Archive of ‘Breakfast’ category

Ballast Blueberry Muffins

DSCN8761 1024x768 Ballast Blueberry MuffinsSpeeding our way to Annapolis through grey days full of rain, mist, countercurrents, and a headwind was anything but warm.  And what do you do on unheated boat when it’s cold?  Bake.  
I found a container of blueberries that had fallen through the cracks so to speak.  By through the cracks I mean somehow it had fallen down into the depths of the back of our refrigerator/freezer.  The place you can only get to by lying on the counter and leaning halfway into the refrigerator/freezer balancing and hoping you don’t fall in.
Somehow the berries had been kept just on the edge of freezing and the low temperatures had extended their life for almost 6-weeks.  I recovered the berries from the frozen part of the refrigerator/freezer plump, juicy, and beautiful as the day they were plucked.  Still, they needed to be used.  What better an end then blueberry muffins?
Muffins and really all quick breads are great for sailing.  They take almost no preparation time.  I really recommend having a muffin tin aboard because muffins take significantly less baking time (and thus propane) than tea cakes.  Another reason that muffins are better sailing food than tea cake is that each one is a single serving and you do not have to bother with cutting off a slice.  Just grab and go.  The 6 muffins I made (we only have a small muffin tin) were devoured in less than an hour.  The blueberry teacake lasted 3-days before I cut it into slices and made French toast out of it.
And unlike banana bread, blueberry muffins are best hot and fluffy right out of the oven.  Tasty, tender, and scrumptious you’ll want to eat so many you’ll make a good ballast for your boat.
   Ballast Blueberry Muffins
Ballast: Weights to help counter-balance the effect of wind on the masts and give the boat stability.

  • 3 c Flour
  • 1 c   Sugar
  • 1 ½ t Baking powder
  • ½ t Salt
  • ¾ c Vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ c Milk
  • 3 Eggs (or 1 ½ T egg replacer)
  • 1 T Vanilla
  • 1 ½ c Blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F (175◦ Celsius or medium)
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix in vegetable oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla
  • When mixed well add blueberries
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Enjoy!
  • DSCN8776 300x225 Ballast Blueberry Muffins

Cabin Boy Cornbread

DSCN8888 1024x768 Cabin Boy Cornbread

What trip to the South would be complete without making good old-fashioned cornbread?  Well, cornbread is good, but let’s be honest, it’s all in the packaging.  Corn muffins are better.  Especially in terms of cruising food – easy to pick up, no knives are involved etc, and take less time to bake. And who doesn’t like an individual little muffin for oneself?

Corn meal is an interesting ingredient; it differs widely around the world both in name and accessibility.  In America, almost every grocery store in North and South America carries it.  In parts of South America and the Caribbean you actually have to search for wheat flour (it’s called harina de trigo) because corn meal is the norm.  But in Australia it is extremely difficult to find.  I searched in grocery stores all along the Eastern Coast, from Brisbane to Darwin, and found one box of cornbread mix.


But be very careful.  Most grocery stores I stopped in did carry corn flour.  (which I mistakenly bought)  Corn flour is actually what is known in the United States as corn starch. So if you are sailing  to Australia and like corn bread try to bring a few bags of cornmeal along.


This is the cornbread recipe I’ve been using for ages.  I haven’t tried it with egg replacer yet, but I’m sure it will be fine.


Cabin Boy Corn Muffins


  • 3/4 c cornmeal
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ 2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • Heat the oven to 350º (170º  C or medium)
  • Mix dry ingredients together
  • Stir in wet ingredients until just mixed (there should be a few lumps in the batter)
  • Pour batter into the greased pan.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until the tops are brushed with golden brown
  • Serve hot*

*There are a lot of things that are just as good or even better cold but corn bread or muffins just isn’t one of them.  I like a little butter on my cornbread or muffins.  A smidge of honey isn’t bad either.

Gaff Cheesy Grits

DSCN9003 300x225 Gaff Cheesy GritsGrits are a long-overlooked food.  When they are spoken of the tone seems to take on a negative connotation.  They’re just filler food, if you don’t have enough money for anything else than you eat grits and if you cook them with water I can’t think of much worse.  It’s true, grits are just cornmeal, but that’s what polenta is too and polenta is served in excellent Italian restaurants.

I must admit, I hadn’t given a second thought to grits until I came to the South and in the South they are everywhere.  Every third shop in Charleston seems to have a cookbook for Shrimp and Grits proudly displayed.   But I was still dubious.  Until I ate at Husk, one of Charleston’s top restaurants.

DSCN9010 300x225 Gaff Cheesy GritsAs a side they served the most divine airy, fluffy grit ambrosia.  They made a believer out of me.  The next day at Marion farmer’s market the Colonial Charleston Kitchen booth was making grits sample cups.  Sato San tried one and immediately bought a bag.

