The Galley Guys have an idea, take out a sharpie and draw a big large circle on your calendar around October 10th, 2011, Thanksgiving Day. Consider this circle a waypoint for your boating season. Maybe even draw an arrow pointing to the circle as a statement that you are taking full measure of both the joy and beauty of your boat and the aboard companionship of friends and family.
Many of our friends consider the passing of Labour Day as the hard stop of the season and resign themselves to shutting down for the winter. It is time to fight the pain of a long drawn out "not boating season” by concentrating on food and friends, rather than hauling-out, shrink-wrapping and pouting. If you're concerned about the chill in the air, get some better gear, think about having a furnace installed on your boat, get a thicker duvet or snuggle closer together. But don’t miss the beautiful fall colours, the chevron flight of migrating geese passing over head or the freshness of autumn air. The Galley Guys are fully committed to fall boating and have marked a circle on Thanksgiving Day for a special meal.
Galley Guy's Five Steps for a Great Boating Thanksgiving Dinner
#1 The first thing to do is to invite family or friends or both for a special Thanksgiving dinner on your boat, make home-made invitations and send them to your guests. Now that you are committed, Step 2!
#2 Design your menu: turkey breast (maybe two), vegetables, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie or that special family tradition dessert that has been passed down through your family's history.
#3 Find a pretty favourite spot to anchor so as to admire the view.
#4 Decorate your boat. Lay out some Indian corn, colourful leaf arrangements, a cornucopia, gourds, and the warm glow of container candles that will make whatever you choose for dinner seem much more festive. If you lay down a nice white tablecloth and napkins with a centre piece of fresh fall flowers, you can be almost as classy as the Galley Guys are.
5# Take pictures of your boat full of friends with a backdrop of some spectacular fall foliage and enjoy!
For number one, three, four and five, you are on your own, but the Galley Guys can help with number two: the menu. Our suggestion is to keep it simple. On our last floating Thanksgiving dinner, we chose a turkey breast over a full bird as it took minimal preparation and fit nicely on the marine barbeque. Start with a turkey breast, locally grown (recommended), hand rub with olive oil and add spices (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme – just like the Simon and Garfunkel song). BBQ for 20 minutes per pound at a medium to hot temperature. A meat thermometer is really important as BBQs are not as accurate as home stoves and guessing is not an option when guest are coming; internal temperature of 170° F – 180° F will do nicely.
The fall is especially rich with local farmer’s markets everywhere, great locally gown vegetables, savoury herbs and spices. Those once a year flavours like parsnips and turnips can be also be done on the grill. Galley Guy John insisted that Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. Boiling and mashing potatoes is easily done or but if you're tight on time space, dare I say take the easy way with a box of instant mashed potatoes (substitute cream for milk for a smoother and richer version). It is surprising how good they taste with lots of gravy and pepper. (You could also prepare the potatoes ahead of time and just heat up in the microwave. Either way, turkey gravy is mandatory but impossible, as is stuffing, when grilling only a turkey breast, so we picked them right off the grocer’s shelf. We jazzed them up with some more seasonings, fried onions, mushrooms and garlic. Greaves make a wonderful jar of cranberries which tasted as if they were almost fresh. Our acorn squash was cooked in
the microwave, but is also very tasty if cooked on the BBQ’s top shelf, or oven with a little salt, pepper, and butter. Bring a pumpkin pie from home or buy one at the market stall. We must confess the Galley Guys took the easy way out and brought whipped cream (in a can) to round out the meal as we didn’t have any beaters on board. Next year!
To take the chill out of the evening air, the Galley Guy's sniffed a little Johnny Walker Black floowed by a beautiful bottle of California Sterling Cabernet Sauvignon – - a personal Galley Guy favourite – to complement the meal .
Thanksgiving Dinner On Board
1 (approximately 3-pound) turkey breast with bone
3/4 teaspoon salt - divided use
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper - divided use
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Rub turkey with olive oil then sprinkle turkey breast evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Place turkey, breast-side down, on prepared grill. Cook to a golden brown, turning to sear all sides, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine barbecue sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well.
Baste entire surface of turkey with sauce. Continue grilling, allowing surface to caramelize and turn deep golden brown, but without burning, about 15 minutes.
Remove breast from the grill and wrap in aluminum foil, sealing all sides. Return to grill until turkey has reached an internal temperature of 170° to 175°F (approximately 80°C), about 45 minutes. Remove from grill and let sit for 10 minutes before carving.
Makes 12 servings.
By Galley Guys Andy Adams, John Armstrong and Greg Nicoll