One of the many benefits of living the in wonderful Pacific Northwest is the scarcity of summer days marred by the unbearable heat characteristic to other areas of the country. I spend the majority of my school break in shorts and a t-shirt, enjoying pleasant sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80’s. But every so often, the temperatures will spike, forcing the unprepared denizens of the greater Seattle area to awkwardly remove their shirts (while still wearing jeans, for some reason), switch to iced-lattes, buy COSTCO out of all of their otherwise untouched window-mounted AC units, and (ultimately) get tangentially invited to spend an afternoon on their brother-in-law’s friend’s super-nice boat.
Note: That last one might not apply to the entire population of the area, but the first three are universal certainties.
While many a King-County denizen might accept such an invitation, they would do so ironically, wear their Ray-Bans (the ugliest fucking sunglasses ever invented) and skinny-jeans on the boat and refuse to swim, my wife and I did so wholeheartedly, and – of course – offered to bring snacks.
My first inclination was to bring chips. I LOVE chips. But that seemed… pedestrian.
We were – after all – being given a special treat. So I felt that I had to reciprocate.
Boats present their own special set of problems when it comes to snacking. The food needs to be portable, and individually portioned. It needs to be easy to consume without utensils or plates, and it needs to be crowd-pleasing. Of course, as per my own standards, it also needs to taste good, and be a unique experience for the audience. In our particular case, it also needed to be hearty enough to be considered dinner.
So I set to work planning a menu.
Normal sandwiches? BORING
Pasta salad? TOO MESSY
Veggies? AM I A GODDAMN RABBIT?
Chips? PEDES…. yeah, I’ll buy some chips to bring along. I love chips.
Food on a stick? THERE WE GO!
After concluding that toothpick-borne bites would be my best option, I landed on the following three snacks:
- Caprese bites
- Deli wraps
- Smoked-salmon cucumber rolls
After a stint in the kitchen skewering marinated mushrooms, layering deli-meats, and peeling cucumbers, we headed down to the lake and shared the afternoon, and my snacks, with great success!
- 6 oz. fresh mozzarella – cubed
- 25 (or so) fresh basil leaves – wrapped around the mozzarella cubes
- 1 Columbus peppered salami – cubed
- 1 package cherry tomatoes
- 8 oz. Italian-marinated mushrooms
To make the bites, skewer three of the above-listed ingredients onto each toothpick in various, alternating configurations. The random variations allow people to pick through and finds the ones they want, and with so many options there’s bound to be something for everyone.
- Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach-flavored sandwich wraps
- 1/2 lb deli roast beef
- 1/2 lb deli bbq chicken
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 lb sliced smoked gouda
- 1/4 lb sliced horseradish cheddar
- mixed greens
I made two wraps, one with a tomato wrap, chicken, gouda, avocado, greens and hummus, and a second with a spinach wrap, beef, cheddar, mayo, avocado and greens. I rolled them up, pinned them every two inches with toothpicks, and sliced them into finger-sized bites.
Smoked-salmon cucumber rolls:
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 tub (6 oz.) whipped cream cheese
- 3 green onions – chopped fine
- 1 small bunch of chives – chopped fine
- 5 0z. smoked salmon
To make the filling, chop the green onions and chives, and flake the fish into a medium bowl. Fold the cream cheese together with these ingredients, until the mixture is uniformly blended.
Slice thin strips of cucumber (I used a mandolin) with the peel on.
Spoon a dab of the salmon mixture onto the end of each strip of cuke, and gently roll it until you can pin it into a tube with a toothpick.
These three treats were a hit all-around, were portable and clean enough so as not to leave the boat (or ourselves) a mess, and hearty enough to serve as dinner!
Enjoy… and happy boating! 🙂