Galley Tips and Recipes Feed

Propane, Rolling Round My Brain


Sixteen years of living aboard and we just got bitch-slapped by our boat.

La Luna, we love you.

We don’t totally agree about the timing, as in when she started dinging us. I feel it was only a two-day challenge, P7270075but EW thinks we may have been bombarded for a week. At right is our lovely queen berth in the master stateroom. We love our center queen in the stern. EW sleeps on the left side of the bed (your right as you look at this photo) and I on the right. Always. For over 30 years. I think that started when we … never mind, that would be a TMI moment.

EW felt a bit under the weather, intestinally, last week. He now thinks that was the first symptom and maybe he’s right. The propane locker is located near his head.  (That red bolster pillow is pointing to the locker.) Of course, there is a vent in the locker and we’ve had no issues for 16 years. We have carbon monoxide “bitches” in galley and master stateroom. They have been known to cry “Car-Bon Mo-NOX-ide! Car-Bon Mo-NOX-ide!” or “Fire! Fire!” depending on the moment. We have a hard-wired propane sensor under the stove in the galley. We thought we were covered.

Think again!

The other day, EW had to change propane tanks. (For you who don’t boat or camp, we have permanent tanks that get refilled. They have been inspected and have new valves and EW is meticulous about making sure they are safe when he changes them.) A day or so later, I smelled “something” in the master stateroom. It was a little something, more like a small dead animal than propane. Hey! I cook with propane daily. I know the smell. (One would think.)

When it persisted, I checked for the fictitious dead rodent, and then mentioned the smell to EW the next evening as we crawled into bed. “Hmmm. That may be propane. Don’t make coffee until I check it in the morning.”

Hmm? That blasé answer may have been sponsored by propane hazed minds. We hadn’t slept well the prior night (or 2) and I was feeling logy. EW, who sleeps closest to the propane locker was feeling worse but thought it was an intestinal thing.

The next morning, EW arose and immediately checked the propane locker and swore. There was a leak at the regulator. It was easily repaired, I made coffee and we went on with our day. Now, depending on which of us is right, we had slept next to the leak for 3-7 days.

Flipping big oops!

I’d been invited to take a trip on the Black Raven that day so I could take photos and videos of EW being a pirate, but I just felt too icky and sleepy. In fact, I took a two-hour nap instead and still slept for 8 hours that night. (I’m normally a 6-7 hour a night person with very few naps.)

At that point, “duh!” I looked up propane poisoning.


Not good.

Here’s the thing, for over 30 years of boating, any discussion/article about propane safety that I’ve seen and heard has dealt with the possibility of propane leaking into the bilge and exploding. That’s a bad thing. That’s why we have a propane sensor below the stove. We’ve had issues (hey, things happen) and the sensor actually prevents propane from flowing if it detects a leak, making it difficult to blow up the boat.  We’re careful and always turn off the propane—not just the burner—when we aren’t using the stove. In fact, we have a rule of turning off the propane before turning off the burner so we bleed the line every single time.

We are safety conscious—but we blew it. (Pun intended.)

After it was fixed, Stew also had a great night’s sleep. In fact, he slept until 10:00 AM on the 3rd. Now, we’re both rested, lively, and back to normal. We are also lucky and not stupid. This week I’m buying a propane sensor for the master stateroom where the carbon-monoxide bitch is useless.

I’m looking for one that is battery operated and doesn’t talk. Two electronic bitches on the boat are plenty.

Think Like a Cruiser

IMG_7130[1]We’ve been stuck fortunate to have been living aboard in St. Augustine for nearly two years. And we still have about five months to go. I will tell you that there have been days when I’ve despaired of ever getting back out to the cruising life and I greatly miss it. We are in limbo, neither having moved ashore nor able to set sail and go where the wind takes us.

We are merely liveaboards just as we were in Maine for eight years. But now, we are liveaboards who have cruised and even if we currently don’t feel the deep peace and satisfaction we get when living the full cruising life—we still feel like cruisers from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes. Accordingly, while we may act like dirt dwellers in polite company, we have the hearts, souls, and minds of cruisers.

So for you newbies and plan-to-bes, here are a few examples of how to think like a cruiser.

Think Like A Cruiser: Know the Difference Between a Vacation and an Adventure

va·ca·tion noun 1. an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.

ad·ven·ture noun 1. an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

When you’re on a one- or two-week camping vacation and it rains for three days straight, and you’re cold and wet and are not having any fun, it’s perfectly normal and healthy and possible for you to pack it up and head to a motel or home. You are also allowed to complain to friends and family about how miserable you were.

When you have embarked on a months- or years-long cruise on your sailboat and encounter a storm with 30-knot gusts, 10-foot seas, rain, and the threat of waterspouts—causing you to sail for over 24 hours in the slightly wrong direction to avoid shoals or crossing the Gulf Stream—you cannot quit or complain. You must maintain your watch schedule and you must present a positive attitude (feeling some fear is OK—that means you’re paying attention).  You are on an adventure. Any adventure of long duration or in a difficult location will include rough weather, broken down parts, and boring dead calms. Adventure Happens. Get over it. Afterward, you are allowed to complain to fellow cruisers about how miserable you were as long as you also relate one funny story. (The Dinghy at Cape Fear in 2010.)

