Bookworm: Recipes for smooth sailing: South County woman writes book on boat food

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Margaret Amoroso Blackwell discusses her new book, “Boat Food: The Cookbook for Boaters,” over coffee at the Happy Harbor restaurant in Deale. Her husband, Rick, is a charter boat captain.

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013 12:00 am
By THERESA WINSLOW [email protected]
Perhaps it’s no surprise Margaret Amoroso Blackwell wrote a cookbook.
As a math teacher, she had a special recipe for success.
Blackwell used to illustrate lessons about fractions by making pizza or cookies with her students and then having them cut up the portions.
The 58-year-old Tracys Landing resident left teaching in 2008, but the cooking continued.
Blackwell started a food blog, “The Outdoor Epicurean,” and now has her own cookbook. In a way, it’s picking up where she left off when she ran Bobeetza’s Kitchen, a gourmet food company, in the ’90s.
“Boat Food: The Cookbook for Boaters” was released by Tate Publishing earlier this month. The 412-page book features 350 recipes.
Everything from appetizers to desserts are covered, with plenty of main courses in between. There are also chapters on beverages, chili, salads, sandwiches, side dishes and soups.
“Cooking is an expression of love, and it’s creative,” said Blackwell, a grandmother of two whose husband, Rick, is a charter boat captain.
The book took several years to complete.
Blackwell tested out every recipe — many several times before getting them just right. Steak was the hardest to perfect.
“There were some flops, but some instant hits,” she said.
She’s still eating well, just as not as much since completing the text. “I’ve lost 10 pounds.”
The cookbook mainly consists of recipes. No musings or reminiscences about travels or cruises. There are, however, short descriptions of how each item should taste before the list of ingredients.
The point is to offer boaters a lot more than frozen meals or takeout.
Blackwell provides several pages of helpful hints, such as multiple uses for kitchen equipment, basics to keep in the galley, and advice on what steps in recipes can be done at home and which can be left to the boat.
“Once you’re out on the water, you can’t come back for ingredients,” Blackwell said.
The cookbook also provides a list of foods that can be cooked in a thermos and instructions. Rice and beans fall into this category.
In addition, Blackwell discusses how to make cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt in a thermos.
“With limited space, you have to be creative,” she said, “and think outside the box.”
Two of her favorite recipes are for roasted sweet red pepper polenta tarts and celery and apple salad. Like all the recipes in the book, ingredients are listed in U.S. and metric measurements (to appeal to international boaters).
Longtime friend and former Deale resident Amelia Stephenson-Kennard has sampled plenty of Blackwell’s cooking and is sure the cookbook will satisfy hungry boaters.
“She’s super excited about food all the time,” Stephenson-Kennard said.
She’s particularly savored Blackwell’s rockfish and duck recipes, as well as pizza she makes on an outside grill.
Blackwell next plans to market her book, but a sequel isn’t out of the question.
She loves to cook, after all.

Photo courtesy of Capital Gazette

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