I am not sure I will ever get my grits as light and airy as the ones I tasted at Husk, but the trick to tasty grits is to dress them up and to cook them til there isn’t a smidge of grit left in the grits.  Milk, cream if you have it, and don’t skimp on the seasoning.  This is my take on the Colonial Charleston Kitchen’s grits recipe.   You can add a little more liquid to thin it up a bit or cook them down and refrigerate for a solid polenta-type side dish.

Gaff Cheesy Grits


  • DSCN9009 300x225 Gaff Cheesy Grits1 c grits
  • 1 ½ c milk
  • 1 c cream
  • 2 ½ c water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • ½ c butter
  • ½ c grated cheddar




  • DSCN9011 300x225 Gaff Cheesy GritsPlace ingredients in pot.
  • Bring to boil over medium-high flame
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Simmer until thick (about 20 minutes)
  • Stir in cheese, stirring slowly until melted

Riverboat Rose Scones

DSCN9116 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesMotoring into Fort Lauderdale, there is a sign boasting that the city is the yachting capitol of the world.  It is a different world: mansions with megayachts moored in front of them line the ICW.  Down each of the side streets it seems as if there are boats moored in front of every home regardless of size.  Even the local Episcopal church has a message to yachties on their sign.  Boats are the standard rather than the exception.


Unfortunately, transient spots (places for traveling boats) for catamarans were somewhat limited.  Especially the week after the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.  After calling numerous marinas, I had reserved a place in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, at the downtown city docks.  The dockmaster, Matt, had been extremely helpful and knew boats.

DSCN9123 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesIn other words he realized our timing was weather-dependent and didn’t try to pin us down to exact dates.  He even knew how to spell the word catamaran, which is more than I can say for some marina workers.  (“catamaran… is that spelled with a “C” or a “K”?”)

The city docks are right next to the prison.  Sure it sounds sketchy, Matt told us, but it’s actually an incredibly safe place to be.  The prisoners get out and no way do they want to go back.  Not to mention that there is excellent security in the area.

We motored into downtown Fort Lauderdale snacking on the Riverboat Strawberry Rose Scones I had made for brunch that Sunday morning.  I adore rose water.  The delicate flavor adds a richness and vibrancy to almost any dessert you  add it to.   I am a firm believer that rose water should take its rightful place beside vanilla and almond extract in the pantry.

DSCN9127 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesI first started cooking with it in baklava and I couldn’t get enough, unfortunately at the gourmet food shops you can find rose water (as well as orange flower water another of my loves), but a tiny bottle can be as much as $12-15.

Then I discovered Mediterranean and Indian groceries.  A bottle 5 times larger costs a quarter the price.  Thankfully rose water is beginning to make its way into regular groceries, but you can always find it in Indian or Mediterranean shops, as well as some Asian groceries.

Strawberry, rose water, and just a hint of lime combine to make a delectable tender scone.  A delightful and easy snack to piece on motoring along the ICW, or just on a lazy Sunday at home.

Riverboat Strawberry Rose Scones

Ingredients:DSCN9105 300x225 Riverboat Rose Scones

  • 3 c flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ butter, melted
  • ½ c sugar
  • ¾ c milk
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 T rose water
  • ¾ c strawberries, sliced


  • DSCN9114 300x225 Riverboat Rose SconesPreheat oven to 375◦ F (190◦ C)
  • Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl and make a well in the center
  • Pour butter, milk, lime juice , and rose water into well
  • Mix  slightly (there should still be lumps)
  • Gently mix in strawberries
  • Spoon large dollops onto flour-dusted tin foil
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges

DSCN9128 300x225 Riverboat Rose Scones

Reef Knot Rice Cakes

IMG 1453 1024x768 Reef Knot Rice Cakes

I hate mornings.  Not that I loathe the actual time of day.  Sunrise can be stunning, animals come out to play, and the world is bright and fresh.  No, what I despise is the actual getting out of bed portion of it.  Leaving your toasty covers for the chill air to shock you awake, and unless it’s sweltering out the air is always chilly compared to the nice pocket of warmth under the blankets.  That and the fact that I just don’t seem to function as well at that time of day.  No matter what time I go to sleep, 6 am is just early.

Unfortunately, as cook, I have to get out of bed before everyone else.  Nightwatch notwithstanding.  Because I lack the proclivity for mornings that some do I would much prefer to have something that doesn’t take terribly long to prepare and one way to do that is to work with leftovers.

I often try and have a bit of cooked rice around because, especially on a Japanese boat, the variety dishes that one can make with a little cooked rice are astounding.

“Rice for Breakfast?” a disbeliever asked me.