Think Like a Cruiser: Simplify and Be Proud

Back home, I enjoyed decorating for the holidays, hosting parties, and “doing it up right”. As cruisers, my (never magazine worthy) standards are considerably lower. This year, EW’s birthday  “card” was made from two napkins and a Guadeloupe dish towel knotted together to form a banner with “Happy”, “Birthday”, and “Stew” taped to the three triangles.

While cruising, our holiday celebrations have ranged from a high of the sunrise Christmas carols and tomfoolery in Emancipation Park in St. Thomas to the low of a sad little Christmas feast of packaged Stolen and a small shot of Schnapps on our “Endurance Crossing” in 2014. We do have one plastic shoe box of Christmas ornaments on board, but no decorations for any other holiday. And while we recognize that some cruisers do carry more crafts or special decorations on board, I’ve never been made to feel inadequate for not doing so.


One of my friends has, though. One year she attended one of the well-known cruisers’ Thanksgiving celebrations along the U.S. Southern Coast and learned that they were expected to “decorate” their white-paper-covered table. Being more like me than a sailing Martha Stewart, her party took magic markers and traced their hands to create large-size kindergarten turkeys and colored them. “Awesome!” I thought as she related the story. Until she said that one cruiser took one look at their table and called it “Tacky”.

That my friend was judged is not acceptable. We have simplified our life and cruised off into the sunset or sunrise to a place where we don’t have to comply with keeping up with the Joneses anchored next to us. Do not judge us as we will not judge you for filling your boat with Halloween Costumes, plastic eggs, and accordion tissue turkeys. (Well, maybe we will a little but we won’t do so in public.)

Think Like a Cruiser: Walk it Off

IMG_7143[1]EW and I have chosen not to purchase a car while we are here in St. Augustine—both a financial decision and a philosophical one. Since 2010 we have lived a life that didn’t require the use of a full-time vehicle (or often any vehicle) and didn't drive at all for two years while in the Caribbean. We walk, we ride two third-hand bikes, or we take the bus; every so often we rent a car and a bit more frequently we have relied on the kindness of dirt-dwelling friends for the occasional ride. The point is, that our default is to walk or take the bike. I’m on the edge of the planning committee for the St. Augustine Cruisers’ Thanksgiving, which needs to be held 3/4 of a mile from the Municipal Marina this year. There was a discussion about “transportation” and how many people the three or four car owners can take to and from.

“Um…Ninety percent of us walk farther than that to go have a beer every dang week!” “Of course!” “The only difference is that we’ll need to carry a bunch of stuff – drinks, our own plates and service, and a hot or cold dish. We need one or two cars to take the two to six folks with mobility issues and all the stuff. One trip and we’re done.”

We are cruisers. We walk, we take our dinghies, we help each other. Sometimes we are tacky and it’s not always fun but all of it—every single good and bad thing about this lifestyle—is all part of the adventure.

And that boys and girls, is why we cruise.

Tips and Anti-Tips from Facebook

Or “Rising to the Occasion”

Facebook has become a vital communication component for cruisers. There are Facebook groups for Grenada, Trinidad, the USVI; there are groups for those who live-aboard, those who sew on boats, those who cook on boats; and of course each of us has groups of friends and family back home.

As we’ve been stuck  um blessed to be in St. Thomas until the new sail arrives, both EW and I have become addicted to Facebook. We pay a monthly fee for Wifi, and we are making sure we get our money’s worth. Once I learned to differentiate between ads, ads re-sent by friends and family, and actual messages by friends and family I discovered that I can learn a lot from Facebook.

Some of the things I’ve learned have worked for me (us). Others have not.

So, let’s start with a win. Back in 2010 in Hampton, Virginia,  we purchased a dinghy step — the kind that helps you step from dinghy to deck. Until we moved permanently off the dock, we had used the swim ladder in the stern to get from dinghy to deck. Once we began living aboard on a mooring and at anchor, we realized side entry with a step would be better. This spring, the old step broke. (Of course.)

There are no steps in the marine stores on the island, and it appears that the one we purchased is no longer available anywhere. (Of course.) Furthermore (What would these stories be without “furthermores”?) the two steps that would be available had we not been in St. Thomas cost 60-something, or 200-something, respectively. I refused to spend that right now.IMG_0780

So, I went online to two Facebook groups and put out the message asking if anyone had a cheaper alternative. This lovely sailing woman whom I've never met, told us about a PVC step her “DH” had made (that’s Dear Husband to the social media impaired). I and another lady asked for photos, and she promised to get back to us as soon as possible. She also said that they weren’t on or near the boat, so she’d see what she could do. Within a couple of hours she had sent a photograph of a drawing detailing how to make the step. EW looked at it, we made a parts list, and he trundled off to ACE where he purchased everything we needed for $11.00 (or 10-something to keep all the figures in the same vernacular). We could use the hooks from the broken step, but he used new line.


Now lets move on to a fail—or two.

I had posted on the cooking on boats FB page that I was astonished that a small jar of Fleischmann’s yeast cost $12.06. (Or 12-something. That’s more than a step!) I didn't even want to purchase small jars of yeast. On other Caribbean islands I’ve found vacuum foil bricks of yeast, that I store in a ClickClack container in the fridge. It stays fresh for months. When I posted that I couldn’t find those packs here, two folks suggested that I make my own yeast.

