Archive for category: Culinary Delights

Yummy Crab Macaroni Salad Recipe aboard Take Me There

Hi All! Yes, we’re talking about food again today. And today it’s all about our yummy crab macaroni salad recipe that we often serve at lunchtime aboard Take Me There full-day charters.

I love this salad for several reasons:

1. It’s easy to make this yummy crab macaroni salad

2. It is inexpensive and helps save money on the grocery bill

3. Our guests rave about this yummy crab macaroni salad and so I never worry about throwing any away

4. My grandmother and I used to make this together and so it brings back wonderful memories of grandma and me shopping and cooking together

5. Depending on the size of your crowd, you can easily cut down or increase the amount of pasta you cook and put into this yummy crab macaroni salad and that gives you a lot of flexibility with the amount of salad you make with this recipe.

Once again I am making a recipe that you can tailor to your likes or dislikes. If you have people who don’t like onion, leave it out. If you have people who especially like Old Bay seasoning, put a few more dashes in the bowl. Personalize this salad to meet your needs!

INGREDIENTS

  • Santa Barbara Bay Crab Salad
  • 4 stalks of diced celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (I left the onion out this time because I have folks who do not eat raw onion)
  • 1 16-oz box of large sea shell pasta
  • 1 12-oz bag of frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • About 1.5 cups of mayonnaise

STEPS TO MAKE THIS YUMMY CRAB MACARONI SALAD

Boil a pot of water for your pasta. As I mentioned earlier, you can use as much or as little pasta as you want for this recipe and it will enable you to increase or decrease the amount of yummy crab salad that you have for everyone to enjoy. It keeps well covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so feel free to make a little extra for tomorrow’s meal (But don’t be surprised if there is not much left of this yummy crab macaroni salad). 1 16 oz box of large sea shell pasta mixed with the other ingredients makes a Very large bowl for 15-20 servings.

Once the water boils, put your pasta in the pot with a dash of olive oil until it is just past al-dente. About 8-10 minutes.

While your water and pasta are boiling, you can dice your celery and chop your onions.

diced celery for yummy crab macaroni salad

When your pasta is finished cooking, strain it in a colander. While it is cooling, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper onto the pasta and mix it up in the colander. I love putting my salt and pepper on the hot noodles because the flavor tends to sink into the noodles.

After straining the noodles, adding salt/pepper, and stirring the noodles, add the bag of frozen peas. This will defrost the peas.

yummy crab macaroni salad pasta and peas

Open your container of Santa Barbara Bay Crab Salad, take a fork and break up the larger chunks of crab before you add it to your mixing bowl. I have had many people stop me at the deli counter when I am picking this up to ask me if this is any good. Of course, I tell them, I love it! At just over $5, I would not buy it as a stand-alone meal to make sandwiches with, but as the main ingredient to my yummy crab macaroni salad, it helps us serve something unique and cost-effective.

santa barbara bay crab salad

Now add your celery and red onion (if you are using onion) to your big mixing bowl. Add your crab salad to the bowl and mix these ingredients together.

Then you can add your pasta and peas to the big mixing bowl.

yummy crab macaroni salad before mayo

Add your 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning to the box and mix everything together.

And last you can gradually add your mayonnaise. It may take up to 1.5 cups or it may take a little more or a little less. Then you can sprinkle a bit of the Old Bay Seasoning on top as your garnish.

yummy crab macaroni salad

VOILA! You have just finished making your first (But certainly not your last) batch of yummy crab macaroni salad. Remember- if you don’t feel like making it yourself, just book a charter aboard Take Me There and request this yummy crab macaroni salad as part of your menu. Just say, “TAKE ME THERE”!

 

caribbean cole slaw

Delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw for July 4th Picnics

What’s a sailing charter trip without a yummy lunch that includes Caribbean Cole Slaw? You guessed it, I’m writing about food aboard Take Me There again. Happy July 4th everyone! And while we are partying on the water, many of you will probably be prepping for picnics and barbecues.  And what is a good picnic lunch without some delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw to go with it? Are any of you wondering why I call it Caribbean Cole Slaw? So glad you asked!

