Recipe: Shiitake Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry

This is a good Sunday dinner when making it for the first time. I haven't cooked with dehydrated shiitake mushrooms before so I gave myself a day when I would have enough time to redo if somehow I rehydrated wrong. The husband put in a movie, and by the time it was reaching resolution - dinner was done. I reccomend this Shittake Shrimp Snowpea Stirfry (by Martha Stewart) on top of boil-in-bag brown rice.

Recipe (adapted for a liveaboard galley)

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and halved (large ones quartered)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used already cooked shrimp)
4 ounces snow peas, trimmed (2 cups)

1. Let shrimp defrost in cooking pot, if frozen.

2. Cut up ginger and garlic, place in bowl. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Let sit aside while other items are prepped.

3. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon and place in colander to drain. With water in pot, heat on stove and prepare brown rice (if using boil-in-bag rice).

4. Once rice is cooked, remove bag of rice and let drain. Use 3/4 cup of the hot water to pour over dehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Let hydrate, covered, for 20 minutes.

5. Remove mushrooms but retain the liquid. You may choose to add this liquid to your garlic ginger mixture. I did, and it was a nice addition. Word on the internet is that the liquid is rich and tasty.

6. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, just until tender, about 5 minutes.

7. Stir in garlic mixture and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.

8. Add shrimp and snow peas and cook, stirring, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes.

9. Serve stir fry over brown rice and enjoy : )

NYE Treasure Hunt & Bonfire

It's become a family tradition to take the nieces and nephews on a treasure hunt each year when they visit for New Year's Eve. This year, the marina and surrounding boat yard was the place and the hunt was completed with clues hidden in special places and on some impressive vessels. The end prize was an Xbox 360 that we were passing on to our nephews (the box was found on our boat) and the night was ended with a massive bonfire on the beach. It was another great visit and celebration of a new year arriving.

Composting Head

An additional upgrade we decided to make in the boat was to pull out the waste holding tank and connecting pipes and install a composting toilet. It's a deep discussion that we've had with liveaboard friends, as managing this aspect of boat life can be messy, inconvienent and downright disgusting at times.

Down the dock, weekend liveaboards installed a composting toilet and give it great reviews. Our full-time liveaboard friends, a few slips away, decided to follow suit. We decided to as well and went with the Nature's Head . Our brand was designed by liveaboards who wanted to improve upon the quality and ease of composting aboard.

Our head has a ledge on which the orignial toilet sat. The space is also a bit irregular, and the Nature's Head was a perfect fit in the area. My husband spent a few weekend afternoons cutting and sealing off piping in the head. You'll notice the abundance of chemicals which served to minimize any contamination or unruly smells.

Truth be told, it was a very, very yucky process and I will forever be amazed at how well my husband did this job. Unhooking and then pulling out the holding tank (which was kept under our port side couch cushions) was incredibly messy. The final step in unhooking the tank caused a waterfall of grossness that went directly into the bilge and in any crevice that was open and available.  Quickly, my husband instructed me to head up to the local liquor store to buy two big gallons of vodka (for disinfecting). I did just that, raced into the alcohol mart, picked out the cheapest and largest containers that I could find, and at the register the owner smiled and said, "Big party tonight? Heh, heh."

One gallon used for disinfecting (another I'm surprised my husband didn't drink that night) and a shop-vac completely ruined by all that it had to suck up led to a successful removal of the tank and a space ready for installation of the Nature's Head.

The toilet separates liquids from solids, uses either peat moss or coconut husk to compost the solids, and liquids are collected and later disposed of properly. There's a little fan in the solid tank which moves air around and pushes the light gas byproduct outside through a hose that runs up through the deck.

So far, it works great and we're happy that we no longer have to carry around of dispose of what composting can now take care of for us. Now there's just a lot of jokes among friends that they will not eat any vegetables that we grow this summer...

New Door

It's a wonderful thing to be married to a handy-man, but additionally fantastic is having a really handy father-in-law. We've had a few boat projects that needed to be completed ASAP, and my father-in-law has been a major assistance in getting a few things in order. Being back on the boat puts us only 10 minutes away from my in-laws, which is wonderful. We find that we stop in more often and they can visit on a whim, as well. And, when projects need to be done, it's a quick trip for my father-in-law to come over to build or inspect : )

We were in need of doors for the entryway. Our previous boat (like our current one) had slats that needed to be taken out in order to exit. I have become quite proficient in some jump-ups (jumping and pushing myself up and over the slats) but having doors is such a better feature. I told my father-in-law that he made a lifelong dream come true - I did always want french doors in any home that I lived in. Now that my home is a boat, these are perfect! The bay window.... not sure if that's doable.

From inside, we have three latches that allow us to secure the doors. There's also weatherstripping that my husband placed around the frame so that we are minimizing draftiness. The overhead sliding hatch fits perfectly over and to the outside of the two doors, which provides even more stability to the doors.

From the outside, our pooch has become quite proficient at jumping over the entrance onto the first step inside. That's proven to be wonderful especially on muddy or snowy days - the first step becomes a paw-cleaning platform before we allow him to run around.

It's a great addition : )