spaghetti and meatballs

Luki’s Meatball Recipe

Tuesday January 28, 2014

spaghetti and meatballs

What was that? A recipe? On this site? Don’t worry, this isn’t something I concocted on my own, I wouldn’t subject you to that. No, this is something much better. Luki’s recipe for his spaghetti and meatballs that he passed down to me and, even better for you, had no objection with me sharing it on our site.

These are hands down some of the best meatballs I have ever tasted in my life anywhere, and I’m here to share the recipe with you today. I’ve made this recipe on my own now, unfortunately not having all of the ingredients that Luki had made them with each time we were served them on Skebenga, although they still came out pretty frickin good. Below I’ll write the recipe as it was given to me, and then let you know how I prepared it myself. Also, there weren’t necessarily measurements of the spices included when I was told how to make it, so I’ve attached photos of what my mixing bowl looked like before combining everything. It may take a few attempts to figure out exactly how much of everything you want to include, a little more of this, a little less of that, but I promise, you still won’t be disappointed with your first few tries.






1 lb ground beef (or pork)

2 shallots/spring onions

2 cloves of garlic

Lots of salt & pepper (yes, I’m giving this to you verbatim)

Flavored salt, possibly something with lime or other citrus flavorings

¼ cup Parmesan





Mix ingredients together and form into balls. Lightly oil a non stick pan, wait for the oil to heat, place meatballs inside pan. Let meatballs brown, turning half way through to fully cook. Approx 8-10 min.


What I did

Well, I’m terrible at making grocery lists, and even worse about remembering to bring them to the grocery store with me, so I was not able to get the shallots/spring onions because I forgot that I was supposed to look for them. In place I used about a half a cup of chopped white onion. It did the trick, but I think the shallots would have been more flavorful if I’d used them. Since I did not measure out any of the spices, I’d venture a guess that I added about a ½ teaspoon of black pepper, a few pinches of table salt, and a few sprinkles of garlic salt. I probably could have gone just a little bit heavier on the salt and pepper.

About a half teaspoon of thyme was added, although I probably could have gone up to ¾. I used dried Rosemary sprigs and used about 3 pinches of them (is that a term?). Mixing everything together, I was then able to separate the meat into 14 medium sized balls, although you could always change it to fewer balls if you want them larger.






½ chopped onion

can of diced tomatoes (or approx 4-5 fresh roma tomatoes)

splash of dry white wine

tomato paste (add to preferred taste/thickness)



In lightly oiled non stick pan, add the onions and sautee. Then add the diced tomatoes along with the splash of dry white wine, and simmer 5-10 minutes. Place the meatballs in the sauce to soak and cover. If the sauce is thin, add tomato paste to desired thickness. Add a spoonful of sugar and let simmer for another 20-25 minutes.


What I did

Since I live in a small space and like to fill my sink with as few dishes as possible, I used one pan throughout this. I’m not claiming to be a master chef, so I don’t know if that changed the outcome, but it still tasted just fine to me. I added the onions right to the pan that the meatballs were cooking in and let them simmer for 2-3 minutes. I did not have any white wine on board, so I omitted that step. Since my can of diced tomatoes appeared to be making a very thin sauce I ended up added a 5 oz can of tomato paste and it worked out great.  Also, I added a can of mushrooms since, well, they’ve been sitting in the bilge for 18 months and really needed to be used.


End Product

Boil your pasta while the sauce still has about 10 minutes left to cook. Then…serve. For a garnish, add chopped cilantro. (Who would have thought to add cilantro to spaghetti? Not me, but turns out it tastes amazing!)

meat and spices

My 400 g of ground beef topped with all the seasonings.

meatballs on plateFormed into meatballs and ready to hit the skillet.

meatballs and sauce

 Everything simmering together in the pan.

spaghetti and meatballsVoila!  Delicious meal!


