Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts Genoa Bay left

Story by: Greg Nicoll

Photos by:  Kathy Mak

The old sea salt expression; “Over the transom”  can generally mean one of two things; we have lost something overboard, or something arrived unannounced.  Most often if something arrives unnannounced, we just toss it back into the sea, however, sometimes the object can prove to be a real treasure.  So, another boating cookbook arrived at our door without any advance warning and the choices were; to chuck it overboard, park it on the shelf with our other boating cookbooks, or crack it open and see if it was really something special.  Wow, we were hooked like a salmon!

Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts Genoa Bay rightSea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley by Alison Malone Eathorne, Hilary Malone and Lorna Malone with photography by Christina Symons and published by Harbour Publishing, instantly came to life. The photograhy is spectacular with stunning images from the Pacific North West, personal glimpses of the authors and of course, mouth watering photos of incredible meals and snacks. While much of book details the Malone family`s love of food, it is also an odyssey of a sailing family moving to the West Coast, embracing their passion for sailing, growing as a family and taking full advantage of the bounty of local foods and of nearby food artisans and growers, but the book also brings a sense of richness and satisfaction to the pleasures of eating aboard a boat .

The first thing that we did was to select some recipes and then we dove into trying to replicate the offerings from the book. It became a little addictive!  The Galley Guys  strongly recommend this book and want everyone that does not have access to the the special foods, ingredients  and flavours of the West Coast must not fear; using the book as a guideline will help you to discover your Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts - Greg, Hilary and Lornaown local flavours and local suppliers, who by the way, are usually interesting individuals that make onboard dining so memorable. Plus, the stories and adventures enountered when sourcing great food and preparing the meal, can spice up your dinner conversations.

The Galley Guys wanted to know more about the authors and started a dialogue, first through their publisher and then directly with Lorna Malone. Lorna is the Mother of the Malone family, but it quickly became very clear that Sea Salt was a collabrative affair with Mom and her two daughters. Our conversations became more involved and we went on to explain that we would be cruising in the Gulf Islands this year and we asked if there would be an opportunity to meet and interview the authors. Well, one spoon lead to a fork and then to a knife and before we knew it, the table was set to meet up with the Malones on the East Coast of Vancouver Island for dinner. 

Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts Hilary MaloneThe destination was Genoa Bay 48° 45’ 29” N, 123° 35’ 58” W,  a half way point between Port Sidney and their home base of Nanaimo on the north side of Cowichan Bay at the south end of Sansum Narrows.  Just being in Genoa Bay was a thrill. Post card  pictureque, a little funky, bit rustic, and totally laid back. Genoa Bay is surrounded by mountain vistas, towering pines, calm waters and a very eclectic aray of vessels. It was perfect!

The origins of Sea Salt started with sailing and racing on Lake Huron in Ontario and then in the late 1970s came the big move to the West Coast. Although the Malones spent many years without a boat,  it was always in their plan. They commissioned Bent Jespersen and crew from North Saanich to build a McCurdy & Rhodes design to be called Aerial. With much pride Lorna says that after 25 years, Aerial looks as magnificent as the day she was launched. But it was also fun to watch Hiliary start to unpack all the food, trimmings and supplies in the galley of Amritha, a Lagoon 400. Their sailboat , Aerial, is a traditional single hull wooden sailboat with a galley built for both racing and cruising. When Hilary`s eyes scanned the Lagoon`s enormous galley she smiled and said this was going to be fun!  Hilary, the fearless cook of the family (who won the Gold Medal in the Skills Canada BC 2013 competition), is a graduate of Vancouver Island University’s Culinary Arts Program and she jumped into action right away. 

 

Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts Beets CrostiniDinner Highlights

Balsamic Beets and Goat`s Cheese Crostini.

