Friday, August 2, 2019

Boat Gourmet Uses Up the Leftovers

Chicken and sugar-snap peas. Serve al fresco with a beer and say, "High Five! We didn't sink the boat today!"
We call our travel on Dragonfly a “voyage of sustainability.” Sure, we’re testing the boat’s home-made solar propulsion system. But we also try to live sustainably in other ways, lots of them having to do with dinner.

Last week we had super-hot weather. One “good-boatkeeping” solution is to have a cold dinner--salad or sandwiches. No point heating up the boat by turning on the stove! But I was bored with salads and ready to cook SOMETHING! So I made stir-fried chicken with snow peas.

Save Fuel, Cook Fast

This dish cooks fast, so you don’t heat up the boat tooooo much! I served it over jasmine rice, which cooks in just 12 minutes. (Other quick-cooking carbs to keep in your boat larder: cous-cous (just boil water), angel hair pasta (cooks in five minues), and my fave, Thai rice noodles--just soak in water!)

The recipe didn’t call for onion. But I had a half an onion sitting there in the fridge. Taking up space and not getting any younger. Also a couple aging scallions. What stir-fry is NOT improved by a scallion or two?

Since we started cruising Dragonfly, I'm obsessed with using up leftovers. Wasted food is one of those unsung societal issues that to my mind, deserves lots more attention. (Thank you, National Geographic!)

The U.S. FDA estimates a whopping 30-40 percent of the total food supply in our nation ends up in the trash, un-eaten. That’s perfectly good food, in the landfill. Not to mention the waste of water and fertilizer to produce the food . . . and the fuel and labor to process and transport it.

I used to be totally guilty of overbuying. Everything looks so delicious in the produce aisle. And then you can't eat all the oranges in that big bag, and they grow fuzzy blue mold. Or you get fancy cheeses for your party and people merely nibble. . .  and then how much Brie can you personally eat up before the stuff gets funky?

With just a dorm-sized fridge and minimal cupboard space on the boat, I can’t overbuy, because there’s no where to put stuff! But more importantly, I’m always trolling the fridge to see what needs to get used up.

So back to the stir-fry. Serves four, delicious for dinner one night and lunch the next day. Just keep the fan running while you cook to push that hot air off the boat!

Chinese-style Chicken and Snap Peas

Two boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 to 3 cups raw sugar snap pea pods
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
½ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ginger powder
½ tsp garlic powder
White pepper to taste

  • Cut the chicken into thin, bite-sized strips, sprinkle with salt
  • Trim and string the pea pods
  • Combine the chicken broth and cornstarch to make a slurry
  • Heat your largest frying pan (no woks on a boat!) and add a little canola or peanut oil
  • When the oil is hot, stir fry the chicken till just pink
  • Add the pea pods and stir fry for a few minutes more, till chicken is cooked
  • Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and sugar or honey
  • Add this sauce to the pan and stir fry about a minute, till everything is coated
  • Add about half the cornstarch-broth mixture and stir to coat; keep stirring as sauce thickens—this should only take a minute or so
Time to eat! We like to season with hot chili oil and sprinkle chopped peanuts on top.

You can add onion slivers, thin-sliced scallions, broccoli florets, red pepper slivers, a can of pre-sliced water chestnuts—whatever you are trying to use up!

Want more recipes?
We sometimes breakfast like the Brooklynites--on avocado toast
And here's a Boat Gourmet Farmer's Market Salad

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