One of the best things about cruising is the people you meet. Away from TV and living in the outdoors, you just do more with other people, whether it’s a hike or beach stroll, a day in town or an afternoon of snorkeling.
And what a diverse group! We’ve become friends with people from all over the world, all stages of life (where else are unrelated 70-somethings and 20-somethings going out for a beer together?), those with small bare-bones boats to luxury yachts, single-handers and even a family of ten! Name almost any “group” – ethnic, religion, lifestyle, politics, nationality, economic status, whatever – and we probably met someone in it while cruising.
When we had to move ashore for six years to deal with medical issues, we sorely missed both the ease of making new friends and the diversity that are both an automatic part of cruising. Back living aboard and cruising full-time, the people we meet are again one of the things we love about the life.
On land, I don’t think I ever invited someone I’d just met over for dinner that same evening. On a boat, you do – who knows where you’ll both be going the next day?
One of my favorite recipes for short-notice entertaining – combine with a loaf of Beer Bread and a glass of white wine for a great meal.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup olive oil or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic paste or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon sugar*
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely torn fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced green onion top, for garnish
- If chicken breasts are thick, begin by flattening them. To do this, place them (one at a time) in a zippered plastic bag and lightly pound with a hammer until 1/2” to 3/4” thick. Place all four chicken breasts into a zippered plastic bag or other plastic container for marinating.
- Thoroughly mix the Dressing/Marinade ingredients in a cup or small bowl. Pour about half of it into the bag with the chicken breasts. Seal the bag and turn it over several times to coat the chicken well. Place the bag with the chicken in the refrigerator.
- The chicken can marinate up to two hours and the bruschetta topping can also be made in advance.
- Place the tomatoes and onions for the bruschetta in a small bowl (if using dried basil, add it now also) and pour the remaining dressing over them. Toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate until time to serve.
- Chicken can be cooked on the grill or in a skillet. Test for doneness with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast; chicken is done when it reads 165° F.
- Grill marinated chicken breasts over a medium-high fire for about 5 minutes per side.
- Heat skillet over almost-high heat. When a few drops of water sizzle in pan, add chicken breasts and cook about 5 minutes per side.
- If using fresh basil, add it to the bruschetta now and gently mix.
- To serve, place chicken breasts on serving plate or individual plates. Spoon one-quarter of the bruschetta mixture over each one, then garnish with a few green onion slices.