As many of you know, Steve and I traveled through the Bahamas in 2018. Before that trip, I had all these grand ideas of all the fresh fruits and vegetables we would be enjoying while sailing through the Bahamas. NOT!! Little did I know until we started researching and provisioning for that trip, there are only two fruits that are indigenous to the Bahamas – papayas and coconuts. All other fruits and vegetables must be imported. And if it’s imported, it is hard to get and expensive when you find it.

So I learned to prepare dishes with what was available. And there was plenty of papaya and plenty of coconuts. What could I make with papaya and coconut? Well, cabbage was always readily available and relatively inexpensive, so let’s try putting those ingredients together and see what we come up with. The next thing you know, we were eating Caribbean Cole Slaw with our sandwiches for lunch. But this recipe is especially good with your fish tacos. YUM!  Are you ready for the 8 ingredients to make this delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw?  Here goes!

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, shaved
  • 2 cups diced papaya (You can also use chopped pineapple, mango, apples or grapes)
  • ½ cup craisins (I use the reduced sugar ones)
  • ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon of shaved Coconut (You can use dried unsweetened coconut in the bag)

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

As with any recipe that I make, I always encourage others to use more or less of any ingredient that makes your mouth sing. If you like more carrots, then add more. If you like a sweeter taste, then add more papaya (or whatever fruit you are using). Of course, what completely sets this Caribbean Cole Slaw apart from other cole slaw recipes is the coconut.

So grab all your ingredients, and let’s start putting together your first batch of Caribbean Cole Slaw.

Let’s start with the dressing:

As far as the dressing goes, I whip the 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup brown sugar together with the 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in a small food processor to ensure that the brown sugar fully blends with the mayo and apple cider vinegar. I like my dressing smooth, not granular. I make the dressing first so it can fully set and the liquid melts the brown sugar to aid in the creaminess. Once blended together, put it in the refrigerator while you mix the other ingredients in your Caribbean Cole Slaw.

Now for the salad:

Tear off the outer layer of leaves on your head of red cabbage and then cut off about 5 slices of the cabbage. Largely chop those slices of red cabbage and put them into your mixing bowl. This will give you about 4 cups (give or take)

caribbean cole slaw red cabbagecaribbean cole slaw chopped cabbage

Shave two large carrots and then chop the shavings so they are also bite-sized. I like to shave my carrots first because I do not want the crunch of hard carrots in my Caribbean Cole Slaw. By shaving first and then dicing, you will get a subtler taste of the carrots and an easier texture.

caribbean cole slaw shaved carrots

Cut your papaya in half and scoop out the seeds. Depending on the size of your papaya, you may only need 1/4 of it. Slice it in order to make it easier to peel it. Once peeled, then you can dice it. Be sure to choose a papaya that is ripe but firm. You do not want your papaya turning into mush when you stir the ingredients together. If I want a sweeter taste, instead of papaya, I use pineapple. I choose apples if I want more crispiness to my Caribbean Cole Slaw. By the way- my go-to choice for the type of apple is Honeycrisp. They are firm and sweet. If I am using apples, I remove the peel and dice them.

caribbean cole slaw diced papaya

Toss in ½ cup of craisins. But feel free to add more if you like the texture and sweetness that craisins add to your salad.

caribbean cole slaw without dressing

Mix ¼ cup shaved coconut with the other dry ingredients. The extra tablespoon of shaved coconut is reserved for after the dressing has been added and used to sprinkle on top. If you like the texture of coconut, you can choose to add more, but I find that ¼ cup plus a tablespoon to sprinkle on top of this Caribbean Cole Slaw is all I need.

So now that the five salad ingredients are in the mixing bowl, it’s time to mix it all together. Then grab your dressing from the refrigerator and pour it over your salad. After you have mixed the dressing with the salad, then you can sprinkle the tablespoon of shaved coconut over the top.

caribbean cole slaw with dressing

VOILA! There is your first batch of Caribbean Cole Slaw. Be sure and drop me a comment and let me know how it turns out.

Remember- if you don’t feel like making it yourself, you can always book a charter aboard Take Me There and ask us to add it to your menu. Just say Take Me There!

We hope all of you have a happy and safe July 4th holiday.

