Blog January 2020

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CELEBRATE THE CROISSANT

Posted On: January 30, 2020

NATIONAL CROISSANT DAY – January 30

In the United States, National Croissant Day is observed each year on January 30th.  Croissants are a buttery, crescent-shaped rolls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

  The key to a perfect croissant is laminating the dough. Laminating the dough is a process by which butter is folded into the mixture creating multiple thin layers of butter and dough. The result is a mouth-watering flaky crust and airy body.

Legend surrounds this pastry, as is often the case with a popular, worldly treat. What is known, is that crescent-shaped breads have been found around the world for ages. One of these was the Kipferl which originated in Austria as far back as the 13th century. This non-laminated bread is more like a roll.

Credit for the croissant we know today is given to an Austrian military officer, August Zang. In 1939 he opened a Viennese bakery in Paris introducing France to Viennese baking techniques.

 THE BEST WAY TO OBSERVE

Stop by a bakery for a fresh, warm croissant and enjoy

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SUPERBOWL SPECIALTIES TO SHARE

Posted On: January 28, 2020

SUPERBOWL SECRET WEAPONS

 Those that know me, know I tinker in the kitchen.

WARNING: I take no responsibility if you pay more attention to the food than the game.

Chicken Parm Bites

 Ingredients

  • 2 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 c. marinara
  • 1/4 lb. mozzarella, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare breading station with 3 large bowls: In one bowl, whisk together breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, and Parmesan; in another bowl egg; and in the last bowl flour.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat each piece of chicken in flour and shake off excess, then dip into egg, and lastly, coat in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat steps for remaining chicken and set aside on a plate.
  3. In a deep cast-iron skillet, warm 1" oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Arrange chicken in a baking dish in a single layer. Add a small spoonful of marinara over chicken and top with a cube of mozzarella.
  5. Bake until chicken is warmed through and cheese is melty, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.

 

 

 Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Go balls to the wall for these buff chick meatballs.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c. hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • kosher salt
  • 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add butter, hot sauce, blue cheese, and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk until butter and cheese are melted and fully incorporated, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp salt, celery, onion powder, garlic, egg, and scallions. Add chicken and half of the hot sauce mixture and blend until combined. Do not over-mix.
  3. Brush a large cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, form 1" meatballs and place in prepared skillet.
  4. Bake until lightly golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.
  5. Warm remaining sauce and drizzle over meatballs, then sprinkle with scallions. Serve on toothpicks.
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ID AND FIX POTENTIAL BREAKPOINTS NOW

Posted On: January 23, 2020


The fate of your boat's security in a storm comes down to these essential and critical points in your defense strategy. Addressing them early could mean the difference between your boat surviving a serious storm, or breaking free, hitting hard objects, filling with water, and sustaining catastrophic damage.

Chafe Gear

Nylon stretches and absorbs shock, which is good, but this stretching under tremendous loads also works the line against chocks and other contact points. Chafe protectors are essential on all lines — at a dock, mooring, or at anchor. At a dock, lines are liable to abrade against chocks, pilings, and the dock itself. Wise use of proper chafing gear is critical. Commercially available chafing gear such as Chafe-Pro is a good choice.

Cleats

Many boats have cleats and chocks that are woefully inadequate. This problem becomes critical when more and larger-diameter storm lines are used during a storm. If necessary, add more and larger cleats and chocks now; they'll make securing the boat easier all year.

Assess the ability of cleats to carry heavy loads. This means making sure all are backed properly with stainless steel or aluminum plates. On sailboats, winches (if backed properly and designed for the job) and even keel-stepped masts can also be used to secure lines at a dock. Note that anchor lines should not be secured to the mast, as it creates that much more stretch on the line at the chock, which further increases the chances of chafe failure.

Don't put too many eggs in one basket by leading numerous lines to a single cleat, even if it's backed properly. Two lines per cleat is usually the maximum. Also, a cleat is not reliable when lines are led perpendicular to the base and the cleat can be wrenched out by the tremendous loads (see diagram below).

Reduce Windage

Strip all loose gear that creates windage: canvas covers, bimini tops, outriggers, antennas, anchors, running rigging, booms, life rings, dinghies, portable davits, and so on. Anything on deck that can't be taken off should be lashed securely.

