Archive of ‘Quick and easy’ category

On Watch Wasabi Bagels

wasabi bagles 1024x768 On Watch Wasabi Bagels

If anything can keep you alert through the wee hours of morning when you’re on watch it’s a shot of wasabi.  And how better than to get wasabi into a scrumptious and easy spread than to mix it with cream cheese?  It gives a sandwich, crackers, or whatever you put it on, a whole new dimension.  And for those of you not as excited about spicy food, the cream cheese tones down the bite of the wasabi.

Wasabi and cream cheese might not be the first combination that comes to mind.  Oh sure, there’s wasabi mayonnaise, some sushi uses cream cheese, you put wasabi on the sushi, but wasabi cream cheese?  The first time I tried horseradish cream cheese was at Russ and Daughters bagel shop in New York, my all-time favorite deli.  Their masterful creation the “Super Heebster” has wasabi roe, horseradish cream cheese, and not one but two tasty fish spreads.  From the second I bit into their bagel I was hooked.  Now I can’t recreate wasabi roe.  I think you have to force feed fish a steady diet of wasabi for that to happen.   So I may not be able to have Russ and Daughters anywhere in the world, but I’ve found a pretty tasty alternative.  Here is my nautical take on the “Super Heebster.”

On Watch Wasabi Bagels


  • 8 oz lox
  • 4 bagels
  • Wasabi cream cheese spread


Wasabi cream cheese spread

  • 2 T wasabi (if you aren’t a fan of spicy then you can just use 1 T of Wasabi)
  • ½ c cream cheese
  • ½ red onion finely chopped

Mix the wasabi, cream cheese, and red onion together and voila!  Brilliance.  It is better the second day.

Shakedown Basil Cream Sauce

DSCN8789 1024x768 Shakedown Basil Cream Sauce

The ocean welcomed Umineko back with a vigorous shakedown sail.  With gusts up to 39 knots we fairly flew down the coast, surfing at 16 knots.  The chill wind swept us along on a much-needed speedy ride down the Eastern seaboard.

Sails like that  can be fabulous or disastrous with not much room in between.  Thankfully ours went wonderfully, we had prepared well, and even with towering waves crashing over the vessel’s side, the shakedown didn’t dislodge anything.  With one exception.

My basil plant met its watery end.  Salt watery to be specific, an errant wave over the stern.   If there are two things that don’t mix it’s salt water and vegetation.  By the next afternoon my poor plant was turning shades jaundiced yellow rather than the hale and hearty green of its younger days.  I decided to put the unfortunate shrub out of its misery.

This unbelievably simple easy cream sauce is all-but fool proof.  You don’t need to worry about it breaking, honestly it barely even needs heating.  The food processor does all the work, but it is nice to warm it up.

If you have a real food processor on board you might want to make a little more, but our “magic bullet”  (as seen on TV, as Sato San calls it) works brilliantly.  Use it over fish, pasta, or whatever you like.  I used it on salmon and pirogues and found myself regretting not having another basil plant on board.

glory days of the basil plant 1024x768 Shakedown Basil Cream Sauce

glory days of the basil plant

 Basil cream sauce


  • 1 c fresh basil
  • ¼ c walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ c parmesan
  • ½ c cream
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper


  • Put basil walnuts, garlic, and cream, salt, and pepper in food processor.
  • Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds
  • Pour mixture into pan, add milk, and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Voila!  You have cream sauce.

DSCN8790 1024x768 Shakedown Basil Cream Sauce

Windlass Shitake Wraps

DSCN8738 1024x768 Windlass Shitake Wraps

Waking up in lock 14

As lock 14 opened, we were the first in line to go through.  Literally.  We had actually slept in the lock the night before.  We needed to get through 14 locks all the way to Albany by the end of the day.  We pushed and pushed but the sun was already starting to set by the time we made it to the first guard gate before the flight of five locks at Lockport.  We radioed but no luck.  Finally, as a last resort I called Jeff the Erie Canal Navigation manager.  We just had to make it through to Albany.

Once again Jeff saved the day and got the operators to get us through the flight.  We sneaked past Troy Federal lock in the nick of time just before they closed at 10 and motored into Albany in the Erie barely lit by my crewmate Mori-San shining a lamp to make sure no logs or flotsam was in our way.

By the time we finally moored I was beyond exhausted, but between holding lines and pushing walls and closing times to get through the locks I hadn’t had time to even think about dinner.

Wraps are a staple for quick and easy lunches or a late-night snack while on watch.  Tortillas keep for ages without molding and you can put pretty much anything inside of them.   These wraps are more for a little more involved than just throwing something together but it’s worth it.

Crewing on a Japanese boat, I find myself using a lot more soy sauce and ginger in my cooking than I normally do.  But I always used those.  The   I have discovered a new favorite ingredient.  Corn starch.  It’s flavorless, doesn’t add color, texture, or nutritional value, but I am hooked.  You can thicken sauces without having to cook them endlessly… a few minutes and presto you have a delicious thick sauce.  Better yet it cuts down on propane use.