You can make yeast? Well, that makes sense because someone makes it. I was game to try. Now please note, I understand about sourdough starter. It requires care and feeding. EW takes care of himself and I still occasionally feed him popcorn for supper. Does this sound like a woman who will take care and feed a mushy pile of dough? It does not. So I skipped those recipes and went right to yeast.

First of all. Do you know who is concerned about making yeast? Mostly people who are gearing up to survive something. Something bad. Something bad for which they will need guns. Something bad for which they will need guns and for which they are storing hundreds of pounds of flour, for which they will need yeast.

You can actually make yeast out of nearly any fruit as long as it hasn’t been washed or waxed first. (Of course after the big something from which they are surviving no one will have to worry about waxed fruit, so that’s good.) Fruit, however, will add flavor to your bread, and that may not be to your liking, so most recipes discuss making yeast using potatoes. One recipe said that you simply save the water after you’ve boiled potatoes, add sugar and flour and let it sit in a warm place overnight. If it’s fermenting and bubbly, you have yeast. If it’s just a lump, toss it and try again. (They actually said that. Didn’t sound very promising to me. Made me wonder if they would eat a lot of leavened bread after the big something happens.)

IMG_0763My potato yeast did not rise to the occasion and I ended up with a lump. Much to EW’s delight I was willing to try again, until we took a quick trip to Cost U Less where we found—Ta-Da!—a brick of yeast. Two whole pounds of yeast for six-something. (That’s just over half of a dinghy step.) For the win.IMG_0791







For the second, final, and most spectacular fail of the week, let’s discuss getting into the dinghy from water that is over your head. Our cruising/musician friend Gavin, posted what he called is an easy way to enter your dinghy from the water. It actually looks elegant.

NOTE: You probably won’t be able to see Gavin’s video as it is on Facebook. He hangs with his back to the dinghy, holding on to the carry straps, tells us to curl our legs up into our bodies, throw our head backwards into the water and “Bob’s your uncle!” Gavin ended up kneeled in his dinghy. It was awesome. It looked easy and elegant.

I pretty much do not look elegant when I go from water to dinghy. EW can kick and thrust himself up and then pull himself aboard with his arms. I cannot . I use a method that works for slightly out of shape 50-something (age nor financial worth) women. I watched Gavin’s video a few times and thought, “That looks easy. I bet I can do that.”

Yeah. No. I did not rise to the occasion.  Here is a video of my attempts. Feel free to laugh.


When we were in Guadeloupe and were swimming and snorkeling a lot, I devised a way for me to get back into the dinghy. We always have one five foot rope tied to a ring on the transom in case we need to secure the dinghy fore and aft. I take that line and put it through the large hand hold, leading it to the opposite side of the boat. I take another small line and tie that to the large opposite large hand hold, put a big loop in the other end using a bowline, and toss it over the side. Then I grab onto the thicker line, put my foot in the loop, and haul myself aboard. Is it elegant? No. But I can take care of myself, and both lines are kept in a way that they can be reached and rigged from the water. I’d call that a win.



 But no one would call that elegant.

Hosting isn’t Chartering


We cruisers frequently invite others to the boat – both cruisers and able dirt dwellers. I am usually the inviter/instigator and I love to have folks over. A week ago, we hosted on Friday night.We had invited a couple of former cruisers who are now Captain and Crew on a charter cat. They had the week off and I was delighted to offer them a relaxing evening of pizza while we all caught up beyond the past year of FaceBook posts. Shortly after the time they were expected to arrive, she contacted me via FaceBook to say that they had unexpected guests: a fellow cruising/chartering couple, their daughter, and her 15 month old son. I wish I could say that I didn’t pause before inviting everyone along, but there was a pause, and then some manic re-thinking, and then I invited everyone over, saying I easily had enough food for all. No worries.

So they came. And we had a wonderful time. They talked about the pros and cons of running charter boats. And I was once again reminded of why EW and I and don’t go that route. If you had told me that with our small marine oven, I could actually prepare pizza for six adults and one baby and have everyone served nearly at the same time – I would have denied it. (The seventh adult is gluten free and cheerfully accepted my new invention: Pizza Salad – lettuce, bunches of cut raw veggies, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and Italian dressing. For. The. Win.)

First, I made a huge batch of popcorn, salting some with our new maple/spice salt from the Canary Islands. What that does for popcorn is sinful. The baby loved it; he leaned up against his mom, facing EW, and scooping up popcorn with both hands. He also loved his pizza. He’s a great boat guest and a very good eater.IMG_0594

But I’m ahead of myself. Just as one of our guests teased me about not having them fill out a preference sheet, I presented—“Ta-Da” —preference pizza sheets. I had three large pizza pans, suitable for two hungry people each, and two cake tins for my own version of “personal pan pizza”. The preference sheets made everything easy. One large pizza with no olives for Mike and Rebecca, One large pizza with no peppers for EW and me, One large pizza made to Sherry’s specifications (with planned left-overs) and a personal pan for Jim and for the baby. As I made the salad, I rotated the pizzas from top shelf, bottom shelf, and bottom of the oven, making sure they didn’t burn on the bottom.

For. The. Win. Again.

Plenty of wine and beer, great conversation, easy guests, and one of the world’s perfect babies. I had it much easier than those who charter.

I’m also messier. We’ve been fortunate to be hosted by charter couples, usually when they want to practice new recipes. (Pick me! Pick me!) Invariably, they somehow make cooking and hosting and cleaning as one goes look easy and seamless. I didn’t even try. This is what my galley looked like at the end of the evening. Thankfully, EW always cheerfully and expertly assists with the clean-up. (Note that I made too much pizza.)


