829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Monday, September 27, 2010

Surf and Turf

An hour before the start of the 2010 Tall Oaks-Windjammers
Challenge Cup.  The boats started to assemble, and at the start
there were 21 of us ranging from a Beneteau 43 to a C&C 25.
The first leg was a 4.4 mile close reach, drag race south to a mark
just off Tice's Shoal.  Then west to the "BB" marker at the end
of the Forked River channel, then a downwind finish back east
to the mark off Tice's.  It honked the entire time, and we were
on our ear for most of it. It could not have been more fun.

Beside sharing human whisker-pole responsibilities
with Ellen and Cathie, Dwayne was grinder
extraordinaire, and without him we would not have
been able to compete.  He had only sailed once
before, and Saturday he shed his novice label and
became a full-fledged must-have crew.  Minutes
after this photo, we finally allowed him his first cold
beer.  And then his second.

Approaching the finish, the Pearson 33 behind us
started to blanket us and was threatening to pass. 
At the same time, we were quickly gaining on 3
boats ahead of us. Action right down to the wire!
Olivia decided to come above deck for the last
several minutes to give me updated info on the boat
astern.  She spent most of the race getting thrown
around the cabin, eating chocolate covered donuts
and watching DVDs on her portable player.

Out of 18 boats that finished, we crossed the line a
respectable 10th, considering a less than perfect
start.  We corrected to 8th, and all aboard were
thrilled and proud with the result, especially considering
it was the first time we all sailed together.  The committee
boat, "Schnitz", has been a Metedeconk River Yacht Club
fixture for decades, and I was elated to be around her
again after so many years. 

The coveted cup.  We had a great gathering afterward
with Windjammers and also a few sailors from
Metedeconk who raced as well.  It was the first time
in six years that Tall Oaks had won the cup and we
were proud as hell to have helped bring it back.

Sunday morning, 9:45 a.m.  Tailgating at the edge of the swamps
of Jersey.  Artie brought his old couch from home.  He's recently
remodeled and figured he'd give it a farewell party.  After the game
it was left there along with an end table for anyone interested.

Artie, middle, arrives at around 8:00 a.m., getting the tent pitched
 and grills fired up.  The rest of the regulars file in during the next
two hours, setting up chairs, coolers, and unpacking wave upon
wave of grillable items. My buddy Jerry is at far right. 

Mark, with plate in hand, grilled the most incredible skirt steaks,
marinated, cooked medium, and sliced thinly.  What an array of
tailgate food.  I brought a couple of sandwiches leftover from the
race on Saturday, but when we got there, my mouth started
watering.  I freeloaded all morning.  Dry-rubbed, slow-cooked
ribs first, then Kielbasa and sauerkraut, two different kinds of
sausages, huge marinated prawns, jerk-spiced shrimp, then
the skirt steak.  Not a goddamn vegetable in sight.  Unless you
consider beer a vegetable.

And oh yeah, then we went in to watch the game.  We should
have stayed on the couch.  In the parking lot.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'll Go Up!

Olivia was all too willing to go up the mast to retrieve
the loose end of the flag halyard.  Using her life
jacket as a bosun's chair, she was winched up the mast . 
 She loved every minute of it. "Can I do it again?"
Next time we lose a halyard..... sure. I start
swaying just looking at this picture.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Because

Listen to this with headphones.  A phenomenal recording from so
long ago. It's a time I remember oh so well.........

Friday, September 17, 2010

Did Someone say Pirate?

Me 5th birthday paaaaarrrrrty.  My cake was even shaped like
a ship!  No Build-a-Bear, Chuckie Cheese, or Laser Tag in 1966,
just good old-fashioned, imaginative fun.  Here, we were blowing
our ships over the bounding main of the kiddie pool.  I can't quite
remember what the other activities were that day, but just
dressing like a pirate was probably good enough.  Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What to do?

Help!  4 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes, 4 pounds of heirlooms,
and 2 quarts of sauce (plum) tomatoes.  And 4 days 'til another
farm pick-up.  I'm not complaining, but with me working three nights
this week, there's not a whole lot of cooking going on around here. 
 Surely there are some folks out there who could give me some
original ideas as to what to do with these Jersey beauties. Dig deep. 
Make my mouth water.  It's easier than you might think. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pointy Futbol is back!

