Banshee Bill’s Bloody Marys

DSCN8409 300x225 Banshee Bills Bloody Marys

Bloody Mary’s are  my new favorite.  I have never been a huge fan, but this recipe made a believer out of me.

For a sailor’s brunch at Detroit Yacht Club, Banshee Bill, one of DYC’s former commodores, set up a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary table.   In true yachtie style the entire sailor contingent got together for a potluck and made mouthwatering treats for the brunch.  But what would any gathering of yachties be without alcohol?  Though I’m more of a mimosa girl myself, I tried mixing one.  The resulting drink almost sang in my mouth.

Not only the best bloody mary I’d ever had, it is up there in favorite drinks.  At the end of brunch he gave me a laminated copy of his recipe.

Mesquite Smoke powder may be a little hard to find but it is well worth it.

 Banshee Bill’s Bloody Marys


  • 1 Plastic cup
  • A few ice cubes
  • Some Vodka (though our younger contingent proved the virgin variety are delicious too
  • Three shakes Worchester sauce
  • A few shakes of Tabasco (to taste)
  • 3 shakes Mesquite Smoke Powder
  • 2 grinds salt crystals
  • 4 grinds on a pepper mill peppercorn
  • Some cilantro leaves
  • ⅛  lime
  • Pour in ½ V8 and ½ Clamato
  • Stir well
  • Finish with your choice of Celery, Cucumber spears, or whatever you like.



Asian Fusion Portabella Spinach Salad

Portabello 1024x768 Asian Fusion Portabella Spinach Salad“Why don’t you add a little shoju?”

Crewing is like DJing: you play to your audience.  In other words, you have to your cooking to suit the boat that you’re on.   When I crewed for an Australian boat the captain insisted I cook meat at every meal .  One French girl said she ate everything, but we soon discovered that her version of “everything” was quite different from the meaning I was accustomed to.   The list goes on.  Of course I have my preferences, standby recipes, and add my own flair to most things.  But flexibility is the name of the game.

And having to alter your cooking a bit isn’t a bad thing.  It gives me a chance to add to my culinary repertoire.   I adore trying new foods and learning how to make different kinds of food is only surpassed by creating new recipes.   Umineko is the ideal boat not only for learning to make new foods but also to get fantastic new ideas

Having lived on three continents and traveled all over the world Sato San is well-versed in Western cuisine.  He calls himself an “absolute gourmet,” by this he means he can appreciate all food (refried beans  do not fall under the “food” umbrella.  They are classified as mud).  Still, shoyu, or soy sauce runs through his veins and my foods are fast-becoming Asian-fusion which doesn’t bother me one bit.

We bought several Portobella mushroom caps at Detroit’s Eastern Market, one of the best farmers markets I have had the pleasure of visiting.  I didn’t have a specific recipe in mind, just grill them in a little garlic and throw them over some fresh spinach was the general plan.

Then Sato San asked me how I was going to cook them.  When I told him he suggested throwing a little shoyu in there.  Good idea, yes, but my creative juices were flowing.  I couldn’t just stop at soy sauce.

Simple and delicious, the resulting recipe was quite probably best Portobella mushroom dish I may have ever tasted.  Put it over salads or over pasta is excellent as well.  The meaty portabella caps are referred to as steaks for a reason and the meaty texture can be used with anything from spinach salad to over a pasta dish.



Asian Fusion Portabella  Mushrooms




  • ¼ c water
  • 2 t ginger (grated)
  • 1 T garlic jelly (or 2 t honey)
  • 2 T  butter
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 portabello mushroom caps


  • Mix soy sauce, ginger, and garlic jelly
  • Sautee the garlic in butter for 2 minutes on low heat in medium skillet
  • Place portabello caps in skillet and sauté for 3 minutes then turn and sauté 3 minutes longer
  • Add water to soy mixture and mix well
  • Flip caps and pour soy mixture over
  • Sauté 4 minutes longer
  • Cut into strips and serve over spinach

DSCN8358 300x225 Asian Fusion Portabella Spinach Salad

Asian Fusion Portabella Salad


  • ½ cup Yellow bell pepper julianned
  • 2 C fresh spinach
  • ¼ C Slivered almonds
  • Wasabi ginger dressing
  • 1 Asian fusion portabella mushroom cap


  • Place spinach on plate
  • Arrange yellow bell pepper slices on one side of the salad, cranberries on the opposite side of the plate
  • Place sliced seared mushroom cap in the middle over the salad
  • Drizzle wasabi ginger dressing over salad

- I like to save  the liquid from frying the portabella caps.  It makes a delicious sauce over pasta or cous cous.