Two final notes:

  1. This isn’t the first time I’ve served pizza to a 15 month old. Thirty plus years ago, I watched my forever friend, Kathy’s baby for the day. Marc and I had a wonderful time, as did his parents who were a couple of hours late getting home. In the meantime, I (who barely cooked) had to feed Marc supper. Kathy had a French bread frozen pizza in the freezer, and I figured it was time Marc tried the finer things in life. (My excuse was that he had plenty of teeth.) He loved it. Kathy was slightly appalled but tried to hide it. Pizza became Marc’s favorite food through to adult-hood and it’s still one of his top picks. Just this past month I was delighted to see a FaceBook posting of Marc out for pizza with his two-year-old daughter. My work there is done.
  2. EW and I are serious about not chartering. How serious are we? The Magazine ‘All at Sea” published my article, titled: “When Cruisers Charter.” Also, you can find a list of all of my published articles in the column on the right.

Artisan Bread


And now, for "Cook It" Friday ....

To continue with “Facebook Recipes”, as you may have noticed if you read the post about general cleaners, I have an aversion to reposting recipes on Facebook when I or my friends haven’t first tried them. If I like the look of a recipe, I’ll save it as a Word document to try (or not) later. The challenge with that is by the time I’ve tried a recipe, I have no patience to find the source in order to re-post it. 

My experience with artisan bread was a bit different. In the French islands, we eat baguettes – lots of baguettes; in the Azores we purchased the local artisan bread; during crossings and passages and in many anchorages, I make bread. For years I used the “Easy White Bread” from Kay Pastorious “Cruising Cuisine”. We liked it. It was easy. It was fine.

But we loved the artisan bread in the Azores and “Easy White Bread” no longer did it for us. Lo and behold, during one of my very infrequent times on Facebook while in the Azores, someone re-posted a recipe for Artisan Bread that could be “made” in only five minutes. (Turns out there are many versions of this recipe on line. Here’s the one I found for this post.)

Five minutes? Yeah, right. And, the recipe showed wonderful enameled Dutch oven unlike anything I have on board. But it looked interesting, so I copied an saved the recipe for future consideration. A while after that, I remembered another bread recipe, posted on a cruising blog by someone who I know and who actually made the bread. Like my mother and sister, I save recipes, though more and more are saved in a Word document on the laptop than in my three (yes, three!) three ring binders on board.

So I went back to the laptop, and easily found my copy of a recipe shared by Mike of  S/V Happy Times.  We met Mike, his wife Cheryl, and their daughter Mikayla in Isles des Saintes, Guadeloupe, and later spent time with them in Grenada. Cheryl said that bread was very good, and Mike said it was easy. Maybe this Facebook recipe has something going for it.

So I tried it.

Oh. My. Goodness! Cheryl was right. (Cheryl is pretty much always right.)  While folks on the web will all say “5 Minute” bread recipe, Mike makes no such untruthful claim. Active time takes maybe 15 minutes, spread out over 9 hours, so this is not a time consuming process. It does require a hot oven and therefore quite a bit of propane, but I get around that by making two loaves at the same time. The second loaf will certainly last better than an extra French baguette.

Now, it’s interesting to note (for me, anyway) that I didn’t have the kind of dish Mike used, either. I have a Revere Ware copper bottomed Dutch Oven and I have Fagor nesting cookware that we purchased at a boat show in 2002. At first, I made one loaf at a time in the Dutch oven. That worked great, except for the propane issue. So I experimented with making two loaves at a time with my largest and second largest Fagor pots. Since those pots have holes to vent steam, I cover the lids with aluminum foil to keep the heat in. Mike says to oil the pans, the other recipe I got off Facebook said not to oil the pans. Two recipes I found when researching for this post, suggested using parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.

Here’s Mike’s recipe:

No-Knead Bread


3 1/2 cups of flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1 package of yeast (1/4 oz)


1 1/2 cups of warm water (120 degrees F)

Cover bowl with towel and let rise for 12 to 24 hours.

IMG_0220IMG_0232Fold dough over itself a few times.

Let rise for 2 more hours (optional, for more fluffy bread).

Spray/lightly oil baking dish. I use round 2 quart Corning baking dish.

Pre-heat baking dish in oven at 450 degree F. for 10 minutes.

Pour dough into heated dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Uncover dish and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Bread should get to 190-200 degrees F.

I tend to make this after supper, and let it sit overnight. I found that the “fold dough over itself a few times” can be a bit sticky, but the results are worth it. The blue soft kitchen scraper is perfect for this job. Finally, I haven’t willingly purchased a “package of yeast” in the Caribbean as I much prefer the large foil wrapped packages found on shelves in the islands. Once on board, I put the whole package into an airtight container in the fridge, and use 1 tablespoon for the “package” called for.

About a Landlubbers Advice re: Galley Cooking.

Oh gee. Sometimes on-line media gets it wrong. Who knew?

Here’s the opening paragraph from a lengthy how-to article on All that was brought to our attention by one of the members of the Women Who Sail Facebook group.

The Galley Kitchen: Boat

Cooking while at sea is part of the adventure.