Bonus – Garlic Bread


(this is something I grabbed offline and thankfully has all measurements listed)


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 (15 x 3 ½ inch) loaf Italian bread

¼ cup Parmesan cheese



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Stir together butter, oil, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl

Using a serrated knife, cut bread in 1” thick slices without cutting all the way through

Pull apart slices and use a pastry brush to butter them with garlic mixture, then sprinkle with Parmesan

Wrap the loaf in foil and bake in the center of the oven for 15 min

Open foil and bake for 5 more min

garlic bread


breakfast on Hydromax

The Breakfast Club

Sunday July 14, 2013

breakfast on Hydromax

During our few weeks here in the Rio Dulce, we’ve developed a bit of a breakfast club.  But to tell you how that came about, I’d have to back-up a little bit, and tell you about our dinner club.  Ever since the crews of Serendipity and Skebenga threw a dinner party for Luis at the ranchito last week, Matt and I have not had a chance to prepare a dinner on our own.  First it was ordering a pizza at the marina with Luis, where he told us more about his restaurants and all the special dishes he used to cook.  Then it turned into Luis wanting to fix us one of those dishes the next night.  While raving to him about his cooking skills, he’d tell us about the his next favorite dish he wanted to prepare for us the next night.  Throw that in with the weekly Friday pizza and movie special here at the marina, and we haven’t done more in our galley than heat up some top Ramen for lunch every day.

Through the dinners on Hydromax, we’d try to offer bringing sides or even money to cover at least our portion of the groceries.  Each time we were turned down for those but did turn into the official dishwashers afterward.  Our dinners saw us through the departure of Elmari as she left to spend the summer with family in South Africa, and the addition of a new friend at the marina, Ana Bianca.  It seems like everyone in our group, Luis, Luki, and even Ana Bianca have a special dish they like to prepare, and Matt and I have been basking in the fruits of their labor.  Work on the boat during the day, gather for dinner and drinks in the evening.  It’s been absolutely perfect.

After only a few nights of this dinner routine though, we realized there was a problem.  Between the five of us eating, there’d always be just enough food leftover to have no reason to throw it away, but no way to incorporate it into the next night’s meal.  This is how the breakfast club came about.  After one night of dinner, Luis started talking about how he could turn some of our leftover dinner into a delicious breakfast the next day and invited us to come over the next morning to enjoy it with some fresh Cuban coffee.  We thought it was a one time deal, Matt even dragged himself out of bed by 8 am for it, but that same night over dinner Luis began talking about what would be for breakfast the next day.  The tradition has been continuing and now we’ve all been meeting twice a day for good food and company.  Matt and I have finally been able to contribute something by brewing our Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee inside our Thermos brand French Press and bringing it over to Hydromax every morning.

eggs and bacon on Hydromax

 While eating one of our meals the other day, Ana Bianca mentioned she had a juicer on board and wanted to break it out sometime.  After a trip into town and a bag full of fruits and veggies later, we were ready to try it out this morning.  We made two different juices.  The first one was simple, but really tasty.  We cut up a pineapple and added some mint leaves.  It sounds like an odd combination, but it worked out great.  The end product was frothy and sweet, with just a little kick from the mint.

Our next glass was a combination of everything else we bought.  You name it.  Carrots, oranges, beets, apples, they all went in.  To me it didn’t seem like these should mix in any kind of way, but Ana Bianca promised that it would come out very sweet tasting and all the flavors would blend together.  We watched the liquid turn a bright red when the beets were added and after all the ingredients went in, filled four glassed and topped them off with ice.  Our apple, orange, carrot, beet juice was…not quite as sweet as I thought, but not too bad either.  I can see why people do this for it’s health value, but it still seems like a lot of work to me unless you’re on a real big health kick or trying to lose weight fast.  Just give me my morning coffee and omelette.  Or a pineapple mint juice.  I’ll still take that one.

Matt washing veggies

bowl of beets

oranges and carrots, ready to be juiced

pineapple juice

the non juice parts

beet juice