 

amazing shrimp ceviche aboard take me there

Amazing Shrimp Ceviche Recipe Aboard Take Me There

Hi sailing and foodie friends! You guessed it- this post is going to be about one of my favorite appetizers aboard Take Me There.  Shrimp ceviche – Take Me There style has again gotten rave reviews this week and when the third person asked me for the recipe, I decided it was time to publish my recipe so you can make this amazing shrimp ceviche at home. After seeing how easy this is to make, you’ll want to make this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe for your next get-together. And with June just days away, this appetizer has cool summer snack written all over it.

So let’s jump right into the ingredients for this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe. Ready? The list is so short you may miss something if you read too fast. So slow it down and take it all in.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Campari tomatoes (They are little so that is why you need so many)
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • ¼ small red onion
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped cilantro (Buy a full bunch and then you’ll just need about 1/5 of the bunch)
  • 10-12 large cooked shrimp (you can buy raw and boil them yourself or buy them already cooked)
  • 2 limes
  • 1/8 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Before I jump right into the step-by-step part, let’s talk a little bit about the ingredients.

Short FAQ list for your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe

Why Campari tomatoes? Can’t I use any kind of tomatoes?
I’ve tried several different kinds of tomatoes in this recipe. And while large tomatoes are certainly easier to slice, remove seeds, and dice the meat of the tomato, there is something about the sweetness and richness of Campari tomatoes that I absolutely love. There is usually 8-10 in a small plastic tub. And remember that tomatoes NEVER get refrigerated. Store them in a cool, dark place and they ripen beautifully and provide the savory sweetness for this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe.

Why red or yellow and not green peppers?
Another great question. Red or yellow peppers have a sweetness to them that is missing in green peppers which tend to be a bit more on the tart side. Red peppers are the sweetest, but yellow peppers add more color to your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe against the red tomatoes. In these photos, you’ll notice that I used red pepper this time.

Does it have to be red onion?
Yup, red onions have a sweetness to them that you won’t find in raw white onions. The slight purple color also looks appealing.

I notice a jar of minced garlic in the picture, can I use fresh garlic?
Absolutely, you can use fresh garlic. I happen to like the punch that you get from minced garlic (And I really hate to use a garlic press). Another reason- I use a LOT of garlic in many recipes and being able to stock up and open a jar when I need it makes my life easy. And shouldn’t life be easy sometimes?

Can I use dried cilantro or already bottled lime juice for this recipe?
NOPE! What makes this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe is really not the shrimp, it’s the fresh cilantro, fresh limes, and the Campari tomatoes.

Can I cheat and use frozen shrimp?
YES! I have done that too and honestly; I do not notice a difference. Buy the already cooked frozen shrimp and you will be just fine! Lately, fresh shrimp has been too expensive, so I have been buying frozen raw shrimp. I defrost the shrimp (Defrost slowly in warm water) and then boil a pot of water. I put the shrimp into my metal colander and poach them in the boiling water for about 2-4 minutes until they are fully cooked. What I DO NOT do is use raw shrimp and allow the shrimp to “cook” in the lime juice, as many restaurants do. The shrimp must be fully cooked and then diced. But do not overcook the shrimp because then it gets rubbery.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
YES! Here’s the trick. Mix together the tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, diced shrimp, and cilantro and refrigerate. The morning that you are going to serve this amazing shrimp ceviche, juice your limes and make a dressing out of the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients and let it marinate in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Stir it before you serve it and you are ready to go! You can make this up to 4 days ahead of time and it stays fresh in the refrigerator if you do not have the dressing on it.

I’ve seen other ceviche recipes mix the cilantro into the lime juice as part of the dressing. Can I do it that way?
You could do it that way, but I have found that part of what makes this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe is that you are not mottling the fresh cilantro into the lime juice and making the cilantro soggy. The cilantro stays crisp when you mix it with the other vegetables rather than using it as part of the dressing.

What if we don’t like shrimp?
WHAT??!! Just kidding! That’s ok. I have substituted conch, cooked halibut, roasted chicken, or mango in place of the shrimp. My second runner-up to this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe is made with fresh mangos.

So with those FAQs out of the way, you already have an idea of what the steps are to making this amazing shrimp ceviche recipe, but here it is anyway! 😊

raw ingredients with a bowl of amazing shrimp ceviche

DIRECTIONS TO MAKING YOUR AMAZING SHRIMP CEVICHE

Dice your onion and pepper and put them into a mixing bowl.