Prepare for your voyage as if you were camping in the woods: space is limited, as are fuel and refrigeration, so planning ahead is critical. In a galley kitchen, you will be lucky to get two burners on the stove, let alone an oven or a microwave. A tiny sink will give you barely enough room to wash a cup--large pots and pans will act as washbasins by themselves--so plan your menus accordingly.


Oh dear.

We were amused, but not impressed, and whoever wrote the article is spreading that ubiquitous urban legend that living aboard is like camping.

Now, to be fair, most of us have assumed that 1. He/She is not a sailor, but is married to one; 2. They have a small boat, with a challenging galley; 3. He/She is not a candidate for living aboard or long distance cruising.

However, the photo that accompanies the article shows a lovely galley, three burner stove, oven, counter space and what looks like a double sink. This is not camping.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We are not camping in the woods. We are living on a sailboat – a rather spacious one.

The author did have some useful ideas – but the errors gave us pause, made us laugh, or just ticked us off.

    • Bring only the minimum of cooking equipment: 1 skillet, 1 pot or saucepan, cups, plates, bowls and silverware.

Yeah, right. I did purchase nesting pots at a boat show and never regretted giving up most of my beloved pots from home. I do regret not bringing more serving pieces for parties. I have three skillets, four pots, one Dutch oven, a pressure cooker, a lobster steamer, and a crockery bean pot.

Hey, I’m from Maine, I wouldn’t leave home without the lobster steamer and bean pot .

    • Only cook when the boat is docked or anchored--this includes grilling. There will still be some movement, but it should be more predictable.

Well, we cruisers do cook off shore. EW likes to eat every day. I like to keep EW happy. Now, in our small coastal 26-footer, we had a two burner kerosene stove, one small sink and an icebox. I rarely cooked underway, but managed to turn out meals aboard. Again, the main problem with the article is that the author assumes that all boating experiences are the same.

    • Knives are necessary for food prep, but can be a hazard if you leave them on the counter. Hang a magnetized strip for storing knives and put them away after each use.

EW and I believe that knives on vessels underway must be stored much more securely. However, comments on Facebook indicate that other live-aboards with many  passages and crossings under their keels have successfully used magnetic knife holders with no lost knives, fingers, or lives. Good to know. I’ll give the author this one.

    • Make a list with one dinner for each night you will be out. Choose simple one-dish meals if possible.
    • Plan to have sandwiches for lunch and hand-held items for breakfast: muffins, granola bars, or energy bars. Bring some eggs to scramble and serve in tortillas for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

OK, this is good advice for people underway. When preparing for a passage, I make three or four meals, package them in single serving vacuum bags, and freeze them. They are re-heated in boiling water; easy and delicious. At anchor, I have a list of easy meals and make sure that I have all the ingredients for three of them at any given time, but I also may make multi-pot, multi-course “normal” meals each week. This is my  home. Say it with me: We are NOT camping.

    • Don't rely on catching fish to eat. Consider fish a bonus meal or just replace one of your non-perishable meals.

TRUTH! Absolute truth. See Mr. Romance is Not a Hunter Gatherer. To be fair, EW has worked at his fishing skills and has caught some beautiful and tasty  fish since our first year at sea. So I still keep wasabi aboard, just in case, but I don’t plan fish meals underway, because he will  insist on eating every day whether or not he’s caught dinner.

There is a sidebar to the article with “Boating Menus”. Again, these are great menus for people living onshore and venturing out to sea only on the weekends. The day  I waste propane and steam the boat by boiling pork roast for an hour is the day I move to a condo. Think a cold day in H.E. double hockey sticks. However, the recipes look good and could be adapted for  those who actually live on a boat, or for knowledgeable coastal cruisers.

For helpful information about cooking in a galley – whether you are struggling with only a two-burner stove and an ice-box, or whether you have an oven, coffee-maker, blender, and micro-wave – I suggest you check out by  Carolyn Shearlock.

Carolyn has also published a cookbook that’s on my “want” list, appropriately  called The Boat Galley Cookbook.

Finally, my  current favorite galley cookbook was gifted to me by dear friends Ellen and Frank in 2004. “Cruising Cuisine” by Kay Pastorius. We’ve enjoyed many of her recipes and tips over and over again.

This is our galley.


This is our life. This boat is our home. We are not camping. Say it with me: We. Are. Not. Camping.

NOTE:  Thanks to all of you who knocked wood. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season is over. We were very, very lucky.

Dorian and Steak Pie

Dorian (name)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dorian /ˈdɔəriən/ is a name of Greek origin meaning "from Doris", or alternatively from the Gaelic name Doireann meaning "tempestuous weather".[1] It was probably created by Oscar Wilde for the main character in his The Picture of Dorian Gray, after whom the syndrome Dorian Gray syndrome.[2] It is used mainly for men, but is also used occasionally for women. It is the name of a long-running female soap opera character, Dorian Cramer, on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live.

Hmmm. So we have tempestuous weather, Oscar Wilde, and soap operas. Kind of appropriate since Dorian was tempestuous only for a short while and simply disappeared.

No biggie.

Here’s what I like about early hurricane season in St. Thomas:

These storms give us a chance to learn the area, sample various weather forecast options, and discuss our storm plans.  We follow a lot of weather sources, but tend to focus on Chris Parker’s 7AM SSB broadcast and Weather Underground. On the 25th, Weather Underground showed the historical tracks of storms that were born in June and July in the same area in which Dorian formed. As you can see, historically we didn’t have much to worry about.