On Watch Shitake Wraps

makes 3 wraps



  • 1 T garlic jelly
  • ¼ c soy sauce
  • 1 T fresh ginger grated
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • t veg oil
  • ⅓ lb shitake mushrooms
  • 1 T corn starch
  • salami (if desired)
  • slice of swiss cheese (I used individually wrapped cheese for this)
  • sprouts
  • tomato sliced into wedges

DSCN8537 1024x768 Windlass Shitake Wraps


  • Mix the sauce and marinate the mushrooms in it for 5-10 minutes
  • Fry the mushrooms in the sauce mixing in cornstarch until thickened
  • Place one slice of cheese on tortilla
  • Spoon mushrooms over followed by tomatoes
  • Finish with sprouts, wrap, relax, and enjoy!


Cleat-Off Crepe Cannelloni

DSCN8663 1024x768 Cleat Off Crepe Cannelloni DSCN8664 1024x768 Cleat Off Crepe Cannelloni

Even taking our time it didn’t take long for us to make it to Utica Inner Harbor where we were leaving Umineko for a week.  Thankfully we didn’t have to wait quite 3-weeks.  New York Canals said they would open for 3 days starting on October 1st (oh wait, no… October 4th now) so that the cruisers with a draft under 7-feet could get through.  Then they would close the canal for the season to work on it.

Sato San took a holiday in Montreal and I went down to New York City to see friends and meet our new crew member, Mori San.

As a last meal on the boat I wanted to use up the remaining crepes and make a savory dish.  I learned a version of this cleat-off crepe cannelloni while traveling in Argentina and have loved it ever since.  A quick, easy, delicious, and healthy dish that takes almost no time to prepare.  If you already have the crepes on hand, that is.


Cleat-off Crepe Cannelloni

Makes 4-6


  • 1 recipe Cardinal Crepes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T (3 t) Italian seasoning
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 6 oz spinach (frozen)
  • 4 crepes
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese
  • ½ jar pasta sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ c mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 325◦
  • Sautee the onion  in large skillet about 3 minutes
  • Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more stirring
  • Add the spinach and cook until warm stirring occasionally
  • Stir in 2 t Italian seasoning, salt, and ½ t pepper
  • Line lasagna pan with tin foil
  • Put one crepe in the pan
  • Spoon ¼ mushroom spinach mixture into crepe
  • Spoon ¼ c mozzarella cheese on top
  • Fold into tube and move to end of lasagna tin
  • Repeat with remaining crepes
  • Spread pasta sauce evenly over crepes
  • Shake remaining 1 t Italian seasoning over crepes
  • Sprinkle remaining  ¼ c cheese over top
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Enjoy!
  • DSCN8664 1024x768 Cleat Off Crepe Cannelloni

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

Parachute Berry Parfait

DSCN8539 1024x768 Parachute Berry Parfait

It is always fun to start your day off with a pretty breakfast.  It can really set the mood.  Light and colorful like pretty parachute sails this easy breakfast is always a hit.  I love using seasonal berries but frozen berries work wonders for buoying spirits on long passages.

Parachute Berry Parfait


  • ¾ c granola
  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ c raspberries
  • ½ c blueberries
  • ¼ c almonds
  • Maple syrup


  • Place a layer of granola at the bottom of a clear cup or bowl
  • Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and spread it over
  • Layer berries on top of the yogurt
  • Spoon yogurt, granola, and berries in whatever order you’d like
  • Spread a final layer of yogurt on the top
  • Garnish with a berry
  • Drizzle pure maple syrup over the top

Ruby’s Queequeg Quesadillas

on the trampoline 1024x768 Rubys Queequeg Quesadillas

There is always work to be done on a boat and the days can get long.  Be it because of rough seas or just too many other things to do sometimes you just want to get in the galley and get out.   Something fast, simple, and delicious.  What better than quesadillas?

Simple enough to cook on the high seas, quesadillas make fabulous boat food.   There are infinite numbers of things you can do with this dish and the other night I decided to class dinner up a bit.

Truffles paid for one of the boats in the WARC 2012-13 round the world flotilla.  Ruby, the gorgeous Amel  54 was owned by a French truffle importer.  Now I knew the scrumptious fungus was highly prized, but a seller being able to afford a million+ dollar boat even surprised me.  Since sailing in the same flotilla as the truffle yacht I’d had truffles on the brain.

truffle salt 300x225 Rubys Queequeg QuesadillasJoining Umineko, I brought truffle salt for the pantry.  The aromatic truffle-laden salt is delicious, and not terribly expensive or space-consuming.  In other words, perfect for sailing.  With a strong enough truffle scent to catch a whiff from across the room, it turns the simplest meal to gourmet fare.

These quesadillas are one of my favorites.  The tangy cheddar blends perfectly with the sweet flavor of caramelized onion and the truffle salt’s deep earthy bass gives it a new dimension.

Ruby Quesadillas 300x225 Rubys Queequeg Quesadillas

Ruby’s Queequeg Quesadillas


  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon truffle salt
  • ¼ cup chopped olives
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T butter


  • Sautee garlic and onion in 1 tablespoon butter until  golden brown and caramelized
  • Heat a tortilla in an ungreased pan  over medium flame
  • Sprinkle ½ cup cheddar cheese (setting aside 2 tablespoons) evenly over tortilla
  • Distribute onion/garlic mixture evenly over cheese
  • Place remaining cheese over mixture
  • Sprinkle truffle salt over remaining cheese
  • Place second tortilla over the top
  • Cook until cheese is almost completely melted and bottom tortilla is golden brown (about 5 minutes)
  • Flip and cook until second side toasted.


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