Friday, July 24, 2009

Tofu Jerky

So, I tried dehydrating tofu to make tofu jerky. I used this recipe, which is supposed to be THE original tofu jerky recipe.

Making the jerky was pretty straight forward. Just throw all of the ingredients together and marinade for a few hours and then stick it into the dehydrator. It took approximately 8 hours to complete. In the end the stuff was more the consistency of fruit leather than jerky.

I sampled a little bit before running out the door for my sailing adventure. It tasted pretty good! It's been around 18 years since I last ate meat jerky so I'm not sure if it tastes the same or not. I think so...

As I mentioned in my trip blog post, I had a bit of a stomach issue on board that prevented me from trying more of the jerky (or even thinking too much about it!) but I finally dug it out again today and tried it while on solid ground. I really like it. It's very salty and strong tasting but I guess that's part of the appeal of jerky.

I'll definitely do it again. There are a few other jerky recipes in Lipsmackin' Vegetarian Backpackin' that I'm going to try for comparison. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sailing from Halifax to Cape Breton

Sailing in fogThis weekend I had my first experience with (relatively) long distance ocean sailing. There is a race coming up this weekend in Cape Breton and the boat needed to be delivered. I volunteered because this was my first opportunity to affirm whether I actually enjoy ocean sailing. I've been an armchair sailor for years and I've sailed rivers, lakes and bays a lot but nothing like this.

So what was the prognosis? Well, if you asked me at 1pm on the first day I would have said something like "This is [expletive] miserable!" We had heavy fog and relatively rough seas for most of the first day. Not a good combination on a virgin stomach! I will give myself some credit in that I was the last of the crew to take a trip to the side of the boat.

Eventually, around late afternoon, the fog lifted and life returned to normal. We still had some good wave action happening but being able to see past the side of the boat made life good again. By evening we had a great wind, great weather and things were sailing smoothly.A beautiful sunset sail

This was also my first time sailing through the night. That was definitely the highlight of the trip. We took 4 hour turns on the helm and mine was from 1am - 5am. Steering under the stars using only the plotter for reference is pretty neat. The best time for me was just before sunrise when I could just see the profile of the rigging against a backdrop of the rough sea and the moon. A great moment. I would have tried to take a picture but it was pretty rough at that point and I had to keep both hands on the wheel to keep us on track.

The second day was great weather and a beautiful sail. We arrived in St. Peter's safe and sound around 29 hours after we left. The entrance to the Bras d'Or Lake was beautiful and I hope to sail around that lake some day. It is supposed to be exceptional.

We did have some technical issues throughout the sail. We had engine problems that were related to some water that got in the diesel. This meant regular cleaning of the fuel pump. This caused issues because we needed to be able to keep the batteries charged for the navigation equipment. We also had some times with light wind that warranted motoring.

The other issue was a general power failure that happened in the middle of the night. This cause all lights and navigational equipment to be out for about an hour. Apparently this was a dramatic event but I slept through it! (I was off watch in the bunk)

All in all this was a perfect trip for testing and affirming my commitment to sailing. I have dreams of sailing long distances some day. This trip gave me a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with sailing in the ocean. Breakdowns and sea sickness are inevitable parts of the experience and I needed to understand that. It's not all just pretty sunrises.

I came away with a few specific lessons:sailing into st. peters locks
  • Brush up on manual paper chart navigation
  • Know how to tear apart and troubleshoot every system on your boat
  • Don't eat curry noodles on your first day sailing in the fog!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Food Dehydrator

Home dehydrator
After buying a copy of Lipsmackin' Vegetarian Backpackin' on my last hiking trip to Fundy, I have been inspired to buy a dehydrator. I finally found one the other day on Kijiji ($25) and picked it up.

As the book says, they are big, they are ugly and yes they do take up a lot of counter space...but I'm pretty excited to try it out.

Tonight we try Tofu Jerky, Brunswick Stew and South Sister Stroganoff. Our pending trip to PEI will serve as a test bed for these meals in the rough.

Stay tuned for pictures and reviews!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Book Review: Edible Wild Plants

Book coverI got a copy of Peterson Field Guides Edible Wild Plants 3 years ago for Christmas. This was my wife's response to my request for an edible wild mushrooms book. Apparently eating wild plants is much less scary than mushrooms.

I must say that this is my all time favorite pastime while camping or hiking these days. I take it on most hikes and trips. There is nothing more satisfying than going for a hike and bringing back a bag full with your next meal. Grant it, sometimes these plants really don't taste very good. Other times, however, they are great. In response to this we have come up with our own "ass-factor" scale that describes the plants flavor in relation to ass. I've started rating each plant as I try it.

The book makes identifying plants fairly easy. Although in most cases you need to have a flower available for easy identification. Winter identification is much more challenging.

I recommend this book whole heartily to anyone who is a little adventurous in what they eat.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

All dressed up but no wind to go!

HobieCat 16 on the St. John River I got out for an hour before the wind died. Dead calm. I never get days like this when I want to go water skiing!
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