The Galley: Summertime Herbs & Grilling

July 1st, 2018

By Betha Merit

Summer is in full swing! Time for grilling and refreshing drinks by the pool. Fresh herbs abound, perhaps in your own garden. Each of these recipes employs a different savory choice for a palate awakening experience. It’s a great way to discuss the nuances of herbal flavors, and discover which are the favorites.

Many offshore fresh catch options are available, including red snapper, mahi-mahi, tuna and cobia. And of course veggies are offered everywhere, from the supermarket to the farmer’s market. Enjoy these recipes one at a time or all together, if your tastebuds dare.

strawberry basil vodka soda The Galley: Summertime Herbs & Grilling

Strawberry Basil Infused Vodka Soda

  • 3 strawberries sliced
  • 3 basil leaves plus more for garnish
  • 1 ounce wild strawberry vodka
  • 6-8 ounces club soda
  • Ice

Place strawberry slices and basil in bottom of glass. Add vodka and muddle well with a wooden spoon. Let sit for a few minutes. Fill glass 1/2 full of ice, then fill with club soda. Splash with more wild strawberry vodka. Stir and enjoy.

tuna steak The Galley: Summertime Herbs & Grilling

Garlic & Thyme Tuna Steaks

  • 4 tuna steaks (6 oz. each)
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper

In a resealable 1 gallon plastic bag, add lemon juice, oil, garlic and thyme and mix. Add the tuna and seal bag, turning over to coat. Refrigerate up to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Remove tuna from bag, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drain and discard the bag. Grill tuna, covered, over medium-hot heat or broil 4 in from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or slightly pink center.

Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 pound asparagus, stalks trimmed
  • 3 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • lemon wedges

Preheat grill to medium high heat or an oven to 425 degree F. Divide the asparagus evenly among squares. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to desired amount. Divide butter pieces among each square. Fold the foil into sealed packets. Grill for 15 minutes, flipping once. Or bake in oven for 12-15 minutes.

Carefully open the foil packets and stir to make sure the butter and seasonings are evenly coated. Squeeze with lemon wedges if desired.

Creamy Cucumber Dill Weed Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup greek yoghurt, plain
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dill weed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sugar

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Let salad chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

The Galley: Light Suppers for Hot Weather

June 30th, 2017

By Betha Merit

The temperatures are warm in the Gulf Coast. In fact it can feel oppressively hot in July. What better dinner options than heavily garlic-seasoned meat, chilled and sliced over a bed of your favorite greens, then lavishly spread with a homemade chutney to complement the meat?

Of course fresh gulf catch abounds, and we certainly take advantage of that. Reality dictates that we won’t eat seafood every night of the week, so these hearty proteins and surprisingly seasoned toppings are welcome options.

apple pork The Galley: Light Suppers for Hot Weather

Apple Cranberry Ginger Chutney over Garlicky Pork Tenderloin & Greens


  • 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tablespoon dried garlic granules
  • salt and pepper to cover.

Generously coat tenderloin with spices, bake in 375 degrees preheated oven for about 45 minutes or inside temp registers 155 degrees with meat thermometer. Chill or bring to room temperature.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 large apples, cubed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

red The Galley: Light Suppers for Hot WeatherMelt butter in saucepan, add apples and stir a few minutes until slightly golden. Add remaining ingredients and cook an additional 5 or more minutes.


Layer 1 1/2 cups greens (per person) on individual plates, slice pork tenderloin in medallions over top and add generous amount of chutney over pork.

Serve with red wine, either Pinot Noir or a Cotes du Rhone.

Mango Mint Jalapeño Chutney over Sliced Chicken & Fresh Greens


  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons dried garlic granules
  • salt and pepper.

Melt butter in skillet/pan on stove, sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with garlic, salt and pepper. Pan sear until golden, then add white wine and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until chicken is done. Take off heat and chill with pan liquid.


  • 1 (3/4-pound) mango, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted in small pan on the stove
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
  • Mix all these ingredients to make fresh chutney.


Layer about 1 1/2 cups (per person) fresh salad greens on each plate, slice chicken breast over center of greens and spoon a generous amount of chutney atop chicken.

Serve with Sauvignon Blanc or an off-dry Riesling white wine.

The Galley – Appetizers and Wine Pairings

March 1st, 2017

By Betha Merit

Sometimes it is helpful to have a few light food offerings up your sleeve. What better meal than a trio of appetizers with pairings of wine? Well, maybe steak and lobster with a chewy cabernet is preferable, but that is for another day.