Cut your Campari tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and the core. Then you can dice the meat of the tomatoes and mix it with the onion and pepper.

Dice your cooked shrimp.

Chop your cilantro finely – about 1/5 of the bunch.

Mix onion, pepper, tomatoes, shrimp, garlic, and cilantro together and refrigerate.

DRESSING
Juice your limes. Mix the juice with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, a few grinds of salt and pepper and whisk together. At least a few hours before you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over the shrimp ceviche and refrigerate.

juicing limes for amazing shrimp ceviche

GRAND ENTRANCE TO THE TABLE

Serve your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe with Tostitos Lime flavored chips. DONE AND YUM!

amazing shrimp ceviche with lime chips

There you have it folks- your amazing shrimp ceviche recipe. But if you don’t feel like making it yourself, we hope you get some friends together and come enjoy it with us on your next sailing charter- where all food and drinks are just part of your sailing adventure. Just say, “TAKE ME THERE”!

amazing shrimp ceviche with take me there tumblers

 

top food staples we can't live without

3 Top Food Staples We Can’t Live Without Aboard Take Me There

Hi Take Me There Sailing friends! Our mission aboard TMT is “enriching lives through exceptional experiences” and one of the ways we achieve this mission is by tantalizing your tastebuds and introducing you to new foods and drinks that you may not have tried before. We also strive to promote Florida-made products and businesses. (Even better if it’s a small business that we can give a shout out to). So here is a quick peek at a few of the delights that we enjoyed onboard this week. If you are a foodie- then this info is just for you!

  1. One of the 3 top food staples we can’t live without is seafood! Nothing says Florida like a seafood meal and we certainly do love our seafood aboard Take Me There. Appetizers like shrimp cocktail and shrimp ceviche, a lunch that includes crab salad, and a dinner of sauteed scallops are just some of our favs and one of the 3 top food stables we can’t live without. We would not be able to serve these spreads without the assistance of Punta Gorda’s own Fresh Catch. In addition to their seafood, one of the other items that have recently gained a lot of attention on our charters is the sauces. And what else would you call a company that makes seafood seasonings? Of course, Florida Seafood Seasonings, based in Wesley Chapel, Florida. They are perfect as an alternative to cocktail sauce for your shrimp cocktail and scrumptious on scallops. My favorite is the Mango Wasabi sauce, but the Stone Crab Sauce is a close second! (It’s also worth noting that we have looked at many stores for these sauces, and have only found them at Fresh Catch).

So what comes next after a great dinner? Dessert of course!

  1. The second of the 3 top food staples we can’t live without are desserts! For those of us who live in Florida, we may take Publix for granted. But for those of our guests who may have just moved here or are visiting from out of state, Publix is a little-known entity- but something we just can’t live without aboard Take Me There- especially the bakery! A few weeks ago, we hosted a family aboard and enjoyed a different Publix bakery cake every night of their stay! We are all about ending our charters with a tasty dessert and Publix enables us to provide one of the top food staples we can’t live without- fresh, delicious sweets. One of the desserts that seems to get the biggest raves is their gluten-free chocolate torte. (It may be gluten-free but it is definitely not sugar-free or calorie-free). It is absolutely scrumptious with a bit of whipped cream and a few fresh strawberries. It just melts in your mouth!

And now that I’ve tempted you with a meal and dessert, what comes next in our list of top food staples we can’t live without? A good drink! And lately we have a new favorite from another fun and successful Florida business- Fort Myers Brewing company.

  1. The third of our top food staples we can’t live without is not quite a food- but rather a beverage. And unlike that chocolate torte that I’ve tempted you with, Spyk’d hard seltzer by Fort Myers Brewing contains 0 sugar and 0 carbs. Woohoo!! I personally have three favorite flavors- mojito, pineapple, and lemon-lime. Add a slice of lime or an orange wedge and it’s the perfect refreshment on one of our hot Florida afternoons. And with 0 sugar and 0 carbs, it is also the perfect drink for folks who are diabetic or watching their summertime figures.

These are just a few of the top food staples we can’t live without that help us to create exceptional experiences for our customers. We are always looking for new tastes to introduce to our guests and items to add to our list of top food staples we can’t live without. Do you have a product that we should have onboard? Let us know! We look forward to seeing you onboard for your next special event. Just say TAKE ME THERE!