football. There was a proper British analyst that they would go to during the commercials, it was just too funny, you felt like getting him a cup of tea or something. I was the food service director for a community hospital in California many years ago. We would have a dietitian (Carolyn) come from San Diego every couple of weeks to review the charts and consult with patients. She became my proctor as I had to take courses to become certified by the state, so I could write in patients charts, and write their menu’s. We also became very good friends, she would bring me different microbrews when she came to visit. We stayed in touch over the years, and it turned out my first yachting job was in San Diego, she took me to the zoo, and all of that, and I was able to cook her and her husband, and their friends, a real nice dinner to thank her for all that she has done. Turns out her dad was a legendary boat builder, and her husband is very respected yacht designer. She is going to be at the Monaco boat show next week, right when we start charter. We have been doing this for years over here, I have yet to see her. There could be a half day window when we drop our guests off, I sure hope it works out, especially since I am starting my new website, and she taught me so much of what I know about special diets. I have been doing some serious home cooking for the crew since I have returned from vacation. I just roasted off a chicken for part of dinner tonight, the French chickens have so much more flavor. Ask chef’s what they like to eat for dinner when not working, and this comes up quite a bit. I guess because it’s comfort food, real simple, and when done correctly, sooo good! You will also get a different recipe or method if you ask. This one’s simple, not turning the bird three times, sitting it on a beer can, trussing it, or placing it on a special rack. The pictures are of my walk in to old town this afternoon.
Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary
1 large roasting chicken (6lbs. or so)
salt and pepper
2 lemons, cut in half
1 small bunch rosemary
Rinse chicken, and pat dry, season with salt and pepper, and stuff the cavity with lemons and rosemary. Roast in a roasting pan at 425 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until thickest part of breast registers 170 degrees. If it starts smoking, add 1/4 cup water to the pan. Skim the fat out of the pan and tilt the chicken to let the juices out of it’s cavity. Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest 10 minutes before carving. Scrape the brown bits with the pan juices, and strain, serve with the chicken.
Many a yacht chef has pulled their hair out feeding the crew. They can be just as picky as the guests! We’ve been pretty lucky with our crew, they are straightforward compared to some of the other crews I have worked with. Jenna usually feeds them, but she is enjoying her vacation time (Prague & Tuscany), so I have the duties for a few days. It really is easy since half the boat is gone. Most of the crews have the same breakdown: girls want to eat healthy, light, love salads. Boys want hearty, comfort food, meat. Then there are the wild cards- allergies, vegetarians, strong food preferences etc. Well it turned out I am cooking for the boys, and the girls that are here also enjoy that food. So what do the boys want to eat? Pretty much what you would expect, the stuff their mom’s cooked for them (their list is above). I am now able to get wireless internet on the boat through the marina, but I have to go all the way up to the sun deck to get it, and it’s 77 degrees and sunny, life’s a bitch (picture enclosed). Here’s a real easy recipe for chicken and dumplings that I came up with because we have a commercial sized box of bisquick that has not been opened, plus a whole cooked chicken.
Chicken n’ Dumplings
1 Roasted Chicken, meat removed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots , chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
Dumpling recipe from back of bisquick box or
your favorite biscuit recipe with a little more milk added to it
Saute the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes, add the broth, chicken, and peas, and bring to a simmer. Roll dough in to 1 inch balls, and drop in to the broth. Cover, and cook for 12 -15 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through.
Quite a turnout for the festival, there were fireworks, food, live music, and games for the kids. We have moved the boat back, and they cleaned up in record time. The pictured of green man is odd, he had hooves instead of feet, half man, half animal. I spared you the backside (he was wearing a thong).
I left Geneva, and drove to Avignon for the night. The drive through the Rhone Valley was beautiful. There is only so much time, I had planned on driving up to Dijon, and the Burgundy area for some wine tasting, as well as the Beaujolais region, just above Lyon, but my stomach virus slowed down the trip, which turned out to be a good thing. All of the areas I visited could have used another few days of exploration, especially the Provence area. The city of Avignon has a lot of history, as do so many cities over here. I find it fascinating that these walls and buildings that they built in the 13th century seem just as strong today. I spent the next afternoon in Aix-en Provence, which had a great main street, and winding back roads full of outdoor cafes and lots of people watching. Now I am back in Nice, and I need to explore this town also, since I can just walk to so many things. We have to move the boat to the other side of the harbor because of a festival that starts today, should be interesting. Oh yeah, if you haven’t figured out, that was a joke about Celeste’s new site, I did get tears in my eyes from laughing so hard though. Too funny, I love funny websites, if you know of any, pass them along!
