Speeding 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
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.
Motoring 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.
In 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.
I 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
- 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
- Preheat 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
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.
- 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
Continuing the peach extravaganza, but muffins seemed like the natural thing to follow scones. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a muffin tin. I was lamenting that fact when Judy, one of the nicest people at the already effusively kind Detroit Yacht Club kindly offered to lend, and then donated her muffin tin. Sure I could have made a peach tea bread, but muffins are always just more fun.
I naturally told Judy that I would bring her and her husband some muffins in thanks. Like the best laid plans of mice and men this fell by the wayside when the muffins vanished almost as soon as I took them out of the oven.
These spicy muffins call to mind sipping apple cider on a brisk autumn day with bright blue skies and a stiff breeze. Quick and easy, they’re perfect for whipping up before a day-sail.
Peach Spice Mizzen Muffins
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs egg replacer (1 T replacer and ¼ c water)
- ¾ c vegetable oil
- 1 c milk
- 3 c. flour
- 1 t baking soda
- ½ t salt
- 1 T vanilla
- 1 T ginger
- 2 T cinnamon
- 1 T nutmeg
- 4 small ripe peaches (2 large)
- Cinnamon sugar for top
- preheat oven to 350◦
- grease muffin tin
- mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices)
- make a well in the middle and mix in remaining ingredients except peaches
- when thoroughly mixed gently stir in peaches
- Spoon batter into muffin tins
- bake for 30 minutes
- brush tops with butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar
It’s peach season and my favorite time of year. When I got to Eastern Market, Detroit’s extensive farmer’s market, and peaches overflowed the baskets I almost fell to my knees. Peaches are delicious, but sadly dreadful cruising food. While
Of course you can buy frozen peaches, or lower yourself to canned one but it’s not the same. Still, I wasn’t going to let peach season slip by without treating myself, and my boat to a peach extravaganza. Starting with Schooner Scones.
A a delightful treat at breakfast these scones are quick to be snapped up. If you like your scones a little sweeter, sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top.
Ginger Peach Schooner Scones
- 3 c flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 ½ t Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ t baking soda
- ¾ c butter (cold)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 t salt
- 2 T fresh ginger
- 2T ground ginger
- 1 t nutmeg
- 1 t cinnamon
- 2 T almond extract
- ½ cup candied ginger
- 3 peaches
- Preheat oven to 375◦ F
- Mix milk and lemon juice and set aside (or if you have buttermilk use that instead)
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- Cut in cold butter until forms pea-sized crumbs
- Gently mix in milk and extracts with hands (do not kneed)
- Mix in spices
- Carefully stir in peaches
- Spoon large dollops of batter onto well-greased cookie sheet
Bake 15 minutes