Wich, Please is De-Wich-ious

There’s a new sandwich gig in Rocklandtown and it’s delightful.  Malcom and Jillian Bedell, of From Away fame, have joined the corps of high-caliber restaurants in town with their food truck, Wich, Please.  This tiny kitchen, serving breakfast and lunch sandwiches such as a swanky BLT built on sourdough bread, with frisee, confited tomatoes and crispy bacon, began with a Kickstarter campaign and the faith of several hundred fans and supporters.

Tomato Confit BLT at Wich Please
Tomato Confit BLT

That belief has paid off and the food truck is open for business beginning this week.  Set up to handle two cooks max, Malcom and his assistant have very little room to maneuver in this small food truck.  Actually, the space looks pretty familiar – a lot like my galley.  No jumping jacks for those two, just the dance of two chefs moving from one place to the next weaving in and around each other to reach for the next ingredient. Cassie, my assistant cook, and I get this all too well.

Malcom Bedell
Malcom Bedell

My Rubenesque, a vegetarian Ruben made with roasted beets and Morse’s sauerkraut, was a well-balanced blend of texture and flavor.  The crispy bread off-set the crunch of the kraut and the easy bite of the beets – the flavors all complimenting one another.

The Reubenesque and The O.D.B. Grilled Cheese
The Reubenesque and The O.D.B. Grilled Cheese
De-Wich-ious sandwiches from ‘Wich, Please

Located on the edges of Rockland Harbor with the tang of the sea greeting the outdoor park seating, there’s no doubt that these two have a formula for success.  Oh, and try the grilled cheese too – ours was with caramelized onions, pickled jalapenos, and chips.

The Spring menu at 'Wich, Please in Rockland's Buoy Park
The Spring menu at ‘Wich, Please in Rockland’s Buoy Park

Good luck to you both!  Today is taco Friday, friends, from 4-7pm.

Annie
P.S. My galley is still smaller.

Just a Whiff of One of My Favorite People

For years, a visit to the rustic fishing village of Stonington, Maine required a walk down Main Street to the Purple Fish, a little publicized, but revered little gallery run by Jan and Evelyn Kok.  When we shared with our guests the not-to-miss sites of Stonington, these two people and their gallery were always top of the list.  We described Jan and Evelyn as the oldest kids we knew.  With their heads of hair that had turned fully white and their backs bending to the weight of gravity a little more each year, the vitality and energy of this couple dimmed not one bit.

I say that when I grow up, I want to be like them.  As a couple.  As a person.  I always left the Purple Fish feeling as if I had my priorities straight.  Life is about good music, harmony, joy, stories, laughter, love, sharing… the important things.

Evelyn has now left us, but today in the mail I received a whiff of her essence in the form of her artwork.  Christina Ships, owner of Inn on the Harbor in Stonington and also niece to these incredible human beings, has taken on the project of sorting through Evelyn’s artwork and turning them into cards and stationary.   (We’ll be selling these in the ship’s store this summer.  Let us know if you’d like us to send you a set:  6 packs are $20 plus shipping for either of the Riggin shots or a collection of the sea shells.)

So for a moment, Evelyn was alive again, stories of her wafting across the screen of my mind leaving me with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.

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Kok5

Annie
Thank you Christina

What Should We Name Her?

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Our new wood stove, assembled, cleaned up, and ready to go into the galley.

Last fall, the wood stove that we inherited when we bought the Riggin 18 years ago, died.  Admittedly, it was a slow death, complete with many repairs and upgrades, but once the stove was out of position, like a soldier out of step with the rest of his/her unit, the flaws became more evident.  The first one being, no one should be able to look from the outside wall of the fire box and see through a crack to the grate inside.  No one.  Ever.

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The baking space, water tank, and stove space all waiting for Lucy.