Soon there will be pot roast for dinner while watching the 4th quarter
of the late afternoon game.  Chimney smoke, rotting apples in the
backyard, lazy yellowjackets, dry leaves, cold nights.
  Now is the autumn of my contentment.  Made glorious summer
by this team of New York. 

Soccer is cool, and I loved the World Cup this past summer.
But there's something inherently satisfying about the NFL.
I was in utero during the 1960 Championship game.
My parents were painting the living room, listening to the
Eagles play the Packers.  Chuck Bednarik, Tommy McDonald,
Tom Brookshier, Pete Retzlaff, Norm Van Brocklin.
 I think it all started there for me, though
I no longer follow the team from Philadelphia.    

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eastern Shore Visit

Don't ever think that you can go back to somewhere you'd been
40 years ago and have your experience match the memories that
you've been carrying around with you that entire time.  Nine times
out of ten it ain't happening.  Oh well.  

Which figure should I pose behind?, my wife asked.
I love you Honey.

After lunch in St. Michaels, we took a drive to Tilghman Island,
an old fishing village just past Knapps Narrows, the channel that
separates the peninsula from Tilghman Island proper. This is the
Skipjack Thomas Clyde, built in Oriole, MD in 1911.
She is one of the last oyster-dredging Skipjacks in operation. 


The pushboat was originally used to power the Skipjacks to the oyster
beds.  There, the sails were hoisted and dredging took place under
sail only. Over the decades laws have changed, and dredging can be
 done under power any two days of the week, although one of which
cannot be Sunday.  Sadly, these days, most boats dredge only on the
power-allowed days.  There goes another long-standing tradition. 

Definitely the first photo ever taken from this vantage point.  Ever.

Back in St. Michaels.  'Nuff said.

Lovely scenic Locust Street.

The tasting room at the St. Michaels Winery.  We tasted a
Sangiovese and a Viognier.  I liked them both.  My wife, not
so much.  She had other ideas.  The Eastern Shore Brewing
Company was right around the corner.  Let's go.

Adrian Moritz at Eastern Shore Brewing Company was a great
host and walked us through the tasting flight of his four beers on
tap. They must be good because my wife loved three out of four.
And she's a wine drinker.  I, no surprise, loved them all.
We left with a six-pack of Duck Duck Goose, their rich, dark
porter that was not at all bitter with luscious coffee and
chocolate notes.  If we were not on a schedule, we would have
sat there a lot longer. 

From the upper deck, outside of our room at the Ship Watch Inn,
a beautiful Bed & Breakfast in Chesapeake City, Md.  Located
on the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, we had tremendous views
of the canal and the goings-on that such a view will afford. 

This tug and barge went by, and I couldn't help
thinking of a couple people.

Chestertown backyard. 

Ship's Boat of the Schooner Sultana.  It was named after a
dedicated volunteer who put every ounce of passion he had
into the schooner.  For a few moments, I was speechless.

Captain's quarters.  Due to the cooler weather, the AC had been
turned off and the windows opened. 

One of four swivel guns that Dad held so dear. These are hardly
guns;  instead they are mini cannons.  Not much arm-twisting was
needed to have him fire these things.  His powderhorn was always
full and an audience was not hard to find. 

The Sultana Company will be dropping the mast this winter to inspect
and repair it if necessary.  Earlier this summer, the shrouds were
inspected and the question arose as to whether or not they should be
re-served during that time. It was deemed that after ten years, the
pitch on the shrouds was still in good shape and that the job could
wait. Testament to the person that served those shrouds in the
beginning.  Never a half-assed job.  Ever. Too much pride.   

Gorgeous day.

Sultana with a bunch of schoolkids leaves the pier for a couple
hours of education and just plain fun.  That's the main mission
of this ship, and they fulfill it every day of the year.

I got choked up as I watched her pull away from the pier.
There's more of my fiber within that ship than I will ever
probably realize.  But every time I visit, it will become a
bit more clear, I'm sure.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tear 'em up Tilly!

Ah yes.  Proper sail trim and weight distribution, with the skipper
sitting half-in and possibly feathering a touch trying to fetch the
weather mark.  It doesn't seem like it was too windy that day,
but who am I to talk?  This was January 17th, 2010. 
In Newport, RI.  Did I say January?

