May 27, 2016
Fresh from the Galley: Accommodating Special Diets is Easy as Pie!

courtesy Schooner Stephen Taber
Special attention is given to every meal served on a windjammer, and special diets are no problem with advance notice.


The Maine Windjammer Association has a long and well-deserved reputation for serving up the most scrumptious food for everyone, including those with special dietary needs. Says chef Carla Martinez aboard the Lewis R. French, “People with allergies sometimes start out the cruise a little nervous. They don’t like to be singled out. But by the end, they see that we’ve accommodated them seamlessly and they can relax and enjoy their meals along with everyone else.”

From the first phone call or email inquiry – hopefully when guests alert captains of any dietary needs – the chefs of the Maine Windjammer Association are pleased to assure everyone that they have years of experience cooking for people with allergies, sensitivities and restrictions and have a knack for preparing delicious meals carefully and with ingredients that everyone can enjoy.

The key is advanced notice: “We can accommodate almost any diet, given advanced notice,” says Captain Dennis of the Angelique. Early warning enables these professional chefs to prepare and make even the most restricted diets seem decadent. Gluten free-vegan cakes, dairy-free cheesecakes, vegetarian stews, are all easily created by the talented and experienced men and women who have dedicated their lives to bringing fresh, healthy, nutritious food to their guests’ plates – with Maine’s spectacular coast as the backdrop.

Aboard the Lewis R. French, chef Carla actually studied plant-based diets and a variety of lifestyles including gluten free. She says, “Any restriction in ingredients forces my brain to be more creative.” She has plenty of experience looking for hidden ingredients on labels and even has an app to make sure that she’s not unwittingly serving the wrong foodstuff. “We had a passenger last year with a histamine allergy. I had never encountered that before. But by the end of the trip, we fed him so well that he hadn’t touched the snacks he brought aboard. He was delighted with what we provided.”

Here are three Maine Windjammer recipes for an entirely gluten free meal at home:


SAMBAL MARINADE from Stephen Taber

One of my favorites is a marinade for meat or tofu. It is also gluten free, so it falls into a couple of the categories: gluten free, vegetarian, vegan (if you leave out the fish sauce) 

1/2 c unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 c fish sauce (or substitute a vegan version which can be found in specialty stores)
1/4 c sriracha (hot sauce)
1/3 c sambal oelek (another kind of hot sauce available from Asian specialty markets)
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. When sugar is dissolved pour into a Ziplock bag with 1 lb protein of choice: cubed chicken thighs, cubed pork, or cubed, extra firm tofu.
Marinate at least two hours or overnight.
Thread onto wooden skewers and grill until done.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, mint, basil, or Thai basil-any one herb or a combination of any of them. Enjoy!
This recipe is one from Bon Appetit magazine that I've been using for years. An all time favorite. 



A refreshing, gluten free salad to go along with the sambal marinade. 

1 clove garlic-minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
Juice of 1 lime and zest
1 tbsp (wheat-free) tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey, maple syrup or brown sugar
4 stalks celery, diced
2 small cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 c chopped peanuts

In medium bowl, whisk together garlic, ginger, lime juice and zest, tamari/soy, vinegar, sesame oil, and sweetener.
Add in vegetables and toss all together. Garnish with the chopped peanuts. 



c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
c unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
cups heavy cream
large eggs
1 c granulated sugar
c crème fraîche (optional for the whipped cream)
c confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan and dust with cocoa powder.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter with ¼ cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth; remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, and cocoa powder. Whisk in the chocolate mixture.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the cake before unmolding.
Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream with the crème fraîche (optional) and confectioners’ sugar (optional) until soft peaks form. Dust the cake with cocoa (or confectioners’ sugar) and serve with the whipped cream mixture.

NB: We often top this with fresh berries!

For more recipes, visit our Fresh from the Galley webpage.

Published by Maine Windjammer Association
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