Today is day six on our potentially twenty-or-so day passage across the Atlantic ocean from St Maarten to now Gibraltar or Mallorca. Today is also Cinco de Mayo and Justin and I’s two year anniversary! Two years have gone by since I serendipitously walked into this adventure. Flying to San Diego on a whim for the opportunity to sail with an old but undeniable flame which turned into my current employment and romance sitting all under the same roof. One roof we also share with our two bosses. Sometimes I have to remind myself how unconventional this is, but then I remember the promise I made to myself that I would deny normal means of work for as long as I possibly can. Today was the first time I hoisted Justin up on the mast (in the middle of the ocean may I add) and we didn’t get in some kind of confusion or disagreement. I consider that a win! When I think of a conventional relationship and things they may consider everyday “wins” I’m learning to just shrug off things that really don’t matter and applaud us for the things we’ve discovered through working with each other on a boat. The things we’ve learned the past two years is something neither of us could have predicted when we met each other at 18. Sailing a boat around the world as a job? Nope. Together? Such a beautifully creative way to combine our lives in our mid twenties. Who comes up with this stuff..
When I post this entry in about a month or so it will mean that we got back safely and that I found access to an unlimited amount of free time and wifi! By this time I know I will be ecstatic for my reality to be anything other than a 66 foot boat rocking its way through the Atlantic. Thankfully, I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I’m enjoying a nice hiatus from society and internet. Due to a storm passing over the Azores we will be skipping the untouched islands of portugal and sailing on to the straights of gibraltar. Currently we are attempting to head as far east as possible to get a good position on the storms that are heading towards the azores. Today is calm, long stretches of vast blue seas and bright sunlight surrounds us. This may be the calm before the storm. Basically no wind, so we just retired our solent and turned on an engine. We shall see what tomorrow brings.
Spending the last month in St Maarten has been great. I have zero pictures of this place. For some reason sometimes in places I really enjoy, I tend to take no pictures. It’s a small little caribbean island with a french side and a dutch side. Hiking. French croissants. Home of the Heineken Regatta. Young sailors like ourselves! I definitely miss group activities with friends, I’m not going to lie about that one. So meeting people who have similar interests as us was refreshing. Initially my favorite part of the whole island was the fact that they had grocery stores. Coming from spending five weeks in Cuba.. I almost cried the first time I walked into the grocery store. So much variety. Things to buy! Speaking from the person that used to stop in trader joes if I was bored to see what food I could experiment with and of course get a small food sample, a morsel of coffee and maybe even wine tasting if I was lucky 😃
I did build up a little soft spot for St Maarten and would love to find my way there again sometime. Also while I was there I finally finished my plant based cooking class that I have been working on the last seven months. The class I took was with Rouxbe. I highly recommend it. I now have my plant based culinary certification and a bunch of new tricks up my sleeve. I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes inspired by Rouxbe. This dish is a definite crowd pleaser. I know this because I worked for another boat while I was in St Maarten. One which was not plant-based, and this was their favorite recipe. So you can please even the meat eaters with this simple and delicious curried chickpea, spinach and sundried tomato dish. Super easy and gives the galley or kitchen the best lingering wafts of lemon, ginger and curry.
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 whole lemon, zested and juiced (do not skip this part because it adds so much flavor)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans (1 - 15 oz can), rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ pound fresh spinach
1 tsp ground ginger
1 (14 ounce) can of coconut milk ( I do full fat because it makes the dish extra creamy)
2 teaspoons of curry powder or more
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro to garnish
- Add coconut oil to a large pan at medium heat. Add onions with a pinch of salt and cook slowly for about ten minutes until they are light and translucent. Add garlic and sweat for another two minutes. Add lemon zest, sun dried tomatoes, curry powder, chili flakes and fresh ginger. Let cook for another two minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and stir. Turn up heat slightly for a couple minutes and fry the chickpeas to add a little color.
- Turn the heat down slightly and start adding in the spinach. Add in a handful at a time. If using regular spinach, tear up pieces a little bit with hands before throwing in.
- When the spinach has wilted, add the coconut milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Add in ground ginger and half of lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add in salt, pepper and more lemon if needed. Serve with rice of your choice and garnish with cilantro! Enjoy
Notes: With this dish it is really important to slow cook the garlic, onion, and spices! Do not skip that step. It builds a delicious base for this dish! Also, don't skip the lemon zest. It is such a good addition. Don't be shy if you need to add another teaspoon of curry.