7.25 historical

Still, we kept watch – two to three times daily – and listened to Chris Parker every morning. If Dorian hadn’t died out, an option that was mentioned often, he would go north of us, impacting us with some wind and potentially rough seas. We made plans to move into Charlotte Amalie Harbor because when a storm goes to the north, this anchorage can have a very uncomfortable roll. At 5AM on Saturday, they were talking about Dorian weakening. If he remained alive, he was definitely passing close enough to our north to have a bit of impact.Dorian 7.27.13 5A Tracking

Since EW was scheduled to work on Sunday, we would move on Saturday night after he got out of work. I was aboard La Luna all day and had planned to pull some beef out of the freezer and make an Asian – and fairly healthy  -- sauté. However, it was cooler than normal that morning, and I thought it might be blustery and raining by the time we moved, and the originally planned meal could not be cooked until after we anchored, meaning we wouldn’t eat until late.

I’ve been reading some British mysteries lately and the Scotland Yard types keep stopping into pubs for lunch where steak pie is often the meal of choice. I looked up a few recipes, altered them, combined them, and vowed not to use the gas for the 3-4 hours of total cooking time. Why would anyone need to bake a pie for 2 hours – particularly after browning the ingredients and stewing everything on the stove top for over an hour?

I figured I could start cooking at 5, have the pie in the oven by 6 when EW arrived home, and it would be ready to eat once we had anchored.

In the meantime, Dorian began to die like daytime soaps. By the time EW arrived home, we had both decided that it made no sense to move.P7270578

Still, EW was so delighted with the steak pie, that I actually sat down at the laptop and wrote out my recipe. Before we take off next year, I’ll make a batch of this and freeze it, making the crust and baking it as we cross the Atlantic. P7270581

Thanks, Dorian – for being my gourmet muse this week, and for dying out at sea. We’ll remember you fondly.

La Luna Steak Pie for four

1 lb steak

1 large onion

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

Salt and black pepper

1 cup beef stock - a bit more if you like a moister steak pie.

1 pastry crust

1 egg beaten

Olive oil

1 can of beer

1. cube steak, pour half can of beer on it, add salt and pepper and marinate for a bit

1.a. Sip the rest of the beer while cooking.

2. Slice the onion and sauté in a bit of hot oil until gold and brown. Take the time to cook it well. Stir often and stop only when brown bits start clinging to the pan.

3. Remove onion, add a bit of oil to the pan and reheat. Drain the beef, reserving the liquid. Wipe the cubes to dry them, dust with seasoned flour and brown in pan.

4. Add onions, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper to the browned beef. Mix reserved beer into broth and add to pan. Cook on top of stove for about 15 minutes.

5. Make pie crust. I used 1 cup flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/3 cup shortening, and water to make a dough. Do all the normal cutting in of the shortening, rolling, etc., reserving a bit of dough to edge the pan.

6. Pour beef mixture into pie pan or small iron skillet. Edge pan/skillet with small bit of dough, place dough topping on top of the dough edge and pinch the edges together. Brush entire top of dough with beaten egg. Make a slit to let steam escape.

7. Place in 350 oven and bake until pie crust is done.

8. Serve with lightly buttered el dente carrot discs and beer.

Gazpacho Mash-up

P7150463One of the good things I did when we moved aboard the boat was to consolidate my many recipes into three notebooks: Cold Weather Foods, Warm Weather Foods, and Desserts.   I used plastic sleeves for three ring binders – both full page and half page – and inserted my favorite old recipe cards, magazine pages, and recipes printed from the web.

It recently occurred to me that I haven’t been perusing those recipes enough to find old favorites or new ideas.

Until yesterday.

Jaime and Keith on Kookaburra invited us for fajitas and since I was working anything I took had to be prepared in the morning. Instead of going for my old recipes I pulled out one of my favorite cruising cookbooks, Cruising Cuisine by Kay Pastorius. Kay and her late husband cruised in Baja and the Caribbean and her cookbook is full of provisioning ideas and recipes for local foods. I was delighted to find that we had everything needed to make Kay’s Gazpacho. Kay’s tips are useful, too.

In a small-capacity boat refrigerator, gazpacho is an ideal way to store fresh vegetables. Once they are pureed they take up less space and are not subject to bruising or dehydration. If you add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to gazpacho, it will keep in the refrigerator for about three weeks. <Who knew?> When I am short on space, I puree the vegetables and add everything but the tomato juice. Just before serving I open a can of chilled juice and add it to the vegetables.

Kay’s Recipe:

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 pounds of tomatoes, peeled and cut in chunks

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

1/2 bell pepper

1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half length-wise, seeded, and cut in chunks

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

2 cups of tomato or V-8 juice

Puree or finely shop all vegetables, Add the ingredients and pass the garnishes.


1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber

Garlic croutons – made from crustless white bread cubes sautéed in garlic and olive oil until golden.


P7150474I had made gazpacho on a weekly basis back when we had a house. I used a different recipe, and loaded it with more veggies and Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce.  I think my recipe came from Mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. I know I’ve had it for years, because the recipe card is written in my much more legible younger hand and has my family name on the “from” page. As if I had given it to myself. du’h. (I showed EW the card and said, “This is what my penmanship used to look like.” He replied, stunned, “What happened?” “Computers happened.” this is true. I can’t write legibly as fast as I can keyboard, and god forbid I were to slow down and actually be able to read my writing.)