I noticed he's got that go-fast carbon-fiber tiller that costs a
week's groceries for a family of four.  Thing is, he's now got
only a family of two, and his wife is a gardener par excellence. 
She can go out back and pick tonight's side dishes.  So the
disposable funds exist, to a degree. 

We know that he likes to run.  Marathons, half marathons,
Turkey Day Runs, beer runs, donuts........The guy is in good
shape, no doubt about it. I remember seeing an Ab-Crunch
bench picture in a post last year. He puts me to shame.

He's somewhat of a technical guy.  He practices alot. 
A real lot.  And  he takes it seriously.  I have to hand it to
him though, his work seems to pay off.  He's about to embark
on a trip that will ultimately place him on the starting line with
the world's  Masters Laser sailors.  

There's a blogger out there that not too long ago voiced his dislike
of being told to "be careful" before going somewhere or
doing something.  

"Is there ever a time when a thoughtful farewell of "be careful" actually resulted in that person who received that farewell having taken actions that he or should would not have normally taken?, ie, the "be careful" comment having helped? And even if a major fluke of an accident did take place -- like a car accident or slipping in the shower and breaking your skull -- could the most careful person have avoided it with even the most obsessive precautions taken?  Answer: no.
We live in a pretty safe world. The odds are in your favor to do whatever you want in over 190 countries and not come away harmed. "Be careful". What a shallow thing to say, based in fear."

Our sailor had a different take on it.  In his view, "be careful" meant
"I care for you and I want you back alive and in health." 

Tillerman- We're rooting for you!  Have a great stay at Hayling
Island.  Do well, but more importantly, have fun in the process.  
And be careful.     

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gravlax of Love

Every so often I get the yen for Gravlax, the quick-cured
salmon that's great with sour cream and capers on pumpernickel,
or an egg bagel with Philly cream cheese, or on the end of a fork
in between sips of gin or vodka or (insert liquor of your choice).

It's really simple to make, and after a couple of times making it,
I stopped going to the recipe because it really comes out great
no matter exactly which ingredients you use.

Salmon fillet is the key ingredient.  Weight doesn't matter so much.
Lay it on some plastic wrap.  In a bowl mix equal parts sugar
and salt.  Pretty much any type of sugar and salt will work.
I prefer brown sugar and kosher salt.  If you have a jar of
pickling spice, throw in a good amount.  If not, coriander
seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves, juniper berries, dried
chiles, and fennel seeds will fit the bill.  Add also whole
black peppercorns, and white ones if you have them.

A ton of fresh dill is needed for this.  Chop a few sprigs
roughly and spread evenly over the salmon.  This prevents
the salt/sugar mixture from coming into full contact with the fish.
This may be solely my preference, and I'm always happy
with the result.  Then pour the salt mixture over the chopped
dill blanket evenly at about a half inch thickness.  Finally,
cover everything with the rest of the dill bunches, again
spreading them out as evenly as you can.  Wrap two or 
three times fairly tightly with plastic film.  Then clean up
the mess you've made on your cutting board. 

Some folks say that weighting the fillet is not necessary,
but I like to do just that.  Get two pans where one fits
inside the other.  Place the wrapped salmon in the bottom
of one, and place the second on top, weighing it down
with a couple of heavy objects such as canned yams
and whole plum tomatoes.  A red brick would work
just as well.  Put in the fridge and say goodnight for 24
hours.  Then, take out of the fridge, remove the weights,
and pour off the juices that have been drawn out of the
fish by the salt.  Back go the cans and into the fridge
again for another 24.  Next day do the same thing.
On the third day, we're ready to unveil the finished
product.  Unwrap, remove the dill sprigs, scrape off
the remaining salt, (there usually is some undissolved)
and quickly run under a gentle stream of water, being 
careful not to rinse off all of the chopped protective
dill, leaving some on for a nice presentation. 

Then, with a very sharp, long slicing knife, slice salmon
 on a bias, and shingle the slices evenly on a nice plate,
displaying the beautiful chopped dill 
on the edge of every slice.  La di da.  

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So Familiar

When they saw the Disney dad, 
my girls immediately looked at me.  What!?
And seriously, nothing runs like a Deere.