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Summer Adventures On Puget Sound

by Bridget Charters

Loading the boat and pulling away from the dock is an amazing feeling, for everything that occupies your mind vanishes. The focus becomes the wind, the waves, other boats, and the sun in your eyes. The disconnect from our busy workday world is something to cherish once we are out on the water. If we could all just “accidently” flip our phones overboard, I think many of us would be okay with the mistake. The environs of Puget Sound are so special and we are so very lucky to explore and enjoy the Salish Sea. Since boat owners are committed to life on the water, why not do it in style? Get organized early in the week and stock your boat smartly so you are the whiz at the end of the dock with the amazing smells, delicious wines, and the great spread of hors d’oeuvres that the rest of the dock can ogle.

As you are planning your weekend escape, organize your week to purchase supplies so that Friday’s afternoons only require a stop at home to grab the gear bags, cooler, and family. Stock up on an assortment of beers and wines. There are amazing local beers in cans ranging from very light lagers to darker, hop-laced ales, all great flavors; plus cans are lightweight and easy to deal with at dockside recycling. All grocery stores now offer case discounts on wines, so invest in a case of delicious rosé wines along with a split case of reds and whites that can be stowed in cubbies throughout the boat. Stock up on various types of crackers, nuts, chips, and pretzels for last minute gatherings, and have jars of olives or cans of smoked seafood to offer up as old friends walk down the dock.

If your boating gatherings involve more friends and extended evenings, then make the work on yourself easy by arriving at the boat with pre-marinated meats and poultry sealed in bags with small tubs of frozen sauces that are great with fish, or precooked grains, potatoes, or dry pasta as a side. Cooking is easy as long as you get organized and cook with some confidence. Boats have limited storage spaces and cooking areas, so it is imperative that you get organized and plan your meals ahead, regardless of who is coming to dinner.

When planning your menu over the course of a few days, try to consolidate ingredients so the menu has similarities but is not the same. For example, bring pre-chopped ingredients to make a Greek-style peasant salad, dress some of the salad and add feta one night, then the next day add cooked pieces of salmon, some diced potato, and creamy dressing. The salad becomes something completely different — a type of entrée to serve with another salad or perhaps with some cured salami and cheese. Pre-marinated meats can be dried off and grilled for dinner one night, then that same meat can be tossed with some blue cheese, salad greens, and cherry tomatoes for a delicious salad the next day. It helps to map out the menu for the weekend with a sheet of paper that lists the menus and ingredients needed, then take time to reorganize the list so there is repetition of ingredients throughout the weekend. It is easy to keep a few cans of organic garbanzo beans, a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, or some marinated artichoke hearts to help switch up the repertoire. You just need to plan ahead and buy all your supplies in advance. Now get out and enjoy our well-deserved summer!

Herb Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak

Herb Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary sprigs, stripped from stalks and rough chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs, stripped from stalks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, coarsely ground

In a large sealable bag, combine all the ingredients. Shake the bag to combine, add the flank steak, and refrigerate for a few hours or a few days maximum. When ready to grill, remove the meat from the bag, allow to drain and pat dry with paper towels. Grill on a very hot grill turning every five minutes or so, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees. Once the meat is done cooking, remove the meat to a baking sheet. Allow to rest lightly covered in a warm location. Slice the meat a quarter or half inches thick on the bias.

Niçoise Style Salad

Serves Six

  • 3/4 lb. green beans (preferably haricots verts), trimmed of top
  • 10 each small (1- to 2-inch) potatoes (preferably Yukon Gold)
  • 6 four-ounce tuna steaks (1-inch-thick) or 6 small salmon filets
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt for blanching
  • 3 tablespoons drained brined capers
  • 3-4 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, split in half
  • 2/3 cup Niçoise or other small brine-cured black olives
  • 4 hard-boiled large eggs, quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups loosely packed Italian parsley
  • 1 cup basil leaves, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup vinaigrette (see below)

In a large pot of boiling water salted, lightly blanch the green beans for three to four minutes. Remove to a plate to cool, then in the same water, simmer the potatoes for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender when a knife is inserted. Remove and cool at room temperature.

To build the salad, toss the baby arugula in a bowl with a small amount of the dressing. Arrange the arugula on a flat platter; then in the same bowl dress the green beans and potatoes and mound on top of the arugula. Arrange the tomatoes, capers, olives, and eggs on top of the potatoes. Dress the entire salad by drizzling with more dressing and seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with the basil and parsley.

French Vinaigrette

Yields 3/4 cup of dressing

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon shallots
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon anchovies
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Blend all ingredients except oils in small bowl. Whisk to emulsify, then gradually pour in the oil while whisking continuously. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Niçoise Style Salad

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced medium
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and diced into medium chunks
  • 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and diced into 1” chunks
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, torn in half (optional)

Combine all the vegetables in a mixing bowl, add the vinegar and oil and mix well, season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and oregano. Arrange in a serving bowl and garnish with leaves of parsley and mint.

Roasted Cumin-Scented New Potatoes

  • 1 pound small marble potatoes (1 bag)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon for garnish

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with half the olive oil. Season generously with salt and sprinkle with cumin seeds. Lay the potatoes out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Once the potatoes are done, serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Roasted Cumin-Scented New Potatoes

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