Thursday, February 21, 2019

Preparing to Cook on the Boat

I enjoy cooking, but I don't claim to be very good at it, but I am working to get better.

We're planning on a 3+ week trip to the Abacos in March/April 2019 and I'll be doing most of the cooking on the boat, that includes baking - I really enjoy baking on the boat.

So, in preparation, I bake at home with an eye to doing the same thing on the boat where there's not as much space, nor as many resources as in our home kitchen - eg. I have a nice KitchenAid Stand mixer at home, on the boat I have a bowl and spatula! And there's not much room for additional cooking/baking equipment.

Here's an example of something I could easily cook on the boat.

The loaf is No Knead - 3 ingredient bread.

The Quiche are prepared using one bowl - I'll have to work on making the dough for the pie base.

The bread cooked at 450ºF and the Quiche at 350ºF both could be cooked in our tiny oven on the boat.

Here's my recipe, developed after baking dozens of loaves and at least a dozen quiche - at home.

The Bread

  • 1.75 Cups of warm water (Graduated Cup measure, Instant kitchen Thermometer. 
  • 2.25 tsps of Yeast ( I keep it in a Jar in the fridge, at home and on the boat)
  • 3 Cups of KAF All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Store the water and yeast in my bread mixing bowl (It's a big red plastic bowl with snap on lid)
  • Let them proof for 10 minutes, bubbles will form on the surface.
  • Add the 3 Cups of Flour
  • Stir it all up with the handle of a spatula (because it's easier to clean the handle), doesn't take much stiring, perhaps a minute, just enough to make sure there's no dry flour in the mix. The result will be really sticky and soggy!
  • Cover the bowl and let it rise for about an hour - check it often, if it's in a warm area, it may double in size, cooler and it may take longer, but 90mins is the most I have let this dough rise.
  • Meanwhile spray a bread pan (9.5" x 4.5") with oil (pam)
  • Once it has doubled in size (or after 90mins) prepare a clean surface.
  • On the boat, this is on one of my Starboard sink covers. I have it clean and ready to go, then spray a mist of oil (pam) on the surface and on my Dough shovel (that's what I call it)
  • Pour the risen dough onto the surface and use the shovel to turn the dough onto itself 2 or 3 times, basically I'm trying to make a really soggy log about the length of the bread pan.
  • Now use the shovel to scoop the dough into the prepared bread pan.
  • Preheat the oven! It takes about 20 minutes for my oven on the boat to come up to 450ºF 
  • By the time the oven is up to temperature, the dough should have risen to the top of the bread pan. (some times, the dough rises quicker in the pan, I can normally tell if that's going to happen because the 1st rise was less than an hour! In that case, I'll heat up the oven before I transfer the dough to the bread pan)
  • With the Dough risen the 2nd time and the Oven up to 450ºF it's time to put the pan in the oven. 
  • I set my timer (my phone's alarm clock) for 30 minutes, after which I use the Thermometer to test the bread temp, I'm looking for 200ºF in the middle of the loaf.
  • As soon as it gets up to temperature, typically 30 to 40 minutes, turn the loaf out to cool.
  • On the boat I turn it out onto the cleaned surface then onto a small wire rack.
  • Let the bread cool completely, then I keep it in a 1/3 food container, but it has to be cool first, or the container will get condensation on the inside, that reduces the life of the loaf.
The entire loaf prep takes about 15 minutes to collect and mix everything, 60 mins to let it rise and 20 mins for the oven to heat up and finally 30 minutes to bake. Just over 2 hours with only about 15 minutes of actually doing something other that watching the bake plus the time to let it cool

The Quiche
  • 2 Pie Frozen Pie Crusts (I've yet to try making them)
  • 6 Extra Large Eggs (or 7 Large Eggs)
  • 2/3 Cup of Egg whites (out of a box)
  • 1/2 Cup of Half n Half (or Cream, your choice)
  • 8 oz of grated cheese
  • 1/4tsps ground black pepper
  • 1/8tsps sea salt
  • 1 Pack of Prosciutto thin sliced
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (I try to make the quiche before I put the bread in the oven, saves propane, and the oven is quick to get up to 450ºF after the quiche is cooked, ready for the bread to bake)
  • Lay the thin slices of Prosciutto to cover the still frozen pie crust (takes about 3 slices)
  • Mix the Eggs, Egg Whites, Cream in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle 4oz of the cheese into each pie crust to just about cover the Prosciutto.
  • Pour half of the egg mixture over the cheese in each pie, it should come to within about 1/4" from the top of the pie crust edge.
  • Salt and Pepper each pie to taste (well, I guess you won't figure that out until the 2nd time you make these.)
  • With the oven up to temperature, slide the pies into the oven they barely fit into my oven at the same time.
  • Bake for 35mins
  • Test for 190ºF and then pull them out.
  • Ready to serve hot or let them cool for later with a salad. 
Time to make the quiche is about 5 minutes of prep, 30mins of baking and a few minutes to keep the hungry crew away from them until they are cool enough to eat.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

See you on the water.

At home, doubling the Ingredients for 2 loaves. (boat oven too small)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Dink Cover

New Cover for our Dinghy

When we purchased our New Mercury Marine 8' Dinghy at the Miami Boat Show a few years ago, the Mercury Dealer (in New York) sent us a plasticized canvas cover. To be blunt, it was a POS, but it did serve to keep the dinghy out of the UV when inverted on our foredeck, which is where we keep it all of the time when it's out of the water!

Over the New Year's Eve Cruise with our sailing club (Here's a link HISC),  the cover disintegrated! It literally tore to shreds. Time for a new cover.

I had some Sunbrella available, not the same color as the rest of the boat canvas, but neither is our Helm cover! So we started the project.

Step 1 was to make a template, I use Dura Skim from Sailrite for the more complex canvas tasks, but this was comparatively simple (Ha!) so I used Builders Tyvek wrap (purchased a 3' x 100' roll last year). Because the dink is pretty symmetrical along the keel, I only made a template of one side.

There parts to the template. Stbd Side, Stbd Cone and  Transom, I cut the Side and Cone pieces, inverted them and cut the Port side and cone from those, then cut the Transom piece.

After joining the two large pieces with a Counter Seam, next the Cones were added to the back end.
At that point I took the canvas to the boat and did a trial fit, marking out the transom piece connection and the lower hem all the way around the dinghy.

Back home, attached the Transom piece too the cones and back of the main pieces with a Mock French Seam.

Finally, trimmed the bottom edge to the marked line with a 2" seam allowance and then machine sewed the hem with a 6' piece of 1/4" Shock cord inside the hem, secured at the front centerline and the aft end where the hem included the Cones.

Back to the boat and here's the result. Fits like a glove, the shock cord nicely pulls the lower edge beneath the Dinghy's rub rail to keep the cover secure. It's time to make a new securing line to hold the covered dink to the deck, the old lines are getting tacky.

It looks a bit Baggy in this photo, but the dink has not been inflated since Dec 31st.