Sunday, May 13, 2007

May 12, 2007 - Las Perlas, Panama

Fans of the Survivor series may remember the season filmed in the Pearl Islands, off the coast of Panama. We're spending the night tonight on the southernmost of the Pearl Islands.

There was very little wind today, so we motorsailed here from Panama City. Sten spent the passage dodging detritus in the water. We passed many floating logs, but the most entertaining was the shoe insole on which a bird was drifting along, and the runner up was a wooden pallet all over which crabs were crawling. We also passed a huge turtle swimming along and a pod of rays jumping out of the water, which was wicked cool.

I spent most of the passage making my grandmother's lasagna recipe. I doubled the sauce recipe so that we could use it for other pasta dishes in the next few weeks.

Grammy's Lasagna Recipe


2 T. olive oil
1 C. minced onion
1 clove garlic - pealed and crushed
1 lb. ground beef
1 can (2 lb. 3 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 C. red wine
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. salt 1 t. seasoned salt
1 t. sugar 1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
Few drops red pepper seasoning

Saute onion in oil until translucent, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add ground beef, cook till done. Add remaining ingredients and simmer. Crush the plum tomatoes against the walls of the pot to break them up.

1 lb. lasagna noodles - cooked
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
1 C. cottage cheese
1 lb. mozzarella

Mix Parmesan and cottage cheese. Layer sauce, noodle, cheese (cottage cheese mixture then mozzarella sprinkled over it) till gone. Top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 till bubbling (approximately 40 minutes).

My sister has always used ricotta in this recipe instead of cottage cheese. Mom is old school - she still uses the cottage cheese. I intended to use ricotta, until I found a slightly dated container of cottage cheese at the bottom of the fridge and decided to use it up instead.

As long as the oven was hot, it seemed like a good idea to bake something for the passage. It started raining while the oven was on, so we had to close all the hatches. Now it is like a sauna below decks, between the heat built up from running the engines all day and having the oven on for almost two hours, but it is worth it. There is a tray of lasagna and a pan of brownies cooling on the counter. The boat smells wonderfully homey.

As we anchored in Ensenada Playa Grande on the west coast of Isla San Jose, the rainstorm intensified, and thunder and lightening blossomed around us. Once the anchor was set, I got off the foredeck as quickly as possible. It looks like we'll have some good entertainment during dinner this evening.

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