Saturday, October 10, 2009


Tonight the main topic of conversation is going to be food, and, I am going to introduce what I think is an original recipe.

How much rice is alot? How much is too much? I think in the average household, in the average neighborhood, there is probably the remains of a two or five pound bag...and possibly a replacement if the original bag is running low. I wonder what the average yearly consumption of rice is in America, because aboard Arden, I now have somewhere close to 25 pounds of rice. Yes, you read that correctly, 25 pounds. Now, its not that I like rice that much, but, it stores easily, keeps well, goes with a lot of other dishes, and, it is pretty simple to fix. But 25 pounds? Even I realize that may be a bit much. Having read a good bit, well some, about preparing food and provisioning for a voyage, I began to squirrel away food here and there in preparation for the upcoming cruise. Well perhaps not this cruise, but, whatever cruise I eventually embarked on. So every grocery trip, I bought extra. An extra can of beans, an extra jar of peanut butter, a pound or 2 of corn meal. Boxes of corn muffin mix on sale, and potatos when the price was right. Then at some point, I realized I had A LOT of food aboard. (take for example the 25 pounds of rice)

Prior to sailing north to Solomons, I did take an inventory of what food items I had aboard the boat. Just about every book I have read on cruising recommends keeping an inventory, and keeping it up on a daily basis, so that there is always a good count on how many cans of baked beans there are and how low you are really getting on potatos. Somewhere buried in my notepads and notebooks that list still exists. I intend to dig it out this upcoming week and get a fix on what I had and what I have now. I can most assuredly say, I have much, much more now than I did then. Over the course of 6 months, yes I have been in Solomons that long, it is astounding how much accumulation you get from an extra can of this and an extra can of that...hence the 25 pounds of rice.

I didn't set out to hoard food. I have never been a POW, a recluse, abused, or institutionalized. I have never truly known hunger, not like all those starving children in Africa that wanted my Brussels sprouts when I was a child. (that was a huge motivation for me to clean my plate when I was not of a mind to eat all I was given - "think of all those starving children in Africa" my mother would say, and in my mind or under my breath I would say..."if they want it that bad, pack this up and send it to them", because i am not sure even a starving child anywhere would want Brussels sprouts) I don't even know when having enough food on the boat became such a driving issue - I don't think it has reached the level of obsession, but it is close. I think the 3 things that worry me the most about long distance cruising is having enough water, food, and fuel. And I have realized that the fear of not having enough is really becoming a big thing for me. Perhaps it stems from the fact I have a reasonably good income now, and when I cruise I will be on a fairly small fixed income, so it makes sense to put aside for the future. Maybe it is not knowing what food will be available when I make land fall at all the far flung places I will visit while I am out exploring. (like they have never heard of baked beans or canned tuna in Key West) No matter, the point is, I have hoarded. I have set aside so much it borders on the ridiculous - again, consider the 25 pounds of rice that now occupy space on board my boat. In the few days I will publish my inventory, and let you draw your own conclusions of whether I have enough, or too much, food aboard. I will welcome comments and suggestions, but be advised, I do not eat canned squid in ink sauce, no matter how desperate I am, squid is still bait.

Keep in mind I plan on sailing for about 4 1/2 months, and I am actually curious to see how far my food stocks will last without replenishment.

Speaking of food, I have known for sometime that something was just not right about the icebox on Arden, like everything else on this boat, it looked beautiful from the outside - nice stainless steel box, fully soldered, beautiful wood trim sealing the door, and it did look like it really conformed to the shape of the hull. The problem was, my little 10 dollar Igloo cooler seemed to hold ice alot longer. Days longer. This really nice built-in box would not keep a 10lb bag of ice for more than a day, which was a pretty big concern. So knowing I had problems, and in an effort to improve the boat, I decided to tear into the ice box and figure out what was going on and fixing it.

From all I have read, you really want and need at least 3 inches of insulation in your icebox - 4 preferably, and from what prep work I had done I thought I had about 2 inches per side. There can also be no air pockets in the insulation - all voids need to be filled so that the air does not bleed away precious cooling, otherwise that beautiful stainless steel becomes a heatsink. With all that being said, I began to disassemble the icebox on Arden, making a total mess out of my boat. And here is what I found. The wood work and metal work was impeccable. The cabinet the icebox was built into was built like Fort Knox. The trim work was screwed, and glued, to the counter top. The substrate for the counter was nailed and glued to the cabinet frame. The cabinet frame was reinforced, and very overbuilt. A small nuclear device could detonate in that cabinet and no one would ever be the wiser. However, the insulation was lacking, to say the least. Once I got all of the above disassembled, removed and out of the way, I got a good look at the how the box was insulated, and it was not good. The insulation consisted of very ill fitting white 1/2 inch styrofoam, which was put in in double layers, only 1 inch total and not the 2 I had thought. There were very substantial air gaps and voids, and some areas where the insulation had just totally been left out. It kind of amazed me that there could be so much effort put into the construction of the icebox, but that the insulation was almost an after thought. Needless to say, it was no wonder that the icebox would not keep anything cold for any length of time.

So here is the plan. I have a friend, John Baum, that has some of that blue foam you can buy at Lowes, but the foam he has is 2 inches thick - and has an R value of 10 per layer, so I will have an R value of 20 with 4 inches, and 15 with 3 inches. I have never seen it that thick, but I am glad he has it and is willing to share it with me. I am going to line the inside of the cabinet with 2 layers of John's foam on the floor, 2 layers on the inboard and outboard sides, and 1 layer of Johns foam and another inch layer on the front and back side. Each layer of foam will be covered with a layer of aluminum foil. This will give me a box about 28l x 14d x 12w. Roughly 3 cubic feet, a bit smaller than a dorm refridgerator. I will then line this box with roving, and glass it in, much like I did when I built my holding tank-build it in place so I know it will fit. This should give me a very efficient ice box, and it will, hopefully, keep things much colder much longer. We will see how it turns out, and I am anxious to see how well it works.

And finally we come to the recipe. Again, I kind of had this idea for a bean dish, and threw it together while Liz and I were on our St Michaels sail, so it is most definately an Arden original, first prepared while on the hook overnighting in Balls Creek, off of Broad Creek, south of St Michaels. ( N 38 19.568 - W 76 27.171 )

Green Beans and Garlic - with Orange
1 lb fresh green beans
2 or 3 Garlic cloves
1/4 cup of butter
3/4 cup Mandarin Orange Slices - drained (the 4 oz Delmonte Mandarin Oranges in Light Syrup fruit cups work great for this, use 1 and 1/2 of them)
1/4 cup (or more to taste) of white wine (last time I used Chardonney, it worked really well)
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Finely dice the garlic cloves and set aside. Bring a pot with about 2 cups of water to a boil and boil the green beans for about 3 minutes. Drain juice off of oranges and save it. Saute the garlic in butter until lightly brown, and add green beans. Saute the green beans for about 3 minutes, add oranges, continue to cook for 1 minute. Add syrup from oranges and wine. Add salt and pepper (more or less to taste) and cook for an additional 3 or 4 minutes, stirring the mixture until the oranges break up and the wine begins to thicken.
Makes enough for 4.

1 comment:

efmclean said...

really delicious both times!!!