But before we were able to get a good look at the stove from all angles, we had to get it out of the space it had occupied for almost 40 years.  (Remember that we inherited the stove with the Riggin.  The original installation would have been some time in 1977.)  To get the stove out required a feat of engineering, as with most anything involving schooners where everything is heavy and nothing is square.  The trick to getting the stove out had to include no one getting hurt, so just getting a bunch of crew muckled onto the thing and muscling it out of the space wasn’t going to work.  We’ve tried to fit more than three people in my galley space and trust me, there’s no room to maneuver a single thing, much less a several-hundred pound stove.

This would require the largest muscle of all – the brain.  Often in the schooner world, heavy objects are moved by rolling them over logs or poles rather than sheer brute strength.  This concept applied to the stove worked brilliantly.  Several oblong fenders were placed on the sole in front of the stove where I usually stand.  The stove was then carefully tilted on end to rest on top of the fenders and then rolled out of the galley space to in front of the stairs.  Then fenders were placed on the backside of the stairs and with a pulley system rigged to the boom, rolled up and out of the galley.  From there, the boom was able to swing the stove off the deck and onto the dock.

Once the stove was in the back of the truck, Cap. took it to be repaired at Bryant Stove Works, a well-known stove repair company in our area.  The sad news came when the owner of the store suggested that she had cooked her last meal and the best use for her was a 21-gun salute.  Good bye, old friend.

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Justin making it pretty.

Stove Installed1

Lucy installed in her new home!

Hello, new friend, with your shiny chrome, your curlicues and your warming shelves.  Welcome to my galley.  I’m thinking her name should be Lucy.  It’s an old-fashioned name and a wood stove on a 1927-built schooner should have an old-fashioned name.  Plus, if some goes wrong I’ll be able to say, “Luuucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”  I hope we will become fast friends, Lucy.

Annie
Making new friends

Timberwind Moves to Belfast!

One calm Sunday in April, the crew of the Riggin and the Timberwind moved our new pretty schooner up Penobscot Bay to her new home in Belfast, Maine.  The day started calm and then picked up to a feisty 25 knots of breeze on the beam, but for a spring day in Maine, this is still a fairly low key day on the bay.  As the sun was closing out the day, our crews celebrated their efforts.  To top it all off, the Bangor Daily News was kind enough to highlight the Timberwind‘s new life.

Celebrating a good day together.
Celebrating a good day together.
Quarter view of a pretty boat and a pretty town.
Quarter view of a pretty boat and a pretty town.
Cassie.  Knitting.  On a boat.  Two of the best things in life.
Cassie. Knitting. On a boat. Two of the best things in life.
Save and sound at her new dock, Thompson's Wharf in Belfast, Maine.
Save and sound at her new dock, Thompson’s Wharf in Belfast, Maine.

Annie
Thank you, Belfast, for your welcoming ways

On a Boat, It’s Not Always Perfect, But It Is Just Right

I traded swanky, landscaped, plated meals for the pine-studded coast liberally sprinkled with lichen-covered granite and a sea that is ever changing from a smokey charcoal to deep forest green.  My kitchen (galley) is outside and instead of being enclosed by four greasy walls lined with pots, pans and stainless equipment, I have pine tables, a cast iron wood stove and the smell of wood smoke.  My skin has the kiss of the sun, rather than the pasty white of someone who works indoors, even in the summer.

However, as a chef, there are a few things that occasionally ding my pride.  I’m a big girl, also an enthusiastic, optimistic one, so the moment doesn’t last long.  But I cook  on a boat all summer long and there are a number of situations that take priority over the visual attractiveness of my culinary hard work.  Sometimes my food doesn’t look perfect and it bothers me.

For example, the reason this salad has so many apples on it is not that Cassie, my assistant cook, got crazy with the apples, although this is not out of the question.  No, the true reason is that salad greens unprotected, literally, blow away with the first step on deck.  We feed the fish, not our guests.IMG_7753-001a

I love the look of micro-greens.  Do I ever use these delicate beauties?  No.  I would be the only one to see them.  See the blowing away reference above.