1 Can beef broth

2 1/2 cups tomato juice

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic split and tooth picked

1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce

1/4 tsp. salt

dash freshly ground black pepper

1 cup each finely chopped green pepper, cucumber, tomato

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup chopped zucchini

1/2 cup diced celery

Combine first eight ingredients and shake or stir well. Place in a container and chill for four hours.

Remove garlic (that’s why you toothpick it.)

Add remaining ingredients, stir or shake and chill for another hour. This stuff fits into a 2 quart container.

I love gazpacho. Still, I’ve never made it since we left Maine. I think the thought of two quart upright container in our small boat refrigerator was one of the stumbling blocks. Still, I’d made it so often that I remembered most of the ingredients and the methods I’d used. So, when I made my gazpacho for our dinner on Kookaburra I did it “my way”.

Here you go:

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Dice the following:

3 medium tomatoes, cut in chunks. It’s all the fresh tomatoes I had. I did NOT peel them.

1 small onion

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded

1/2 teaspoon cumin

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper

2 12 ounce cans of V-8 juice

Many dashes of Franks Louisiana Hot Sauce

I would have added fresh parsley if I’d had it..


1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

Crumbled corn chips


It was delicious. It fits in one of my horizontal Lock ‘n Locks and goes easily into the fridge next to the egg Lock ‘n Lock.

I’m glad to have gazpacho back in my repertoire and told EW that he’d be presented with it often.


P6050196When we left Maine, I vowed to stop our dependence on processed cereals. They are hard to keep fresh and whole, take up a lot of space, and are very welcoming to critters. I do not welcome critters unless they are furry, have four legs, and bark.

In a – mostly successful – attempt to keep cockroaches and flour worms/moths off La Luna we have “never” brought cardboard aboard the boat – well almost never – and “always” store any tasty morsel for bugs in Tupperware, Lock ‘n Lock, screw top plastic jar, or Click Clack container.

The first time I slacked on the rules was in Trinidad when we opted to purchase copious amounts of some of our favorite beverages to take advantage of their prices before we came back to the USVI. The cardboard beer cases were left at the dock, but the boxed wine came aboard boxed. Shortly thereafter, I saw a cockroach.

In theory, if you see just one, you are not “infested”. If you see three, you have thousands on board. I only saw one, but I still made and set out roach cookies to prevent an infestation. Months later, no more roaches. Whew!

Since we’ve been in St. Thomas EW has made a new acquaintance with boxed cereal and I’ve generally kept him stocked in Raisin Bran. The box does not come aboard, since everything we’ve read indicates that bugs just love to lay their eggs in the glue. After the cockroach sighting, I’m even more rabid about the box rule and often remove the bag of cereal and throw away the box in the store’s outside trash bin.

The other morning, EW pulled out his beloved bag of RB, of which he had only had one serving. Gulp. His eyes were immediately drawn to a moth flitting about in the bag. The bag was promptly stuffed into a plastic garbage bag, which was sealed and thrown into the dinghy.

EW had peanut butter and toast for breakfast and I examined and cleaned the cupboards, particularly because we’d gotten lax and the cereal had been closed with a clip, not locked into a plastic container. No other moths. No –ugh- worms, no cobwebby things. I’ve checked everything from cereal to crackers, flour, spaghetti, cookies – no bugs at all. We can only imagine that the one bug was in the bag at the store and didn’t have a chance to infect us. Having read this article about their life cycle,  I’ll be checking weekly in case I missed something.

Here’s what I didn’t know: Those suckers CAN and DO chew through plastic. Still, it’s not their first choice. Since I have no evidence of any infestation, I think these prevention methods have worked quite well so far.

  1. Wash produce in a bowl of water with white vinegar, before said produce goes below. (I’ve also P6050140heard other folks use sea water, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide.) I don’t tend to follow that rule here in the USVI and haven’t yet regretted that. Farther south, we followed that rule faithfully, and I haven’t regretted that either.
  2. Remove all cardboard before it gets near the companionway.  Best case is to remove it on shore where there is a dumpster or garbage can available.
  3. Purchase only flour that comes sealed in a heavy plastic bag. I figure if I were a bug on the flour shelf, I’d opt for the easy access paper bags of flour instead of chomping my way through a plastic bag that may, or may not, contain flour. They can’t read, you know.
  4. Check all potential food sources for stowaways before storing food in sealed plastic containers. Clearly I’ve stopped checking carefully. I have a new mission, now.
  5. Liberally scatter bay leaves in all cupboards in which a bug’s tasty tidbits are stored. Place bay leaves inside all of the containers, too.P6050133
  6. Make sure you check for whole or partial bay leaves before making bread, cooking the rice, or eating the cereal.
  7. Clean up all crumbs after food prep. Clean cupboards more often than I did in Maine. P6160397







  Some of the more scientific articles sniff at the use of bay leaves. I think it helps and I’m going to continue to do it.  I keep all peanut butter jars, rice jars, and other plastic screw top jars to store pantry items. In addition, I love, love, love my Click Clack canisters. I’ve had most of them since we moved aboard in 2002 and only one has broken.

A few days after EW’s moth incident, I went back to Pueblo – not the cleanest of groceries, but the closest – and again purchased a box of raisin bran. While in the store, I opened the box, shook up the contents and checked for moths. Seeing none, I purchased it, tossing the box into the dumpster after checking out.


