Monthly Archives: January 2013

Musings about cooking


Using a pressure cooker in a microwave

I started giving some consideration to life on board while cruising, and cooking came to mind. Magic Moments is equipped with a single butane burner – but it's difficult to find fuel, it has no gimbals, and there's no way to hold onto a pan when the boat pitches and rolls. The bottom line is that I need something different to heat food. What to do?

It would be great to avoid the need to have liquid or gas fuels in the cabin, but the only other option is to cook with electricity – and electric power may not be readily available while afloat. I plan to have two sizable solar panels as my bimini though, about 240 watts each, and use them to charge some relatively inexpensive lithium batteries (LiFePO4 batteries). A microwave is probably the most energy efficient use of electricity to cook, but trying to install a microwave in a tiny galley and powering it from batteries is a fools errand. Still… I've been called worse.

OK, if I steal some of the space allotted to the starboard v-berth, shift the location of the new composting head… maybe. Time to break out the crayons and do a little more accurate planning.

Nordic Ware Tender CookerInterior - pressure cookerWhile reading about cooking on board, I ran across several cruisers extolling the virtues of pressure cookers to speed up meal preparations and even bake bread while on board. Hmm… using a pressure cooker – inside a microwave?? Yes! There are several available – but further hunting online shows most designs are fairly cheesy. I found that Nordic Ware makes the Tender Cooker, a 2.5 quart non-metallic pressure cooker that fits in many small microwaves. Not only would I be able to capitalize on the microwave's efficiency, I could compound its efficiency by cooking in the little pressure cooker inside the microwave.

My next consideration was to address the occasional desire for browning or searing meat in a microwave. It turns out that there's a pan for that too! Corning Ware makes a browning dish that has a special tin oxide coating on it, designed especially for the task.

Microwave browning dishThat's enough for today's post. Time to search for a good deal on the two pieces of cookware – I may as well purchase them and use the winter months to see how well they stack up for cooking. I can even use a kill-o-watt meter to see how much power the microwave will use for meal preparation.

I'll be back in a future post to let you know how they work out. Meanwhile, pick out one of your own dreams and chase it!

… and so it begins…


Following the dream

Rhodes 22 in a boat lift I'm beginning to plan a trip around the Great Loop, casting off in May of 2015. I've been kicking the idea around for a while now, and registered this domain a couple of weeks ago so others can follow along – whether for amusement or to avoid repeating my mistakes. It's taken me several weeks to sort out how to set up WordPress and poke around to find out which plugins to use. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress. In just those few weeks I've managed to crash the site a couple of times, so if it's down when you come by one day, know that I've worked my magic (again).

I love the water and really enjoy sailing, having spent time in a Rhodes 22┬ápocket cruiser on Saginaw Bay (the bay that defines Michigan's ‘thumb' in Lake Huron), on Lake St Clair (between Lake Huron and Lake Erie), and on Lake Erie itself. I'm not so much into racing sailboats as just enjoying the journey – and I like the fact I can weigh anchor and move on if the neighbors get unruly.

Generally it's at this point that you'd figure that the Rhodes has been a good little boat, but that now I'm going to get a bigger sailboat or a trawler to travel the 6,000 miles or so that make up the Great Loop. Such is not the case – I'm going to be doing the Loop in the Rhodes. It's a good little boat, I can single hand her fairly easily, and it's relatively inexpensive to use and maintain. I intend to do some modifying to the boat as I prepare for the trip – a fairly radical new mast lowering mechanism, a solar bimini, a composting head, a spring loaded outboard lift… the list goes on. Stay tuned for progress as the modifications come to pass.

The previous owner named the Rhodes ‘Magic Moments‘, a name I find really appropriate. One of the magic moments occurs when you raise the sails and kill the motor, the moment when the wind and the boat find harmony. Other magic moments occur when mother nature smiles on Magic Moments, as shown above. Stay tuned for more!