Book Review: Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking
When you think of backyard BBQ by the pool, what typically comes to mind? Burgers, hot dogs and if you’re going gourmet, maybe some chicken, fish or steak. How about if you’re boating all day, what ends up in your cooler? Chances are it is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, and maybe a juice box or two. Can you do gourmet cooking on the back of a boat? With a little bit of prep and the book Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking you can be eating in style with creative, fun and easy to prepare dishes.
Why a cookbook review on a wine blog? Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking is written by two local Spokane writers, Bonnie Clark and William Maltese, AND the majority of the recipes in the book feature wine pairings! I love this concept and would love to see more cookbooks move this direction (even if just generic varietal suggestions). Bonnie and her husband Bruce are avid boaters. While their gourmet adventures started quite modestly with sandwiches and chips, Bruce and Bonnie quickly learned that with the use of small hibachi grill (gas or propane), a few essential tools and some basic ingredients, there was more to the world of weekend cuisine than weenies and burgers. William, Bonnie’s cousin, avid boater and accomplished author of over 200 books eloquently states in the prologue:
“Of course, for those of you who don’t own a boat, large or small, probably never will, or don’t really ever want to, there’s nothing here that you can’t whip up just as easily on solid ground, whether or not at a back yard barbecue, or on a picnic, or just while camping out.”
Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking is laid out like a typical cookbook with thought out categories including Starters and Snacks, Eggs, Salads, Fish and Seafood, Pasta (yes on a boat), Pizza and even Dessert. Each of Bonnie’s tried and true recipes provides the ingredient list along with sections that outline any prep that needs to be done “at home” and how to prepare “on the boat.” As I thumbed through the 100+ recipes, I couldn’t help but notice how simple yet flavorful most of the meals seemed to be. It was also exciting to see many Spokane wines featured as the suggested wine pairing.
Curious, I decided to put a recipe to the test. While I’m not a boat owner, I’m always looking for new barbecue creations. My eyes landed on page 80, “Inside out Blue Cheese Buffalo Burgers”
- 1 ½ pound of ground beef or buffalo
- 4 ounces of blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup French’s French Fried Onions
- 3-4 pepperoncinis, minced
- 2 tablespoons of wine or water
- Jalapeno Focaccia bread
While Bonnie and William explain in more detail about grilling and cooking (with a few side notes as well), the basics are you mash all the ingredients together (except the bread) and form patties to cook (see pictures). A few minutes on each side the grill and some condiments and you’re eating a gourmet burger. For boating / camping purposes, you would pre-make and refrigerate the patties to cut down on prep time. The suggested wine pairings were three locals Grande Ronde Cellars “Cellar Red”, Whitestone Winery Lake Roosevelt Red, and Townshend Cellars Malbec. Each of these are great wines but we paired it with a 2005 Nodland Cellars Red Blend. The result, a delectable gourmet burger!
Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking is a must have for any person or family that enjoys camping, boating or is in need of some quick fun and tasty barbecue recipes. The book is available on Amazon.com and locally at Aunties Bookstore (currently order only), at a suggested retail of $14.99.
Win a Gourmet Basket and More
Bonnie and William have a limited number of books available locally that they will sell for $12 to anyone contacting them and mentioning this review (contact info below)
One lucky person will win a gourmet basket that includes the following:
- Signed copy of Back of the Boat Gourmet Cooking
- All ingredients to make the recipe Strawberries Dipped in Xocai Chocolate Fondue
- Extra Xocai (pronounced “show*sigh”) Chocolate
- Bottle of recommended wine – Latah Creek Muscat Cannelli
*Due to availability winner must able to pick up prize in Spokane
Here is how you enter to win:
Go to http://www.facebook.com/backoftheboatgourmetcooking and become their fan. Leave a comment here indicating that you did. That’s it. Contest goes for 1 week. One lucky winner will be cooking poolside (or on the boat, campsite, etc) in no time!
Bon Appetit and Drink Happy!