The Blog Gods must have wanted the photo-not-taken when EW found a bug, because once I got the groceries into the cockpit, this little beauty was flitting around in the sealed bag. Back to Pueblo where the manager apologized and cheerfully made a refund, saying, “They like the raisins. And it’s warm here so the egg hatched.” EW will not be getting any more processed cereal with raisins.


He’s OK with that. Evidently the only thing worse than a bug in an unopened bag of cereal, is one in a bag from which you have eaten.









Related articles

Crafts Afloat

There are cruisers who are crafty and artistic. They make and sell jewelry, note cards, carved gourds, and rope items; Vicky on Foxy even makes quilts on board. I’m not at their level, but I’ve created a few things that have been helpful on the boat. Friends and former neighbors, Chuck and Diane, sailed around the world and invited us to visit when they traversed the Panama Canal. While aboard S/V Bear I noticed that she had made a sunglasses holder out of heavy plastic needlepoint canvas, and filed that idea away for the future.

We didn’t need a sunglasses holder, but I’ve since thought of a few ways that needlepoint canvas can work for us. These are not cute, colorful, yarn-covered tchotchkes. A quick search on the Internet shows a surprising number of dubious items one can make and give to unsuspecting friends and relatives. My projects are strictly utilitarian and leave the canvas naked – and washable. Instead of yarn, Diane used gimp to lace the pieces together. Do you remember gimp? EW had “never heard of it,” proving he wasn’t a Girl Scout.

At Camp Natarswi in Millinocket, Maine, I often had to choose between candy or gimp when spending my miniscule daily camp store budget.Gimp was vitally important in creating bracelets, key rings, or other items for friends and family. Candy was just vitally important.

My first and best project:  Drawer Dividers.

La Luna was built in 1985 and is a monohull. Both her age and her style willP6050189 indicate that she may not have the galley storage found in similar-sized newer boats or multi-hulls. In fact, the only drawers I have for the galley are at the other end of the salon, underneath a small book shelf. They are also small – so small that no commercial ready-made dividers would fit.

When we first moved aboard, I spent a lot of money purchasing home and marine storage items. Some proved to be worth their weight in teak, others did not.  The cut-to-fit plastic drawer dividers with sticky pads did not stay stuck for more than a year, but I kept them in use for a while longer with gorilla glue and other products. (EW and I agreed that 5200 would not be a good idea – though I was tempted.)

You can still get gimp at craft shops in the States and, but I haven’t been able to find it down islands at all. As you can see, above, this manufacturer calls it “Rexlace”, but if you Google “gimp” you can find it. At least one store in St. Thomas claims to stock it – sometimes. I’ve also found that most of the craft and sewing stores in the Caribbean don’t offer the stiffest plastic canvas, so if you want to make these items and you’re already in the Caribbean, I’d suggest adding them to your next guest’s shopping list. It won’t take up much room in her duffle.

Here are my two plastic canvas projects. If you have boat craft ideas with plastic canvas or other materials, please share them in comments, or email me about doing a guest post.

P6050157Drawer Dividers

1. Measure your drawer and the items you want to store. As you can see, our table knives and teaspoons dictated how I arranged the drawer. The interior of these drawers is just over 6.5 inches wide, so I decided the holders could be about 2 inches wide,which would allow me a bit of wiggle room. Except for the knives and teaspoons, I simply split the length in half, again, reducing the final lengths to slightly less than half of the length of the drawer to allow for the width of the plastic.

2. Now, add an even amount to each of the four sides. I added two inches for a rise of just less than that. If the dividers are too tall, it would be harder to remove the silverware. Cut rectangles from the plastic canvas in the appropriate width and length. The photo with the sacrificial cardboard shows a one-inch rise.








3. Mark the fold/cut lines. for my drawers, two inches from each outside edge. Then cut the marked square out of each corner.

P60501724. Here’s the cool part: While the cardboard I’ve used for these photos holds a crease, the plastic canvas does not … until you use fire. Pinch the canvas along the lines and run it along a flame for a few seconds. Hold, and release. Viola! A fold.

5. Now, simply “sew” the gimp along each corner and you have removable, washable, custom drawer dividers. P6060218











Spaghetti Divider

I discovered Click Clack canisters before we moved aboard,and when my sister Pat came to visit our future abode, she helped me measure the canisters to fit. Somehow, I broke the pasta container last year, but all of the others are still locking in freshness and locking out bugs. I love that! Click Clack canisters are definitely on my “Good Product” list.

P6050143I purchased a new pasta keeper and then looked at the three different pastas I had to keep. I made a quick and easy pasta divider.

I measured the inside of the container at the top and bottom, because it tapers. Then I cut two pieces of plastic to fit the inside diameter of the container.

I cut each of them half way up the middle. and slipped them together creating a cross and four compartments. STOP

Then I did it all over again because I had cut them both up from the bottom. Cut one half way up from the bottom and the other half way down from the top. Also, make sure that the finished height is short enough to clear the cover, which does take up over an inch at the top of the container.

Insert dividers and pasta. NOTE: This isn’t a perfect divide, but it works – mostly. I will have pasta creep, but I live on a boat and don’t have room for multiple pasta containers, so I’ll deal. It’s a small price to pay for living on our boat in the Caribbean. Woot!

NOTE:  For some good ideas – and some strange ones – check out this. I found the hair clip/cord keepers to be particularly useful.