Each element of this dish had a story and both Hilary and Lorna were excited and proud to identify “their partners”, the local suppliers; The Crostini loaf was made from grains grown and milled on Vancouver Island by the Cowichan Bakery, the tangy goat cheese is from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, the beets are from their own garden and are ``punched` out to give a unique shape, and the sautéed beet greens, (when is the last time you had beet greens?) to give the dish an earthy  tone.  Chef Hilary selected a sparkling wine from Unsworth, a local vineyard, for its crispness - a great starter for any meal.

Dinner with friends needs great food and lots of time to talk, laugh and learn. The Seared Qualicum Beach Scallops with sweet corn-basil puree and heirloom tomato salad came with an overview of the changes happening to the Qualicum scallop industry. Lorna was quite concerned that with the rising of the water temperature and changes to the acidity in the water, the scallops needed to be brought to market sooner and are noticeably smaller than the scallops harvested just a few years ago, something she learned.  As boaters we often have a Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts seared scallopsfirsthand view of the results of our changing climate. It was suggested that this meal should be planned for the beginning of a voyage while the produce is still fresh. Hilary selected a Gewürztraminer, again from Unsworth Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley, as its dryness paired well to offset the sweetness of the scallops. 

Right at the beginning of Sea Salt, there is a section called the “Tool Box”.  Over the years of cruising and racing Lorna has put together a list of all the kitchen tools and gadgets that she feels are essential for running a proper galley for a journey at sea. One important item is a large stockpot for crabs, soups, and stews or when a large crowd shows up.  The large pot on the Amritha came in very handy for Hilary’s Pacific Cioppino. The Cioppino is a show stopper and a perfect al fresco meal. This fish stew has its origins in San Francisco and from the name you can guess it has Italian roots. Chef Hilary uses a combination of salmon, white fish like halibut, scallops, mussels, prawns and clams, or what is fresh and available. Make sure you have a crusty loaf or two of artisan bread to mop up all of the saffron infused tomato broth.  

Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts Unsworth 2012It was during the Cioppino that Hilary announced that she has just came back from Beijing  China where she had represented the Malone family by accepting the award they won; third place in the 2014 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards’ competition for the World’s Best Fish and Seafood Book. The results were announced at the first Beijing Cookbook Fair on May 20 and 21, 2014. The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards had named Sea Salt Canada’s Best Fish and Seafood Book in late 2013, which made it eligible for this worldwide honour. All at the table raised their glasses of 2011 Pinot Noir from Averill Creek’s Cowichan, Black Joie Farms to toast their marvelous accomplishment.

Often it takes a little extra touch to make something extra ordinary become something unbelievable. A coffee cake for dessert sounds very ordinary but this was no ordinary coffee cake. It burst with cranberries and hazel nuts and with Hilary’s flare for food styling, the presentation was a show piece. Actually, it was made ashore days before and kept in an air tight container as it did not need refrigeration. The coffee cake with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt, fresh raspberries and edible flowers along with a glass of local port was like the finale of a fireworks display. 

 

Galley Guys Old Salts and Sea Salts cioppinoMany of the traditions and practices of the naval services are passed from generation to generation of service members by sea stories as told and retold by old salts. An old salt might be heard saying “this is how we have always done it on this ship”.  On all boats, there will be always limited storage space, small galleys, long distances to markets and limited refrigeration space that often keeps us from eating like the admiralty. The Malone girls think not! Experimenting, seeking out local suppliers and taking some risks have taken them from racer/cruisers to internationally acclaimed cookbook writers. Maybe it is time to revisit your spice locker? Old Salts meet Sea Salts. Three cheers to Alison, Hilary and Lorna!!

 

 

Photos:

Photo 1 & 2 - Genoa Bay on Vancouver Island is a little funky and laid back with wonderful restaurants.

Photo 3 - Greg Nicoll with Hilary and Lorna Malone.

Photo 4 - Hilary Malone in the Galley of the Amritha Catamaran.

Photo 5 - Beets Crostini.

Photo 6 - Seared Scallops.

Photo 7 - Unsworth 2012 Gewurztraminer from Unsworth Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.

Photo 8 - Pacific Cioppino from Sea Salt: Recipes from a West Coast Galley cookbook.

 

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