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.


Floating Herb Garden

DSCN8371 1024x768 Floating Herb GardenDried herbs and seasoning are fine, and a good mix of seasoning can make or break a meal, but nothing beats fresh herbs.

You don’t have to give up your herb garden living on a boat. Granted, I haven’t tackled international travel with herbs yet, but in the States, or in domestic travel regardless of location, turning your yacht into a floating herb garden works brilliantly.

We only have a small one on Umineko so far, rosemary and basil.  Two of my favorites, but it may grow (no pun intended).  It is easier on a catamaran, but I have seen more than one monohull resplendent with hanging herbs.

This is my absolute favorite pesto recipe.  You really do need a food processor to make it.  A food processor, I’ll admit isn’t the most practical thing to carry on a boat.  That said, I’ve crewed aboard several yachts with food processors because they can be used to make many great cruising foods.  You just have to figure out where your space and weight priorities lie.

Pesto 1 300x225 Floating Herb Garden

This delicious pesto can be frozen and lasts for ages.  It will get better over a few days as the flavors disperse.

Pesto Spread


  • 1 cup basil leaves firmly packed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or to taste)
  • 7 oz tofu
  • 1 Tablespoons salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper (to taste)



  • Put (pealed) cloves of garlic into food processor and chop finely
  • Add basil and spinach and pulse food processor
  • Add walnuts and, lemon juice, and olive oil and grind for 20 seconds
  • Add tofu, salt, pepper, and blend until smooth.
  • Sample!



 Because it uses tofu as well as nuts, this pesto is extra protein-rich and filling.  More than just over pasta, I love using it

  •  As sandwich spread
  •  In a wrap with a tomato and sprouts
  •  On pizza in place of tomato sauce

You can add parmesan cheese to give it that extra kick

Please post your pesto-spread ideas.  I would love to hear  and try them!

Cherry Almond Bowline Banana Bread

DSCN8322 1024x768 Cherry Almond Bowline Banana Bread

Bowline Cherry Almond Banana Bread


Just like a good bowline knot, I find banana bread to be a staple in nautical life.  Bananas are cheap and ubiquitous in so many sailing Meccas.  The hot places.  The ones where bananas ripen as soon as they are picked.  And what are over-ripe bananas good for?  That’s right… banana bread!

When  I stumbled across 4 blackening bananas in our fruit hammock I knew what I was making that day.  But plain banana bread, tasty as it may be, can get boring. And I was in Michigan, where good cherries go to die.  And so cherry almond bowline banana bread was born.

Okay, so banana bread might not be quite as useful as a bowline, but it sure is tastier.



Cherry Almond Bowline Banana Bread

 Makes 2 loaves



  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ c vegetable oil
  • ½ c milk
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • ½ t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T almond extract
  • ½  cup chopped almonds
  • ½ cup chopped tart dried cherries
  • Handful of slivered almonds to sprinkle on top



  •      Preheat oven to 350◦ F 176◦C, or medium on your oven
  •      Oil 2 loaf pans
  •      Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt)
  •      Make a well in the middle and pour in milk, oil, eggs, and sugar
  •      Stir 2 minutes stirring in the cinnamon and extracts
  •      Squish the bananas into the batter.  The riper they are the better.
  •       Blend batter until smooth
  •      Add nuts and dried fruit
  •      Pour mixture into pans
  •      Sprinkle almonds on top
  •      Bake for ½ hour turning after 15 minutes


  • Leave the bread in the pan for at least ½ an hour so that the crumb can set and it doesn’t fall apart when taking it out
  • Many baked goods are best fresh out of the oven.  Not banana bread.  After 24 hours the banana goodness infuses the bread and the flavors come out singing together in perfect harmony. I’ve found it reaches its peak at 2 days.  Just cover the loaves in cling wrap and wait.  If you can keep yourself from eating it, that is.

