Fact 1: My husband and I are traveling to Alaska and back over 4-5 months.
We have been blessed with retirement and are taking a trip of a lifetime (I hope the first of many). We also live-aboard our Passport 40 sailboat now for that last 1.5 years. It changes your perspective.
Fact 2: I consider myself a competent cook.
I can follow a recipe successfully, and come up with something tasty for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m nothing like my friend Shirley who can make a great meal out of nothing. And I’m nothing like my late-daughter and her Culinary Institute of America graduate friends: Stew, Jenn and Jamie, to name just a few…
Fact 3: In my marriage, the person who gets hungry first usually cooks.
My husband rarely gets hungry at all (what’s with that?). And I get cranky if I don’t eat on time or thereabouts. It’s just the way it is. Guess who cooks first?
If you apply these three facts, you can bet that I will be doing most of the cooking on trip to Alaska following our retirement this May. Now too be fair, Dan does the bulk of the boat maintenance and management. It’s become a of division of labor but we all have our passions.
One of things I like about cooking on the boat is trying something new or making something that has become so mainstream that no one bothers making it by hand anymore. My recent project was pita bread.
I know. It sound lame. But I never considered making pita before now You get it at the grocery store, right? Not where we’re going, you don’t.
Before we left Anacortes I got a bee in my bonnet when I saw a recipe for pita bread. I have no idea why this excited me, but it did. When we stopped in at Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market, I specifically looked for the usual Greek stuff: Kalamata olives, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes. I was going to make tzatziki and pita bread. The tzatziki I’ve done before, the pita was another matter.
Clearly this has been on my list for a bit. I had downloaded the Easy Pita Bread recipe from the web. I’m a capable person, how hard could it be? Well…you must have all the ingredients first. I never thought I’d be looking for Instant Yeast. I have the No Knead bread thing down and I have lots of regular yeast. Note: I’m notoriously bad about thoroughly reading and following instruction, so now I’m looking for instant yeast. I finally found that in the Pender Harbour IGA, so here I go.
The first part of the process worked fine only to find out that I didn’t have a rolling pin. As a live aboard boater, you consider everything you bring onto the boat. Is it important? Will I use it? Does it serve more than one purpose? In this case, no, so when you are without you must innovate.
Our daughter came home from culinary school one holiday and made pasta for us using a wine bottle for a rolling pin. I’d figured out something…
Once I had everything situated, everything went well. The pitas puffed creating the desired pocket
Baking pita on our pizza stone cut down (by our son Christian) to fit our Force 10 propane Marine stove/oven.
It’s pretty small in there, just 16.5 inches wide x 9 inches high x 13.5 inches deep. Compare that to your standard home oven interior of approximately 25 inches wide x 16 inches high x 16 inches deep. A marine stove is a fine thing, but mostly up top where you get three nice burners with brackets to lock the pans in place if you are cooking while sailing. The stove pivots as the boat rocks, keeping your pans level. Nice! But the oven is not as good as home. As mentioned, it’s small. The oven heat can be a little uneven. Adding a stone…especially when you are baking…is the key to success.
The texture was good (we like them a little thick).
This is the one that didn’t puff.
It tasted a bit bland alone but made no difference when stuffed with good tasting things like tzatziki with lots of garlic, but I’ll add some whole wheat flour next time.
Pita bread results minus one.
Making pita just made my day. It gave me a sense of self-reliance that I used to get when we were camping and cooking over an open fired with stacked Dutch ovens. If all hell breaks loose, I can still cook a meal.
I had fun and now know how to make pita if the need arises again. So what’s should I do next? I’m thinking of Grandma Marie’s pie dough I can keep in the frig/freezer and make mini pies for Dan and me if or when we can find fresh fruit. Or guests come for a visit (hint, hint).
Here’s the recipe: