I keep a small jar of this liquid on a shelf under the galley sink for that unhappy moment when someone spills red wine at the dinner table, or onto the carpet. It is a technique I found in an old book, many years ago. We have used it with amazing success for years.
- 1 part liquid dish detergent
- 1 part Glycerine
- 8 parts water
- Mix ingredients together well.
- Blot up as much wine as you can with dry paper towels.
- Wet a wad of clean paper towels with the Spotter liquid and blot the stain, using new towels and liquid until the spot is removed.
- Follow with clean paper towels or terry towels soaked with clean water, then blot dry.
While cruising in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, we were hiking ashore and came upon an ancient fig tree, laden with beautiful figs, many of which were ripe enough to pick. I filled my small backpack with 31 of the ones I could reach. Back on the boat, we treated ourselves to figs, stuffed with Blue Cheese and melted in the microwave. The following week, we harvested another 31 figs from the same tree, and served them to six of our fellow cruisers in ADAGIO's cockpit. We have found that the melting of the cheese creates a gooey appetizer. So we serve the figs cool or at room temperature, garnished with a dab of cold Blue Cheese, as follows.
- 2 fresh Figs per person
- Good quality Blue Cheese
- Check each fig for serious blemishes, but no need to wash the figs.
- Cut off the stem, then cut each fig into 4 pieces, slicing from top to bottom.
- Place the 8 fig quarters on a small plate and garnish each piece of fig with a 1/2 tsp of Blue Cheese.
- Serve immediately as finger food.
Finally I have concocted a recipe for Brussels sprouts that does not leave them a mushy strong-flavored mess. The Victory Garden Cookbook, 1982, says, “Brussels sprouts 'ripen', picking up a strong flavor during storage, so it's best to use them as soon as possible after harvesting to guarantee a delicate flavor.”
- 4 Tb Olive Oil
- 500 gm fresh Brussels sprouts, not too large
- 3 medium-sized Carrots
- 3 to 4 large Garlic Cloves
- 1 medium Brown Onion
- 1/3 cup mixed, pitted Olives (I use green olives and Kalamata olives.)
- Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 can 400gm (14 oz) crushed Tomatoes with juices
- 1 cube Oxo (or other) for Chicken broth, softened in 1/2 cup water
- Prepare the Brussels sprouts by trimming off the ends, removing loose and yellowing leaves, and cutting them in half, top to bottom.
- Prepare the Carrots by peeling, cutting off the ends, then cutting each carrot in half lengthwise. Next, slice each half into 1/8″ thick half-moons.
- Crush, peel and roughly chop the Garlic cloves.
- Peel and thinly slice the Brown Onions.
- Soften the Chicken broth cube in 1/2 cup warm water.
- Place the Olive Oil and all of the ingredients, except the canned Tomatoes and Chicken broth, into a large wok, over High heat.
- Sauté the vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes, tossing with two spatulas the entire time, to soften the Garlic and Onions and thoroughly heat all of the vegetables.
- Pour in the canned Tomatoes and the Chicken broth. Stir well.
- Cover the contents of the wok with a lid, and reduce the heat to Medium-Low.
- After 3 minutes, remove the lid and stir.
- Steam the vegetables until the Brussels sprouts are tender but still crisp and green.
- Remove the lid after 5 minutes, and remove a sprout to taste. Cook a few minutes more if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
Once in blue moon, a batch of pears fails to ripen properly. They are fine and white all the way to the core, but are still hard, even if you have left them in a sunny window for a week. They haven't become soft and sweet. The best and easiest way to preserve and enjoy these pears is to cook them up in a French Pear Cake. I have adapted this recipe from my 1972 copy of The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer and Becker. The original recipe says to use apples or peaches. I think pears are best here.
A deep, 8-inch pie pan, or equivalent, buttered or brushed with Canola Oil
- Juice from 1 large Navel Orange
- Zested Rind from 1 large Navel Orange
- 3 cups peeled, cored and sliced Pears
- 1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 tsp Ground Mixed Spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves) or 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Tb Brown Sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Tb Canola Oil
- 1/4 cup Milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 deg F (220 deg C).
- Put the Orange Juice and the Orange Zest into the pie pan.
- Add the Pears and Dried Cranberries, and toss to coat with the Juice and Zest.
- Sprinkle the 1 tsp Mixed Spice and 2 Tb Brown Sugar over the fruit .
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the Flour, 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt.
- In a small bowl, mix the Eggs, Canola Oil and Milk.
- Pour the Egg mixture into the Flour mixture and beat together with a spatula until blended.
- Pour the batter over the fruit.
- Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve hot or warm, with Milk or Cream to pour over the top of each serving.
I have been experimenting with this technique with great success. My success might be due to the particular brand of rice I am using, or to the particular microwave rice cooker that I use. However, I have tried this with good results using two different microwave rice cookers. The chief benefit of the microwave rice cooker is that rice cooks in half the time as in a pan on the stove top. Also, the results are more predictable. The instructions on the package say to rinse the rice thoroughly, but I do not rinse.
The rice I am using is made in India and imported into New Zealand, so hopefully you can buy it where you live. “India Gate Basmati Rice Brown” is the label on the package. The brown rice comes out light and fluffy when cooked by this method.
- 1 cup India Gate Basmati Rice Brown
- 2-1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tb Butter or Olive Oil
- A little salt to your taste
- Pour the rice into the rice cooker.
- Heat 2-1/4 cups of water to warm and pour over the rice.
- Stir, and allow to soak for 1 hour or more.
- Add the Butter or Olive Oil.
- Microwave on High for 15 minutes.
- Allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Toss and serve.