Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Good Cold Weather Recipe

Tonight after work I looked about the boat trying to decide what to make for dinner, and it occured to me that I have not made potato soup in some time. This is a really great cold weather dish, and it is well suited to boat life - it handles modifications well, the measurements don't need to be precise, and no matter what you do to it, it always seems to turn out great. I am the sort that is always messing with recipies, tossing in a dash of this, leaving out that (usually because I dont have that on hand) and generally making a new creation out of what was a perfectly good recipe. To date, I have been unable to mess this particular dish up, so I suppose that means it is boat proof. Although it was not cold today, (well it was this morning, we had our first mild frost over night, and the air was pretty nippy when I went for my shower), the temps are sure to drop tonight, so I suppose this is the very weather that potato soup was made for. So here it is...try it, this one is very simple to make...and trust me, not even a sailor can screw it up, because if they could, I would have by now.

Homemade Potato Soup

Ingredients -
3 cups peeled, chopped Potatoes
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Celery slices
1/2 cup Carrots, sliced
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1 teaspoon Parsley Flakes
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Flour
1/2 pound American Cheese, diced

Preparation:In a large saucepan combine potatoes, water, celery, carrots, onion, parsley flakes, bouillon cube and seasoning. Mix well, cover; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add milk to flour, mixing until well blended. Add milk mixture to vegetables; cook until thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tonights modifications omitted the celery and carrots, they were missing in action, substituded evaporated milk for whole milk, and cheddar cheese instead of American. Also, I tossed in a bit of chrushed red pepper, and as always, with about everything I make, I threw in a splash of Worstershire sauce just to be safe.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Horses and Boats...

This past weekend was not a boat weekend, if anything, it was as far from being a boat weekend as one could possibly get. In addition to having a passion for boats, I also enjoy Civil War reenacting. Now, one might ask why is that so far removed from being a boat thing? Well the answer lies in the fact that I ride in a cavalry unit, and own a horse. And having a horse and having a boat is like trying to mix oil and water. I have tried to mix the two, boats and horses that is, and it really does not work all that well. You either have time for one, or time for the other, but unless you have hired help on one end or both, it just doesnt work, not enough time in the day...etc. Hired help means added expense, another reason I cannot do both simultaneously. I suppose the last mariner that actually pulled off having horses and boats was Noah. He had alot more on his plate than just horses, but he did manage to have all his animals with him, and had them out on the water. There have been many stories of mariners that have tried to mimic this feat, hence the wild horses on the Outer Banks, the ponies at Chincoteague, and all the other horses that have swam ashore when the boat boat they were on foundered, wrecked, or the skipper finally realized that boats and horses don't mix well. Have you ever been to a farm and been stuck in a stall for a few hours? Imagine being confined with that odor on board a boat. I love my horse, but no thanks, he can very well stay in Virgina while I go off and explore. Perhaps the skipper of the boat that dumped the ponies at Chincoteague should have made that realization before he set sail. My guess is the ship wreck story was a fabrication - some deck hand got tired of mucking stalls and figured if the horses were history, he could get back to sailing.

Beth is quite good at taking care of my horse, Earl, and for the majority of the time he stays with her and I get the pleasure of using him on reenactment weekends. So I suppose he is actually more her horse than mine now, but he always rides well for me, and he is undoubtedly the only horse that I have seen that has taken to the life of a cavalry horse as quickly as he has. I am not sure if Earl is just that laid back, or is absolutely deaf, because as the cannons and rifles fire, he does not even flinch. There are horses that ride with us that are good with the noise, and some are as solid as Earl, but none are as young as he is, and there is not one other horse on the battlefield that will actually graze as the battle rages around him.

All in all it was a good weekend. There is something to be said about the comraderie that forms in a military unit, even a pretend military unit. Camp life is like small town life, and we all get together and swap stories, tell tales, and catch up on the events of the weeks between reenactments. No matter how bad the weather is, how cold, how wet, how muddy, we all have fun and leave the field to head back to the real world with good memories and smiles on our faces. This weekend's weather was miserable, we were in Winchester, VA, and the temps were in the 30's and the rain was coming down. There was rumor of snow, and some of us were hoping for it - snow is just not as wet as rain until it melts, and besides, snow is alot more attractive than rain and mud. However none of that bad weather hampered our fun, we fought the yanks on an actual battlefield, one of the few places we do get to fight on the same ground that was fought on 145 years ago.

So now I am back on the boat, saddle sore, tired and weary, taking one more day off from work so I can rest and get a few boat things done this week. The icebox is almost finished, and the auxilliary water tank has yet to be installed - and the middle of November is approaching quickly.