Unstepping masts on sailboats is strongly advised. If this is impractical, sails (particularly roller-furling headsails) must be removed. Roller-furling headsails create a lot of windage, especially when they come unfurled, which is almost guaranteed to happen no matter how carefully they're secured. All halyards should be run to the masthead and secured with a single line led to the rail. This reduces windage and minimizes flogging damage to the mast. The line can be used to retrieve the halyards.

Preventing Theft

Electronics and other valuable gear should be taken home for safekeeping. Not only are electronics vulnerable when vandals comb through boatyards after the storm, they can also be wrecked by all of the water. Personal belongings and other loose gear should be taken home and the cabinets and cabin doors secured. All ship's documents should be taken off the boat.

Preventing Water Damage

Remove cowl ventilators and seal the openings. Use duct tape to cover instrument gauges. Duct tape should also be used around hatches, ports, lockers, and so on, to prevent water damage below. Note that some types of duct tape leave less gummy residue than others.

Close all but the cockpit drain seacocks and shove a plug into the engine's exhaust ports. If the boat does take on water, it will sit lower, and water could back up into the engine. Remember to remove the plug before starting the engine when the storm has passed.

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BUNDLE UP THAT PET

Posted On: January 21, 2020


Your pet needs protection from the cold

 This week the cold weather seems to have really set in. While we bundle up, our pets are sometimes not given the appropriate attention.

 Here are some tips for keeping our pets safe and healthy.

           Keep them inside when the temperature drops below freezing.

  • Bang on the hood of your car before starting it to scare away stray cats that may have sought warmth from the engine.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, when dogs can lose their scent and become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so keep ID tags on a well-fitting collar.
  • Wipe off your dog's paws, legs and belly after a walk to remove ice, salt and antifreeze. Make sure a freshly bathed dog is completely dry before taking it outside.
  • Put a coat or sweater with a high collar on short-haired dogs.
  • Check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, sudden lameness may be due to ice accumulation between the toes.
  • Postpone housebreaking puppies during the coldest months.
  • Don't leave a pet alone in a room with a space heater. It could get knocked over and start a fire.
  • Dogs that can tolerate long, cold walks -- the larger breeds with thick fur -- will need to eat more high-protein food.
  • Pets need a place to sleep off the floor and away from drafts.
  • Dogs that spend any time in the yard must have a dry, draft-free shelter large enough to lie down in, but small enough to retain body heat. The floor should be a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Do not use metal bowls for food and water.
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SAFETY STANDARDS ARE CHANGING

Posted On: January 16, 2020


The American Boat & Yacht Council was formed by members of the Motorboat and Yacht Advisory Panel of the U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Council in 1954 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

Previously, manufacturers could say their products meet the standards, but in the past there was no way to know for sure because ABYC didn't verify that they did.

But that's changing, and soon there will be ABYC-certified products that manufacturers will have to prove meet the standards. Members will be more easily able to find things like thru-hulls, electrical connectors, and propane stoves that meet ABYC standards. If a manufacturer claims its product is certified but it's found that the product didn't go through the testing process to meet the standards, ABYC will take steps, up to and including legal action, to stop it.

While boats have had high-voltage AC shore power systems for years, most DC (battery-driven) circuits have been 12-volt, which, while still able to start a fire, is not dangerous if a person accidentally contacts the positive and negative leads. But new high-horsepower electric motors are changing that with the recent arrival of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. These systems can have up to hundreds of volts DC, making them every bit as dangerous as AC shore power, so a new standard for high-voltage DC systems is in the works.

Boat propulsion systems are getting more complex with the advent of joystick controls and someday will likely even include self-docking. It's important to make sure new boats with these products are designed with the safety of the boat and crew in mind. An ABYC Control Systems Project Technical Committee (PTC) is creating a new standard to address wireless controls, dynamic positioning, and joystick controls.

LED lights are becoming mainstream for most uses aboard, but they work differently than the old incandescent lamps with which we're all familiar. The Navigation Lights and Sound Signals PTC is working on updating the navigation lights standard to better address LED technology. They've also been tasked with addressing the challenge with the growing popularity of accent lights, which could conflict or be confused with navigation lights.

