A Cooking Class at Sea

How about an Italian cooking class in French Polynesia?  These wonderful crostini are delicious, quick and easy to make.

Chianti Crostini Rossi
3 slices country bread
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caper juice
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme buds
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for finishing
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices polenta, grilled, toasted or pan-fried

Tear the bread into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.  Pour the vinegar and caper juice over the bread and allow it to soak for 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain any excess liquid out of the bowl.  In the bowl of a food processor,k combine the capers, parsley, thyme and garlic.  Pulse until a paste is formed.  Add the tomatoes and pulse lightly until the mixture is blended, but still coarse and not pureed.

Transfer the mixture from the food processor to the bowl with the bread.  Add the olive oil and mix well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Brush the cooked polenta with olive oil, top with the tomato mixture and serve.

Dinner in Moorea, French Polynesia


Dinner preparations start early in Moorea.  A pig is roasted in a pit covered by palm leaves.  Lots of local fruits and vegetables are also roasted, bringing out their incredible flavor.  Metal pots contain Polynesian Fish Curry with Coconut Milk and Curry Pork.








                                                                                       Roasted Pig                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                        Pork Curry                                                                                                                                                                                                   

   Polynesian Fish Curry                                                          

A Cooking Class with Chef Gjoka


Meet Oceania Cruise Lines Senior Executive Chef Alban Gjoka.  Alban comes from Ebrusco of Franciacorta, the most famous area in the lake of D’Iseo known for its wine, olive oil and the most traditional food in all of Lombardia, Italy.
He spent the first years of his life at his grandmother’s house where he discovered a passion for cooking and took his first steps in the kitchen helping her prepare Sunday dinners for his family.
In his teenage years he began his culinary studies in the Academia della Cucina Italiana in Milan and completed his apprenticeship at the Four Seasons in Milan.  Since completing his education, he has worked a variety of kitchens developing his skills and learning from some of the most talented chefs including Ferran Adria and Joel Robucchon.  Alban has worked at restaurants all over the world including the Four Seasons in Milano, Italy and Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts in Uluwatu, Bali.  He has also worked for Mario Batali B & B in Las Vegas and the Bvlgari Restaurant in Tokyo.  Alban began his life at sea with Oceania Cruises in 2008.  It was a chance for him to combine his passion for food with his love of travel.  Alban is proud to work for a company that is known for serving the finest cuisine at sea.  Here he shares with you his recipe for Poisson Cru A La Tahitienne (Tahitian Marinated Fresh Fish).








Poisson Cru A La Tahitienne (Tahitian Marinated Fresh Fish)


1 3/4 lbs. red tuna
8 limes (for juice)
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
2 carrots
1 small red onion
10 oz coconut milk
Salt and pepper as needed


Cut the fish in 1 inch cubes.  rinse and cut the tomatoes, cucumber in thin slices.  Peel and grate the carrots.
Peel and chop the onion very fine.  Drain the fish and combine the tuna, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Marinate for 10 minutes.  Drain the juice, and add the vegetables and coconut milk.


Visiting Local Markets in Tahiti

Tahitian pineapples are much smaller and sweeter than those that we can get in the states.  They also have less acidity.

The bananas are smaller too – and much sweeter.


From the potato family comes many different varieties – all of them delicious!









Sailing the South Pacific

While Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are heaven on earth, our charming little towns take a nap in January, February and March.  After a hectic “season”, our Chefs and Innkeepers use the time to revitalize property, product and person.

Many of us slip away for a while to gain inspiration and capture new ideas.  Cape Cod and the Islands will always remain a world class destination..  While you will always find a lobster roll, scallops, fried clams and our beloved ‘cod’, you will also find lots of new culinary delights in our restaurants..  Our inns, B&B’s, resorts and motels will always remain unique, never a place that you can find anywhere.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Sail with us and explore the delights of the South Pacific. Also watch for some recipes that will inspire you to cook at home.




Oceania Cruise Lines takes us on this foodie adventure.  Follow us along!

We start with the markets in Papeete, Tahiti.  How fresh the local produce is!











Chef Kitty Morse’s Lavender Shortbread Cookies

   A recipe from Chef Kitty Morse’s “Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion with Recipes” (Chef’s Press 2015).  In her latest book, Kitty delves into a taste bud adventure with flowers, creating delicately scented dishes like lavender short bread cookies.  Copies of Edible Flowers: a kitchen companion published by Chef’s Press is starting to appear on store shelves around the country.   If your local bookstore does not have it, you can order directly at http://www.chefspress.com/books/edible-flowers-a-kitchen-companion-with-recipes-2nd-edition.

It is a perfect gift for a Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day gift.


Lavender Shortbread Cookies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Michael Pawlenty Chefs Press

Ingredients                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Makes 24 cookies                                                                  

1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2  lemon, zested
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh or 3/4 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms
Additional blossoms for garnish                


In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour in increments, mixing until a smooth, firm dough forms. Stir in the lemon zest and lavender blossoms. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and lightly flour. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll out into 2 (10-by-7-inch) rectangles about ¼-inch thick. Place the parchment on a baking sheet and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using your favorite shaped cutter, cut out the cookies. Place them onto a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart so they have room to expand.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies turn light brown around the edges. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Michelle Law’s Green Bean & Gorgonzola Salad

Artist, curator, and instructor Michelle Law is one very creative lady.  Michelle’s artistic endeavors include creating paintings, children’s book illustration, greeting card design, theater set and costume design, and lots of mixed media:http://www.lmichellelaw.com/ – and we can’t forget cooking.

