Entertaining aboard is very relaxed. There are no large formal dinners afloat on Rhapsody, oh no. Casual events, impromptu or even participation dinners are more my style. While I love to cook, entertaining is more about socializing with interesting people than about the food.
Barbecued salmon is the Capt’s specialty, and I love creating the side dishes to fill out the menu. Salmon would not have been a special treat for our latest dinner guest. A native Alaskan she lives on an island, uses a skiff instead of a car, is married to a fisherman, and has a freezer full of seafood. Forget seafood anything, we dined on chicken and sausage gumbo instead.
Gumbo, rice and a green salad were the main event, but I couldn’t decide on a dessert. I don’t crave sweets, so I don’t think much about desserts until we have company. Phooey! The day was too warm and sunny to stay inside and bake something. Instead I grabbed the camera and wandered along the shoreline and up in the woods all afternoon. Dessert would have to be an easy recipe, something quick to pull together at the last minute using simple ingredients.
My quick dessert used dried apricots, Nutella and unsalted pistachios. Now I am tempted to try a batch with fresh banana chunks. I remember the delight of frozen bananas on a stick, a favorite teenage treat on summer trips to Balboa Island. Hmmm, Nutella and nut-dipped chunks of frozen banana on a skewer might replicate that taste - a little bit of memory on a stick. I’ll get back to you on that.
Nutty Chocolate Fruit Bites
2 Tablespoons pistachios (or other nuts), chopped very small
1 1/2 Tablespoons Nutella
12 dried apricots (or other dried fruit pieces)
waxed paper, tongs, 2 microwaveable bowls and a flat plate or tray
- Cover a flat plate or small tray with a sheet of waxed paper. Spoon the Nutella into a small microwave-safe bowl; place this bowl in a slightly larger bowl filled with an inch or two of water. Microwave the stacked bowls for a minute or more, just until the Nutella softens a bit.
- Dip one end of an apricot into the warmed Nutella, then dip the same end into the chopped nuts. (For neatness sake, use the tongs to do this, otherwise you’ll be tempted to lick your fingers often and run out of Nutella and nuts long before you run out of apricots.)
- Lay the coated apricot on the waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining pieces of fruit.
- Refrigerate until the Nutella hardens, about 30 minutes.
- This recipe adapts well to other fruits, both dried and fresh. The dried fruit should be large enough to have both dipped and undipped halves; dried pears are a good choice, dried cranberries not so good. Fresh strawberries are fine, but apple slices or banana chunks tend to turn brown and need to be dipped in citrus water. Peaches might be too moist and soft.
- Vary the nuts as well, according to taste and whatever is in your pantry. Peanuts, almonds, pine nuts, whatever.
- Nutella is a versatile product. Use it to fill elegant dessert crepes or spread it on your morning bagel. It’s pretty good nibbled straight off a spoon too. This is a good item to keep in the pantry for emergencies.