Stainless-steel counter tops that are impervious to anything, and improved use of storage space have wrought marvelous changes in the galleys of even the smallest cruisers seen at this year's motor boat shows. If you, like me, are the one who is always tapped for ship's cook (partly because you love to cook and partly because you're not too much use as a deckhand) you will have a wonderful time producing delectable meals in your galley. Here is a basic menu list to help make your cruise light of work and heart.
These are meals for a five-day cruise for four people. The things you need can be bought beforehand or ashore if you put into port during your voyage. I suggest that in stocking your boat you look over the new General Foods Gourmet line—they have put up many delectabilities never canned before. I have chosen some of them; you may find others. As a general rule, plan a hearty breakfast at dockside, and while you're getting it ready do as much preparation as you can for the lunch you'll serve under way. Then, when you've tied up for the evening, you can come up with imaginative and satisfying dinners which require a few flourishes but not a lot of work.
Shift the meals about to suit your fancy, but be sure that the lunch and dinner for any one day contrast well with each other.
These meals are planned so that they can be done on two burners and served piping hot. At breakfast time, for instance, if you're going to use both burners (as when you cook scrapple and scrambled eggs) make the coffee first and give it a quick warmup when the food is done. The wheat pilaf suggested for a dinner is removed from the heat to finish cooking, so you can heat the peas while that's going on. The two desserts which are served hot can get that way while you eat the first course.
If you want desserts for lunch take along fruit to eat from the hand—whatever is in season. Here are your basic menus:
Breakfasts: 1) Prune, grapefruit, fig, vegetable or pineapple juice. 2) Cereal. 3) Fried eggs and bacon, toad in the hole, lemon pancakes with maple syrup, fried canned scrapple and scrambled eggs, corned beef hash. 4) Bread and jam. 5) Coffee.
Tips for preparation: To make toad in the hole, cut a round from the center of a slice of bread. Put into skillet with melted butter or bacon fat and break an egg into the hole. When underside is browned, add more fat and carefully turn the "toad" over to brown second side. To make lemon pancakes, add a dash of lemon juice to pancake batter. For crusty corned beef hash, melt butter in big skillet and press hash down well. Cook over medium heat, covered.
Lunches: 1) Clam chowder, Blue Lake green beans with poppyseed dressing. 2) Smorgasbord, Swedish rye bread. 3) Onion soup, fried croutons, Parmesan cheese; green salad with marinated artichoke shells. 4) Lobster salad, canned potato sticks. 5) Potato salad, cold canned ham.
Tips for preparation: To canned New England clam chowder add 1 tablespoon rehydrated instant onion and½ teaspoon leaf thyme per can. Top each serving with a pat of butter. Chill the beans, drain and add dressing. For a seagoing smorgasbord, serve herring in wine, herring in sour cream, anchovy fillets, hard-cooked eggs, paté and smoked salmon. Serve with mayonnaise, Swedish rye bread, butter. Onion soup improves with a dash of sherry or other wine. Cut up artichoke shells, mix with greens and use marinade as dressing. The lobster salad should be assembled in the morning. Mix lobster meat with mayonnaise, add caraway seed, pepper and salt to taste and chill until ready. Potato salad also should be started in the morning. Boil potatoes in skins. Peel, slice or cube, and when cool put into a bowl in layers with rehydrated minced onion, diced green pepper and French dressing. Refrigerate to mellow; when ready to serve mix with mayonnaise to taste.
Dinners: 1) Chili con carne; hearts of palm salad; applesauce and cookies. 2) Paella; chilled canned asparagus with French dressing; canned cherries jubilee (as is, or with ice cream). 3) Sautéed fish (your own catch) or tuna fish in cream sauce with cheese in it; canned wild rice; green salad; mandarin oranges with brandy or Grand Marnier, cookies or cake. 4) Curried chicken; seasoned wheat pilaf; tiny canned peas; fig pudding. 5) Pan-broiled steak (Kitchen Bouquet for brownness), canned sauce béarnaise, instant mashed potato with minced chives, chiffonade salad; canned crepes suzette.
Tips for preparation: To canned chili con carne add chopped beef, frizzled with onion and garlic. Add chili powder to taste and heat chili through. Serve chilled hearts of palm with whatever dressing you like. To make shipboard paella: brown canned chicken pieces in hot olive oil. Fry garlic and rice for a few minutes, add clam juice, chicken pieces, canned tomatoes and a chopped green pepper. Simmer until rice absorbs clam juice. Add chopped clams and saffron and heat 5 minutes. If you are serving sautéed fresh fish with the wild rice, add to the latter canned chopped mushrooms and a little dry white wine. For curry, brown onion and garlic in butter. Add flour and curry powder to taste. Add chicken stock. Stir until thick. Add chicken meat and heat through. Fig pudding is made by substituting fig juice for half the milk in instant vanilla pudding mix. Chiffonade salad is any combination of greens with julienne beets, tossed in French dressing.
Absolute musts in the cooking utensil department are: a double boiler, large- and medium-sized skillets, a big pot for boiling lobster, corn and such, saucepans in assorted sizes and a Mouli grater.