Also, the nature of my galley and the space available on any boat dictates that I serve family style.  I don’t have space to plate up 30 dinners in my galley.  Which means that sometimes my food is served in the pan in which it was cooked.  Again, there is a rustic simplicity, and dare I say beauty, to this look.  But no, beauty is not the word.  Practical, useful, convenient, expedient, safe, frugal.  These are the words I would use to describe my pans, but I tell you, a girl who wants to look pretty does NOT want to use these words and neither does the girl, who is the chef, who wants her food to look pretty.

The menu for lunch on the day these photos were taken was:

Local Porcini and Broccoli Leaf Mac n Cheese, Roasted Veggie and Local Italian Sausage Mac n Cheese, Garlic Knots, Apple, Walnut, Raisin Garden Greens Salad, Dijon and Champagne Vinaigrette and an Apricot Orange Pound Cake

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It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  And then I look at these photos and I’m sad that they don’t do it justice.  I remember this meal and I loved the Porcini and Broccoli Leaf Mac n Cheese… There was nothing left of this meal.  But the look of it?  The pans are …  Hmm.

Ah well, at heart I am both creative, practical, artistic, and frugal.  It turns out that my food on this beautiful boat we sail, meandering along the breathtaking Maine Coast, has the exact qualities of both me and of Maine.  I’d rather be right where I am – in my outdoor kitchen, creating honest food that fits it’s place perfectly.

Annie
Just accepting what is

Remember the Time… – Race Week Fun 2014

The actual race started out well and then drifted to a lumpy sea at the end, but man did we have fun. The entertainment began the night before with the small boat races.

There were two categories- rowing and sailing.  Oh, and a prize for the crew members who made the biggest fools of themselves.  Justin, Ella, Toni and Cassie got right into the spirit of things and dressed the part of pirates and… a moose?

In any event, Cassie and Toni, entered into the rowing race, had their oars pilfered at one point and were firing day old biscuits at competitors. Ella and Justin, the sailing contingent, resorted to using a bilge scoop to paddle the chamberlin failing enough wind and managed to both stay in their boat.  Unlike Cassie and Toni who ended up attempting to swim and tow the peapod.

Once back on board, the night ended perfectly with a collective round of Mingulay Boat Song and we went to our bunks with the harmony of the music still reverberating in our chests.

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Annie
So much laughter!

Hey Gang!  Come join us for a taste of Maine, some good fun and a lobster or three!

Photo credit: Susan Land

Sailing Our Tiny Schooner

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Getting ready to go. Lugsails are easy to rig.
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Chloe hanging out and manning the foresail sheet.
LittleSchooner3
Papa and Ella steering.
LittleSchooner4
Focus. Focus.
LittleSchooner2
Happy sailing campers!

Because our fall was so incredibly warm, we were able to take Iolaire, our cute new schooner, out for a test drive before we put her away for the winter.  The day was our last gorgeous, warm, fall day.  At first when she heeled, I had this instinctive reaction of a little clench in my gut, thinking what’s on the stove, what’s on the tables, where are the flowers? And then? I REMEMBERED, I’m not on the big schooner and nothing is on the tables because there are no tables. I enjoyed the sailing just for the sailing. I watched the day go by and it was blissful.

It was the first time in 24 years that I’ve been on a sail boat without the responsibility of cooking a single thing. Not coffee. Not muffins. Not dinner. Nothing. I gotta tell ya, it’s different. Now I know why so many of you like sailing with us so much! It’s FUN!

Perhaps this sounds odd coming from someone who sails all summer long, but as one of our apprentices this summer put it, “It’s such a bummer that what makes [working on] deck awesome is the same thing that makes [working in the] galley insane.” Imagine the schooner heeling over as she catches a southwest summer breeze to windward – the wind in your face and the sound of the hull as she powers through the water. Then imagine the galley, nothing on the tables or counters and everything completely stowed (because if it’s not, it will launch itself onto the sole). Imagine trying to bake a cake or pie when the boat is heeled that much, or cook a stew when it’s sliding across the top of the stove. Yup, you get why great sailing days are not always the greatest galley days.  And even with all of that, any day on a boat, whether it’s in the galley or not, is a good day.

However, a small boat with no galley? Pretty fun!

Annie
I fell in love with sailing all over again.