Friday, February 26, 2021

It's mostly a foodie post

 One of the things I do to amuse myself is to cook, then eat, haha.  So last week our youngest daughter asked me for my chicken cacciatore recipe, which I had made for her and her husband when they visited us aboard s/v Dreamtime while we were berthed at Porto Cupecoy Marina, St. Martin back in 2011. (Get out the way-back machine!)

Jacqui & Matt take in the sights in SXM - love these guys!!

Anyway, as I had just made spaghetti and meatballs using the same basic recipe it was an easy write-up as it was all fresh in my mind.  Here's how I make chicken cacciatore:

First off, I've found that this really kicks up the flavor of a red sauce - Priano Rosso Pesto sauce - it's a product of Italy. I buy it at Aldi for a couple of bucks. It's basically a sundried tomato style pesto with basil, cashews and various Italian cheeses.  It really adds a depth of flavor to the store bought pasta sauce I use (any brand that is on sale, lol).

Take chopped chicken tenders or (even better) chopped up boneless/skinless chicken thighs, pat them dry, then season with salt & pepper, Mrs. Dash garlic & herbs, and lightly flour.  

Sauté in med-hot pan with a good dollop of olive oil. Just trying to get some color on them, they'll finish cooking in the sauce. Remove from pan to a plate after about 5-7 mins and reserve.

In the same pan (over medium heat) add a bit more olive oil and roughly chopped onions, mushrooms, and I also add 1/2 of a diced eggplant (skin on is fine, no need to salt or soak and I really just add it to stretch the batch so we'll have a freezer portion or 2. We never even taste the eggplant, lol). Part way through, add a couple of tablespoons of the Rosso Pesto Sauce and continue saute'ing until everything is lightly browned and softened, about 10 mins.

Add a big jar of pasta sauce, the reserved chicken and any juices on the plate, plus a 1/2 C red wine and 1/2 C chicken stock (I usually have some stock on hand in the freezer but I've used the powdered chicken bouillon in a bit of water), a splash of red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, some herbs & spices of your choice, I use onion powder, Mrs. Dash garlic & herbs, oregano, ground fennel & whole fennel seeds and basil, plus a bit of cayenne for some kick.

Let it simmer over low to med-low heat for 30 mins and there you have it. 

Here's the same sauce with meatballs instead of
chicken.  I like some of my noodles bare. Can't be
beat with garlic toast and kalamata olives,
and don't forget the shredded parmesan.

Another foodie thing that is on my schedule each week is a big bowl of fresh fruit.  We have a bowl most days unless we are having granola.  It doesn't take long to cut up and it's so convenient to have it ready to go. 
A grapefruit, a Navel orange, some pineapple and grapes
are usually what I have on hand. Sometimes I'll cut up 
an apple too and during strawberry season I'll add 
a few of those to our bowls right before serving.

Here is an homage to Manuela aboard s/v Paradise, a fellow foodie and good friend, currently in Mexico. We travelled together down to spend the summer in Venezuela in '07 and she taught me how to make these tasty stuffed peppers. These make for a super appetizer.  She's an excellent, gourmet cook!


20 to 24 banana peppers
canola oil
1 cup soy sauce mixed with 1/2 c
up of water
1 large can of tuna/pink sal
1 small onion
1 Tablespoon cap
4 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
pepper to tast

Using surgical gloves, towel over your nose and goggles or glasses, cut stem off peppers, cut a slit length wise in each pepper, but not cutting through to other side. Remove seeds. Heat oil in skillet and pan fry peppers to a golden brown. Remove and soak in soy sauce mixture until cool. Refrigerate. Mix tuna, mayo, onion, capers and pepper together and stuff each pepper and serve. Warning some or hot and some are not.

Here is a link to her food page

On our trip down to Salt Springs last week we spotted a banana plant which had not only bananas busily growing, but also a banana flower.  Back in the early days Manuela also taught me how to make a yummy salad from the flower.  (I'm including Manuela's recipes and I hope she doesn't mind - 😉  She also has a very interesting blog about the glamorous lifestyle of living aboard a boat. She and Sid left L.A. back in '97 and they're still at it!)


Slice flower in narrow rings and soak in salt water at least one hour. Drain.
Cover with salt water and boil 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
Mix 1 cup each soy sauce, oil and vinegar with crushed red peppers and garlic. Heat.
Mix flower with 1 chopped onion or scallions.
Pour on warm dressing. Stand one hour. Chill and serve with slice bread or crackers.
Holds well in refrigerator.


  1. Having some fresh fruit with our breakfast has been a routine for us for I guess perhaps at least 20 years and we enjoy it. For us Canadians it might be a challenge to get our hands on a banana flower but it was interesting to read the recipe. Next time I am at the Fresh Market store in Windsor, I will look to see if they carry the Priano Rosso Pesto sauce as I don't recall seeing it at the local grocery stores. I miss Aldi and wish we had it here in Canada.

    1. Wow, I thought for sure y'all had Aldi up there - too bad. I was also thinking that it would be good for pizza sauce if it was thinned out a bit. I only made the banana flower salad once - it was quite good, but I always felt like I was depriving the world of bananas.