I returned back to the boat, and getting ready for our final charter. We do not have internet, so I am typing this on q French keyboard. I hate them. Celeste has started a new business with a very talented artist, she even has her high school picture as an example. I think I might have found Bin Laden, and he has a laser beam shooting from his head…run!! http://iasos.com/artists/erial/celestial-soul-portraits/
The Swiss are such peaceful people, they just want to get along, but even they are having immigration issues. Some people here are upset over ads from the conservative party depicting a cartoon black sheep getting kicked out of the country by three white sheep. The more I travel, the more I realize every country has problems, and we struggle with the same issues. I had planned on spending one day here, but I have a stomach virus, so I have decided to spend another day. Turns out that I am in the red light district, I should have figured out after walking past the sixth (maybe the seventh?) sex bar. I love the area though, lots of culture, I have already had Chinese cashew chicken, falafel, and chicken shwarma. I can get free internet on my laptop across the street from the hotel at a place called ‘American Bar’, they have lady liberty as their logo, and I swear I am the only white guy in there. It is packed with middle easterners, it is the most ironic, funniest thing I have seen in awhile. Speaking of funny (actually strange), I was listening to a podcast of a food program (kcrw’s good food) and they did a story on this guy who started a website www.hatsofmeat.com beware my vegetarian friends, maybe you can start your own with beautiful fruits and vegetables (wouldn’t be as weird though).
I left Sunday morning and headed up to the Italian Alps. I have not driven a stick in years, and between the twists and turns of the Cote D’azur, and the tunnels, it kept me on my toes. We used to play a game when we were kids where we would try and hold our breathe through the tunnels, I probably would have passed out outside of Villefranche. It was pretty along the coast, then I turned up at Genoa, and was pretty uneventful until I started to reach the Alps, though there was a stretch where we passed through rice fields, where they grow Alborio rice used in Risotto. Wanted to stop in Turin, but wasn’t in the cards this trip. Stopped the night in Aosta. It was absolutely dead when I arrived, even the town square was deserted. I was just about to coin it ‘sleepy creepy’, but siesta must have ended, or they all got out of church. I had a nice dinner at a place called Piemonte, that served local cuisine. I had cheese filled pasta, polenta, Veal braised with Junniper berries, and a great tiramisu for dessert (I’m a sucker for a good tiramisu). I took the back roads up to the French Border, passing through small resort towns, just as you would imagine with the alpine architecture, very tempting to yodle or something. The picture is the view from my hotel room. I will post one later of my trip through Monte Blanc.
We headed to Nice once we dropped our guests off. The boys and I cracked open a beer and celebrated. I could get used to this. We will be in Nice for the next couple of weeks, which is good, since it such a great city.
We dropped off our guests on Friday, I slipped in to the St. Tropez market for a few last minute items for our final lunch. Our guest were very happy, and enjoyed their trip. I served this soup, in the tradition of Bouillabase, as part of their buffet.
2 carrots, sliced or chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried italian or french herbs (optional)
2 fish fillets such as cod
8 medium shrimp, peeled
1 lb. mussels
1 lb. clams
1 small can chopped tomatoes
1 can clam juice
1 can chicken broth
2 cups water
Saute vegetables in oil until soft, add tomatoes, and liquid, bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add the seafood and let simmer in the broth for 5-10 minutes, just until cooked through and the shellfish has opened up.
We finished our charter yesteday. NO internet on the boat, so i am typing this on a french keyboard (NOT FUN) New travel plans- 3 countries in 4 days!
This place is the epitome of see and be seen, fashion, and cool (and it’s really expensive). My usual two dollar magnet cost six (that sounds real pathetic, I swear I have a life), and a cup of coffee is 5 euro’s (I guess they are on par with Starbucks). I ran in to an old crew mate who I had not seen since he crushed his foot with the anchor years ago, and had to be airlifted for surgery and rehab. On to happier stories, I think I have decided to spend my 5 day break in the Italian Riviera. Contemplated French Countryside and Alps up to Geneva, still not 100% certain, it starts Sunday, so I guess I better figure it out. We also just found out that the owner of the boat canceled his trip in late September, so my season will be finished up earlier than I thought. No time to write a recipe so I will post one of Debbie Moore’s, who turned out to be a real life saver for me this season, thanks Debbie! She says that this is not low-fat, but if you cut out the bacon, or used Turkey Bacon, and used lowfat mayonnaise, it wouldn’t be so bad. I could tell this one’s a winner.
Broccoli Salad-this is NOT low-fat!
Large broccoli head-cut into small florets
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion (sweet type-like Vidalia)
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup raisins
1 cup seedless red grapes-whole
1 lb. bacon-cooked crispy and crumbled
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
3 tblsps. Vinegar
Mix first 7 ingredients together in large bowl-refrigerate.
Cook bacon crispy, crumble and set aside.
Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together.
Do not mix the bacon and dressing with the salad until ready to serve.
Add crumbled bacon over top and mix immediately before serving.