Rice for breakfast isn’t simply Asian.  Far from it, these rice pancakes are one of my childhood favorites.  Quick, easy, and requiring minimal preparation these pancakes are perfect boat food.   Sometimes I add a little corn or other veggies for variation.

Reef Knot Rice Pancakes

Serves 3


  • 2 c cooked rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t Vegeta or seasoned salt
  • 1 T butter (for frying)


  • In medium bowl mix eggs, rice, and vegeta
  • Let stand 3 minutes
  • Melt half of butter in frying pan over medium heat
  • Spoon rice batter onto pan and fry each cake until golden brown on the bottom 2-3 minutes
  • Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side
  • Enjoy!

These rice cakes can be served hot or cold and are tasty either way

DSCN8843 1024x768 Reef Knot Rice Cakes

Even Keel Egg in the Hole

IMG 1437 1024x768 Even Keel Egg in the Hole

I’d never had egg in the hole before sailing.  The first time I tried it, I couldn’t believe the delicious, simple breakfast wasn’t more popular.   The perfect sailing food.  One pan, you can eat it with your hands, there’s protein, there are carbohydrates.  It’s quick, tasty, filling, and so easy even someone with problems boiling water can make it.

Growing up I always liked my eggs poached or over-easy (very easy).  The tasty treat was getting to spread the flavorful yolk on the bread.  Egg in the hole takes out the middle man.  Rather than using a toaster and another pan to fry the egg this takes care of everything in one pan.

I find it especially tasty with the rich-slightly sweet Heave-Ho Challah bread.

Ease Off Egg in the Hole


  • 4 thick slices of Challah (or 8 pieces of store-bought sandwich bread)
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 eggs


  • Heat a frying pan over medium flame
  • Slather one side of bread with butter and cut an egg-sized hole in the center
  • Pick up a slice of bread and butter the other side and put it in the pan
  • Crack one egg into the hole in the center of the bread
  • Butter the unbuttered side of the cut out bread-hole and place it in the pan.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes (depending on how well-done you like your egg)
  • Flip bread and cook for another minute
  • Repeat process with other slices.

If you have a large enough frying pan you can cook more than one egg in the hole at a time

If you are using store-bought bread simply double-up the slices (one slice is too thin to contain the egg)

Egg in a hole 1024x768 Even Keel Egg in the Hole

Anchor Out Anpan

DSCN8717 1024x768 Anchor Out Anpan

We moseyed our way down the Erie Canal.  We had 3-weeks to kill going through 9-locks.  Sailing is always game of hurrying up and waiting, but this was even more frustrating than normal.  We weren’t waiting for the right weather; we were waiting for work to get done.  To take a little more time and show Marion, our guest star crew, something a different side to boating, we anchored out on Oneida Lake for the night.

Clear skies, not a breath of wind, it was perfect weather for it.  In the crisp cool late-September air I decided to bake a little sweet treat to keep our spirits up.

My friend Helen’s son calls red bean paste “Chinese Chocolate,” and I think that’s the most accurate description I’ve heard.  I have loved the sweet paste since the first time I tried it.  Whenever I go to Chinatown I never fail to pick up one or two bean paste buns for the road.

It wasn’t until crewing on a Japanese boat that I discovered how easy anpan, the bean paste buns, were to make.  Well, especially if you have a can of red bean paste.  Net step, making it from scratch…

Anchor out Anpan


  • ½ recipe heave ho challah dough
  • ½ can red bean paste

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water


  • Preheat oven to 350◦ F
  • Beat egg and water together to make egg wash
  • Form golf ball-sized balls of dough
  • Flatten into circle in palm – circle should be about 1/8 in thick
  • Spoon 2 T re bean paste into center of circle
  • Pull opposite ends of dough up, pinching together in the middle like a drawstring purse
  • Place on greased baking sheet pinched side down
  • Brush tops with egg wash
  • Bake 20 min or until tops are golden brown
  • Enjoy!
  • DSCN8719 1024x768 Anchor Out Anpan

Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes

cooking up a storm Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes

Cooking up a storm

We’re stuck.  We got the news this morning when Sato San went to pay the marina bill.  Brewerton Boatyard had just gotten the fax.  The Erie Canal was closed for repairs.  Locks 12-14 were drained.   For 3-weeks.

Marion, our French crew-member, had taken her 2-weeks of holiday to spend sailing up the Erie Canal with us.  She’d only been with us 2-days and now we were stuck!  Even worse, we had plans to meet friends at Annapolis Boat show on October 10.  If the canal was closed for 3-weeks there wasn’t any chance we could make it to the boat show on time.

I called, hoping to find out it was all a big joke, a mistake, some kind of misprint anything!  But no. Flooding had washed out reinforcements and a dam was on the verge of bursting at lock 13.  It just wasn’t safe to keep it open.

