Ishmael’s Banana Bread

No Comments 24 May 2010

b-bread_tnBanana bread is always a big hit.  Any time, day or night, it’s just right; it fills the void and keeps the crankshaft spinnin’ when the wearies are about to take over.

Here’s Bert Bender’s recipe for an Ishmael favorite – a one-pan batch of banana bread.  Part of the appeal is that it reduces dish-washing, because you can mix it all in the same pan you bake it in (if you choose a pan that is a little larger than the volume of ingredients, and if your oven is large enough).  But of course, you can always mix it in a larger bowl and transfer the mixture into a loaf pan for baking. 

  • Mash 4 large bananas
  • Mix in 1-3/4 cups of pancake/baking mix (Bert now uses Trader Joe’s multigrain mix)
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats (or a combination of old fashioned oats, wheat or oat bran, wheat germ)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts
  • 1/2+ cup of dried cranberries or other chopped dried fruit
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (or other vegtable oil)
  • bake at 350° for 60 minutes

Bert recommends making a double batch of the batter and freezing half for future use.
However, if you can handle going first-class……buy Bert’s book: Catching the Ebb: Drift-Fishing for a Life in Cook Inlet and read it while feasting on his banana bread. Literary cusine par excellence!

….Velkommen Variation….

ingredients_tn All these ingredients have multiple uses, a big consideration on a boat with limited storage. Krusteaz for pancakes or biscuits. Oats for oatmeal or cookies. Nuts to go atop oatmeal, ice cream, salads and the same goes for dried fruits; perhaps some almonds sprinkled over baked cod or halibut. And everyone knows a carton of baking soda keeps evils odors away from the refrigerator. Of course, the uses for Bourbon are legendary.

1.)  3/4 cup shelled walnuts
2.)  3/4 cup shelled pecans
3.)  3/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries or craisins
4.)  1-3/4 cup pancake or baking mix
5.)  3/4 cup oats
6.)  3/4 cup Wax Orchards Fruit Sweet (If you aren’t already using this product, it’s time to start.  Sugar is ancient history.)
7.)  1/3 cup canola oil or melted butter, if you prefer
8.)  2 eggs
9.)  1 tsp vanilla
10.) 1 tsp cinnamon
11.) 1 tsp baking soda
12.) 1 tsp baking powder
13.) 1/2 cup sliced almonds
14.) 3 very ripe bananas
15.) (optional) 1 Tbs bourbon…..and maybe several for the chef

First……roast the walnuts and pecans…..
1.)  Dump 3/4 cup of walnuts and 3/4 cup of pecans on a plate and microwave for one minute.
2.)  Mix them all up and microwave for one more minute.
3.)  Lightly chop the nuts into bits about the size of a raisin
4.)   Add the cranberries to this nutty mix and set aside.
Then……preheat the oven to 350°
5.)  Throw the remaining ingredients in a big bowl. (Yes, that includes the sliced almonds, too…they don’t get the roasting treatment.)
6.)  Mix well with a stick blender until you have a light brown goo.
7.)  Add the roasted and chopped walnuts and pecans plus the cherries/cranberries/craisins to the mix.
8.)  Still well with a big spoon.
9.)  Pour the final mixture into a greased or non-stick loaf pan.
10.) Bake at 350° for 55 minutes.
Finally……let cool a bit and enjoy………Mmmm, warm with a bit of butter…..heavenly.

Now you can mix everything in the loaf pan, but a high sided bowl is more user friendly.  If  you choose the one pan method, a light touch is required with the stick blender to keep all the ingredients in the pan.  A good stick blender like the Viking is more than handy; it’s indispensable.  Norpro makes some nice nonstick pans and they are local, too.  My particular favorite is the Norpro nonstick meatloaf/bread pan.  It’s exceptional for meatloaf and bakes a fine banana bread, too.


Freighter Captain

No Comments 21 May 2010

freighter-captainFreighter Captain is a fine, well-paced adventure; I expect somewhat autobiographical and a touch embellished.  It’s good light reading, not overly romanticized.  It’s written more like a screenplay with the intention of being made into a film…..and it would make a wonderful film.  The main character is refreshing because of his morality – the way he holds himself a bit aloof from the harsh, steamy and corrupt dock-side reality of Carribean life.  All the while, telling a good story. 