Detroit Yacht Club


Japanese Potato Salad

DSCN8369 1024x768 Japanese Potato Salad

Potato Salad is a cruiser staple and a pot-luck standby.  Naturally it makes an appearance at almost every Memorial Day celebration.  But traditional potato salad drowns the potatoes, celery, and whatever other ingredients that go into the “salad” in a sea of mayonnaise.  I was pleasantly surprised when I sampled Sato San’s fabulous Japanese potato salad.  With a spicy kick, and not nearly as much fat, this is a healthier and delicious Japanese twist on the American version.

Pontoon Potato Salad

(Japanese style)


  • ½ c Cucumber
  • 2 t Japanese Mustard powder (or 1 T Japanese mustard in a tube)
  • ¼ t water (if using Japanese mustard powder rather than paste)
  • ¼ c Cranberry
  • 2 T Kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 medium-sized white Potatoes
  • 2 t ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 T salt (or to taste)
  • * Julienned ham, onion, apple, egg,  or celery if desired








  • Mix mustard powder into paste with ¼ t water
  • Mix mayonnaise and mustard – mixture should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing
  • Set aside
  • Peel potatoes.  Halve and slice coarsely
  • Thinly slice cucumber
  •  Boil potatoes in salted water about 10 minutes or until a fork or chopstick can be easily pushed into center
  • Drain
  •  Half-smash into extremely coarse mashed potatoes
  • Mix in cucumber or other *options
  • Mix in mustard/mayo sauce
  • Add cranberry/other options

On Course Cherry Blue Cheese Crackers

DSCN8243 1024x768 On Course Cherry Blue Cheese Crackers


Umineko is summering in Detroit.   Why on earth would boat that’s doing a circumnavigation summer in Detroit, you might ask.  I sure didWe’ve all heard the horror stories about the bankrupt city.  But when we sailed in I was pleasantly surprised.  Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Island, an island in the middle of the city is the largest yacht club in North America.  With chandeliers, marble bathrooms, and even an indoor swimming pool on the second floor it was certainly resplendent in Detroit’s heyday.  Though some of the opulence has faded, it is still lovely today, and the members are more than welcoming, bursting with the camaraderie and helpfulness, characteristic of yachties.

What says thank you better than inviting someone onto your boat for drinks?  And you can’t very well have drinks without hors d’oeuvres now can you?

When Sato San asked me what we were having for appetizers I thought for a bit.  Suddenly it hit me; we had a wedge of Humboldt Fog left in our cheese box.

Humboldt Fog is one of my all-time favorite cheeses.  This brilliant cheese combines three delectable cheeses into one.  Somehow the brilliant cheese makers at Cyprus Grove in Humboldt California have engineered a perfect marriage between flavorful blue cheese, creamy brie, with a crumbly goat cheese mistress on the side.  I may not eat it as often as I’d like but I still tend to judge grocery stores (in the States at least) on whether or not they stock it.

Sure I could just put out this delicious cheese with the wheat thins we had on board, but Sato San had just bought a box of the tangy little bursts of flavor that are freshly dried Michigan cherries.  Just thinking of the pairing of the sweetly tart, rich flavor paired with the sharp earthy bite of Humboldt Fog made me weak in the knees.

Sure enough, even with the mountain of other food around every crumb of the crackers had vanished by the end of the evening.



On Course Cherry Blue Cheese Crackers





  • 1 wedge Humboldt Fog
  • Tart dried cherries
  • Wheat Thins


  • Spread a thick layer of Humboldt Fog (or a blue cheese if you can’t find Humboldt Fog) on wheat thins or other crackers
  • Place one dried cherry on top
  • Arrange on a plate
  • Serve at room temperature


  •  Serve immediately or crackers may soften
  • Serve as an appetizer before meals
  • Serve as a dessert paired with a nice tawny port


Detroit Yacht Club

Heave Ho Challah Bread

Challah 1024x768 Heave Ho Challah Bread

Who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked bread?  It fills the air with comfort, security, and a promise everything will be alright.  In other words, freshly baked bread smells like happiness

So why is it that fresh bread is such a commodity on the high seas?  Baking bread isn’t difficult.  It’s time consuming.  What do you have on long passages?  Nothing but time.

