Key-Lime-Martini-2

  So cold, so much snow, can’t get Key West off my mind. I must, but before I do, one final post and a cocktail, the Key Lime Martini (shot with my iPhone in a dark bar). Donna and Abby (of Spaceman Spiff) once tried to recreate this but couldn’t get it right; we all got too drunk trying and had to give up. I thought it impossible to make outside Key West, but one of the boys, Jason, said he makes these for himself and his wife Kristi every weekend. His recipe is below. Or you can watch below as the wonderful Ramsey pours one at the White Tarpon, a beloved watering hole in Key West, if you don’t mind the poor lighting. The sweet and sour mix Ramsey uses is Daily’s, Jason tells me. Read On »

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kw-8

The return from Key West is always a hard reentry. At least I wasn’t Mark Wiss, who returned to Newport! Hi, Mark, how’s the snow?! But it’s cold. And I’m alone in my office and not with the sailors who are all so much fun. Really, it’s kind of like being in college again, all the diligent work during the day and drunken camaraderie at night (ok, maybe just the latter plus sailing), and good food. Spaceman Spiff came in second to My Shirona in the J-111 class, alas, but a good show in all. I relive the glorious days through the food, so, for posterity, the menu: The first full day is rough, as we’re all rather, um, exuberant when we reach Key West the night before, and so with woolly brain, I and Read On »

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KW-1

  Each January I spend ten days in Key West, cooking for my cousin Rob’s sailing crew, who race the J 111, Spaceman Spiff. Just to be clear, I’m not cooking on the boat. These things are the sheerest, strongest, lightest plastic for maximum speed and they don’t want some overweight guy down below stirring beans in a cast-iron pot while they’re blasting down wind. I cook in a spacious kitchen in a lovely house on Caroline Street. I write in the morning and I cook in the afternoon and happily and unaccountably I haven’t been hung over once. Go figure. Seriously. It’s a first here. But it does allow me to reflect on the methods and importance of cooking for groups. You can see previous posts on how to cook for groups below so Read On »

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Peternell-12

I want to call attention to a cookbook after my own heart, a cookbook that seeks to encourage and teach the few fundamental ideas on which all cooking is based. It’s called Twelve Recipes by Chez Panisse chef Cal Peternell, and it came into being out of the love of a father for his sons. Peternell, on returning from a family trip to Europe, wondered why more cooking wasn’t done at home, notably and especially by his fellow chefs. He understands: fatigue, time, the desire to see new restaurants. But he also knew this: “The ancient acts of gathering foods, cooking them, and then coming together to eat are as profound as any that we do, and as pleasurable.… I consider cooking and eating with my family my best skill.” Yet he’d failed to teach his Read On »

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Key-Sunset-Cocktail

(Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman) In one week I’ll be in quirky, decadent Key West on my annual boondoggle cooking for my cousin, Rob, and the crew of Spaceman Spiff. Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour gathering pots and pans, two big cutting boards, a giant cast iron skillet, Lexan tub and circulator, flat-edged wood spoons, side towels, knives, all of which are loaded onto the boat trailer that’s now on the road south. My iPhone says it’s 77 degrees and sunny. Here in Cleveland it’s 18 degrees. Yesterday when I woke it was -2. Tomorrow’s high here will be 16 degrees. Needless to say I am not disappointed that I’ll spend nine afternoons cooking for the sailing droogs, with mornings poolside to get some writing work done. And looking forward so much I intend to Read On »

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