Today's lunch at beautiful Cooper Island!
We picked up our guests a couple of days ago and are just getting into a 10 day charter. I must say, one of the most interesting and challenging parts of cooking on charters is coming up with the menus. The food is probably the biggest part. The guests we currently have on board eat only fish (no shellfish or other meats) and no dairy, including butter. When I got their preference sheet a few weeks ago I about fell over... literally! 10 days is a long time and a lot of meals especially when you are trying to keep your menus exciting with a lot of variety. In case you haven't calculated it... 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 appetizers, 9 dinners (if they go out one night), 10 deserts and snacks in between... that's 49 meals using no meat proteins, except for fish and no dairy... oh my! I have to say though, the planning and provisioning were the hardest part. Once I got my meals set and found my provisions, the actual doing the charter has been the easy part.
I use goat and feta cheese quite often anyway and I have replaced milk with lactose free milk in some of my recipes. I've used coconut cream in place of whipped cream for a couple of deserts and it's actually very tasty. With some recipes I even like it better. I was able to fine lactose free sour cream and cream cheese as well. In place of butter I found a brand that's called Earth Balance which is much better than margarine. Thank goodness I found it because I just wasn't sure if I could get myself to cook with margarine... yuck! I used Earth Balance for yesterday's breakfast with my Orange-Rum Glazed Plantains over Brioche French Toast and it was hard to tell the difference.
So far the meals have been a hit and definitely some menu items I will do more often. I wish I could have photographed my dinners the last two nights but there just wasn't time to stop and take pictures especially when you're trying to serve the meal hot. I will add them in a later post.
I served a cold lunch today which I did manage to take a couple quick pictures of. By the way, the cracker looking things on the plate are called Cassava Bread. I found it in St. Thomas and decided to experiment with it. It tastes somewhere in between a cracker and bread. It is from Dominican Republic and is 100 percent yuca root, which also makes it gluten free. I drizzled it with a high quality extra virgin olive oil and some Maldon flake salt... yum! I'm already thinking of all the fun appetizers I can serve with this bread. Enjoy the salad!
Cannellini Bean and Tuna Salad
Recipe Type: Entree
- 1 C Red Onions or Shallots, chopped
- 1 Lemon, juiced and zested (can sub lime)
- 2 five-six oz. cans of Tuna packed in water
- 2 15 oz. cans of Cannellini Beans (can sub Great Northern White Beans), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 C fresh Mint or Parsley or a combination, chopped and a few extra leaves for garnish
- A few splashes of Tabasco sauce or Red Chili Flakes, to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
- Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste
For Green Salad
- 1 head of Lettuce of your choice
For Lemon Vinaigrette on Green Salad
- 2 Tbl freshly squeezed Lemon Juice or Lime Juice if that's what you choose to use for the beans)
- 4 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- pinch of Sugar
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Drain the Tuna and put in large bowl. Add the Beans to the Tuna and stir gently to combine. Add the Onions, Herbs, Black Pepper, Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice and mix to combine. Add Tabasco or Chili Flakes to taste. You can always add more Lemon Juice and Olive Oil if needed. Add more Salt to your taste.
- Chill in the refrigerator so the flavors can blend. The longer the better.
- While the Beans and Tuna are chilling, wash, dry and chop lettuce. Toss Lemon Vinaigrette on greens.
- Divide the Lettuce among four plates. Place Bean and Tuna mixture on top of greens. Garnish with piece of Mint.