Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May 15, 2016 conch fritters and whelks

We decided to have a lazy day on the boat.  I guess 3 days of sun and swimming had caught up with us.  Dave watched The Hobbit.

I spent some time reorganizing our stored food.  I have a cabinet near our galley that I use for “staging”.  I bring food out of the storage area that I wasn't to use in the next week or two.  Plus I keep products that are in glass jars in this cabinet.  I did some sorting through foods to be sure we were using the cans that were closest to expiration.  Plus it’s good to remember what we have stored and come up with recipes for them.   I heard another boat refer to going through their stored food as “going shopping”.  I worked up a pretty good sweat doing this.  So I went for a swim behind boat and used a float to just hang out for a while.  Luckily, no remoras came out from under the boat to check me out.  They kind of creep me out. 

We decided about 3:00 to get in the dinghy and check out the rocks to the north of us.  We found whelk on the rocks and were able to get them right from our dinghy.  They are a like a large snail.  We thought we would need a screw driver or pick to pull them off the rock, but we were able to get them off by hand, wearing gloves.  We were so excited to find them so easily.  They were hard to refuse when they were right in front of us.  We ended up with about 15 of them.
hard to see the whelk on the rock in a picture
bucket O whelk

Our new social director, Cracky, invited us over for conch fritters.  Tania was making them from scratch.  I asked about the ingredients.  Cracky said they were made by mixing flour, bacon powder, ketchup and water, onion, sweet peppers, and conch.  Then you chill it for a while before deep frying.  I had never heard of bacon powder.  So I asked him what it was and where you find it in the store, etc.  Sounded fantastic!

Then I went into their galley to watch Tania and offer any help.  I asked her if I could see the bacon powder to see what to look for in the store.  She pulled out her baking powder!  I started laughing and went “OH, baking powder!”  She didn’t hear my conversation with Cracky about the bacon powder.  I had to then explain to Cracky that I knew what baking powder was, but thought he said B A C O N powder.  He probably did with he accent.  He must have thought “crazy American”. 
Tania making conch fritters

We made another “emergency conch salad” to share.  They had never heard of Rotel.  I guess it’s Mexican.  We both realized that we haven’t seen any Mexican restaurants in the Bahamas. 
The conch fritters were great.  They had much more conch in them than anything you get at a restaurant.  She made a dipping sauce out of mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard that was perfect.  We enjoyed a few beers and stories, but left before Dave got into telling jokes.  They wanted to send some left overs with us to help clean out their refrigerator.  They gave us peas and rice and potato salad.  I also got Tania’s Johnny cake recipe, another Bahamian treat. 

Back at the boat, Dave cleaned the whelk.  First you have to kill them by boiling or steaming them or freezing them.  We tried steaming.  Dave didn’t think he actually killed them with the steaming.  Some of them closed off their ends and tolerated the heat.  He used a screw driver to work them out of the shell.  But since some of them weren’t dead, they were a struggle.  You have to cut away the guts and end up with a chewy piece of meat.  We were told you had to cook them a long time, usually in a sauce, and then you can serve them over rice.  Dave decided to cook them for a long time in butter and garlic.  We ended up watching a movie and had the whelk as a chewy treat.  Dave called it whelk jerky and one piece could last you though the entire movie.  We don’t think we have to bother with them again.  Too much trouble for what you get. 

you boil them to get them out of the shell
they were like a big chewy snail

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