Okay, so boat ovens aren’t always the most reliable, but I haven’t met an oven yet, well one that worked, that you couldn’t bake bread in.

I adore baking, kneading the bread can be therapeutic and stress-relieving.  Not that there’s much of that at sea but still, I find bread-baking perfect for the sailing life.  You can stop any time and come back to it: leave the bread to rise while you go about your other duties and then come back to it whenever.  The more times you let it proof (rise) the softer and fluffier it will be.

Now a lot of boating cookbooks recommend easy, fast meals.  Time enough to open a can of soup and maybe heat it up.  I find a nice loaf of warm bread does loads to improve morale.  Not to mention making the whole boat smell gorgeous.

My favorite bread is undoubtedly Challah.   I have adored the dense, sweet Jewish bread since the first time I remember having it, used in French Toast.  Ever since then I have been baking the tender loaves and perfecting the recipe.

Unfortunately, no matter how often I make it, it never seems to last long enough for me to be able to make French toast with it.  Such a hit, It is a miracle if a loaf even lasts a day.



Heave Ho Challah Bread 

Makes 2 loaves


  • 2 packets yeast or 1 ½ tablespoons (In my experience the salt air can affect the yeast’s growth. if cooking on land I suggest 1 packet or 2.5 teaspoons.  )
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups warm water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs + egg yolk


  • 1 egg white

(I use the yolk in the bread because I don’t like wasting a perfectly good yolk.  If your eggs are older and the yolk has broken just use the whole egg for the glaze)




  • Mix yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar in small bowl, place in sink to sit for 10 minutes.  The yeast mixture should look frothy and larger which means the yeast is alive and your bread will rise.  If the yeast hasn’t activated let it sit a little longer and add a teaspoon more yeast.
  • Mix sugar, salt, and 3 c flour
  • Make a well in the center and add yeast water, oil, and 2 eggs
  • Mix with a wooden spoon
  • When mixed well gradually add more flour enough for the mixture to be smooth to the touch, not sticky and not too much or the dough will not be cohesive
  • As the mixture starts to be elastic begin kneading with your hands.
  • Knead dough for 5-10 minutes
  • Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with a damp paper towel (When I’m on land I use a cloth but laundry can be an issue at sea)
  • Allow to proof for 1 hour in the galley sink
  • Punch dough down
  • Allow to rise another 30 minutes.  You can let your bread this as many times as you want.  The dough should rise faster each time and the resulting bread will be fluffier the more times you let it proof.*
  • Preheat the oven to 350◦ F  (176◦ F or medium)
  • Divide dough in half and divide each half into four balls
  • Roll each ball into a rope
  • Braid the dough rolls into braids of four strands you can also do 3 strand braids
  • Let rise for 15 minutes
  • Brush with egg glaze If you have a pastry brush then by all means use it.  I don’t have all the amenities in my galley so just use my hands.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes in preheated oven or until top is golden brown.






 * Refrigerate half the dough  dough.  This way you will have a quick and easy fresh loaf of bread:  When you are ready to bake the bread simply divide the dough in two and place in an oiled bowl covered with a damp cloth and refrigerate.  When you are ready to bake it, punch the dough down (it will have risen in the refrigerator) and allow to stand in room temperature for an hour before baking.

* Be sure to leave the bread in the sink to proof so you don’t have dough flying across the galley.

Stormy Seas Ginger Juice

Stormy Seas Ginger drink 1024x768 Stormy Seas Ginger Juice


Dark and Stormies are one of my favorite drinks.  The perfect seafaring beverage: it has lime to ward off seasickness and ginger to banish seasickness.  More than that the combination of ginger, lime, and rum is unbeatable. Unfortunately real ginger beer can be difficult to find in the States and calling something made with ginger ale a dark and stormy is almost an insult to the drink.

Not to worry.  Stormy Seas Ginger Juice can be used as a homemade dark and stormy mixer.

My godmother gave me a slightly different version of this recipe a few years ago I have been making it since.  Drinking water from the water-maker can get old so when I’m in port I like to make a batch of this.  The longer it sits the better and more gingery it tastes and one batch can always be watered down to taste.

