Our refrigerator died some months ago and though we intend to replace it later this year we are doing fine without it. At first we used a small ice chest, but keeping that filled with ice turned out to be more trouble than it’s worth. Two things would make this different: having an excellent ice chest (we just don’t want to make the room for it in our overcrowded boat) or being able to use our fridge as an icebox (sadly there is no drain) and being able to get block ice (possible but not easy in this part of Mexico). But if refrigeration is permanently or temporarily not part of your repertoire, don’t despair, tasty eating is still a possibility! Over the next week I’m going to do a series of recipes that don’t require refrigerated ingredients. I often find that recipes from other cultures don’t depend on refrigerated ingredients as much as our own culture.
First a brief note on refrigeration – lots of products you currently use and store in the fridge do not need to be refrigerated. Even if you have a refrigerator you probably don’t have so much chilled real estate that you want to store things that don’t need it – save that room for more chilled beer! To review you might read storing food without refrigeration.
A note on Stock
I used three main liquids on the boat to add flavor to most meals. These are canned tomatoes, coconut milk, and stock. Canned tomatoes, although a little difficult to find in Mexico where they grow fresh ones all year, are easy, as is coconut milk (although I recommend you avoid the “light” unless you have to avoid fats for a medical reason). However stock varies tremendously from brand to brand. It also comes in so many formats. What is best? As with most things, “it depends”.
Saving Water. If your boat has more storage space than water tankage, it would make sense to use the UHT or canned stocks that don’t require you add water. It’s not a bad idea to have a few of these for emergencies even if you do have lots of water tankage.
Saving Space. Those cans and UHT containers take up a lot of room. They also tend to be stored with the bulk stores, whereas I like to have some bouillon right on hand near the stove. I have two kinds now, the little jar of concentrated bouillon that you add water to, and the individual packets that are oh-so-easy but I feel bad about the trash generated. So I feel best about recommending the “Better Than Bouillon” brand. It comes in little jars. 1 teaspoon of the paste and 8 ounces of water makes a cup of stock. Very handy when you need odd amounts of stock, too – just add a dab more of the paste. It comes in chicken, beef and veggie base. Bon Appetit recommends it over boxed stock but recommends that you either buy the low sodium version or use only 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water.
An Easy Soup
Greek Lemon soup is an easy dish to make and uses no ingredients that require refrigeration. Lemon juice stores well on a boat, but it’s also easy to get lemons in tropical places. Your choice. The taste is light and refreshing, especially in hot places where you might not think of eating a hot soup.
Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Soup)
A quick easy light soup
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup rice
- 4 tbsp lemon juice (2 lemons)
- salt, pepper to taste
- parley for garnish
- Optional: chicken meat for more robust version
Bring stock to boil and stir in rice. Reduce heat. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is done.
Whisk eggs and lemon until frothy. Slowly add in one cup of hot stock from the pot to temper eggs. Add egg mixture to pot and whisk to combine. Add cooked chicken meat if you are using it.
Cook 2 more minutes and season to taste. Garnish with parsley.
Each day this week I will add another recipe that gives you flavor and interest without refrigerated ingredients.