I always thought cruising was for old folks, but I thoroughly enjoyed our recent fall colors cruise in October along the East Coast. There are a variety of young and old people, families, wheelchairs and canes, so nobody felt out of place. If you want to be active, you can go to the exercise room or swim, or if you want to relax, there is a library or many spots around the deck to read.
Being a foodie, I was curious about what it takes to feed 2,400 passengers and 1,200 crew members. Of the 1,200 crew, 600 work in the food and beverage department. On any given day, 18,000 meals are prepared. This includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and more snacks.
Our cruise had four complimentary restaurants and seven specialty ones, which included a French, Italian, teppanyaki, Brazilian, a steakhouse, sushi bar, and a Chinese restaurant.
The bakery is in operation 24 hours, using 350 pounds of dark chocolate and 150 pounds of white chocolate daily.
Food is the heart of a cruise and traveleres should plan to gain a couple of pounds while on one for a week or more.
The ship’s weekly shopping list includes the following:
2,200 pounds of cereal
1,650 pounds pasta
24,250 pounds fresh fruit
11,000 pounds veal
33 gallons ice cream
8,800 pounds potatoes
7,700 pounds flour
2,750 pounds butter
2,900 pounds cheese
2,900 pounds seafood
2,200 pounds sugar
7,165 pounds fish
13,200 pounds beef
990 pounds coffee
106 gallons milk
5,500 pounds rice
3,000 dozen or 36,000 eggs
150 types of wine
Here are some recipes from a couple of the popular cruise ships:
Steam till cooked:
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cubed
Cool to room temperature in a large bowl.
7 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese
Season with salt and black pepper.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Butter a gratin dish with garlic butter. Place cooked potatoes in dish till 3/4 full.
Place in saucepan and bring to boil:
5 1/3 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Simmer until garlic softens.
Pour hot cream over potatoes, cover with foil. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil, top with:
6 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Continue baking until cheese is melted and cream turns slightly browned.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare eight 4-inch oven-proof soufflé dish. Butter the bottom and insides of the dishes well. Coat the butter surface with sugar.
Cream together without incorporating too much air:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
10 egg yolks
Split and scoop out the seeds of:
2 vanilla beans, add to and bring to boil:
5 cups milk
Slowly add the hot milk into the egg mixture until it is well combined. Return the mixture to a moderate heat and continue to cook until well thickened, do not boil the custard or it will curdle.
Whisk until stiff, but not dry:
10 egg whites
Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Fill the soufflé cups to 1/2 inch from the top. Place in the oven carefully and bake 25 minutes until the soufflés have doubled in size, browned and firmed slightly. Disturb as little as possible while baking, especially in the first 15 minutes.
Grand Marnier Sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Bring to boil and slowly add into egg mixture:
21/2 cups milk
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons cognac
Return to moderate heat and cook approximately 10 minutes until it thickens enough to coat a spoon well. Do not allow the sauce to boil.
The soufflé has to be served immediately once cooked. Dust the soufflés with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm with the warm sauce on the side. When eating with the sauce, split the top of the soufflé and pour a little sauce directly into the center.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Preheat waffle iron.
In a medium bowl, stir together:
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Combine in a 2 cup measuring cup:
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons canola oil
Whisk in with a fork:
1 egg yolk
In a small bowl, beat with an electric mixer until almost soft peaks:
1 egg white
Gradually sprinkle in while continuing to whip until thick and glossy:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour milk mixture into the dry ingredients, whisk until blended. Fold in egg white using spatula.
Pour batter onto the hot waffle iron in the recommended amount for the iron, usually about 1/2 cup batter. Close the lid, cool until golden brown. A good indication that it is getting close is that the steam will stop coming out of the iron. Keep finished waffles in the warm oven directly on the rack. Do not stack, or they will become soggy.
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.