So many novels have to rely of the main character either being a worse bad guy than the real bad guys or the main character going through a manditory redemption in order to be worthy…..and then preachy/teachy……holier-than-thou.  Max Hardberger doesn’t rely on those trite conventions, he just tells a good descriptive story with enough maritime facts and local knowledge tosssed in to make it interesting and believable. 

Don’t expect Moby Dick or Ulysses; just expect a good time and a good read.  So, come on……motor around the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean with Captain Max aboard M/V Erica, a well worn old freighter.  By the time the engineer has shut down the main you’ll be running down the gangway to grab Max’s other books from the nearest bookstore.


SiiTech AIS Tracking.

No Comments 17 May 2010

I’ve been thinking of adding a Conmar CSB 200 AIS transponder from Milltech Marine to Velkommen, but my VHF radio needs an upgrade, too.  The radio and transponder work together.  In anticipation of taking a bite out of the credit card, I’ve been following some of the developments in AIS technology.  Here’s an embedded app from SiiTech.  Very cool as long as you have a web connection.

Go ahead…..

  • zoom in
  • zoom out
  • drag the map around
  • hover your mouse on a ship to get the details
  • try the “View Larger Map” link at the lower left to fill your screen…….then left click to jump back to the blog

Way cool !!

View Larger Map


Water Tank Replacement and a Few Other Things – Phase 1

No Comments 15 May 2010

Click on a thumbnail for a larger pic.
Click on a thumbnail for a larger pic.

Water tank pieces.

This project has been on the back burner for quite awhile.  When we bought the boat there was a little water in the lazarette, not enough to be a problem, just annoying.  A large local boatyard replaced the mufflers claiming that a clamp had been overtightened, cracking the fiberglass glasspack.  All of their work was quite nice and quite expensive, and much of it has had to be redone.  I suspect one of the fiberglass exhaust elbows has deformed with heat and is letting a little water excape.  As soon as I get the area cleaned up I’ll have access to all the corners and be able to fix the problem properly. 

The introductory paragraph leads to the water tank.  The original tank was supposed to be 100 gallons (actually it was 84) and it sat atop the stringers in the center of the lazarette.  It was mounted well and worked just fine, but it was too big to crawl around and it was too big to come out of the hatch.  Consequently, access to the Hurricane heater, remote compressor for the Sea Freeze refrigerator, the Magnum Industries inverter and, of course, the exhaust system was was way more difficult than it should be.  Plus, alot of good storage space was going to waste.  So I drained the water tank and grabbed the DeWalt sawsall and the first thumbnail shows the result. 

lazarette_tnDang, there is alot of space down there if I can just rearrange things a bit.  The hatch opening I have to work with is 26.5″ wide by 27.5″ long and it’s 15″ deep to the top of the striingers. The space between the stringers is 16.5″ wide by 8″ deep. It will be nice to get the area shipshape and user friendy. 

Hold on….I just took a day to do some cleaning and inspection of the area.  It looks like the through-hull transducer could have lost it’s seal and is leaking.  The transducer is located just forward of the gray starboard battery tray and below and aft of the Magnum Energy inverter.  I cleaned up the area and have now stuffed dry paper towers around it.  We’ll see if they get wet.

To be continued…………


Pirate Latitudes

No Comments 02 May 2010

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

All Michael Crichton fans will have to read Pirate Latitudes.  It’s a quick read; a rollicking adventure story set in the Carribean.  It’s aimed at a junior high audience and needs  more detail and a bit more polish to be in the same category with Crichton’s other works.  I’ve been a Crichton fan since 1969 with The Andromeda Strain, but my favorite is the 1976 publication of Eaters of the Dead.  He packed alot into his 66 year life.  A great writer, but perhaps an even better scientist, he had the unique ability to overlay the scientific method on much-hyped current issues and illuminate the key facts, in a social context that everyone could understand.  If you enjoyed the big blockbusters like Jurassic Park, take a few minutes and treat youself  by surfing over to and reading through his speeches and essays.  There is something profound for everyone, from genetic research to policy studies to environmentalism and global warming.  His science is sound; his voice was clear.  Too bad he’s gone.

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