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BOATING & ALCOHOL

Posted On: January 14, 2020


According to the latest U.S. Coast Guard statistics, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 19% of deaths. And alcohol use ranks as one of the top five primary contributing factors in accidents. Because most minor accidents aren't reported to the Coast Guard, it's hard to say how many dock bruises, falls, and aggressive boating incidents are related to alcohol, but it's also likely to be in the top five.

Alcohol Dangers

Most people know that alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination, which greatly increase the likelihood of accidents. The Coast Guard says that in alcohol-related fatalities, more than half the victims capsized their boats or went overboard. But what you might not know is that a boater is even more likely to become impaired than a driver of a car.

Stressors, such as exposure to noise, vibration, sun, glare, wind, and the motion of the water affect our skills when we drive a boat. Research shows that hours of exposure to these stressors produce a kind of a fatigue, or "boater's hypnosis," which slows reaction time almost as much as if you were legally drunk. Adding alcohol intensifies the effects, and each drink multiplies your accident risk.

Chart of blood alcohol percentage estimated by weight and number of drinks

Image Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Boating

Drinking alcohol also deteriorates cognitive abilities and judgment, which makes it harder to process information, assess situations, and make good choices. Balance and coordination are impaired, and reaction time increased. Alcohol also causes decreased peripheral and night vision as well as depth perception and makes it harder to distinguish colors, particularly the all-important red and green of boat navigation lights and aids to navigation. An extra risk factor: Most boaters don't have the benefit of operating a boat every day as they do with the family car and are much less experienced driving a boat and less able to react appropriately and quickly to a potential accident.

BASED ON AN ARTICLE IN USBOAT

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COVERING YOUR BOAT CORRECTLY FOR THE WINTER

Posted On: January 09, 2020

Destroyed flybridge caused by incorrect winterizing

Covering your boat in the winter benefits it by protecting gelcoat, preventing snow and ice accumulation, and keeping water from pooling on the decks. More frugal skippers seem to think that a few tarps stitched together with a spiderweb of lines qualify for winter duty.

In the first serious storm, these often end up shredded, and in their death throes they deposit large amounts of snow and ice into the boat they are supposed to be protecting. If you're going to cover the boat, use a custom cover or shrinkwrap it. But either way, make sure there's lots of ventilation to prevent mold from taking over down below.

If you do choose to shrinkwrap, think twice and even three times before doing it yourself. All it takes is a moment of inattention to ignite the shrinkwrap, and if the fire occurs inside the cover, it might not even be visible right away. Every fall we get several claims involving flaming shrinkwrap, often involving multiple boats. This is one job best left to the pros.

BASED ON AN ARTICLE IN BOATUS

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WHICH PROP IS FOR YOU?

Posted On: January 07, 2020

Three-Bladed Versus Four-Bladed Props


Three blades versus four? Stainless versus aluminum?

Just some of the questions to consider when choosing a new prop.

You may have noticed four-bladed props on boats at a marina or boat show and thought, "I wonder what that would do for my boat?" I often recommend a four-bladed prop to boat owners who enjoy tubing, water-skiing, and family outings. Four-bladed propellers have many benefits, including giving the boat more torque at the low end and in the mid-range, which is ideal for water-skiing and tubing. They also get the boat to plane quicker. That extra blade is pushing more water, making the boat get up and go. You may trade off a bit of efficiency due to increased drag, but you'll also get better bite for low-speed maneuvering as well.

Stainless Steel Versus Aluminum

Customers always ask about the differences between stainless-steel and aluminum propellers. Aluminum is a softer metal, so aluminum props have less ability to endure the pressure and demands of higher-horsepower, higher-torque motors. They break more easily, but they're relatively inexpensive and cost-effectively repairable. A stainless-steel prop lends itself to having a more customizable shape. If you look at the number of different stainless-steel props that are available, you'll see that they come in many different shapes and sizes. So if your boat can't turn up to its rated rpm, or you're not happy with another aspect of its performance, look into a different prop.




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