Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fabulous Floating Fare

January 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As long as I can remember, I have loved boating. When I was a very little girl, my grandpa took us out on his 36-foot yacht, cruising the awesome Lake Erie waters. Grandma would pack enticing snacks to savor on board. Growing up, my family spent summers on Kelleys Island, where my parents owned a small but sturdy Chris Craft. Mom often packed yummy treats and we’d embark on a fun day of boating, traveling to neighboring islands. These days, my husband and I live on a stunning lake and love to spend time floating on our deck boat. I now prepare the food and drinks to share with family and friends.

A late summer boating excursion can be more festive when you prepare food that travels easily and tastes delicious. Finger food is always a great choice. I often set out “no-cook” appetizers like mixed nuts, hummus served with multigrain crackers, or salsa served with blue corn tortilla chips. Another favorite appetizer is avocado dip served with a variety of veggie sticks.

For the main course, items like cold salads, chilled soups, and sandwiches are staples that I like to “jazz up.” I roll ingredients into whole grain tortillas or serve chilled soups in edible bowls, making for a convenient and festive presentation. For a delectable dessert, brownies, fudge or mini-muffins travel well.

When packing for a boat outing, I try to keep it earth-friendly. I pack lightweight, reusable plates, washable cloth napkins and tablecloth, and eco-friendly utensils and dishware. If I find the need to use disposable tableware, I use earth-friendly options like dishware made from bamboo, 100% recycled resources ,or biodegradable materials.

Here are a few of my recipes for creating fabulous floating fare!

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Dill

Makes 4 servings

In this crowd-pleasing soup, the refreshing taste of the cucumber is carried by the tofu, which stands in for the heavy cream so often called for in similar soups. Whenever I serve this, my guests inevitably ask, “Are you sure there isn’t any cream in this soup?”

2 cucumbers

12 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained and cubed

1⁄2 sweet onion, chopped

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Peel, seed, and chop the cucumbers.

Put the chopped cucumbers, tofu, onion, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the dill weed in a blender and process until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining dill weed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

To serve, ladle the soup into pretty soup bowls (see note). Garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of dill weed. Serve immediately.

NOTE: This soup is delicious served in a bread bowl. To make a bread bowl: purchase two petite loaves, split each in half, and hollow out the centers, leaving a half inch wall on the bottom and sides. Serve the soup in the bread halves. Once the soup is consumed, eat the delicious “soup-soaked” bread!

Chickpea and Quinoa Salad in Pepper Boats

Makes 8 servings

Perfect for onboard dining, these festive peppers stuffed with a flavorful blend of quinoa, chickpeas, herbs, and spices make a beautiful presentation. For ease of serving, you may stuff the peppers ahead of time, store them upright in a sealed container and pack them in your cooler, so they are ready to serve at mealtime. If you prefer, you may present this delectable salad on a bed of romaine lettuce, rather than in the pepper halves.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and drained

2 cups water

4 large sweet red, yellow, or orange peppers

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup fresh chopped parsley

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup kalamata or green olives, pitted and sliced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon turmeric

Put the quinoa and water into a medium saucepan. Cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to simmer for 15 to 17 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Chill for 1 hour.

Split the peppers in half lengthwise and seed them. Set aside.

Put the chickpeas, parsley, tomatoes, and olives into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, salt and turmeric in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to incorporate. Taste and add more spices and/or olive oil, if needed.

Cover and chill 2 to 4 hours to let flavors blend. When ready to serve, scoop the salad into the pepper halves. Serve on a bed of baby greens.

Great Guacamole Dip

1 cup prepared salsa

2 large avocados

1 large clove garlic, minced

Juice of one small lemon

1 tablespoon fresh minced cilantro or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro

¼ teaspoon sea salt

More cilantro, for garnish

Put all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher or large fork until combined. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl, garnish and serve with tortilla chips or veggie sticks.

Raspberry Fudge Truffles

Makes 8 truffles

These jazzylicious fudge truffles travel well. Rich, dark chocolate combined with raspberry preserves makes a delectable treat that fills the bill when a decadent dessert is called for! I pack them in a single layer inside a storage container with a tight fitting lid. Pack the truffles in your cooler and keep them chilled until right before serving.

31⁄2 ounces vegan dark chocolate (chocolate bar, not baking chocolate)

2 heaping tablespoons raspberry preserves

1⁄3 cup raisins

3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish

Line a mini-muffin tin with 8 festive paper liners.

Drain off any excess liquid from the raspberry preserves. Put the raspberry preserves in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Pour the chocolate into the raspberry preserves and stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in the raisins.

Mound the mixture into the 8 muffin cups, dividing it evenly, using a small scoop. Dust the truffles with cocoa powder. Top each truffle with a bit of coconut.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm. Serve cold.

Laura Theodore is a television and radio host, vegan chef, sustainable lifestyle blogger, cookbook author, and award-winning jazz singer and actor. She is the proud creator of “JazzyVegetarian” and author of “Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious.” Watch season two of “Jazzy Vegetarian” on WLIW, channel 21, Saturdays at 1:30 pm.

By Laura Theodore

Laura Theodore is a Taste Award-winning, public television personality, vegan chef, radio host, cookbook author, and recording artist. She is the on-camera host of the highly successful Jazzy Vegetarian vegan cooking series on public television.

Comments are closed.