Monday, October 27, 2008

Fun with Pressure Cookers

I finally got my new pressure cookers on Friday and couldn't wait to try them out. Saturday I made some pumpkin custard for the Grand River Sailing Club membership meeting. We voted on officers and also had lots of good food to eat. Unfortunately the custard didn't look so good, so not many were willing to try it. But boy did it taste good. (if I say so myself --- but other said so too :) ) There was so much food that it didn't get eaten up there, but don't worry as Phil and I had it for dessert Sunday and today and now it's gone. Nice thing about this is it's low in calories and fat and makes up 4 services at one time. That would work good on the boat.

I also tried the pressure fryer feature - used tempura batter to fry boneless chicken thighs, thick cut potato strips and also a few brussel sprouts. Tasted good, but I wonder if I filled the cooker too full. Made WAY too much food - not an uncommon occurrance of mine - so we will have it for supper on Wednesday or Thursday. Even thought the guy who demonstrated it said that it wouldn't absorb too much oil if you have the oil at 390F - when putting it back in the bottles, a third of a bottle was used up - so guess we had way too many calories. I'll try it again w/o the batter coating and see how it turns out. If it isn't much better - than guess I won't be using this feature again as both of us don't need so much extra calories.

Today I made pinto beans, brown rice and smoked sausage all in one pot. Had some leftover salsa from GRSC meeting on Friday, so tossed that in with some tomato paste, onions and garlic. At first I thought that I had put in too much water - but then as it sat while we ate - it seemed to soak it up so now I think that I won't decrease the amount of water as much as I thought I would. Of course made way too much - so now have another meal for later in the week and froze 3 more. Another thing, is I'll have to increase the time that I cook it as the beans were too crunchy. Live and learn. Good thing that Phil not only will eat my experiments, but usually likes them.

This is part of my plan to try new foods with the cookware I bought - I'll have to decrease the amounts when I make this recipe on the boat, as we don't have much of a freezer (unlike now though it is very full) and even though Phil can tolerate eating the same food every day - I for one cannot!

Phil is still working on his plans for installing the autohelm. He's still thinking how to mount it.

BTW, we are having either sleet or hail this evening - as it was very loud coming down on our skylight in our back room. We are expecting to get some snow - hard to tell if the ground is cold enough for it to stick though have some predictions in the snow belt (where we live) of 1-2 inches. Just think - next year if everything goes well, we'll be down south enough not to deal with this.

Stay warm!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Annapolis Boat Show

Hi everyone,  
Phil and I decided to start a blog to talk about our preparations for getting ready to go cruising. Oct 9 - 12 we visited the Annapolis Boat Show staying up in Glen Burnie, MD.  Had a great time, found the next boat we want to buy if we love the cruising lifestyle (Bavaria 50) and bought items for the boat for both of us.  Phil bought me a 21 piece set of stainless steel nesting cookware, as I intent to cook on board. (Thank you!!)  This cookware has both metal lids and tupperware type lids so that you can also store food in the pan.  I bought for myself a set of Fagou Pressure cookers (8 quart and 4 quart) that came with a pasta pot, a steamed pan, and a couple racks.  Check out "Show Me Products" web site to see what they look like.  My plan is to nest most of the cookware inside the pressure cookers and store the 8qt on the stove and the 4qt in the oven.   For now I get to play with my new pressure cookers!  I'm looking forward to cooking the bean and split peas and rice in them that I usually can't cook in a pressure cooker.  My plan is to also to try recipes from some of the cookbooks I got with the above purchases at the boat show and try them at home to make sure we like them.  

Phil bought an under the deck autohelm. (sorry I don't remember the name of it) He is now currently trying to decide about making the tiller arm for this to rest on.  They sure are expensive (isn't most boat items??) and I'm sure that he'll be able to make if he thinks he can.  He also bought a Garmin 425 GPS - has all the charts of the US and Bahamas already in it and is HD.  I'll work on learning how to use it later this winter.  Too many other things to do right now.  We also bought some fishing gear - a cuban reel with 80# monofilament cord w/lure and hook included.  We also bought 4 additional lures.  The gentleman that sold them to us said that this lure will help the tail biters not cut thru the line - so hopefully we'll be catching some tuna, grooper and mahi mahi as we're sailing.

Phil has finished putting the boat away as of yesterday.  What a relief!  He's been working very hard trying to get this done before the temperatures were below 50F permanently.  He did extra this fall sanding the Trinidan SR off the keel (too soft), the fresh water bottom paint off the rest of bottom and putting 2 coats of interprotect on the keel.  He's going to be putting Vivid paint on the bottom in the spring, which is good in salt water.  You should see his hands!  Stained from the blue paint.   He also bought a new tarp and cut wood so that he can attach the tarp to the boat at the toe rail so the tarp doesn't scratch the new red paint job we got a couple years ago as a result of the big Grand River Flood.

While we were in Annapolis, we were hoping to meet some of the cruising group from Port Stanley Sailing Squadron, but as I had lost their contact information, we couldn't tell if any were there or not.  Phil and I had visited Port Stanley in July during our 2 week sailing vacation and had a great time talking with the members that are cruising down to the Bahamas this fall.  Two of their members have blogs which can be accessed from the Port Stanley Sailng Squadron web site for anyone interested.  I was so excited to be able to contact them on their travels and really upset that I can't find the information.  If any of this group reads my blog, please try to contact me at if you could.  

Well I have talked you ear off and have plenty to do here at home - digging up the rest of the rutabaga that I have planted, picking lettuce, going to vote and cleaning the house.  Phil is helping with the Grand River Yacht Club work day and also helping a couple sailors take their masts off the boats.  He'll help me clean later this weekend.   Have a nice day.