Friday, December 20, 2013

Crab and Old Bay Cookies

So a good friend of mine was born here in Maryland and recently moved to Florida. She has been a bit home sick. So I made her some Christmas Cookies with a bit of a Maryland theme. Crab and Old Bay. To those of you who are not from Maryland Old Bay is sort of the unofficial state seasoning it is a delicious blend of spices that goes perfect on crabs or shrimp or sweet potato fries. People around here put it on everything from crabs to chips to cheese.
Old Bay canister and cookie
The Old Bay Cookie is made with a square cookie cutter the Joy of Cooking's rich roll cookie dough and royal icing made the way that Sweetopia instructs. Everything is piped except the seasonings part is written using something called food writers. Food writers are basically markers of food coloring that you can use on well dried royal icing
Old Bay Cookie, canister and Crab cookie
Old Bay Crab cookie and Old Bay Canister
Crab is made with the same recipe for roll cookies and royal icing but the add of red disco dust and red edible glitter added while the red was wet. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sock Monkey Saturday with Sock Monkey and Tree cookies

This Saturday I went with friends to an annual tradition in my group of friends Sock Monkey Saturday at the American Visionary Arts Museum. Every year it is a blast kookie and charming all in one.
Since it is a four hour event I am always getting the munchies. This year for my friends and I I made some sock monkey cookies and a few trees.
Here they are with my sock kitten. 
And all of our sock critters all together. 
Next year I will have to get a real sock monkey cookie cutter MONKEY FACE cookie cutter

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats December 7 , 2013 Annapolis Parade of Lighted Boats December 14, 2013

As you are trying to get into your festive mood for this holiday season one of the best things in my mind is to go watch a parade of lighted boats. What is awesome is there are two locally in the next two weekends. Baltimore is on December 7 and  Annapolis on December 14.
Lighted boat parades combine nautical and maritime with Griswald like holiday cheer. The hours and number of lights used to create these displays is amazing.
Baltimore Parade of lighted boats is put on Fells Point Yacht Club and supports Toys for Tots. The best viewing area is the fells point pier and near the pier 6 area.  Baltimore's is much more spread out then Annapolis.

Annapolis( well the Maritime Republic of Eastport) puts on their lighted boat  on December 14. Eastport Yacht Club sponsors in Annapolis. The best viewing spot is at Pussers and the hotel right behind Pussers however the whole of ego alley is usually packed with people. People will line the bridge and boats will go on both sides of the bridge in about 30 minute groups.

How to watch a parade of lighted boats
1. Dress warmly for the weather. Layers and hats and gloves are key 
2. Bring hot chocolate ( spiked if adults is a delicious option) but hot beverages make this much more fun
3. Bring candy canes for some reason this adds to the fun and they take a while to eat so plenty of time to eat a candy cane while watching 
4. Bring friends and family. This is a great outing for the whole family or a group of friends more people exclaiming over angelic sailboats and trans out of sailboats and how in the world did they get that tug to look like a crab is much more fun. 
5. For Annapolis get there early as parking and finding a spot can take longer then you expect. Baltimore the parade is much more spread out so this is not an issue. 
6. Bring your Camera!! you want to snap some pictures. 
7.Have a pandora Christmas mix on your phone or some other way of playing a little Christmas music because you will have times where you feel like caroling or at least listening to Bong Crosby sing.
8. Make sure kids and clumsy adults stay back from waters edge you do not want anyone going in the water in December.
9. Merry Christmas

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rice Pudding using leftover rice from Chinese takeout

So last week was Thanksgiving and I was visiting at my sisters house for a few days. In the house were 12 people including 5 kids under six. I was doing a lot of the cooking for all 12 of us including a good portion of the Thanksgiving feast.  Because I was not at my house for a few days I had eaten down the fresh produce in my house and thus when I got home ordered in some Chinese food instead of cooking the first night back. Lazy, tasty, easy, and containing lots of vegetables and no turkey and requiring no more effort then a phone call. However, when it comes to Chinese food I love fried rice and thus almost always have a thing of that plain white rice they give you to go with the Hunan Beef leftover. What to do with the leftover rice when all the hunan beef is gone? Something festive to go with decorating the house for Christmas perhaps.  Yup Rice pudding. It is creamy cinnamon and nutmeg deliciousness.

Recipe ( this is the ratio per cup of leftover rice but it scales up and down with ease just measure your rice and adjust accordingly)

1 cup leftover takeout rice
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon(plus more for dusting top)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg ( please use fresh ground will taste so much better also plan on some more for dusting top )
Optional 1/4 cup raisins or craisins

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan ( or if scaling bigger use bigger saucepan of course but you as my reader are aware of that) break up the leftiover rice block with a fork
2. Bring to a simmer and cook about 15-20 minutes until most of liquid is absorbed and pudding is thickened
3. Decant into your planned serving bowls or ramikins.
4. Dust with ground cinnamon and nutmeg
5. Chill at least 2 hours or up to several days.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Gifts for Sailors under $50

It is that time of year and you are stuck trying to figure out what to get for that person who has everything so you think to yourself "she or he loves to sail I'll get them something sailing related". Ah but what to get in your price range? Below is a list of great gifts for the sailors in your life. ( Or yourself)

Under $10
Honestly there is not a whole lot boat related under ten dollars. But there are always stocking stuffer needs. So then you decide are you going to go fun like a drink koozie with sailboats on it.

Or are you going to go practical like white electrical tape

SailorBag Sailcloth lunchbag- Perfect for a few drinks and a snack. This is ideal for a few hour sail or for the sailor in your life to bring to lunch. $15
The Marlinspike Sailor - This book is how to do all the fancy knotwork. Some fun stuff to do over the winter to learn better line handling and things like splicing triple strand. $12.75

A rigging knife- Every sailor should own one and it goes great as a package with the previous marlinspike sailor book. They are great for splicing as well as useful for all sorts of applications. $17.12
Mclube- Ok not the sexiest gift or the most exciting but honestly almost every boat owner needs an extra can of this stuff. It is the best boat lubricant and so useful. So for the practical sailor this comes in super handy.$16.99

Leatherman Skeletool - I keep mine clipped to my shorts while sailing. The perfect combo of pliers and knife without anything much extra weighing it down this is my favorite multi-tool. This year mine ( with frequent washing) has done everything from crack lobsters to open beers to fix halyards or cut a new batten to fit. $39.89
New Sailing gloves- Go look at their old ones and get a new pair because racers will chew through a pair in about a year and a spare pair is always a great thing. Gil ones $25.36
This Ships Flask- Come one this is an awesome way to bring some rum down to the boat. at $25.39 this is sure to warm the heart of your favorite sailor.