The following food bites are high in protein, so a lovely baguette with herbed butter is a welcome accompaniment. Note the wine pairing suggestion for each. You may prepare some of the foods ahead, and just assemble in the galley, as you like. For each recipe you can find several variations on the internet, just tweak to your desired combinations.

antipasti recipe The Galley   Appetizers and Wine Pairings


Pair with sparkling wines like Prosecco or Cava. Serves 8

  • 24 slices salami (Genoa) about 4” diameter
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
  • 4 ounces chopped fresh mozzarella
  •  1/3 cup chopped basil, save some for garnishing

Place one salami slice in each regular sized muffin cup, so it comes up the sides. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7 to 10 minutes or until salami is crisp. Let cool at room temperature. Next, in a large bowl stir together artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, Kalamata olives, most of basil, and the mozzarella cheese. Pepper to taste. If this mixture is made ahead, flavors meld excellently. Place the salami cups on a platter, and fill with the artichoke mixture. Garnish with remaining chopped basil.

meat ball recipe The Galley   Appetizers and Wine Pairings


Pair with a Pinot Noir. Serves 6-8.

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-ounce bag cooked frozen meatballs
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Mix together brown sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, peppers, and garlic. Place frozen meatballs in a 3 to 4 quart crockpot/slow cooker, and pour sauce over meatballs. Stir so all are coated evenly. Cook on LOW for four hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with toothpicks, appetizer forks. Also great served over rice or noodles.


Pair with Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay. Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large Granny Smith or Gala apple. Cut into 12 slices, brushing slices with lemon or orange juice to deter browning.
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese (or Swiss cheese etc.), sliced into 1/4” thick triangles
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced deli ham, cut in slices to cover half the apple

In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and mustard until smooth; set dip aside. On one apple slice, center a piece of cheese; wrap tightly around middle with a strip of ham. Repeat with remaining apples, cheese, and ham. Serve with dip on the side.

Simple Galley Recipes Using Canned Goods

October 31st, 2016

By Betha Merit

Sometimes simple is best. Due to time constraints, lack of fresh ingredients, or a desire to finish that compelling novel, you find yourself hungry and inspired to whip up an easy meal. Pat yourself on the back that your galley is stocked with canned goods, and that you have a few recipes up your sleeve that require minimal time to prep. The following recipes are enhanced with just a few fresh ingredients.

pasta recipe Simple Galley Recipes Using Canned Goods

Lemony Caper Tuna Pasta

  • 1 large can tuna, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
  • grated zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. dried pasta of your choice

In a pasta serving bowl, break tuna into bite-size pieces. Add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and capers and stir gently to combine. Set aside to warm to room temperature.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta well and immediately add to sauce in bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and toss. Serve at once with Parmesan cheese and pass the pepper mill.

chicken rice recipe Simple Galley Recipes Using Canned Goods

One Pan Chicken Rice & Veggies

  • 2 cups cooked rice (microwave rice is easy option)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables, leftover veggies, or drained canned vegetables
  • 1 large can chicken, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Spices: 1 Tablespoon thyme, 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon pepper

In skillet pan, sauté veggies in olive oil and spices until crisp tender. Add soy sauce and water. Stir in rice until blended. Stir in chicken; heat through. Let stand about 2 minutes.

The Galley: Fish Chowder Recipe and Pulled Pork

August 30th, 2016

By Betha Merit

As fall fish move about to their new homes, species such as drum, flounder and snapper are readily available for catch or purchase. And with the onset of cooler temps, our appetites are ready for heartier fare. Think soups, stews, and chowders.

It is also convenient to have an easy make ahead main dish ingredient for a simple but filling meal preparation. Pulled pork is a flavorful food that can be served over rice, on baked potatoes or in tortillas. Just add avocado.

fish chowder recipe The Galley: Fish Chowder Recipe and Pulled Pork

Fall Fish Chowder Recipe

  • 2 pounds black drum (or redfish, sheepshead, flounder or other white fish) cut into bite sized cubes
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 6 unpeeled red skinned potatoes, cut in small bite sized chunks
  • 3 diced carrots
  • one medium chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • optional fall veggies, chopped, up to one cup
  • 2 cups half and half
  • salt, pepper, Old Bay spice, fresh parsley.

Fry bacon in pan until crispy, remove from pan for crumbling, and keep grease. Sear fish chunks in hot bacon grease for several minutes, then remove from pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside.

Par boil the chopped potatoes for ten minutes, drain and place in large stew pot, adding the diced carrots. Crumble the cooked bacon on top, Sear the onions, mushrooms and any added veggies in bacon grease for several minutes with a dash of Old Bay, then pour the whole mixture into the stew pot. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and 1-3 Tablespoon Old Bay.

Add half and half (and water if needed) to just cover the mixture, and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat. You may thicken with flour if you prefer a thicker broth. Add cooked, seared drum for last five minutes of cooking. Serve with warm crusty bread.

pulledpork The Galley: Fish Chowder Recipe and Pulled Pork

Simple Slow Cooker Green Chile Pulled Pork

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder or tenderloin
  • 1 large jar green chile salsa
  • 3 teaspoons dried cilantro, oregano, or parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • water to cover
  • Optional: diced serrano or jalapeno peppers to taste
  • Avocados for serving options.