I don’t know if it’s actually the island of dreams, but I like to call it that. When I finished the season a few years ago, I came here and spent a few days, I had spent so much time here, but only at the dock, that I wanted to do it up right, I am glad I did. When I think of Capri, I think of Caprese salad (bonus recipe alert:)
Layer sliced tomatoes with fresh sliced buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil leaves, and top with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper- heaven!
I also think of lemon trees, limoncello, melon wrapped with Proscuitto, the best pizza in the world (actually Naples), yes, I love southern Italy. We are at anchor here, and the guests went off for lunch, so I have some rare time to catch you up on what we have been up to. We end this charter on Friday, and that will conclude the busy part of our season. I will have five days off over here (Nice, France), and want to find a place to chill out and take it easy (any suggestions?) I was thinking of renting a car, or taking a train to somewhere quiet where I can work on my website. We leave here tonight for Sardinia (16 hour run), what, did you think we were going to sit still? Places to go, people to see! It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Porto Cervo. There is always good seafood, huge green olives, and the best cheese I have ever tasted from a guy who sells it from the back of his truck (I sure hope he’s still there). I made this Pavlova for crew dessert today. It is from New Zealand or Australia, depending on which crew member you ask. It is named after a Russian Ballerina, which is fitting for this trip. It’s base is meringue, real easy to make, and a perfect summer dessert.
4 egg whites, room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
your favorite cut-up fruit
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg whites until foamy, then add sugar, then vinegar, and vanilla. Beat to stiff peaks. Butter some parchment paper and heap the egg whites on to it, spreading to an 8 inch circle with the sides higher, and the middle indented. Put in oven, lower heat to 250 degrees, and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until set, but somewhat soft. Let cool. Beat the cream and powdered sugar, and mound on top of the meringue shell, and top with some of your favorite chopped or sliced fruit (whatever is in season), I like kiwi, berries, peaches……
Yes, I have been busy, and truth be told, the last thing I want to do after a long work day is post. We have been swirling around the seas to Sicily, Jenna and I wanted to recreate our Syracusa market trip, but couldn’t get off the boat. Instead, we got some substandard seafood from a provisioner, a shame when you look back at that photo of the beautiful Tuna. I wound up making Tuna confit out of it (basically simmering it in olive oil, making homemade canned tuna). Jenna made her way to the fashion t.v. party boat, but wasn’t impressed. Off to Palermo (I think part of the Godfather was filmed here, never mind), where I was able to get off the boat and look around. It was siesta, so not much to see, and we were in the commercial side of town, so lots of tattoos, and missing teeth (and that was the women!). I wish I could have seen other parts of the city since I have never been, but onward and upward. Here is a recipe for grilled fish that is light and full of flavor. That’s what I’m all about.
Grilled Fish with Vinaigrette
four fillets fish
salt and pepper
juice from half a lemon
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped olives (I like kalamata)
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 tbsp. pesto or some chopped fresh basil (optional)
Season fish with salt and pepper and rub with little oil. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through. While fish is cooking, add lemon juice and garlic to a bowl, and slowly whisk in the oil. Add the other ingredients, and top the fish.
We’re on the tip of the heel of the boot of Italy, which really means that I don’t have a clue. It’s been a weird last couple of days since we left Croatia, lots of traveling, and lots more to come, as we leave for Sicily at 3 a.m. I am posting a recipe for Banana Cake mainly because I only have one copy, and I have almost lost it countless times. It was given to Corli from another yacht chef, and she received it from someone else, so it has taken on the name ‘The Traveling Banana Cake’. It is a great way to use old bananas, and always gets a request for the recipe. The picture is of Croatia.
Traveling Banana Cake
4 oz. butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 mashed banans, very ripe
6 Tbsp. milk
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer and add banana’s. Add egg, and then dry ingredients, then the milk. Pour batter in a buttered 9 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool on a rack, and frost with this icing:
3 packages cream cheese, softened
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix together in a mixer.
This part of the Mediterranean is real interesting to me. We are in the Adriatic Sea, outside of Dubrovnik. We are at anchor, so I have not been able to go in, maybe next time. We are leaving tonight heading back to Italy, this marks the end of new sights for me. I did see some real cool things over here, just enough to make me want to come back real soon. The coastline over here is stunning, Mountains rise from the sea, I have posted a few pictures of our trip in to Kotor. I made this as part of our lunch buffet today, great tasting, and good for you.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Peaches
2 pork tenderloins, cleaned
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 peaches, cut in wedges
1/3 cup peach preserves
1 Tbsp. water
Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste, and rub with 1 Tbsp. oil, cook on medium heat for 12 minutes, or until cooked through, set aside. Mix peaches in a bowl with the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and Grill for a few minutes until nice marks form, put in a bowl. Microwave preserves with water for a minute and pour over the peaches. Slice the pork and mix with the peaches, saving any juice, pouring in with the pork and peaches. enjoy.