The canal’s navigation manager tried to help us figure out an alternate route.  Going North and up to Montreal might work… Umineko only had a 3’ ½ draft… But when he asked our beam he groaned.   The narrowest lock on the Chamblee Canal was only 21’ wide.  There wasn’t any way we would fit through.  We were stuck until they opened the canal.

In the face of disaster we did the one thing we could: turned to sweets.  I grabbed the sugar and started in on my twist on a traditional  French dish.

DSCN8657 1024x768 Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes


Canal Closing Caramel Apple Crepes


  • 1 recipe Cardinal Crepes
  • 1 recipe Cumulus Carmel Sauce
  • 1 recipe Cinnamon Sugar Apple filling


  • Spoon cinnamon sugar apples onto crepe in line
  • Spoon a bit of caramel sauce over
  • Fold edges over until tube-shape
  • Drizzle caramel sauce over top
  • Enjoy!


Cumulus clouds indicate fair weather and caramel sauce always lifts the mood and thus cumulus caramel sauce earned its name

Caramel is basically burnt sugar, well singed a bit,  but it always tastes delicious, and the more cream and butter you add the better.  I almost always have sugar around but don’t often carry cream on board.  No worries though because caramel sauce, caramel candy’s thinned-down cousin doesn’t need cream to taste delicious.

Cumulus Caramel sauce


  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 T butter
  • ½ c water


  • Spread sugar in thick-bottomed pan and melt over low heat stirring constantly until liquid and turning golden brown
  • Remove from heat and add 1 T butter stirring furiously as sugar boils up and butter melts into the mixture.  When mixed add second tablespoon of butter.
  • Return to heat until mixture liquid
  • Add thin stream of water stirring constantly until a thin consistency
  • Remove from heat and enjoy
  • You may want to add a few tablespoons more water if the sauce starts to thicken.


Cinnamon-sugar Apple Filling


  • 2 granny smith apples peeled and diced
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon


  • Place apples and lemon juice in saucepan over medium-low heat
  • Mix in cinnamon and sugar
  • Cook for 3 minutes, or slightly longer depending how well-done you like your apples


Cardinal Crepes

For some reason over the years crepes have gotten the reputation for being difficult to make.  Creperies sell the thin pancakes for exorbitant amounts of money for this unbelievably simple dish.

This quick and easy dish takes the bare minimum of ingredients and can be whipped up in no time so is ideal cruising food.  Though not really much on their own, you can use the crepes to create sweet dishes or savory ones.  They can also be made a couple of days in advance, or if you make too many simply cover them with a moist paper and they will keep beautifully.

crepes 300x225 Cardinal Crepes

Cardinal Crepes


  • 2 c flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups water (or milk)
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • A little oil for greasing the pan.


  • Pour flour into a large mixing bowl
  • Whisk in water (or milk but water actually works better for a thinner batter and thinner crepes)
  • When semi-mixed add eggs (egg replacer will not work for crepes), salt, and sugar
  • Beat until smooth consistency (no more lumps) If you have a food processor on board that’s the easiest way.
  • Heat lightly-oiled skillet over Medium-high heat
  • Ladle about 1 ladle-full of batter into skillet
  • With one had hold the skillet handle, tilting until surface thinly covered with batter
  • When crepe edges lift up slightly, 1-1 ½ minutes, flip the crepe
  • Cook an additional 30 seconds-1 min

Fairlead French Toast

DSCN8669 1024x768 Fairlead French Toast

Fairlead French Toast

The latest loaf of bread had lasted 3 days.  Its time had come.  It’s time to transcend into something sublime… into French Toast.

I personally think that its name in French is far more apt… pain perdu… lost bread.  For years I had thought it was bread lost in a sea of egg and milk.  Marion, our French crew member, gave me the real scoop.  Nope… it was because the bread itself is lost… too stale for other use.  Pain perdu is the second life of zombie bread.  And what a second life to have.

As it happens, boating bread is perfect for French toast, Pain Perdu if you will.  I don’t make a habit of cruising with heavy cream, but it makes this recipe.  A simple way of using up bread on its way to going stale and making it tastier than it was to begin with.  I am dreaming of the next day I have Fairlead French Toast to guide me to a good day.

Fairlead French Toast


  • 6 thick slices boating bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1/3 c cream
  • ¼ c rum
  • 1 T nutmeg
  • 1 T butter


  • Fresh fruit
  • Real maple syrup


  • Thoroughly mix eggs, milk, cream, rum, and nutmeg
  • Soak slices of bread
  • Melt butter in skillet over medium heat
  • Cook soaked bread in skillet until golden brown
  • Flip and cook other side until golden brown
  • Pour maple syrup over French toast
  • Serve fruit on side or over top

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