Let’s Talk Food: ‘Love Boat’ food and beverage department

On our recent cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I took one of the food and beverage tours that included cooking demonstrations and a walk-through of one of the three kitchens on the ship.

Executive Chef Raggie Saldanha of Goa, India, of the Ruby Princess oversees the day-to-day operation of 200 food preparers, while the Maitre d’ Hotel, Giorgio Pisano from Pizzo Calabrio, Italy, oversees 300 food and beverage service personnel.

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Each dish is skillfully made from scratch, from their signature pastas to their homemade pizza.

The bakery does not place the rolls and bread into the oven until one hour prior to service, so if you enjoy a roll at lunch or dinner it is difficult to resist having only one. In fact, all the bread and rolls are baked fresh three times a day.

There were 10 of us family and friends on the cruise, so we ate most of our three meals together. We found that although the buffets were all you can eat, we preferred to be waited on, so we ate most of our meals in the Da Vinci Dining Room. The wait staff were very accommodating to our special requests or when we ordered two entrees. They combined the two into one plate, such as pasta alfredo with roasted chicken, with no problem. After we took the tour to the back kitchen, we realized the kitchens were so huge and the stations were labeled with the dishes lined up so the special orders were replated in the dining room before being presented to us and not in the kitchen.

On a cruise ship, there are no open flames and most stove top cooking is done on convection stoves. Loving my gas Viking range, it is hard for me to imagine not cooking with gas.

Here are some recipes from the Ruby Princess Cruises.

Copper River Salmon Tataki Style

(Copper River salmon is usually available from May-August)

2 pounds Copper River salmon

1 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

2 sheets nori, cut into julienne pieces

In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and marinade salmon a few minutes. Place in a metal tray. With a gar torch, cook the salmon on each side to obtain caramelization.

Coat the salmon with toasted sesame seeds. Place nori shreds on top.

• • •

Crispy Salmon and Chive Cream

2 pounds salmon filet

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped

1/3 cup turnips, cubed and blanched

1/3 cup sweet potatoes, cubed and blanched

1/3 cup carrots, cubed and blanched

1/3 cup parsnips, cubed and blanched

1/3 cup beets, cubed and blanched

1/3 cup round onions, chopped

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Season salmon with salt and pepper. In a fry pan heat the olive oil and place the salmon skin down first. Cook for 7-8 minutes, then flip over and cook for another 4 minutes and reserve.

In a pan, heat the butter then add the onions.

Cook for 2 minutes, add all blanched vegetables, saute for 2 minutes.

Pour vodka and flame it. Add the sage and adjust the seasoning.

In a bowl, mix the sour cream and the chives, season with salt and pepper. Plate.

• • •

Salmon Gravlax “A La Minute”

2 pounds salmon

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons horseradish

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons dill, chopped

10 pieces cherry tomatoes

1 piece romaine lettuce leaf

Slice the salmon very thinly. In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the tomatoes and lettuce, and marinate the salmon for 20 minutes.

Cut the tomatoes in half, cut the romaine into 4-6 pieces lengthwise. Plate.

I had salmon for my dinner choice several times and it was cooked perfectly.

The salads were also crisp and fresh.

Overall, the food was great, but the downside is because the food is part of the tour package, you tend you eat more than you should and tend to gain weight on cruises.

Thank goodness for the daily trip to the gym and the swimming in one of the many pools.

Foodie bites

You still have time to place your Thanksgiving orders at Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Arts program for pick up from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 21.

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The choices are prime rib for $14.95, roast turkey with all the fixings for $9.95, a 9-inch pumpkin pie for $9.95 and one dozen dinner rolls for $5. Call 934-2559 to place your orders. If you are leaving a message, leave your full name, phone number, quantity of item and pick-up time.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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