2.14.2010

Beans & Rice Or Seafood For Dinner?

Dinner while cruising can be quite the experience. You can never be sure what the evening meal will consist of. The Captain was getting a little tired of beans and rice so I fixed it up a little and added chicken to the beans and rice, well as you can imagine that became old in a record amount of time so I added pork to the beans and rice. Nonetheless, to get to my point we were both a little tired of anything that contained beans or rice. So it was time to go find some seafood. Isn’t that what life on a boat is all about?? Plentiful amounts of fresh seafood rather than beans and rice!?
We had heard that the area in which we were anchored at the time (Allen Cay) had abundant amount of conch that was ready to harvest. We decided to brave the chill in the air and don our skins to see if we could luck out and find a few conch to have for dinner. We stood on the edge of the boat having a discussion regarding which one of us would jump in first. The Captain made the decision for us as he gently shoved me over board into the cool blue water. The brisk temperature change was quite invigorating. It only took a few seconds for my body to regulate to the water temperature. Soon after the Captain took the turquoise blue plunge letting out a yelp as his body hit the cool water. (NOTE: Always make sure you put your swim ladder down prior to jumping ship esp after pushing your crew overboard, luckily the Captain had installed a pull clamp release on the ladder to use in just such circumstances...karma)We began snorkeling around the cove and to our wonder there were countless conch shells lying on the sandy bottom. The first few we dove for had already been harvested but with our dedicated determination not to have beans and rice for dinner our search continued. It was a challenge trying to decide which ones to keep; there are rules as to which conch can be harvested. The lip of the conch shell must be fully developed, which in my opinion can be a bit subjective. So after going through the several we collected we narrowed our search down to the restricted number of 6. Woohooo no rice or beans this night!! The next challenge came with extracting and carving the conch.

Here are the instructions:
Ø First you take a hammer and screwdriver you make a hole in the shell at the 3rd spiral down.
Ø Second you carefully insert a knife in the hole you just made against the center column cutting away the white tendon from the shells central column.
Ø Finally reach into the lip of the shell and grab the meat firmly near the claw and pull the meat out following the contour of the shell. If it is resistant check to make sure the tendon has been cut completely away from the shell.
After the meat has been removed you trim it up removing all part that appear unappetizing, in other words all the appendages and excess tissue. Once the meat is trimmed and looking yummy, pound the life out of it, we used a hammer that was of course cleaned first! Now you are ready to prepare your favorite recipe. We made ceviche, without beans and rice of course! Anyone that has a favorite conch recipe please share!

The conch was excellent for a change but we soon found ourselves back to the beans and rice.

Our next dinner experience involved fishing. We were anchored in Leaf Cay and decided to go for a troll in the dingy to see if we could catch a fresh fish. We prepared our fishing pole and set off with the usual dedicated determination, this time to catch a fish. We were trolling and it was no time at all before we got a hit. The fish was huge approximately two and half feet long and putting up a nice fight! Once we had him reeled up to the dingy we realized that we forgot the pliers on Mary which meant we had no way of removing the fish from the hook. As a result we fed the line out, with fish in tow we headed back to the boat. We were keeping an eye on our dinner during a trip back to retrieve the pliers when we noticed a large indistinguishable figure following behind our dinner. I would guess half way between where we caught the fish and our final destination we noticed bubbling and churning motion in the water. As fast as a speeding bullet what ever creature that was following us made a lunge in the air and gulp.. our dinner was bit in half, leaving us only the head! We are not sure what it was following us and I can say for certain after our last shark encounter I don’t want to know. Needless to say we had beans and rice for dinner… this time spiced up with a bit of chuck roast!

1 comment:

Jeff Leo said...

Rice and beans may sound boring but there are literally thousands of ways to make them - depending upon the ingredients you have on hand of course! I Googled “a thousand ways to make rice and beans” and came up with over 150K links. Anything from sausage to tofu and any meats you might catch or procure in port will help. Naturally the types of beans or rice will make a difference as well. A steady diet of rice and beans will definitely make you appreciate other meals that come your way portside!