Grease slow cooker container with oil or spray. Cut pork into several large pieces and pat with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Pour salsa over pork. Sprinkle with dried spices. Add optional green peppers. Add water if necessary to cover pork. Turn on high and cook for about 8 hours, or until pork is falling apart.

To serve, use two forks to pull meat apart, while in cooker. Serve over rice, baked potatoes, or wrapped in tortillas. Garnish all with shredded cheese and avocado.

The Galley: Easy Boating Recipes For Winter Cruising

January 4th, 2016

By Betha Merit

It’s the New Year and winter here in the South. That means we can still go out on the water, although temperatures might dictate wearing jackets, hats and gloves. What it also means, is that our galley menu ideas bounce from salads and grilled fish to the cold weather desire for comfort food.

The following are easy boating recipes. With ample use of potatoes, corn, and bacon, your guests and family will leave the table greatly satisfied in tummy and soul.

bakedpotatosoup The Galley: Easy Boating Recipes For Winter Cruising

Easy Baked Potato Soup


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 TBSP freeze dried minced garlic, or one clove minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (24-oz.) package frozen steam & mash cubed potatoes
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • Toppings: cooked, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced chives or green onions


Melt butter in a large soup pan or Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, garlic and stir often for 5 to 10 minutes until golden. Sprinkle flour over this mixture until coated. Stir in bouillon and water. Bring to a boil on medium heat while stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

During this process, you can microwave the potatoes according to package, but do not add butter or milk. When cooked, stir the potatoes, half and half, and pepper into the onion mixture. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally until thickened. Garnish with bacon, cheese and chives.

tamalepie The Galley: Easy Boating Recipes For Winter Cruising

Tamale Pie


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 large can tamales
  • 1 can black olives, drained
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional Toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeños


Brown onion and beef together. Drain excess fat. Stir chili powder, salt, and garlic powder into meat mixture. Open can of tamales, drain excess liquid, remove papers, then chop in bite size pieces. Combine all ingredients in a large baking dish.  Cover with foil, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with desired toppings.


New England Clam Chowder


  • 6 cups bottled clam juice
  • 2 10 oz. cans baby clams
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled,
  • cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives


Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups bottled clam juice, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring chowder base to a simmer; cook until potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Stir into chowder base; return to a boil to thicken.

Remove base from heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in two 10-ounce cans baby clams and cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide chowder among bowls. Garnish with chives.

Desserts on the Water

July 1st, 2015

A taste of sweetness is a welcome treat when out on the water

By Betha Merit

The type of dessert most convenient to serve or prepare is dependent on several factors. Are you under power, sailing, or anchored? What type of boat are you on? Is this a dinner cruise or several days at sea? And, laughingly, are there kids on board?

The most important factor is the type of vessel, and does it have a full galley with refrigeration or are you rocking the ice chest? This dictates whether you can do a fancy dessert, or whether the least crumbly cookie bars (with no colored sprinkles) make the most sense. As always, storage, refrigeration, preparation time, oven capabilities, and trash management are details each dessert diva will consider. Remember, some desserts can be made ahead and brought on board.

Here are some recipes that may inspire you and fit your needs:

brownie Desserts on the Water

Aunt Bettylou’s Chocolate Chip Pudding Cake 

  • 1 package dry white cake mix
  • 1 large package cook-style chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups milk (according to pudding directions)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cook pudding with milk, let cool for several minutes. Pour dry cake mix into large mixing bowl. Fold warm pudding into dry cake mixture (will be lumpy). Pour into 9 x 13 inch greased baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake according to cake mix directions. When cool, cut into squares or brownie sized bars.

 briecrumble Desserts on the Water

Strawberry and Brie Crumble

  • 5 cups quartered fresh strawberries (two 16-ounce baskets)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, slightly softened
  • 1 package (5 oz.) Brie cheese spread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11 x 7 inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl toss the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. Spoon into baking dish. Now combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt, and using a fork or pastry blender cut in the butter until mixture resembles large crumbs. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Top each serving with about 1 tablespoon of Brie.

The Galley: Skillet Mexican Chicken Casserole

February 24th, 2015

chickenskillet The Galley: Skillet Mexican Chicken Casserole

Recipe by Betha Merit. Serves four.


  • 4 teaspoons oil or butter
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, Mexican blend
  • 1 large can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar of salsa or Ro*Tel®
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 of a (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of chicken, drained
  • Spices to taste (cumin, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, cayenne)


Heat all ingredients except chicken in the skillet (or large pan on stove) over medium-low heat. As things warm through and cheese is melted, turn off heat, and gently fold in the drained chicken. Cover the pan and wait 5 to 15 minutes until the chicken is warmed through. Serve with any garnishes you have on hand, such as extra shredded cheese, diced green onions, fresh cilantro, or avocados.

Gulf Coast Mariner Magazine