Fabulous Floating Fare
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!
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?”
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
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!
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.
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. http://jazzyvegetariantv.com
By Laura Theodore