It’s the perfect drink to sip on a hot day or on stormy seas to fend off potential seasickness.  More than just tasting good it’s useful as well, even more so than the original dark and stormy.  Ginger juice has a ton of real ginger which works wonders for settling stomachs and preventing seasickness.  Between the ginger and all the vitamin C, ginger juice is a tasty dose of health.

Whether you’re a teetotaler or drink like a sailor this drink is sure to be a hit.


Stormy Seas Ginger Juice

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup grated ginger (preferably young ginger)
  • ½ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 c cool water

This recipe is a whole lot easier if you have a food processor on board to puree your ginger or buy chopped ginger.  If you don’t have one on board then I recommend using young ginger because it is less stringy and easier to grate.



  • Bring  4 cups of water to a boil in a large pan
  • Add ginger, sugar, & cinnamon in boiling water and remove from flame.
  • Let steep for an hour.
  • Add juice and remaining water
  • Store in refrigerator, I used empty plastic 2-liter  bottles





* Try making it with different types of juice: grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, or whatever you have in your galley

* Mix with sparkling water

* Mix in rum for delicious cocktails

* Dilute with more water to stretch further

* Use honey instead of sugar

Flexibility is the Name of the Game: Passionate Death by Chocolate

Cake 1024x768 Flexibility is the Name of the Game: Passionate Death by Chocolate

Passionate Death by Chocolate – Chocolate cake with passion fruit jam

Some people will tell you that the only way to cook is precision.  Measuring everything out to the last sugar crystal…

I understand what they are saying.  And I agree, to a point.  When you are just starting out it is good to go by the book, to get a feel for how the recipe is supposed to look or how bread or cookie dough should feel.  But after the basics are mastered why cook like a robot?  Especially at sea!  The boat is moving, why should you stay stiff?

No, I come from a very different school of thought.  To me cooking is art, creativity, experimentation.  To put too many rules and regulations on your cooking puts limits on your imagination.  I have written measurements down for my recipes exactly, but please just use them as a guide.   I encourage you to add a little salt if something is too bland for you or put an extra pinch of sugar or shake of pepper in there.

I’m not a fan of hard and fast rules even on land, but at sea inflexibility is just silly.  You never know where you’re going to find yourself and you can’t always find every ingredient you need in every port. And though it is impossible to make cornbread without some type of corn meal (a herculean feat in Australia – do not make my mistake of thinking what they sell as corn flour is corn meal.  No corn flour is actually corn starch).  Most things can be substituted or worked around.  After all, we’re sailors… jerry-rigging and innovation is the name of the game!  Often substitution can lead to delicious new recipes.  Isn’t that how recipes are invented in the first place?

One of my favorite improvised recipes is my Passionate Death by Chocolate.  I had made some passion fruit jam and decided to use it in one of my favorite cake recipes.  I admit, I haven’t made the cake on a boat yet, but putting up the picture without posting the recipe just seemed cruel.

This easy-to-make (almost) flourless chocolate cake tastes as decadent as it looks.  I recommend keeping it refrigerated and serving it in thin slivers with vanilla ice cream.  Whoever samples it may ask you where you’ve been moonlighting as a pastry chef.



  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 Tablespoons sour cream


  •  Preheat oven to 350◦ F (180◦ C)
  •  Line a 10+ inch circular cake tin with parchment paper.  You can use a larger pan for a slightly thinner cake, but if you only have smaller pans then it might be better to use 2 or make tarts.
  •  Melt the butter and chocolate in double boiler.  It’s easy to jerry rig a double boiler using 2 pans. Put about an inch of water in the bottom one and some small kitchen implement for the second one to balance on so it is not completely touching the bottom of the lower pan. 
  • Thoroughly mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder
  • Mix in melted butter, chocolate, and sour cream
  • Bake 40-50 minutes
  • Cool the cake completely and cut in half horizontally
  •  Spread passion fruit, raspberry, or whatever type of jam  you’d like between the two  layers of cake and on top


Make the icing while the cake is baking

  • Heat ⅔ C. cream in small pan until almost boiling
  • Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth
  • Allow to cool until of a thicker consistency (if it gets too thick you can always heat it again)
  •  Spread the icing over the top and around the sides of the cake
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour


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