With a degree in Studio Art, Michelle is a wash-a-shore from the Midwest and her husband Mark is a Bearse (one of Cape Cod’s founding families).  She has been involved with the Cotuit Center for the Arts since 2000.

Michelle loves to cook and here she shares her recipe for Green Bean & Gorgonzola salad.

Green Bean & Gorgonzola Salad

1lb pound string beans, stem ends trimmed                                                          
2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
20 small fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan of cold water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and trimmed beans. Cook until beans are just tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and immediately plunge beans into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain, pat dry, and place in a large bowl along with gorgonzola and basil leaves.

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and pepper and pour over bean mixture.  Toss and enjoy.


Madame Frederick’s Ratatouille Casserole

Meet Linda Sisson Frederick, French Tutor Extraordinaire! Linda is a vivacious and   versatile lady who has worked in many diverse fields including advertising, travel,          teaching and tutoring French language and culture. Thanks to her experiences both     here and abroad, Linda is passionate about photography and all things culinary.
Linda lives with her husband Gus in Centerville on Cape Cod. She has two handsome sons, three lovely stepaughters and six grandchildren. If you are traveling to France and want to impress the locals with your command of the French language, Linda is a French language tutor.  If you are interested in French lessons, you can email Linda at travellb@comcast.net.

Here, she shares her innovative take on traditional French ratatouille.

Ratatouille Casserole
Serves 8
1 large onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 cups (approx.) red, yellow and green pepper strips (1/2 inch thick)                                 
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced thin
2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
2 medium summer squash, sliced thin
6 small Campari or similar tomatoes, sliced
5 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh garlic (approx. 15-18 cloves)
Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme and oregano (Dried herbs work well if you don’t have fresh herbs available.)
1 cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheeses or a blend of both


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Saute pepper slices with onion slices in a large skillet over medium heat using 2 tablespoons of the olive oil for 5 or 10 minutes until tender.  Add 1/2 the chopped garlic and toss for a minute.  Spread this mixture evenly in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

Arrange the eggplant slices over the mixture and season with salt and pepper.  Top with alternating rows of the zucchini, summer squash and tomato slices.  Top with salt, pepper and assorted fresh herbs, the rest of the chopped garlic and the canned tomatoes.  Bake for approximately 1 hour or until the veggies are starting to brown on top and are soft.  Baste with pan juices while cooking.

Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until golden and bubbly.

Bon appetit!

Chef Zox’s Vegetarian Gyoza Dumplings

From Chef Alan Zox www.zoxkitchen.com, here’s a wonderful dumpling recipe without your traditional animal protein that combines frying and steaming with tofu and quinoa. One egg plus potato starch should hold it all together. The aromatics will enhance the flavor. These dumpling are fun to make with friends and family.

Chef Zox’s Vegetarian Gyoza Dumplings

Makes 40                                                                                                                             


1 package firm tofu
1/2 cup red quinoa
1/2 head savoy cabbage,
rough chopped
1 egg, whisked for 15 seconds
4 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tbsp ginger, diced
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp potato starch
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 dried shiitake mushrooms, pulverized
40 gyoza wrappers (aka pot-sticker wrappers)
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
Chili oil to taste


1. Freeze the tofu overnight. Defrost, dice, thoroughly wash, squeeze out the water and place in a large bowl. Wash quinoa and cook it in 1 cup of water. When cooked, add quinoa to the bowl with the tofu.

2. Steam the cabbage for 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water so it’s cool enough to handle. Shake out the excess water without squeezing. Mince the cabbage and add it to the bowl with the tofu and quinoa. Add whipped egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, sake, potato starch, salt, pepper and pulverized shiitake mushrooms to the bowl. Mix every­thing together with your hands, using a kneading action to bring the mixture together.

3. If your wrapper is too thick, roll it out for 15 seconds.

4. To assemble dumplings, place one wrapper in the palm of your left hand if you are right-handed. Then place a teaspoon or less of the filling into the center of the wrapper. Dip the fingers of your right hand into a bowl of water and place wet fingers over wrapper to wet the entire rim. This is what seals the mixture in place. Continue holding the dumpling in your left hand and fold the wrapper in half, but don’t seal the edges yet. Pinch the left edge shut and hold it shut with your left thumb and forefinger. Fold a pleat with your right thumb and forefinger. Pinch the pleat shut with your left thumb and forefinger. Continue with remaining wrappers and vegetable mixture.

5. Add the 3 tablespoons of oil to a nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Fry without touching until the gyoza are just starting to turn tan on the bottom. With a lid at the ready, add ¼ cup of water to the pan and immediately cover the pan with the lid. Let the gyoza steam for 2 minutes. If the water runs out before the 2 minutes are up, crack open the lid and add a little bit more.

6. After steaming, remove the lid and let the remaining water burn off. Let the gyoza fry in the remaining oil until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy. Plate the crispy side up so they don’t get soggy.

7. Create a sauce for these beauties by combining soy sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice; add chili oil to taste. Enjoy.