Boating Menu

Tervis TumblerYesterday we invited some friends to boat with us on the beautiful Chickahominy River.  The day could not have been ordered better.  Lots of sun, enough wind to be comfortable without making the water too choppy.  In addition to wanting to get together with friends, we were also reciprocating hospitality that we had received.

K made a special libation for the trip:  Chickahominy Breeze:  Cranberry juice, coconut rum and pineapple juice--served in a giant sippy cup.  You cannot beat a Turvis Tumbler with a straw to provide safe delivery of your beverage of choice to your mouth.

While we have been boating for many, many years, we don't entertain on the boat.  I wanted to do something special, but appropriate for our circumstance (size of boat etc).  It's a 21 ft 1988 Century 3500 Sport LX.  It's a great boat to have folks on.  Six adults is a comfortable seating--because with boating, everyone needs a bag and a cooler, etc.  Any more and it is too crowded. Here are some bullet point logistics that worked well for us.  Your mileage may vary.

In my usual fashion, I spent some time researching ideas. Surprisingly, I didn't find a great deal of combination menus for a boat outing. So this post is my contribution to the blogosphere on a fantastic scalable lunch outing.

Objective:  To have a flavorful menu that doesn't (1)  kill your guests or (2) gets soggy. (click here to get some tips from Rubbermaid on how to optimize your cooler's job.). 

First, some packing tips (these are my tips, not expert tips, but it worked for me!)  Separate like kinds.  For non-perishable foodstuffs (bread, brownies, chips)  put them in a cooler bag.  It's a boat, and any temperature constancy and protection from splashing is important to consider. A cooler bag will keep condensation out of your baked goods and offer protection from the water splashing in from outside the boat or from drippy people emerging from the water.
  • For perishables, I used both a regular Igloo Cooler and another California Innovation  bag.  I like the bag because it can be stuffed out of the way, and I think that they perform well for the time period that I need <8 hours.
  • To keep perishables from getting soggy in your cooler of choice, consider using the space-saver bags (due to larger sizes) to separate your food stuff from the surrounding ice.  The bags come in many sizes, and they are stronger and larger than regular Zipoc bags.  (I use these when brining my turkey! to keep the brining liquid undiluted from the ice).  If you have a value pack, of these, there are several sizes.  Simply choose the size that with your food containers and meat/cheese containers and pack them in. Zip it up.  Put it in the cooler.
  • To support your hard working bag ice, consider freezing bottles of water.  Their cylinder shape makes them easy to slip here and there.  Also, using an "Ice mat" like aThermos one  on the bottom of your cooler/cooler bag, allows your perishables to sit on a mat that is already freezing. (Yes, I know that cool travels down, but often one's bag is sitting on another thermal dynamic surface where heat travels up. Protect against this!) You could also make your own ice walls  if you own a vacuum system and fill the bags with water and seal allowing for expansion.

For our trip I opted for the following menu  (Click here if you want a link to the recipes I used.):

  1. Roast beef sandwiches on onion rolls (BJ's Bakery). (See recipe pdf and comments below--the dijon, horseradish dressing is wonderful, and I also used it on the sandwich below)
  2. Italian meats ( BJ's Daniele Italian combo which was 8-Oz. Presliced Gourmet Variety Pack (Hot Calabrese, Pepper Salame, Hot Capocollo and Provolone Cheese) on Chiabatta Rolls (BJ's Bakery)  Rolls dressed with Tasso's Roasted Pepper and cheese spread on side 1 and the dijon horseradish on side 2.
  3. Romain hearts (separated and washed and packed into a ziploc gallon bag) to dress the sandwiches or to nestle the shrimp and mango salad for those looking for less carbs.
  4. Claussen Pickles (out of the jar and into a baggie for lightening up the load!)
  5. Shrimp and mango salad (see recipe pdf)
  6. Bacon potato salad (with potatoes from our garden)
  7. Robert's ultimate brownies (see recipe pdf)  (The Chickahominy Breeze affected me so much, I didn't quite remember to serve these!)

Sturdy Chinet plates, sturdy plastic spoons, forks, knives and colorful napkins make for a stable consumption environment that can then be discarded into the garbage bag.

There was a period of deluded consideration of  making the sandwich rolls.  Thank goodness I abandoned that idea!  The onion rolls and ciabatta rolls were sturdy and delicious, so go for structure (for travel and eating)  such as these hearty rolls.I did buy and roast an eye of round (for $20) v. the $75 tenderloin in Ina G's recipe.  Here are my cook's notes on the eye of round:

I slathed with olive oil, salt, more salt and garlic powder, pepper. Further I slit the roast with sharp knife and inserted garlic cloves.  Roasted a 5.5 lb roast for 25 minutes at 500 (It was recommended 5 minutes/lb).  Stopped oven and took it out in 1 hour.  I saw many other recipes that called for a longer oven-dwelling time after the 500 degree roast.  I used a my temp probe.  If it had stayed in any longer, I would have had a 5.5lb lump of junk.  I'm of the opinion that as the roast is almost a perfect cylinder no matter what the poundage, that whether it is a 3lb roast or a 5lb roast, that the upfront roasting time SHOULD NOT BE BASED ON LBS.  I would have roasted for 10 minutes less (15 v. 25), and turned the oven back.  Nevertheless I never cook anything in the oven without my probe.  So the meat was rescued.  I tented it.  It rested. Cool meat slices easier.  So best to put in fridge.  I did not, but my knife was razor sharp and I sliced this roast into the thinest of slices.  (Almost shaved).  I put it in a container with the juices that rendered when slicing.  The meat was tender, moist and delicious--and almost 1/4th the cost of tenderloin. (Which is lost in a sandwich to my way of thinking).  The dijon horseradish sauce is quite good, and I also put it on .....

When I told my guests of their choices, all wanted 1/2 sandwich of both.  Sturdy rolls (onion / ciabatta) and a good bread knife made it easy to half each sandwich.

It was a wonderful day with friends.  Revitalizing and fun.

I hope this post gives some an idea or two to incorporate on their boating or other outdoor outing.


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